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Thread: Fiberglass batts for a shop

  1. #1

    Fiberglass batts for a shop

    So I added an air conditioner to my shop not too long ago and would like to step up the insulation in the walls and ceilings. Currently I have 40+ year old fiberglass that is in rough shape. Would love to have spray foam but its just not in my budget. With that said, where is the best place to get 48 or even 60 wide fiberglass bats? Manatee has something like 65ft for $270 or so which seems high to me with it being only 65ft of it. I live in the hot and humid south. I have searched online and not many places advertise their prices on their websites. I really dont want to have to send out a dozen emails for pricing. With that said, do you guys have a suggestion or two on the best places to check with and what should I expect to pay for 3 thick x 48 wide x 100ft long rolls? What about 6 thick rolls?

  2. #2
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    Find out who is the local distributor for the major insulation companies. A full service builder supply can usually also help. You will likely need to special order the product, but it's readily available on the market. That said, the wide material intended for post frame and similar structures will often be R19 which is nominal 6" rather than the 3", but you'll need to ask the supplier what they have available. You are not going to find this stuff at retailers for sure.
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  3. #3
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    When I built my shop and then my son's house it was cheaper to have the local Davenport branch come in and furnish the insulation and installation than I could buy the fiberglass... Was surprised, but happy...

  4. #4
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    Like Ed, I found the local home supply could come and blow insulation for the same or less than I could just buy the insulation. Can you blow the area rather than use batts? I only did the attic and put a reflective skin kit on the doors and the two together made a huge difference.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Aumiller View Post
    When I built my shop and then my son's house it was cheaper to have the local Davenport branch come in and furnish the insulation and installation than I could buy the fiberglass... Was surprised, but happy...
    That's a good point...many pro insulation companies can do the work and provide the material for what the material alone costs to a consumer or at least close enough to justify the slightly higher cost over "scratching the itch"... When I worked for a former father-in-law's insulation company for a few years back in the 1980s, our material cost was notably less than retail or even "contractor discount" at lumber yards because of the sheer volume of material we purchased to install in new homes with our own folks. (who were paid by the square foot)
    --

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

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Charles View Post
    Like Ed, I found the local home supply could come and blow insulation for the same or less than I could just buy the insulation. Can you blow the area rather than use batts? I only did the attic and put a reflective skin kit on the doors and the two together made a huge difference.
    I wish that I could go with blow in but my shop has open ceilings that peak at 20ft and my shop layout is very odd (its not a rectangle) which would make it difficult to install a drop ceiling. I actually priced doing this a while back. That is, doing a drop ceiling with 2x4 ceiling tiles and blowing insulation in on top of them. It was more than the cost of closed cell foam on the ceiling which was $9,000. I can get open cell foam installed for $1.48 per square foot. Part of my shop is 50ft x 100ft and then it goes to 25ft x 75ft or so. So a drop ceiling wont work financially.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Robbinett View Post
    I wish that I could go with blow in but my shop has open ceilings that peak at 20ft and my shop layout is very odd (it’s not a rectangle) which would make it difficult to install a drop ceiling. I actually priced doing this a while back. That is, doing a drop ceiling with 2x4 ceiling tiles and blowing insulation in on top of them. It was more than the cost of closed cell foam on the ceiling which was $9,000. I can get open cell foam installed for $1.48 per square foot. Part of my shop is 50ft x 100ft and then it goes to 25ft x 75ft or so. So a drop ceiling won’t work financially.
    I would be sorely tempted to go the spray foam path with those numbers.

    I spent of number of years as our school district's energy manager and spit out spreadsheets on costs ad nauseam. When looking at a project's cost people often neglect to include the most expensive part, the energy part. For example, our maintenance supervisor needed to purchase a new motor for a pump. He priced it at $2,400. The high efficiency motor was $2,800. Wasn't even close. The high efficiency motor saved us hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs.

    Spray foam has an r-value of about 6.5/inch, fiberglass comes in at about 3.4. Trying to seal any nook or cranny with bats is problematic. Installation errors with batts(compressing it some to squeeze it in spots, leaving a small gap between batts, etc.) reduces the overall r-value.

    In the grand scheme of things, I bet your insulation cost is minor compared to what you spend on energy to cool or heat that space. Reduce your energy cost.

