Tag Archives: house wrap

Insulating a Partially Climate Controlled Building

Insulating a Partially Climate Controlled Post Frame Self-Storage Building

Reader KEVIN in HUMBOLDT writes:

“ I’m designing a post frame building for self-storage that will have non climate control units around the perimeter of my building with climate controlled units in the center, accessed via a hallway down the center of the building. The entire building will have a metal ceiling. The walls between the climate controlled area and the non-climatized units will be insulated with fiberglass with a vapor barrier between insulation and wall metal on climatized side. I’ll have fiberglass in the attic space above climatized area with vapor barrier between insulation and ceiling metal. If my math is correct on a 58×174 building, I need 4845 square inches in NFVA (net free ventilation area) exhaust and intake. My soffit and ridge vent combo will provide 6960 NFVA exhaust and intake. I have 2 questions. First, do I still need a thermal break under my roof steel? Second, I’ll have 2×6 purlins on edge, recessed btw trusses so, would it be advantageous to install a radiant barrier or house wrap to the bottom side of my purlins, simply for smooth airflow from my soffit vent to ridge vent? Just wondering if purlins blocking air path up the roof is anything to be concerned with. Thank you.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru replies:

You need some provision for condensation control below roof steel – easiest would be to order roof steel with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied. In Tennessee you should not have a vapor barrier between steel ceiling liner panels and blown in fiberglass attic insulation. Placing a barrier on the underside of roof purlins does not appear to make a noticeable difference in performance of attic ventilation. Although you did not ask, you should have a well-sealed vapor barrier (6mil or greater) and R-10 EPS insulation under slabs (even in non-conditioned areas) to minimize potential for condensation on top of slab.

Engineer Andy Ponders Insulation and Condensation

Engineer Andy Ponders Insulation and Condensation

Loyal (and prolific) blog reader ANDY in OXFORD writes:

“First, THANK YOU for providing so much valuable information in your blog, free of charge. I’m an engineer, quite handy, with construction experience. But everything I know about post frame construction, I learned from you. I’ve been planning for over a year, and I’ve read your first 1700 or so blogs. I’m about to place an order with Catherine Suarez, (she’s been very patient, by the way) for a 30x36x11. 6/12 roof with vented soffits and ridge, gable overhangs, and dripstop on roof steel. Location is north Mississippi, 30’s in winter, 90’s in summer with 60% to 80% humidity any time of year. It will be used as a dedicated woodworking shop, heated just above ambient in winter (except when I’m working there) and cooled only when I’m out there (rarely) in summer. I know you must get tired of insulation/condensation questions because you get so many of them. But it’s not something that’s intuitive to most of us. It’s the thing I’m least confident about. And I HATE rusty cast iron. I plan to install plywood or OSB ceiling with blown insulation above. House wrap between wall steel and girts (I would have never thought of house wrap), and craft-backed insulation between the commercial girts. Oh yes, and a good vapor barrier under the slab. So my question is . . . is this sufficient? What would Mike do??Thanks again for what you do.” 

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
Thank you very much for your kind words, they are greatly appreciated. If I ever have to give a technical presentation on post-frame buildings, can I recruit you for my front row?

Post frame construction appears so simple at first glance, yet is highly technical and (like most things) it is in the details where they either work as expected or fall flat (literally). A set of calculations for even a simple rectangle can easily run over a hundred pages in verifying every member and connection!

Catherine is a dream. I love her clients as they know exactly what they are investing in and it makes for an extremely smooth process for all involved.

For some reason insulation and humidity are crucial areas seemingly left as an afterthought in far too many builds, often when it is too late to make economically sound corrections.

Lafayette County, Mississippi is in Climate Zone 3A (for reference). If you were building for a residence, 2021’s IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) would have R-49 ceilings, R-20 walls and R-10 slab perimeter insulation down two feet.

What would I do?

Even though you are probably not doing radiant in-floor heat, I would lay R-10 EPS insulation sheets on top of a well sealed under slab vapor barrier. If not, when it is 90 degrees F. and 80% humidity, the dew point is 83 degrees F. Your soil temperature could well be less than 70 degrees F., meaning you will have a damp floor from condensation.

For walls, a Weather Resistant Barrier and bookshelf girts are both winners in my book! I have become a proponent of rock/stone/mineral wool unfaced batts as they remain unaffected by moisture (and humidity) with a well-sealed 6mil clear poly vapor barrier inside. You have probably read this article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/03/roxul-insulation/

Ceiling – I do still like blown in fiberglass for value vs. return. I would specify 18 inch energy heel trusses to allow for full thickness of R-49 insulation from wall-to-wall, in conjunction with vented eaves and ridge.

You will want to make certain you order a well insulated and wind-rated overhead door for your woodworking shop. Keep in mind, door manufacturers do tend to stretch reality with their insulation claims https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/02/high-r-value-overhead-doors/.

