Tag Archives: temperature control

The Advantages of Spray Foam Insulation in Pole Barns

The Advantages of Spray Foam Insulation in Pole Barns

Spray foam insulation is an all-in-one solution that can effectively regulate temperature, reduce noise, and prevent moisture in your pole barn. Although all types of insulation minimize heat transfer, spray foam is the only material that can also seal against air leaks, potentially resulting in energy savings of up to 20%. Spray foam insulation is a liquid foam that hardens to form an air and vapor barrier made up of numerous tightly-packed air pockets or “cells” that are resistant to heat, sound, and moisture transfer. The foam also expands up to 30-60 times its original volume before it cures, so it can fill air gaps that traditional insulation materials can’t so easily reach. Spray foam insulation can therefore lower your heating and cooling bills and transform your pole barn into a comfortable and functional living space.

Temperature control

Spray foam insulation tends to regulate temperature better than other types of insulation. Closed-cell spray foam, in particular, has an impressive R-value of around 7 per inch (R-value is simply a measurement of how well a material reduces the flow of heat). And that’s a far higher R-value than most. Just take a look at other popular insulation materials in comparison — fiberglass batts provide around R-2.9 to 3.8 of insulation per inch, while stone wool batts provide R-3.3 to 4.2 per inch on average. The reason for closed-cell spray foam’s effectiveness is its unique structure: the interior cells within the foam remain fully closed and densely packed, which makes it harder for heat and air to flow through them. Alternatively, open-cell spray foam is still a fairly good insulator compared to other materials — providing roughly R-3.5 of insulation per inch — although it isn’t as powerful as closed-cell spray foam. As the cells in open-cell spray foam remain open and aren’t completely sealed, it’s a softer and less dense material. It therefore doesn’t regulate temperature quite as well as its closed-cell counterpart. In terms of price, spray foam insulation is a relatively expensive option, with closed-cell spray foam costing around $1-$1.50 per board foot (144 cubic inches) on average, whereas open-cell costs between $.045-$0.65 per board foot. However, the energy savings provided should offset that initial cost in the long-term.

Noise reduction

Spray foam insulation can also effectively reduce the amount of sound that gets in and out of your pole barn. The barrier created by the interior air pockets in both open- and closed-cell spray foam insulation successfully absorbs noise and minimizes sound transmission. Of course, without adequate insulation, the sound of wind, rain, and nearby traffic can sometimes be a problem inside pole barns due to their metal roofs. So, the noise reduction provided by spray foam insulation is an important benefit for most people, particularly if you need your pole barn to be a calm and peaceful living or working environment. Alternatively, if you use your pole barn for noisy activities (such as, music practice, woodwork, or metalwork) effective soundproofing with spray foam insulation is just as important to prevent noise pollution seeping through to the outside.

Moisture prevention

Closed-cell spray foam insulation also forms a strong vapor barrier that can keep moisture and mold out of your pole barn. Surprisingly, air leaks are actually the biggest reason moisture gets into buildings, accounting for “98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities”, the U.S. Department of Energy reveals. That said, it’s still important to prevent the problem of slow moisture diffusion, which is responsible for the remaining 2% of moisture problems. Closed-cell spray foam insulation can help here as it’s an effective standalone vapor retarder that simultaneously works to prevent the flow of moisture, air, and heat. Open-cell spray foam, on the other hand, is generally too light and airy to be able to form a strong vapor barrier. So, if you do opt for open-cell spray foam, you’ll also need to invest in additional vapor barrier coatings to adequately control moisture levels in your pole barn.

Spray foam insulation — and particularly closed-cell spray foam — is a great choice for your pole barn. It’s an all-in-one solution that effectively regulates temperature, reduces noise, and keeps out moisture to ensure your pole barn stays as comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient as possible.

Post-Frame Building Utilities

Post-Frame Building Utilities

Reader MICKEY in LIVINGSTON writes: “How is the wiring and plumbing handled with a construction such as this?”

Utilities for a post-frame building is no different than for any other wood framed structure. During your new post-frame building’s planning phase, you will need to incorporate all necessary considerations for utilities to meet your new structure’s needs. Regardless of use, these may include plumbing and water, electricity, propane and HVAC as required.

Remember your needs may change over time (and often do). Later you may be grateful things like an apparent electrical outlet surplus were incorporated. Additionally, having plumbing fixtures situated at outset can save you money later on.

