Tag Archives: adding insulation

Insulation/Envelope, Egress Window in Gable, and Ribbed Steel Testing

Today’s Ask the Guru tackles reader questions about how to best insulate/envelope a pole barn shop in AZ, if the Guru has “an engineered work around for gable ends so I could replace the vent with an egress window,” and trying to find out if pole barn ribbed siding is tested under NFPA275 to be used to finish the inside when the walls are spray foamed.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I am currently being approved from my lender to build a 30’x40’x10′ pole barn shop. I will have 12″ eaves with soffit vents. The shop will be climate controlled 365 days a year. I am getting lots of different advice on insulation/building envelope. I wanted to get your opinion. I do not think spray foam will be in my budget. Could I use Tyvek wrap with fiberglass batts in walls and blow in fiberglass in ceiling? Or should I use something like Solarguard under the roof, and Tyvek on the walls. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. I want to get this build right. If you could send me your reply to my email that would be great! Thanks so much. SHAWN in NOBLE

DEAR SHAWN: Noble is in Climate Zone 3A, where I would not typically have recommended spray foam insulation anyhow. Roof – Solarguard is not insulation. Order roof steel with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied (Condenstop or Dripstop are a couple of brand names of I.C.C.). Blow in R-49 fiberglass or granulated mineral wool (best), above ceiling, using raised heel trusses to get full depth of insulation from wall-to-wall. Ventilate eaves and ridge. Walls – Housewrap between steel siding and bookshelf wall girts. Unfaced R-20 (or greater) batts either fiberglass, or better yet mineral wool, with a well-sealed interior vapor barrier. Slab – if not doing radiant in floor heat, use R-10 rigid insulation on inside of pressure treated splash plank, from top of slab down two feet. If using radiant floor heat, then R-10 at slab edge and a minimum of R-5 continuous under slab.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you have an engineered work around for gable ends so I could replace the vent with an egress window? BRUCE in GOLDENDALE

DEAR BRUCE: It is likely it can be done however it may require other structural modifications in order to not compromise shear integrity of your endwall. You should reach out to a competent local Registered Professional Engineer who can do a physical site evaluation and then design a proper structural fix.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m a bldg. inspector and we’re trying to find out if pole barn ribbed siding is tested under NFPA275 to be used to finish the inside when the walls are spray foamed and if so is there a certain gauge that is only approved? Thanks ROBERT in ALBERT LEA

DEAR ROBERT: Ribbed steel siding does meets UL 790 Fire Resistance Class A requirements, however I am not finding any evidence of testing to prove it meets NFPA 275. I did find evidence of IMP (Insulated Metal Panels) with 26 gauge interior facings probably meeting requirements, however it would be up to the individual Code Official to make a judgment as to whether, in their opinion, 26 gauge panels would be adequate. https://www.metalconstruction.org/view/download.php/online-education/education-materials/imp-educational-materials/fire-safety  In my humble opinion, best practice would be to use an intumescent fire proof paint on interior surface of spray foam, prior to installation of interior steel liner panels.





To Retro-fit Sliding Doors, Insulation, or Windows!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing pole barn with a rough opening and I want to retro-fit a sliding door over it to block wind and rain. If I can supply you with the rough opening dimensions, can you quote the parts kit to assemble a metal frame and hangers that I can clad in gray tin metal roofing panels on-site here? I plan to hang it from the rafter tails. SAMUEL in GEORGIA

DEAR SAMUEL: Thank you very much for your interest. Hansen Pole Buildings only supplies sliding door components with the investment in a complete engineered post frame building kit package, due to the challenge of shipping parts only without them being damaged. You should stop at the Pro Desk of your local The Home Depot®, as they should be able to assist you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 40’W X 52’L X 14’H with 2′ of the 14′ containing sky light panels. Also have (2) 12′ x 12′ garage doors and (2) man doors. I would like to know what it would cost to insulate the walls and ceiling. Thanks. KEITH in MORGANTOWN

DEAR KEITH: Depending upon how your building has been constructed and the level of climate control you wish to achieve, there are a plethora of routes to go to insulate. Unless you are willing to lose the use of the eave light panels at the top of the sidewalls, your ability to heat and/or cool is going to be severely compromised.

Probably your best bet is going to be to contact local insulation companies, as they can physically examine your building and make recommendations based upon the construction techniques used, your goals and budget.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a steel pole barn 30×30 with six steel post supported by steel open trust , They are tied to getter with 2×6 every 3 ft , I want to put some windows in removing a 2×6 ? Is how strength is in the 2×6 and do I need to place a header over the window. Thanks CARSON in PORTLAND

DEAR CARSON: Unless the window opening will be across the location of a column, which would entail cutting the column, you will probably not need to have a structural header across the top of it to carry roof loads. As to the framing in of the window itself, you should contact the registered design professional (RDP – architect or engineer) who designed your building to get an engineered design for the window openings you have in mind. Placing too many windows on a wall (especially an endwall) could seriously jeopardize the structural integrity of your entire building and could lead to a catastrophic failure.