I want to insulate a presently uninsulated
metal horse barn. I would like the material to provide reduction of radiant heat,
reduce the noise from rain on the roof, and not be a fire hazard or cause health
risks to the horses. What is the best type of material to use? I live in Arkansas,
where it is hot and humid in the summer and moderately cold in the winter.
will appreciate any guidance you provide. Thank you.
There are many types of insulation that could
work to insulate your barn and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Most insulation, especially in humid climates, should not
be applied directly against the backside of the siding. There needs to be a space
for airflow so that moisture does not build up on the siding causing it to rot
or rust. In most metal barns the siding and roofing are attached to skip sheathing
or girts, 1X4s or 2X4s or other boards spaced 16 to 24" on center and attached
perpendicular to the wall and roof framing members. Applying the insulation to
the inside of these sheathing boards will provide a space for ventilation between
the insulation and steel panels.
your barn is heated you will need to install a vapor barrier on the inside of
the insulation to prevent condensation on the insulation, siding and framing.
Here's a clip from our video, Your
Horse Barn, that explains about condensation.
are some insulation choices for your metal barn.
Fiberglass in puffy rolls or batts is commonly applied between the framing in
walls and roofs. The fiberglass is available with a paper vapor barrier and comes
in widths that fit between framing that's spaced 16" or 24" apart. The
paper face goes to the inside of the room and the edges of the paper are unfolded
and stapled over the exposed edge of the studs or joists. Again, don't push the
batts tight against the backside of the siding or roof, rather leave a space for
air flow to remove moisture.
If you are using the
kraft-paper faced fiberglass insulation you don't need another vapor barrier over
it. Plain batts require a vapor barrier of 6 mil poly plastic.
and birds love to make nests of fiberglass plus it is unsightly if left exposed.
You'll want to cover fiberglass insulation with some sort of rigid paneling to
protect it from damage.
RADIANT BARRIER This
insulation resembles foil-covered bubble wrap and come in rolls. The material
cuts with scissors or a knife and can be put up between the studs or rafters with
a staple gun and/or adhesive. If cut several inched wider than the span between
rafters, for example, the insulation can be first stapled to the girts and then
folded 90 degrees along the edges and stapled to the rafters.
BOARD Panels of rigid poly foam board are generally covered on one or both
sides with silver or black foil or with white plastic. The board can be cut with
a sharp knife and attached with roofing nails and/or glue to the inside surface
of the girts. It can be tricky to get a good fit between the studs and rafters
because the barn framing is usually not perfectly parallel. Gaps between the insulation
board and the framing can be taped and covered by trim boards. Joints between
panels should be taped or sealed according to the manufacutrer's instructions
to maintain the integrity of the vapor barrier. The white faced foam board makes
an attractive finished surface that will lighten the interior of the barn. Be
sure to check the fire rating of foam board because some are flammable and release
toxic fumes in a fire.
POLYURATHANE FOAM Spray
foam insulation is sprayed on the inside surface of the roof and siding between
the studs and rafters. It immediately expands and dries quickly to make an air
tight and sometimes waterproof seal. It provides the best sound dampening of any
insulation. Early formulations of spray foam used urea and formadehyde and were
somewhat toxic when applied and in fire so the product initially got a bad rap.
Modern formulations, however, use safer ingredients (including vegetable oil)
and do not burn or release toxic fumes. Spray foam is typically applied by a professional
installer but DYI kits are available.
is not the cheapest way to go, but it is the quickest and most effective and the
one I would recommend for your metal barn. You can learn
more about spray foam products and find a contractor near you at SprayFoam.com.
matter which insulation you choose, it should be covered by a rigid material wherever
horses could reach it to keep them from chewing it.
of luck and let me know how your insulation project turns out.
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