How to insulate steel pole barn?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jennifer L., Jun 4, 2006.

  1. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Anyone know the best way to go about this? I've got a 44' x 16' pole barn that I built several years ago that I'd like to put rabbits in and not have the water lines freeze in the winter. But I don't have any good idea on how to go about it. Would you frame it up with studs to staple fiberglass bats to, or should I consider styrofoam sheets? I really don't know what I should be doing with this. Any ideas? Thanks!

    Jennifer
     
  2. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    I paid a little extra to have my steel barn insulated when it was built. The insulation was interesting. I came in long rolls, was the width of the metal sheets (36"?), and the sides had adhesive edges. The adhesive edges were covered with a paper strip the you peeled off just before use. Sections from the roll were cut the length of the metal sheets, placed onto the metal sheet, and the paper was removed so that the side flabs would adhere to the metal. The insulation is unfaced and up against the metal whereas towards the inside of the bldg. it is faced with a whit fiber reinforced plastic.

    It has worked very well. I only got R-10, which is sufficient for me in my area.
     

  3. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    The easiest would be to have someone spray foam it, but probably the most expensive to. The R-value would depend on how thick you had them spray it. This would also make everything airtight.
     
  4. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jennifer
    Where are you located. I'm in the process of deciding the same thing. I finally decide on the foil/foam/foil method. its about 200.00 for a 500sq fi roll. There is a lot of controversy around it. The trouble with fiberglass is that the varmints love nesting in it and its expensive. If you use foam it needs to be the blue foam and thats hard to find.. varmints will nest in the popcorn stuff too. The f/f/f is a reflective type of insulation and its easy to put in doesn't provide for varmints home, but I don't know how it will work in a cold climate. Some people argue that its worthless but I like shiny things:) really there is arguments for it to. Here is the link

    http://www.insulation4less.com/
     
  5. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    If you look around, the companies that make exterior doors sell the cutouts from where they cut windows into the doors. They're usually used for in-floor insulation but you should be able to put them in between the posts and screw them in, an average cutout is probably 2'x4'. They run about 40 cents/sq foot here. The bonus is they have light steel on each side of the foam.
     
  6. bay

    bay Member

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    jennifer, hi iam a union insulator by trade in wv, first i would stay away from any type of rolled insulation for your barn, this type of insulation will keep its thermal properties, wet or dry, but the animals,and mice wil love it. also besides the out sides of your barn, you would also have to cover the insulation,on the inside, and would drive up cost. for you i would go with the foam board, but with a twist, remember that trapped air is the best insulator. plank your barn out, on the outside with rough cut lumber or metal. for the inside you will have to buy the metal spikes to hold the insulation on, these normally stick to metal, and are cheap, if you use wood to do the barns outsides with dont panic, buy you some rolled roof flashing metal, you can get it any where. cut into 4inch strips run it anyway you like on the inside, nail it on, or staple it. now you can put your stick on spikes up to hold the foam board, dont waste your money on the thick board, once you have your spikes in place, buy you some at least half inch nuts,like you would put on bolts. place these on all of the spikes before you push the foam board on, it creates a great dead air space, and better insulation than putting ti flat on the wall.
     
  7. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe for a second that a foil product that is roughly a 1/4" thick has a R value of 14.5 this is roughly the equivalent of three inches of extruded polystyrene(blue styrofoam) I'm sure that this or another competitive brand of the same product would make a dramatic difference in the warmth of your barn, but it comes at quite a price. As for the R value, the old saying still applies, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". Unless you can find verifiable testing by an independent labratory, I would probably figure more in the range of R-3 or R-5 (at best). I think you would find that an inch of blue styrofaom will provide a lot more value for your money.
     
  8. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Like i said. its controversial. I have seen studies both for and against it. I think it has to do with the reflective idea behind it instead of dead air space. Its not that expensive at least as I have figured it. Foam IS expensive and finding the blue foam in 10 ft lengths is near impossible. But even if its only a 3-5 thats 3-5 times better than what I have. and it is the easiest to put in an existing barn. Plus there will be an 1-1/2 of air space. I'll be interested to see :)
     
  9. BigBoy

    BigBoy No attitude here...

