Steel Building insulation

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    Steel Building insulation

    I recently bought a house with a 30x60 steel building I want to use as a shop.

    The original insulation was plastic bubble wrap type of stuff that has disintegrated and is now just falling and creating a mess.

    The original screws holding the roof steel on are also in need of replacements and it has a lot of small leaks. They also had fiberglass panels installed to act as 'sunlights' that have apparently been leaking as well

    Once I fix the leaks, what is the proper way to re-insulate? Spray foam is expensive and flammable, so that is a concern.

    #2
    Spray Foam is simply the best. It's expensive, but it seals the building, and it's just great.


    Depending on your wall style, you can run the 1.5" foam board in between your purlins, then cover with plywood (or whatever your preferred wall covering is).

    You can build out 'normal' 2x4/2x6 walls and insulate that.

    I'd fix your roof leaks first, then worry about insulation.
    Screw Vertical Scope
    Lugnut4x4.com

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      #3
      Spray foam is the only way to do it I'd say. Yes it is flammable, but it's not like it is going to auto ignite. If you have an area where you do a ton of metal grinding you might sheet the walls in that area with some tin or something to keep the sparks off the insulation, but other than that it'll be fine. Also they make a rubbery paint that you can paint over the insulation with and that is a must to block the UV rays and keep it from degrading over time.

      Back to the fire thing, the guy that sprayed ours told us it will burn, but it will not sit there and smolder. So if there is going to be a fire after doing some welding or grinding it will be immediately apparent that there is a fire, not sit there with an ember in it for an hour and then light up after you leave the shop/area.



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        #4
        That's what I did--spray foamed and then sheeted the work areas with metal. Watch their ass, though--I thought mine looked reasonably well covered. When I've had to drill holes, I find that some of it is as thin as 1/4". I've told people the dickhead way to go about it would be to get a bunch of stick on plastic pegs or hooks or something. Cut them to length, and put a bunch of them all over the inside of the shop. Then explain to them that if they see any poking out, or little mounds where the plastic is, then they need to go thicker. This is the high-effort method, so it was absolutely not employed in my shop.

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          #5
          Originally posted by OHV Wildcat View Post
          That's what I did--spray foamed and then sheeted the work areas with metal. Watch their ass, though--I thought mine looked reasonably well covered. When I've had to drill holes, I find that some of it is as thin as 1/4". I've told people the dickhead way to go about it would be to get a bunch of stick on plastic pegs or hooks or something. Cut them to length, and put a bunch of them all over the inside of the shop. Then explain to them that if they see any poking out, or little mounds where the plastic is, then they need to go thicker. This is the high-effort method, so it was absolutely not employed in my shop.

          Yeah and some guys are kinda messy with it too... I'm not 100% happy with the job the guy did on ours, but it's still the best insulation there is out there for a steel building IMHO.

          I suppose the only way to get it done correctly is hire someone that is 100% legit and has references or DIY. I've found more and more that when you hire someone to do something you'll probably not be happy with the job they did, so I just plan on doing shit myself.



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            #6
            I've been doing mine in my spare time. The barn originally had .5" insulation all of the way around and a lot of air leaks.

            I first sealed all of the leaks with canned spray foam, either the high build stuff or the windows and doors stuff to make sure they open and close right. Then I used a seal sealing tape on all of the old insulation seems. Then used 1.5" foam board to fill the spaces between the 2x4s. Then some 1/4 osb over that to protect it. Next step is some thick white paint to make it a little brighter in there.

            I only have one side of the shop done but already notice a huge difference in draft. I heat with a wood stove, so this will help out tremendously. If it's air tight enough, I may even get a window ac unit for it this summer.

            Shop is 40x60

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              #7
              You guys talk about foam being good but expensive. Like how much per sqft?

              Im looking into pole barn, metal barn, stick built type structures..... maybe I should start my own thread..

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                #8
                Originally posted by Mr Stubs View Post
                You guys talk about foam being good but expensive. Like how much per sqft?

                Im looking into pole barn, metal barn, stick built type structures..... maybe I should start my own thread..
                I don't know what spray foam costs, but this foam board is 4x8 for 12 bucks.

                If you have inner and outer walls, I had my last house insulated with blown I cellulose. It was really cheap and did well. It also is not flammable, but will smolder a little.

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                  #9
                  Another vote for spray foam. I did 4” insulation rolls when I built mine but all the insulation is held in place by being sandwiched bn the steel and the outer wall panels.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Mr Stubs View Post
                    You guys talk about foam being good but expensive. Like how much per sqft?

                    Im looking into pole barn, metal barn, stick built type structures..... maybe I should start my own thread..
                    I paid $3500 for 4” on my 60x60x16. My shop sits in the sun from sun up to sun down and the insulation is worth every Penny to me. Stays about 10-15 degrees cooler in the summer time and I’ve never had to shut the water off in the winter (SC so very rare to get below freezing).

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Mr Stubs View Post
                      You guys talk about foam being good but expensive. Like how much per sqft?

                      Im looking into pole barn, metal barn, stick built type structures..... maybe I should start my own thread..
                      Sorry, mine is fiberglass rolls not foam.

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                        #12
                        We pay ~$1/BF of 2lb closed-cell foam here. That's 1' x 1' x 1" thick. You can extrapolate from there.

                        Consider doing a combination of insulation to achieve your desired R-value. You can do 2" of spray foam, and the rest in batts or sheets, but nothing will beat spray foam's ability to seal air leaks. A good insulation system should serve three purposes. Air barrier, vapor barrier, Insulative Capacity (R-Value). While 6" of spray foam would yield R-41 and be bad-ass, maybe 2" of spray foam and 3 1/2" batts would achieve your goals.

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                          #13
                          I had the rolls of 3" fiberglass installed in the walls and roof. I also have 2- 20'x14' and 1- 12'x12' insulated roll up doors with 2" of insulation. Shop is 80' x 50' with 16' walls. Seems to help in the winter but, I don't think it does much in the summer. I didn't have any kind of vents installed in the roof because hurricanes here tend to blow water through even the smallest hoes.

                          I've been thinking about adding a vent with powered louvers at the highest point in the end walls to remove the hot air that collects up high.

                          I guess the biggest part of the equation is always where you live. I'm in Louisiana, where a 90* day can also have 90% humidity.........there's not really a way to avoid the suck in those conditions. My best friend in the shop has been my 48" HeatBuster barrel fan that I can move around to where I'm working.


                          Also, keep the walls white, not only does it not absorb heat, but it reflect whatever lighting you have.
                          Kevin

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                            #14
                            After building three shops in north texas with various insulation methods I can comment .
                            Summer:
                            If the space will not be cooled the insulation matters very little, air flow is key. Cross ventilation is the easiest and highest performing. Overhead doors on opposing walls cools the best.
                            Exhaust fan in a building with only one side door shop doesn't seem to help. No exhaust fan or cross flow venting in a spray foamed building is just as bad as lightly insulated roll insulation building with the same orientation. The spray foamed building has AC but we have not tested that yet in Summer.

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