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Which Type of Insulation Is Right for Your Pole Barn?


Whether you plan to use your pole barn to store tractors, hay, or horses, you need to insulate it to prevent unwanted air movement. This will keep the interior comfortable and reduce your heating and cooling bills. It will also prevent condensation that could cause the building materials to deteriorate over time and cause rust, mold, and mildew.

Fiberglass is the material that is most commonly used to insulate pole barns. It is lightweight and is often the least expensive type of insulation. Fiberglass can be used in batt or blown form in the attic. Most builders can install batt fiberglass insulation, but blown insulation requires special equipment, protective gear, and extra training.

Foam is a great insulator but is more expensive than fiberglass. You may have to hire someone other than your builder to install it.

Blown cellulose insulation is usually installed in an attic. It is generally made from renewable materials and has a higher R (insulation) value than blown-in fiberglass insulation.

When choosing the type of insulation to use for your pole barn, think about your needs and how you plan to use the building. If you are only going to use it occasionally in mild weather, you can install a thin layer of insulation under the steel. If you plan to insulate the attic, use high-density blown cellulose.

One- or two-inch insulation with an R-value ranging from 5 to 16 can be installed on the exterior of your pole barn under the steel. Thinner insulation provides some protection from temperature changes and can also absorb some noise.

A six-inch fiberglass batt in the form of blankets, sheets, or rolls generally has an R-value of 19. It is thicker than insulation installed under steel and is usually used with interior frame walls. Fiberglass batt insulation allows for several interior finishing options.

Pole barns used to shelter animals often do not need wall insulation because animals, especially horses, produce a lot of heat. You should put insulation under the steel in the roof to prevent condensation in the summer. The pole barn should be well ventilated to keep your animals healthy.

DripStop is not a great insulator, but it can prevent condensation that could damage the equipment you store in your pole barn. It is applied directly to steel and costs one-third the amount of normal roof insulation.

If you are planning to heat or air-condition your pole barn, install an air barrier, such as Tyvek, on the outside of the insulation and poly on the inside to reduce airflow. It needs to be properly sealed around the windows and doors to prevent air and water from getting into the insulation and building materials.

No matter what type of insulation you use, be sure that your pole barn is well ventilated. The type of insulation you choose will affect airflow and the amount of ventilation you need.

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