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  1. #1

    Default Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    Hey guys,

    I have been a member here for years and always just have read other posts, but now have a question I need your advise on. I just bought a new house that has an existing 30x60x9 Cleary pole building on the property. It is only a few years old and in great shape. I am working on finishing it to make it my shop. Right now it is a bare building with a dirt floor. Next week I have concrete going in with full insulation under it and tubing for in floor heat. My question is regarding insulation. I have been reading up on it for several weeks on various forums and have come to the conclusion that everyone has a different opinion on how to do it.

    I live in Minnesota where it gets hot in the summer and below zero in the winter. The building will be heated 24/7 via in floor heat in the winter and it will have air conditioning that will be used periodically in the summer. From what I understand spray foam insulation is the best way to go. I got a quote on it for $8500 for 2.5" in the walls and 3" sprayed on the underside of the ceiling. This is more than I am willing to spend so looking at the alternatives. Here is my game plan.

    Frame out between the posts to run R19 5.5 thick" faced (so I can staple into place verticallly) bat insulation in the walls with a vapor barrier towards in inside of the building and sheeted with steel. The inner wall framing will give approximatly 1.5" of clearance between the exterior steel and the insulation. A few questions regarding this. I have heard some people talk about putting tyvak house wrap stapled on the girts and poles to block condensation from coming in contact with the insulation but allowing the interior of the walls to breath. Any thoughts on this?
    Also some people have talked about putting 1.5" pink foam between the girts covering the exterior steel? Is this necessary or a worthwile idea?

    For the ceiling I intend to put a vapor barrier up, then steel and have blown in insulation done on top. This seems like the best way to go, but my question is on venting. The building has no soffits on any side as there is no overhang. The roof has 2 8.5' long ridge vents on it. The gable wall runs up inside the trim so there is some air movement but no vents. My question is will this be enough venting or do I need to add a gable vent on each side, or is there something else I should do?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the lengthy post.

  2. #2
    Gold Member Bigkrank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    I don't know your post spacing but I have two bulidings where 6" thick rolls of fiberglass 7 1/2 feet wide were used. Takes a couple guys to handle to put up. Sure beats studding or patching in 24" wide rolls.

    Around here you can also get loose fiberglass blown on the walls that has glue added and it stays in place, then you cover it how you want.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    You're in a climate where condensation can be a problem, particularly if you're going to air condition. You need to make sure that air infiltration is stopped from moving into the insulation cavity. If they had put up tyvek or tar paper when they did your siding that would be a good barrier. But if it's just bare metal you will be getting a lot of air migrating through. That's one advantage of foam, it creates an air barrier. You could use foam board and foam it along the edges. Downside is foam board is really expensive. You're on the right track with the ceiling putting up a continuous vapor barrier to stop air from moving into the attic.

    I'd put up a solar powered fan on the roof and a few vents on the gable end. They make fans really compact now, the panel is built right on top of the fan shroud. You can also put a few vents on the roof down low since you don't have soffit vents, but in your climate you'll have to protect them or the snow and ice will damage them. You can put an icebreaker above them to make sure they survive. The more ventilation up there the better.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    I have had many pole barns, insulated myself ( I'm Cheap) I got the silver backed 4x8x 1.5" sheets foam board, cut them to fit between the 2x4 slats to make everything flush, then put an additional layer of 1.5" top to bottom between the 6x6 posts, 3" total insulation then put up 1/2" osb board and screwed through everything into the original 2x4 cross slats. Ceiling I put furring strips 16" on center and did same with 4x8 sheets. I've done this in 3 different pole barn shops, 40x80x14'H , 30 x 50 x 14'H , and a garage 24x30x12'H , North east PA ( pocono's) can get very cold in the winter and my propane hanging furnace does a nice job keeping it warm. Summer as you can get hot, in the morning the inside willbe nice and cool and hold the coolness untill you open the doors. I did the whole 30x50 start to finish myself for under $3500. Iwould recomend going with the 1.5" to make the slats flush and second layer 2" , the 1/2 osb will add an "R" factor so total you'll have 4" insulation, no problem even where u are at.
    Last edited by 18445mountainman; 04-18-2012 at 11:52 AM. Reason: adding

  5. #5

    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    Thanks for the reply's. Anyone else have input?