1. Local Codes and Requirements: During planning phase, you must review your needs with local Planning and Zoning entities. This will give you a better understanding of utilities easily available at your location.

2. Location: Remember, your costs will increase further structure is from closest available public utilitis. If possible, by preplanning you can forego costs of additional trenching or poles to access.

3. Lighting: What is your lighting plan? Will you be creating partitions needing individual lights? Or, are you using overhead lighting to illuminate more expansive, open space?

4. How many extra outlets will you need? Do outlets need different amperages for various tools or appliances?

5. Do you need to plan for an office, storage, tack room, or other temperature-controlled areas? If you choose to accommodate an office or temperature-controlled room, sufficient ducting will be required. Then ensure you plan for heating and air conditioning ductwork, insulation, and electrical outlets for comfort and convenience.

6. Will your HVAC be at ground level or mounted above to provide additional floor space? If above joists must be capable of handling any extra weight from the system.

7. Can you tap into an existing sewer system, or will you need to dig a septic tank? Review to ensure septic tank capacity will be sufficient for your needs as you grow.

8. Will you have a toilet? Remember plumbing for toilets or sinks should come up with an interior wall rather than an exterior wall in freezing climates. If your pipes must come directly from exterior, wrap them in at least 4 inches of insulation with an ample heat source to warm them.

9. Plan for electric meter placement. For aesthetic reasons, you may choose to keep it out of sight with your electrical panel nearby.

Floor Plans, Pressure Treated Posts, and Temperature Control

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses floor plans, pressure treated posts, and temperature control in an insulated pole barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am retiring from the Navy and moving to Knoxville TN. We are looking at land to purchase and home floor plans for our “dream” house. I have read some about pole barns and home use. My real question is can a pole barn be made to look more like a “traditional” farmhouse? These are the types of homes we like. And I have not seen many pole bars that end up looking like this. Is this or close to this possible?


DEAR JOHN: You are moving to one of my favorite areas – my oldest son and his daughter lived in Maryville for many years and we built a post frame garage with an in-law apartment above it in their back yard.
Post frame (pole barn) buildings can be made to look like any type of layout, even your “traditional” farm house. As you get closer to your move, please call and discuss your project with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My pressure treated poles have started to rot at ground level after only five years. The barn is built on clay. Posts are six feet in the ground. I am thinking I should get to cutting the posts above the rot, stitching steel angle to the posts and then pouring a pad underneath. I’m concerned that this will mean a really big pad though, which would obviously cancel out the reason for this method of construction. Any tips or can you point me to a past forum thread please?

Many thanks, PAUL in BRIGHTON

DEAR PAUL: Your pressure treated poles are starting to rot at ground level most likely because they came from a provider who did not sell you material with an adequate level of treatment (UC-4B). Most big box stores and lumberyards sadly do not inventory properly pressure preservative treated timbers (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/).

Building upon clay only contributes to your issues, as it should have been removed prior to construction (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/post-frame-construction-on-clay-soils/).

You should engaged services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can adequately design a concrete footing adequate to support your building against wind and snow loads, while being deep enough to prevent frost heave issues. A simple angle iron will not be enough to handle uplift or overturning, however your engineer might utilize a wet set anchor such as these: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/.

This is not a place where you want to seat of your pants engineer a solution – only to end up with yet another failure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I recently put up a pole barn, 15 inches of blown in insulation in the ceiling, walls are 1.5 foam spray, then R13 bat over that. The building is 54 x 36. An insulated overhead door, walk in door, and 4 2 x 3 windows. I recently put the epoxy garage 20 x floor paint (epoxy ) on the floor. when it’s completely closed up , and you go in it, It’s very cool in normal 80 degree temps outside. it stays cool, for awhile, and nothing to shade the building. After awhile it’s not cool, after the buildings been open awhile. My guess is because no humidity is getting in the pole barn, is why it’s so cool, am I correct, and do you see any problems from what I have said? RON in DANVILLE

DEAR RON: Your building is cool when it has been closed up due to temperature of soil being roughly 55 degrees F. where it cannot be affected by direct sunlight or frost. This same temperature is transmitted through your building’s concrete floor. Once you open your building’s doors, outside and inside air temperatures will try to equalize.