How To Insulate a Metal Garage: A Comprehensive Guide
When most people think of metal buildings, images of drafty tool sheds or other dilapidated temporary structures tend to come to mind. However, with the right insulation materials, any metal or steel building can be effectively transformed into a habitable and comfortable environment, no matter the season.
Adding a layer of insulation to a metal garage can help to protect the building and its contents in several ways that are well worth exploring.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to insulate a metal garage, including a close examination of various insulation options and how they compare to one another.
Why Insulate a Metal Garage?
Metal garage insulation mitigates the risk of condensation forming inside or outside the structure. This is important because moisture can wreak havoc on exposed metal over time and undermine the structural integrity of the building.
Meanwhile, excess moisture that forms inside the garage can lead to mildew and mold growth.
This can be a major problem for sensitive items stored in the structure, such as books, documents, or clothing. Mold spores can aggravate preexisting health conditions, like asthma or allergies, in anyone working in the vicinity.
Insulation for metal buildings also creates a buffer zone between the outdoor temperatures and the indoor environment, minimizing temperature fluctuations during the hottest and coldest months. Once the insulation is installed, you can install heating and air conditioning in the garage to create a space replicating a typical home or office.
Finally, metal garage insulation works as a barrier to prevent issues with noise pollution in and around the structure.
For businesses, this may include the loud sounds of forklifts, employees shouting, and reverberations against the side of the building.
For homeowners with a metal garage, adding insulation will ensure that automotive repairs or other activities don’t upset family members or sensitive neighbors.
How To Insulate a Metal Garage
Although the process of insulating a metal garage will vary widely depending on the materials used, the fundamentals will remain the same.
Essentially, you will need to secure sheets or rolls of insulation to the open spaces between the metal studs throughout the entire structure, including the ceiling.
To do this, many contractors recommend using construction-grade adhesive or double-sided tape.
With spray foam insulation, the material is entirely self-adhesive but should only be installed by trained professionals. It’s important to note that since metal buildings typically are not built with vapor barriers, a thin layer of reflective, spongy material (sometimes called “facing”) is often installed first to help minimize condensation.
Types of Insulation
The metal building insulation you choose to install will vary according to your budget, climate, and planned usage for the structure.
Each insulation type has pros and cons that you’ll want to consider carefully before making a decision. Here are the most popular types of metal insulation options commonly seen today.
Foam Board Insulation
This type of insulation comes in rigid boards typically comprised of polystyrene, a material that looks and feels similar to Styrofoam.
Due to its superior R-value, consistent moisture control, and high thermal performance, foam board insulation remains one of the best options for metal structures.
However, this improved protection against the elements will come at a higher upfront price when compared to other metal building insulation options.
Foam board insulation usually comes in 8-foot sheets up to 2 inches thick.
Fiberglass Blanket Insulation
By far the most commonly used type of insulation, fiberglass blankets come in long, flexible rolls with plastic backing. Along with its fire-resistant properties and reliable moisture resistance, fiberglass blankets are also often manufactured with recycled materials, making this a great option for those concerned about the environment.
Although fiberglass blankets are more affordable than foam board or spray foam insulation, this material is also potentially dangerous if inhaled, and precautions should always be taken during the installation process.
Radiant Barrier Insulation
Radiant barrier insulation is an excellent choice for metal buildings located in very hot climates.
This type of insulation helps reflect radiant heat from the sun away from the structure’s interior. Metal structures can significantly benefit from radiant barrier insulation as intense, consistent exposure to sunlight can lead to considerable heat gain.
Radiant barrier insulation usually comes in large rolls that resemble aluminum foil.
Spray Foam Insulation
Closed-cell spray foam, or spray polyurethane foam, is among the most energy-efficient and effective insulation options available for metal buildings.
However, the higher R-value and improved performance of spray foam can come at quite a considerable price tag compared to other options.
Working with spray foam insulation can also be a complicated, messy affair that is often best left to experienced professionals.
It’s also worth mentioning that, like loose-fill or fiberglass blankets, inhaling the material is always dangerous, so wearing protective gear should always be a priority.
As the name suggests, this type of insulation has a highly reflective surface similar to a radiant barrier but is slightly thicker, with the consistency of thin foam or bubble wrapping.
Light, durable, and moisture resistant, this option serves as excellent garage door insulation and is easy to install with minimal tools.
Best of all, reflective insulation is fairly affordable, and a single roll of the material can cover a considerable amount of space.
Find Your Custom Metal Garage at Spry Steel
At Spry Steel, we provide the highest quality carports, steel garages, and metal storage buildings you can find on the market today. Our metal buildings are built to stand up to the harshest environmental conditions and can be rapidly assembled in as little as a few hours. Our steel buildings also do not require support beams, giving you more space for your tools, toys, and vehicles. When you’re ready to build the customized metal garage of your dreams, contact Spry Steel to get started. We’ll walk you through the process and address any questions or concerns you have along the way.