  6. #6
    Platinum Member srs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowerthanu View Post
    Thanks for the reply's. Anyone else have input?
    I have a Morton building and suggest you go to their website to view how they insulate their building. I had them build my building but insulated myself. Here is the insulation that I bought from them. I installed it myself and it fits perfectly between the posts. A couple other pictures (not very good ones) showing the insulation installed. Hope this helps! It certainly makes a difference with the cold. When I get the funds I will have blown in insulation done in the ceiling. Questions feel free to ask. Stanley
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  7. #7
    Platinum Member srs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    NOTE: The blue styrofoam board was used for another project. I just had it leaning against the rolled insulation.
    Stanley----Kubota B3030 HSDC

  8. #8
    Veteran Member KennyG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    I've just finished insulating the walls of a pole barn that's about 30 years old. I was able to find some used polyiso roofing insulation sheets. I layered it into the walls, sprayed some "Great Stuff" into any cracks, then covered it with 4 mil plastic as a vapor barrier and finished with OSB and paneling. I was going to use metal liner panels, but I went with OSB to save money and make it easier to mount things on the walls. I think the walls are about R-30 now at a reasonable cost.

    The used polyiso is available from roofing companies around here periodically. 4x8 sheets, 1.5 or 2 inches thick, usually go for about $5 each.

    I put horizontal nailers between the poles on the inside at about 4 foot spacing. I ran wiring in the walls before I insulated, but if I had to do it again, I would run the wiring in conduit on the surface. I spent way to much time fitting around wiring and boxes.

  9. #9
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    I am just now finishing a 30x60 pole barn with 14' ceiling.

    In preparation for insulation I wrapped the buiding with tyvek prior to putting up the metal. Wind infiltration and also water leaks should be kept at the metal and not enter into the insulation within the wall this way. You can install tyvek after the fact by wrapping it around the inside of the posts and stapling it to the wall girts.

    I plan to frame between the posts and install regular batt FG insulation, cover with plastic and then fire code sheetrock. This is the cheapest way to do it and the framing will give you lots of oopportunity to mount electrical devices, cabinets, shelves, workbenches, etc. and make the wall stronger. The framing is a good thing.

    The attic will be done as you describe, add 24" OC ceiling joists between the trusses and attach something to that. Blown in FG or cell above.

    Spray foam has some benefits but they do not justify the cost if you have other choices. Sometimes spray foam is the only choice.

    Oh and I did the radiant tubes as well, 1800 LF on top of 2" EPS 25 psi foam. Don't let anybody tell you that you must use XPS foam, contact the manufacturer for the facts.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pole Barn Insulation and finishing questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowerthanu View Post
    Hey guys,

    I have been a member here for years and always just have read other posts, but now have a question I need your advise on. I just bought a new house that has an existing 30x60x9 Cleary pole building on the property. It is only a few years old and in great shape. I am working on finishing it to make it my shop. Right now it is a bare building with a dirt floor. Next week I have concrete going in with full insulation under it and tubing for in floor heat. My question is regarding insulation. I have been reading up on it for several weeks on various forums and have come to the conclusion that everyone has a different opinion on how to do it.

    I live in Minnesota where it gets hot in the summer and below zero in the winter. The building will be heated 24/7 via in floor heat in the winter and it will have air conditioning that will be used periodically in the summer. From what I understand spray foam insulation is the best way to go. I got a quote on it for $8500 for 2.5" in the walls and 3" sprayed on the underside of the ceiling. This is more than I am willing to spend so looking at the alternatives. Here is my game plan.

    Frame out between the posts to run R19 5.5 thick" faced (so I can staple into place verticallly) bat insulation in the walls with a vapor barrier towards in inside of the building and sheeted with steel. The inner wall framing will give approximatly 1.5" of clearance between the exterior steel and the insulation. A few questions regarding this. I have heard some people talk about putting tyvak house wrap stapled on the girts and poles to block condensation from coming in contact with the insulation but allowing the interior of the walls to breath. Any thoughts on this?
    Also some people have talked about putting 1.5" pink foam between the girts covering the exterior steel? Is this necessary or a worthwile idea?

    For the ceiling I intend to put a vapor barrier up, then steel and have blown in insulation done on top. This seems like the best way to go, but my question is on venting. The building has no soffits on any side as there is no overhang. The roof has 2 8.5' long ridge vents on it. The gable wall runs up inside the trim so there is some air movement but no vents. My question is will this be enough venting or do I need to add a gable vent on each side, or is there something else I should do?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the lengthy post.
    You do need a vapor barrier between the metal wall and the insulation. You should also seal the bottom of the metal and the concrete contact. Too keep critters out. I would add a power vent that comes on at a set temperature.

    I finished my pole barn with R-19 insulation the Vapor barrier and the power vent and never had a problem. We built living quarters in the barn while the house was being built. We had a second floor bedroom that got a little warm in the summer. The Vent took care of that. The interior is finished with plywood and is now my shop.

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