Insulation Prep, Foundation and Footing Prep, and USDA Programs

Today’s Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about plans to insulate and preparations ahead of insulating, recommendation for framing and footing an apartment to prevent movement, and if the PBG knows whether or not the USDA programs apply to post frame homes.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am currently constructing my Hansen provided pole building, to be used as a shop. I plan to eventually insulate the walls with rolled fiberglass. My question is, are there any preparations I should make during construction? House wrap under my steel siding? Are inside closure normally provided for use between base trim/siding? Thanks, KURT in PORT ORCHARD

DEAR KURT: Thank you for your investment in a new Hansen Pole Building – be sure to send me lots of progress photos during construction (and of course ones when it is all complete).

In your Climate Zone, I would recommend using a Weather Resistant Barrier between wall framing and siding. You can either use Kraft faced fiberglass insulation or unfaced batts with a 6mil clear poly vapor retarder on inside of your insulation.

Inside closures are not a standard feature for wall steel, however they are relatively affordable and your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can reach out to you on Monday with a price on them.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I would like to build a 30x72x18 monitor-style barn with a small apartment w/loft one end. How would you recommend framing and footing the apartment to prevent movement between the “two” buildings? Full foundation? Slab? Other Ideas? GREG in KALISPELL

DEAR GREG: Any possible movement would come from either inadequately compacted or loose soil below column footings, inadequate footing diameter, or frost heave. To prevent frost heave, columns footings should be placed at frost depth or deeper and perimeter of slab should be insulated vertically with rigid insulation. In your climate zone, this would entail a four foot ‘tall’ R-10 insulation board. Install on inside face of pressure preservative treated splash plank, with top of insulation even with top of concrete slab. As an alternative, you can insulate slab perimeter per Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation requirements found here (note, slab edge does not have to be thickened or have a stem wall): https://www.huduser.gov/publications/pdf/fpsfguide.pdf

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello Guru! We were wondering if the USDA Rural Development program allows for the construction of a pole barn home? KIRSTYN in LANSDALE

DEAR KIRSTYN: I am finding nothing precluding a fully engineered post frame home from qualifying. It does appear qualification for these programs is fairly stiff for potential borrowers.

Insulating a Hybrid Building

Insulating a Hybrid Building

Reader COLTON in DAWSON writes:

“Insulation question? I am going with a Worldwide Steel Building. Identical to a Perka. Part of it will be shop and part will be house. It’s a steel web truss with wood purlins and girts. I’m stuck on a lot of guys say just put house wrap on the entire outside or a foil. And batt/roll in the 2’ purlin and girt spacing. And some want to use metal building insulation and roll it on top. I’m not sold on the squashing it in between the tin and possibly causing issues there. I would rather house wrap it and fill in between the purlins and girts with unfaced fiberglass then add a clear vapor barrier inside and then install tin inside the shop and drywall inside the house. Just want your honest opinion since you lived and learned. I enjoy all your helpful information. Thanks!”

My grandson Colton just turned 10 yesterday!

Thank you for your kind words.

You are now faced with what can be a perplexing challenge with a steel framework/wood girts and purlins hybrid building – how to best insulate.

For walls – siding, weather resistant barrier (aka house wrap), unfaced batts, clear poly, interior finish works fine. On your roof, house wrap allows moisture to pass through and be trapped between it and roof steel – possibly causing premature degradation of your roofing. You need a thermal break directly below roof steel. I would recommend an Integral Condensation Control (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/integral-condensation-control-2/). If this is not an available option, then a Reflective Radiant Barrier with well-sealed seams will work (we have it in six foot wide rolls with a tab on one side having an adhesive pull strip). Metal Building Insulation can be an effective condensation control under roof steel (provided seams are sealed), however it is difficult to work with, provides limited actual insulation value and can cause your roof steel to pucker. Code requires ventilation from eave-to-ridge above batt insulation between purlins, and there is just no practical way to do it. Instead, place ceiling joists between bottom chords of steel frames and blow in fiberglass insulation. Vent dead attic space above insulation (ideally at eaves as an intake, ridge as an exhaust).

How Best to Use Metal Building Insulation

How To Best Use Metal Building Insulation

Loyal reader ANDY in SOUTH CAROLINA writes:

“ I read with interest the article “What house wrap is good for” on your website and would like to include house wrap on a pole building I’m currently planning to build in the upstate of South Carolina.  Typically builders in that area simply use 3” polypropylene faced fiberglass insulation between the wall girts and steel siding. My situation is a bit different than most I have seen in that my single story building will be 1500 sq ft total, with 900ft dedicated to garage and shop space, and 600 ft dedicated to a guest apartment. If I were to place house wrap between the girts and steel as I believe you recommend, could the 3 inch faced insulation simply be placed on the inside of the girts for the garage space, and significantly more fiberglass insulation used around the apartment – inside deeper cavities of flush walls?  

Thank you.”

For those of you who need to know, here is article referenced by Andy: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/house-wrap/


Surprisingly there are a lot of builders who “sell” people on how valuable a benefit Metal Building Insulation is. Long time readers may recall my personal adventures with it: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/metal-building-insulation-in-pole-buildings-part-i/

Three inch thick Metal Building Insulation makes for a very poor return on investment as every time it crosses a wall girt it gets compressed pretty well to R-0. If lucky, one might net an R-3 or so out of it. It also tends to cause steel siding to pucker outward between girts. Properly sealed, it does make for a decent condensation control.

