Tag Archives: insulation installation

Be Safe When Fiberglass Insulating Your New Pole Barn

Recently I read a thread in a discussion group where a person posting was not going to use closed cell spray foam insulation in their pole barn due to safety precautions needed when installing. This got me wondering just how safe or unsafe installing fiberglass insulation is, so I started doing research.
Fiberglass insulation, also sometimes known as glass wool, is made of tiny fibers of spun glass. As with any type of glass, threads making up fiberglass can break, leaving sharp edges. Contact with fiberglass fibers can cause miniscule cuts as well torturous itching. Best way to avoids cuts and itches is to wear proper protective gear when working with such insulation.

Wear a hat or hood when working with fiberglass to keep those itchy little fibers from getting into your hair. This is especially important if you are insulating very tall walls or ceilings. Any kind of hat will do as long as it sits firmly on your head and does not impair your vision in any way.

Goggles and a dust mask are crucial safety equipment because those tiny glass fibers can irritate your eyes and lungs. Choose large safety goggles fitting securely all around your eyes, including sides. You do not need a heavy-duty filtration mask when working with fiberglass. A simple dust mask available at any hardware or home improvement store should provide an adequate barrier to keep fiberglass particles from being inhaled.

Wear a disposable coverall to help protect your clothing because once glass fibers become embedded in fabric, it’s almost impossible to get them back out. Wear long sleeves and long pants underneath your coverall for extra protection. It is not necessary to tape coverall wrists and ankles.

Wear gloves when handling fiberglass. Open-weave knit gloves will not provide enough protections from tiny glass fibers, so wear gardening gloves or lightweight work gloves to protect your hands. Whether or not you wear gloves when working with fiberglass, wash your hands thoroughly even if you are only taking a short break. This will help you keep from inadvertently spreading fiberglass fibers to your face, hair or anything else you may touch.

Back in my Lucas Plywood & Lumber days, I shared an office with Al Mercer, who ran their insulation installation department. One trick I learned from one of his old time installers – apply baby powder or cornstarch before placing fiberglass insulation, on any skin apt to be exposed. These will fill skin pores and prevent itching.

Dear Pole Barn Guru: How Do I Fix the Insulation Leaks?

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: Five years ago I bought a house and property that included one of your 48’ x 36’ buildings.  For some reason, the brain-dead owner didn’t have it insulated.  The fool even measured the building dimension to the inside of the corner posts rather than the outside.

Anyway, not knowing any better, I hired a contractor that removed all of the metal siding and roof and sandwiched 2” vinyl faced insulation between the sheet metal and the framing.  Unfortunately, I now think this was an expensive mistake.

Since then I’ve experienced some leakage due to loose screws but the biggest problem after quite cold weather has been leakage that is dripping from the purlins at intervals that seem to be spaced where the screws would be.  Needless to say, this makes the shop uncomfortable and nearly useless.

After reading articles on your web-site, it would seem that the problem is condensation between the insulation and the sheet metal and that I should have had your bubble wrap foil insulation installed between the sheet metal and the insulation I had installed.

I’m wondering if adding the foil insulation between the roof and the insulation I had sandwiched between the sheet metal and purlins will cure the problem or am I just totally screwed and have to start over?

Thank you so much for your help. EXASPERATED IN ELMA

DEAR EXASPERATED: It sounds like whoever put the building up was challenged….mostly by not reading the detailed plans and instructions which came with the building.

The “fix” will involve a lot of labor, but not a huge amount of materials.

Remove the roof and the vinyl faced insulation. Throw away the vinyl faced insulation.

Order enough A1V insulation to do the roof (www.buyreflectiveinsulation.com), 1-1/2” powder coated diaphragm screws to replace all the ones on the roof now, new ridge caps and vented ridge closure strips.

When you go to reroof – cut the first panel in ½ with the cut edge towards the endwall. The other ½ of the first panel will finish the roof at the other end. This will shift all of the screw holes by 4-1/2” so holes which have been elongated by being taken out and put back in will not be reused.

Make sure to use the adhesive tab to fully seal each strip of insulation to the next, as it is installed.

The vented ridge caps will allow warm moist air from inside your building to have a place to escape. If you have a concrete floor in the building, use a good sealant on top of it as well.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How can I get the most room and best use of the loft of a monitor barn…Need standing room and a 16 wide aisle down the center of the building. CAROL IN MANDAN

DEAR CAROL: You must have been thinking about this very hard, as I just this morning wrote an article on lofts and headroom.

For a monitor barn, plan the eave height in the raised center around this – add the height of the tallest door in the lowest level. Add one foot if the door is sliding, two feet for an overhead (this will give room for the door tracks, as well as the floor thickness). Add eight feet for loft headroom (code requires a minimum of 7’6”) and a foot for the roof system and any concrete slab on the lower level.

Example – 12 foot tall sliding door + one foot + eight feet + one foot equals 22 foot for eave height.

Be mindful to allow space for stairs. A hole the width of the stairs and at least 10 feet long is going to needed.