Tag Archives: spray insulation

BIBS or Cellulose Insulation?

BIBS or Cellulose Insulation?

Loyal reader and Hansen Pole Buildings’ client Lonnie from Colorado Springs writes:

I’ve purchased one of your kits as my new residence and am waiting on plans and materials. I’m looking into insulation and as I am planning on dry-walling the interior, I am primarily interested in wall insulation. I know you are partial to BIBS® but wanted to get your opinion on the performance and cost benefits and downfalls of BIBS® vs dense pack or spray cellulose. I know there’s all kinds of debate about which is greener etc. but I’m more interested in performance and cost. Please impart your wisdom ;)”

Having used BIBS® (read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/)

in two of my own buildings, I have been very satisfied with both what I felt was a relatively low cost, as well as with the performance. When I had to do a recent small addition to our post frame home, I used closed cell spray foam. I have to admit I should have gone with my gut instinct, rather than trusting the installer on this one. He recommended four inches in the ceiling and three in the walls. I convinced him to do both an inch thicker and wish I would have held out for more yet as the area which is insulated has a very cold draft in the winter.

Cellulose occupies a particular low end niche in the spectrum of insulation. The thermal resistance of cellulose is comparable to fiberglass but unlike fiberglass, cellulose impedes air flow (and air transported heat loss). When blown into wall cavities, cellulose gets everywhere. It flows around wires, pipes and electrical fixtures, eliminating air pockets and restricting air transported heat loss. Cellulose is very inexpensive, being made from shredded paper and low cost chemicals. Those chemicals (the boric acid, borax or aluminum sulfate) provide superb resistance to mold, pests and fire.

Most of the volume (approximately 80%-85%) in cellulose is recycled newspaper. Cellulose has more recycled material than any other commercially available insulation. Finally, cellulose doesn’t use any greenhouse gases as propellants like spray foam formulations.

The only real downsides are dense pack cellulose insulation weighs several times more than fiberglass or rock wool. This usually isn’t an issue unless insulating at the attic slope (applied directly to the roof). One would need to account for the added insulation weight in calculating roof weight bearing loads. And, dry blown cellulose tends to sag and settle over time, reducing its effectiveness as an insulator within the system, unless an acrylic binder is added.

If I had another building of my own to insulate – I would be investing in BIBS® once again. Ultimately you will need to weigh the costs of each as provided by local installers to determine which product is going to best meet your end goals.

Dear Guru: Does Spray Foam Insulation Need a Vapor 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: Do you need a vapor barrier between steel and spray foam insulation? BUILDING IN BEMIDJI

 DEAR BEMIDJI: Properly installed, spray foam insulation should act as a more than adequate vapor barrier.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: would like a ballpark figure on a pole 100 long 40 wide 1 double door 2 man doors texture 1-11 all walls. JUST JOHN

 DEAR JUST: Hansen Pole Buildings is happy to provide pole building quotes for you, or anyone for this matter in the 48 United States.  On the Hansen Pole Buildings website, is the ability to request a quote, all you need to do is provide the specifics of your building, as in where it will be constructed geographically. Click on the Free Quote button on the left of the home page – and you are there!  All buildings are priced according to your local design criteria. You can fill out as much or as little of it you want, but without your location, any price I give you will be “out of the ballpark”. Ten to fifteen minutes, and you can have an exact price!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When ordering directly from you, do you have references for contractors to assemble in our area?  Thanks. PONDERING IN PUEBLO

DEAR PONDERING: Just to make sure we are on the same page, Hansen Pole Buildings is not a contractor in any sense of the word. We do not construct or build buildings (or portions of buildings) anywhere for anyone. Should you need a builder, we do have a list of builders for nearly everywhere in the country.

This is not an endorsement on our part of any particular builder’s skills or lack thereof. As none of them work directly for us, we can’t guarantee the quality of their work. We do have a “one strike and you’re out” rule. Simply, if we receive even one verifiable and legitimate negative complaint about any particular builder, we will no longer give out their name to our clients. While this is not a fail-safe method, it does afford some degree of protection. It is always a good idea to speak with other customers the builder has done work for in the past, to get an idea of the builder’s professionalism. At any time a contractor can hire a crew member unbeknownst to him (or us) who will be “less than expected”.  Even “good” contractors have “bad” days, so whether you hire one of your own choosing or use one from our list, make sure you do your homework BEFORE you hire them.