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Metal Building Insulation Options and Prices: Why Do I Need Steel Building Insulation?

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Insulation is a necessity for any type of building, but especially so for metal buildings. Metal buildings conduct more heat than those made from other materials, such as wood, so insulation is crucial to maintaining internal temperature and avoiding condensation. Without insulation, metal buildings take in heat during the summer and can't keep heat in during the winter.

How Metal Insulation Works

Insulation is primarily meant to help control heat flow, but also assists with reducing noise and preventing condensation, with some insulations offering superior protection. Insulation slows the movement of heat, keeping it inside during the winter and outside during the summer. The result is an overall reduction in energy usage.

Noise-reducing insulation works by absorbing reverberations to deaden outside noise. Vapor-retarding insulation prevents condensation by blocking the passage of water vapor so that it doesn't condense on the insulation fibers or interior surfaces. Vapor retarders are often required to be fire-retardant, as well.

With insulation, it is important to discuss R-values and U-values. R-value is an insulator's thermal resistance, with higher R-values indicating more effective insulators. For example, an insulator rated as R6 is a better material than an insulator rated as R4. U-value is the thermal performance of a building envelope assembly, such as the roof or sidewalls.

Why Your Steel Building Needs Insulation

Though not all steel buildings require an insulation package, you should always be sure to insulate any type of building. Good insulation comes with a multitude of benefits, some of which include:

  • Cost savings: Insulating your steel building offers significant savings on your energy bills. Metal buildings are hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than buildings made from more traditional materials, meaning you wind up spending more on air conditioning and heating. Good insulation also prevents costly repairs due to moisture damage.
  • Temperature control: As stated above, the right insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Without insulation, heat moves unrestricted, both in and out of the building.
  • Vapor barrier: You do not want condensation to build up in your home. It leads to mildew, mold, and (in the case of metal buildings) may cause corrosion and rust. Insulation creates a vapor barrier that reduces condensation buildup on panels.

How Much Does Steel Building Insulation Cost?

Insulation costs are based on the amount of insulation you need, type of insulation you choose, the material's R-value, and the seller you purchase from. What follows is a general pricing guide to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay for your steel building insulation.

  • Knauf Insulmax Shake and Rake loose fill fiberglass insulation with an R19 rating has an average cost between $15 and $18 for 35 square feet of coverage.
  • FOAMULAR 150, 1" thick rigid extruded polystyrene foam insulation with an R5 rating costs between $20 and $25 for 32 square feet of coverage.
  • EcoTouch PINK fiberglass insulation rolls with an R19 rating cost between $20 and $29 for 48.96 square feet of coverage.
  • AttiCat expanding blown-in PINK fiberglass insulation with an R49 rating has an average cost between $24 and $35 per bag, which covers 109 square feet. Blowers come at an additional cost.
  • CertainTeed fiberglass kraft-faced insulation rolls with an R13 rating have an average cost between $48 and $51.
  • EcoTouch PINK fiberglass kraft-faced insulation batts with an R30 rating have an average cost between $56 and $81 for 88 square feet of coverage.
  • Rmax Thermasheath-3 rigid foam insulation with an R20 rating and aluminum foil facers has an average cost between $80 and $85 for 32 square feet of coverage.

Additional Considerations When Buying Insulation

Price is a major deciding factor when looking at insulation for your steel building, but it should never be your only consideration. Before you make a selection on material, think about the area you live in and the weather during the time you plan to complete the project. Certain types of materials cannot be installed during the colder seasons, so always be sure to check that your desired material can be shipped when you need it.

You also need to think about the facing of your insulation, which is the part of the insulation that faces the inside of the building. If the facing is going to be exposed, it needs to have a layer of scrim (usually fiberglass or a nylon mesh) to reinforce it and increase durability. It is important to note that the color of the facing may affect the lighting of the interior of the building.

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