    As far as financing,... sometimes you can't afford NOT to choose the more expensive initial cost solution.
    Last edited by Charlie Velasquez; 10-14-2021 at 11:20 AM. Reason: Spelling
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Velasquez View Post
    Spray foam has an r-value of about 6.5/inch, fiberglass comes in at about 3.4. T
    Minor adjustment...most closed cell spray foam is about R7-7.5 per inch and open cell spray foam is about R3-R3.5 per inch, give or take. In the OP's case for wall insulation, the advantage to open cell vs fiberglass would be better attention to "nooks and crannies" but there's still the same vapor barrier concerns. Closed sell has better insulative qualities but also adds vapor barrier and physical stiffening...something valuable with many buildings including post frame that's metal clad...helps deal with the condensation challenge between conditioned and non-conditioned space that metal brings. I have to say that I'm very much with you on using insulation to help with conditioning costs over time. The insulation investment for install is one time, but properly done, it can dramatically affect ongoing costs to heat/cool the space. Obviously, the payback period varies with the project and there are non-financial considerations including desired comfort consistency.

    Of course, the bottom line does come down to what can be budgeted during the build...
    --

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

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Minor adjustment...most closed cell spray foam is about R7-7.5 per inch and open cell spray foam is about R3-R3.5 per inch, give or take. In the OP's case for wall insulation, the advantage to open cell vs fiberglass would be better attention to "nooks and crannies" but there's still the same vapor barrier concerns. Closed sell has better insulative qualities but also adds vapor barrier and physical stiffening...something valuable with many buildings including post frame that's metal clad...helps deal with the condensation challenge between conditioned and non-conditioned space that metal brings. I have to say that I'm very much with you on using insulation to help with conditioning costs over time. The insulation investment for install is one time, but properly done, it can dramatically affect ongoing costs to heat/cool the space. Obviously, the payback period varies with the project and there are non-financial considerations including desired comfort consistency.

    Of course, the bottom line does come down to what can be budgeted during the build...

    Does open cell foam prevent leaks and such if used on the bottom side of a sometimes leaky metal roof? If not, that would be a deal breaker for me.

    What does open cell and closed cell go for in your area installed? As I stated earlier, I had a guy give me a rough estimate of $9,000 before tax just to do the ceiling. I wonder if I could do it myself? LoL.

    My shop has a 48ft x 25ft section. Then a 25ft x 70ft section and then a 45ft x 30ft section and then a couple of large offices which I am not doing.

  10. #10
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    For what you describe, closed cell is going to be the better choice because it's impervious to water/vapor. Open cell is "just insulation" and does not provide a water/vapor barrier.

    I do not know what the rates for the products are in this area. Self install spray foam is fine for small jobs, but IMNO, not for what you want to do. Cost of material would be sky high because of retail packaging and your time and effort would be enormous. You have a very large space to insulate and your budget has to be commensurate, accordingly. 'Nature of the beast...
    --

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

  11. #11
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    I would not count on closed cell foam being impervious to moisture. I live in Southern Alberta where we have a fairly dry climate and lots of potato storage buildings. The older styled storages are predominately wood framed. These structures all use spray foam on the inside for insulation. Potatoes are kept at set moisture content by Huge radiators with fan driven air movement. These structures last in the range of 15-25 years depending on the owner and how high the moisture is kept. All of them degrade by rotting. I have done extensive repairs on one such storage. Seems the farmers all have this belief that the foam is waterproof while moisture finds it's way through and is held against wood which invariably rots. Some of this problem is probably due to condensation from cold outside temps with warm moist air inside the building. The other alternative used is a steel zipper lock qounset again insulated with spray foam they last slightly longer but end up rusting through from moisture issues as well.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Robbinett View Post
    Does open cell foam prevent leaks and such if used on the bottom side of a sometimes leaky metal roof? If not, that would be a deal breaker for me.

    What does open cell and closed cell go for in your area installed? As I stated earlier, I had a guy give me a rough estimate of $9,000 before tax just to do the ceiling. I wonder if I could do it myself? LoL.

    My shop has a 48ft x 25ft section. Then a 25ft x 70ft section and then a 45ft x 30ft section and then a couple of large offices which I am not doing.
    Closed cell is pretty good stuff, Jim's intel is right. When you spray foam, it expands pretty quickly. When that is sprayed in a wall or roof cavity, the foam "grows" away in all directions that it can. If you spray over a little crack or steel panel corrugation, what sometimes happens is the foam grows across the depression first and blocks itself from filling the voids completely. No big deal from the insulation perspective, but if you were counting on it to seal to the bottoms of a steel roof sheet and plug a leak, it won't do that. If you are a very careful sprayer, you can mitigate this and get a good bond, but there will always be a few little channels that didn't get sealed. I first noticed it during demo on a foamed steel building that was getting an addition.

    Those DIY "Froth Paks" come in a couple sizes, one does about 200 sqft 1" thick, there is also a 650 sgft 1" thick kit. The 650 is about $700 last I looked, it's probably higher now.

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