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Thread: Who's the best person to insulate a steel building?

  1. #1
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    Who's the best person to insulate a steel building?

    Would you have a steel building contractor do this or would you have an hvac company do it? I'm going to have a 3 ton a.c. unit put in too at some point.

  2. #2
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    Its a 30x50 building and i just want the standard white fiberglass Bat insulation you see in practically every steel warhouse.

  3. #3
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    Insulation

    Check into spray foam if you are going to cool this size shop the energy savings will pay for the extra cost of the foam

  4. #4
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    If I were hiring out insulation, I would hire it out to an actual insulation contractor, not a builder or an HVAC firm. You want it done correctly for best results.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    HVAC contractors don't do insulation, and steel building contractors do insulation because it's an integral part of construction of the building. So, as Big Jim says, hire an insulation contractor.

    If you're looking for the best insulation for the dollar spent, then don't go with foam. It's very nice & all, but fiberglass batts are much more economical. As long as you have sufficient wall thickness, foam won't give you any more R value than FG will

    There may be building details that would make foam viable, but that's what a contractor can tell you.

  6. #6
    Depending on your wall assembly you could do dense pack cellulose as well. Very little air movement so it can act as a vapor barrier. Cheaper & more environmentally friendly than foam.

  7. #7
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    Frank, once of the reasons I really like closed cell spray foam is that it not only insulates well, it also provides a solid vapor barrier and stiffens the building noticeably. Those two factors can be of benefit for this type of building as well as its location in the heart of humidity country. I do agree that fiberglass is cost effective, however, but it doesn't seal for infiltration like spray foam does and unless you use unfaced and do a polyethylene vapor barrier that's continuous, that part isn't nearly as good as the foam is, either. I'll also agree that a discussion with a local insulation contractor will be worth the time to explore the options...Houston and surrounding is a different place than you and i live in for sure!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    No expert on any of this but was in a customer's shop recently. New construction, steel building. He did the spray foam-thing and it looked nice. Eerily quiet inside when machinery wasn't running.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  9. #9
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    I called one person. It looks like the only thing I can do in the south as far as spray foam is concerned is closed cell spray foam due to our humidity. I'm still researching it though because I want both insulation from the outside heat/cold I also want the insulation to block the noise going outside the shop so I can work late at night and not worry about the neighbors.

  10. #10
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    Prior to moving to the county and putting up my own steel building I was in a steel warehouse with “typical “ fiberglass insulation. I had my shop foamed walls and roof. Huge difference both summer and winter.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Frank, once of the reasons I really like closed cell spray foam is that it not only insulates well, it also provides a solid vapor barrier and stiffens the building noticeably. Those two factors can be of benefit for this type of building as well as its location in the heart of humidity country. I do agree that fiberglass is cost effective, however, but it doesn't seal for infiltration like spray foam does and unless you use unfaced and do a polyethylene vapor barrier that's continuous, that part isn't nearly as good as the foam is, either. I'll also agree that a discussion with a local insulation contractor will be worth the time to explore the options...Houston and surrounding is a different place than you and i live in for sure!
    I agree with what you said Jim, which is why it's important to get a contractor out to look at the building to do an assessment. In a hot, humid climate, like Houston, I can see that closed cell foam might be ideal in an existing steel building. You want a vapor barrier on the warm side of the wall assembly, and in this case that would be next to the steel.

    Faced batts are never used here because they do not meet code, way too much infiltration past the facing. 6 mil poly, tape & acoustical sealant is the required vapor barrier against the inside.

    OP, for noise attenuation, mineral wool or dense packed cellulose is a lot better than foam. But relying on insulation alone won't do much. You also need mass & isolation to do a good job.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Conner View Post
    I called one person. It looks like the only thing I can do in the south as far as spray foam is concerned is closed cell spray foam due to our humidity.
    The excellent R7+ per inch R factor combined with the excellent vapor barrier and structure rigidity properties make this a very good option. Not inexpensive up front, but longer term, good stuff.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Was in metal building business fifty years ago. Vinyl skrim fiberglass insulation was attached to wall and roof purlins before outer skin was attached. We often built a 2 X4 wall inside to increase insulation value, plus added drop ceiling with R-19 above ceiling tiles. Armco's pattented wall panels could accept regular fiber glass batts

  14. #14
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    Iím not sure why they say only closed cell in humid regions. I live in very humid SC and thereís plenty of open cell foam used here

  15. #15
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    It would cause Mold Bob. I think he could still do a vapor barrier with the open cell though.

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