Dear Pole Barn Guru: What Type of Insulation Should I Use?

Hansen Buildings new feature for each Monday is “Ask the Guru” where you can submit questions for Mike the Pole Barn Guru to answer on future Monday blogs.

Email the Guru at:

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:  I purchased one of your pole building kit packages late last summer, and have just finished constructing it. I was wondering if you had any recommendations on how I can best insulate it?                COOL IN MARYLAND

DEAR COOL: You and your Building Designer worked very well together to craft a new building for you which is ideally set up to be insulated.

You ordered the following features which will allow for the building to be easily insulated:
The ridge has a continuous vent,
The enclosed overhangs have vented soffits,
The roof trusses are designed to support the weight of ceiling framing, drywall and insulation,
Ceiling joists are in place every 24″ to support drywall,

Reflective radiant barriers are between the roof purlins and the roof steel to prevent condensation issues in the attic,

And your walls are framed with commercial girts every 24″, which creates both an insulation cavity, as well as allowing for a flat finished interior wall surface.

Most heat loss is up (as heat rises), so this is the most important area to tackle. We would recommend hanging 5/8″ drywall from the ceiling joists. You could then blow in as much fiberglass insulation as you desire into the attic space, the cost of insulating has as much to do with the installers having to make a trip and do the work, so paying for what may seem to be a few extra inches of insulation, is a bargain compared to having to add more at a later date.

For the walls, I always recommend BIBS. This is a netting stapled to the wall girts, with insulation blown behind it under high pressure.

For more information on the BIBS system:

As an alternative, you can also use R-19 batt insulation between the girts, which is less expensive because you can install it yourself.  But BIBS will be a far superior product, in my humble opinion.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m renovating a 60′ x 80′ Wicks Pole Barn and one of the things I want to do is put in a metal ceiling and insulate. The “barn” which is really a machine shed was built in the mid 1970’s and the trusses are in good shape, they are of a “A” design, arched up on the underside a few degrees.

Did the manufacturers use the same trusses whether or not the building was going to be finished off with a ceiling and insulation?

I don’t want to have the thing come down around my ears after putting all that time and money into it!                   COLD IN INDIANA

DEAR COLD: Typically, unless specifically ordered otherwise, pole building trusses are NOT designed to support the weight of anything other than their own weight, necessary bracing and minimal weight from wiring and lighting. Whilst it is possible the trusses could have been designed to support weights beyond these, it would not be safe to assume they can.

I’d recommend have a RDP (registered design professional – aka engineer) do a thorough investigation of the trusses and provide a sealed letter to confirm they are indeed adequate for your intentions, or if not, to design an engineered repair to upgrade them.

Yours is a case where an ounce of prevention, is more than worth the pound of cure.

One thought on “Dear Pole Barn Guru: What Type of Insulation Should I Use?

  1. Cool post, great questions and professional intelligent answers! I would definitley get with a professional RDP before getting any work done! Saftey is key, especailly if you have people in the structure!


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