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  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, everyone. Looks like I've got some studying to do on all of the ideas you've put forward. Bay, I like the idea of the way you can get the foam away from the wall using the nuts. That sounds like an easy way to do it.

    TNHermit, I'm in northern NYS, so it's probably a lot colder than you are in TN. I figure if I'm going to have a larger number of rabbits I'd better have a water system that works, though. Life is too short to spend all day thawing out waterlines!

    Thanks again, everyone.

    Jennifer
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here in MN a little - or a lot - of insulation doesn't matter, you will need heat added too. You aren't as cold as me, but a lot colder than others here.... You need to stop the air leaks more so than insulation; and then you get into moisture issues with livestock. Kind of an involved issue really.

    The builders of sheds will have up to 9 foot wide insulation batts. Nail a furring strip in the top & bottom, roll out the batt, nail on another strip over the first 2 to clamp, and good to go. One option not mentioned yet.

    Spray on will be easiest, best type for livestock/moisture/air infiltration & most $$$$.

    The thin film junk don't sell up here in MN where folks learn better quickly when it gets 20 or 30 below. Period. IMHO.

    --->Paul
     
  12. Gideon

    Gideon Well-Known Member

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    Seems the styrofoam "boards" would be best over treated 3/4 strips to support/space them off the outside. You could use expanding foam to seal any gaps/joints to prevent air infiltration or places for creepy crawlies to hide in. I used the "boards" in the well houses and eliminated the need for heat to prevent freezing-probably saved enough to pay for the insulboard. We hope to incorporate rabbits into the greenhouse since the little chompers give off a certain amount of heat--and fertilizer.
     
  13. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    I have used, successfully, the blue styrofoam type board in my truck!! The foam. adhesive called by the brand name Great Stuff fills in and holds it to the metal of the truck cap-- my foam board actually came "accordianed" in an aproxiately 100 sq foot package. i paid perhaps less than 20 dollars for the "square" of the foamboard--I have twolayers of it on the cap, and have two layers between the bed and the bed liner. it is staying real cool under that cap-- I am more concerned about keeping animals and plants cool as i transport-- winter time-- I have used a campoing tent heater under the cap.
    the way the great Stuff expands-- it could be used to help create the dead air space behind the foam board, as well as filling in any imperfections in the trimming. Once it is cured, it can be cut, and sanded to make for a smooth surface.. my Brothers buddy tells me thatis the same product as the spray on insulation. I just made sure there was no real dirty areas for it to try tostick yoo-- and in less than two hours-- i had an insulated truck cap--I cut the foam board to feit between the cap ribs-- But woith a metal pole barn-- you don't really need to preserve space!!!
     
  14. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Terry, I wouldn't have thought of doing a truck cap, but that's a good idea. I hate going somewhere with an animal on board and having to hurry constantly because of the heat.

    Paul, yes, I kind of wonder about that thin stuff, myself. I do know it's a good heat reflector, but I can't believe it can do that good of a job. It probably has its place. I don't need something really warm for rabbits, just enough to keep the water unfrozen. I've had too many years of carrying water to calves, etc, to want to start doing it with rabbits!

    Jennifer
     
  15. bay

    bay Member

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    how are you watering the rabbits? bowles, water bottles,?do you have power in the barn?
     
  16. whistler

    whistler Well-Known Member

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    Are you raising a couple thousand rabbits here or a dozen or two? If all you are trying to do is keep water for a few rabbits thawed it seems that it would be much, much cheaper with fewer maintainence headaches (e.g. vapor problems) to heat the water than to insulate and heat your whole pole barn.

    A freeze proof hydrant leading to a container with a bird bath heater should be sufficent for a few bunnies.

    Whistler