My recommendation would be to place a well-sealed WRB (Weather Resistant Barrier) between all wall framing and siding. Use commercial style bookshelf girts to create an insulation cavity https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/how-to-install-bookshelf-girts-for-insulation/. Use unfaced batt insulation with a minimum 6 mil clear visqueen vapor barrier on the inside. For what you would pay for three inch Metal Building Insulation, you can completely fill your insulation cavities.

How Can I Add interior Walls to a Post Frame Building?

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How difficult is it to add interior walls to build rooms inside the pole barn. Are more materials needed to add interior rooms and do the exterior walls need extra support? PATRICIA in McMINNVILLE

DEAR PATRICIA: The beauty of post frame (pole barn) buildings is the great majority of them are designed to be clearspan – there are rarely interior columns to avoid, so non-structural interior walls can be placed anywhere!

Home OfficeThis was a great feature for my lovely bride and I, as we moved walls all around until we came up with the configuration which best met with our needs – after the building shell was completed.

There is a caveat – if the interior of your building is going to have gypsum drywall (aka sheetrock) it is important to have the structure designed to limit the deflection. Most post frame buildings are designed with only the deflection of steel siding in mind, which would cause many drywall joints to crack under wind or seismic events.

If properly designed (better make sure an engineer was involved in those original plans) then no materials should have to be added to the exterior framework in order to add interior walls. You will, of course, have to provide the materials for the interior walls themselves.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can Hansen provide a kit that will work as a picnic shelter with no walls, just the poles and the roof with the triangle gable ends covered with siding? JOE in MISENHEIMER

DEAR JOE: Yes we can provide roof only buildings. In most cases, it is less expensive to cover one or both endwalls to the ground, rather than building just a pavilion style structure. Here is a link to a previous article where I expound upon why: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/04/roof-only-pole-buildings/

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am doing a barn w apartment , the whole building will be conditioned space, I am looking for the best house wrap for my barn and new home?

I am wondering if insulated Tylek or insulated panels are worth it on outside since I’m framing w 2×6 and concrete lap siding? Thanks DANIEL in WOODBINE

DEAR DANIEL: Most Building Permit issuing jurisdictions are going to require a Weather Resistant Barrier underneath siding around a conditioned space, so there is probably not much of a choice. For the most part, concrete lap siding should be installed over a solid sheathing such as OSB (oriented strand board) or plywood to prevent waves in the material and to give the building adequate shear resistance. Here is the link to the first of a three part series of articles I wrote on Weather Resistant Barriers: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/determining-the-most-effective-building-weather-resistant-barrier-part-1/.

Dear Guru: Can I Add Radiant Barrier?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing pole barn. Can a radiant barrier be added to the roof from the inside rather than taking the roof off and reinstalling? Thanks. CONSIDERING IN COUNCIL BLUFFS

DEAR CONSIDERING: Yes a radiant barrier can be installed from the inside. In order to be effective, it is essential to seal it tightly along all edges and seams.

I like products which come with adhesive tabs along one edge, for sealing to the next roll without having to use tape. Check out: www.buyreflectiveinsulation.com

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing pole barn. I want to stop wind from coming in where the corrugated metal meets the trim at the top and bottom of the siding and wainscot. Would closure strips work for this? Or would housewrap be better. Can I add housewrap from the inside? Or do I have to pull the steel, wainscot, and trim off, wrap and reinstall? Thanks. INTERESTING IN IOWA

DEAR INTERESTING: In order to properly place closure strips, the building will now have to be stripped down to pretty much bare wall framing.

This is probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but the best way to solve your issues is to remove all of the siding, wainscot and wall trims and install a high quality house wrap AND install closed cell closure strips at every point possible. For the top of the angled panels on the endwalls, Hansen Pole Buildings has available a strip which expands to one inch square to entirely fill either beneath the tops of the panels, as well as between panels and rake trims. The same expanding closure also works well for beneath tops and bottoms of Outside Corner trims.

You can read more about housewrap here:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/11/house-wrap/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good afternoon, have you built any Fire Stations? if so pictures and cost, Thanks. DECIDING IN DELMAR

DEAR DECIDING: Thank you very much for your interest. As we are not contractors, we have not built fire stations (or any buildings) for anyone, anywhere. We have designed, provided the structural plans, delivered materials, provided assembly instructions and technical support for many. Because we do not do the construction ourselves, we are not onsite when the projects are completed, we have to rely upon our clients to send us photos – it turns out those we have received from our fire station customers are very limited. As to costs, those depend greatly upon the needs of the individual Fire Departments. Every building we provide is custom designed to best fit those needs. You might enjoy reading this article:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/07/fire-stations/

To get the most accurate price quote on a new fire station (or any pole building for that matter), please go to our website and fill out the Request a Quote Form

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/freequote.htm

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