What is the Cheapest Way to Insulate a Metal Building?

metal building insulation

According to the research, the average humidity ratio in the US is 60% – 70%. So, no matter in which state of the US your metal building is located, you need insulation. Because moisture can become a reason for building rust and corrosion.

Whether you use your metal building as a manufacturing facility or a medical unit, you must install insulation to prolong your building life. Did you decide that you have to insulate your metal building? Then the question is what is the best and cost-effective way to insulate the metal building? But before going on to the answer, let’s first understand why insulation is crucial.

Why Insulate A Metal Building?

Metal material is a good conductor of heat, which is good, but sometimes it can cause issues if your building is not insulated. For instance, metal cannot store heat in winter, causing cold inside buildings in winter, whereas in summer, metal roofs and walls transfer heat inside the building, causing high indoor temperatures.

Insulation significantly helps in regulating the temperature inside the building and also prevents corrosion caused by moisture. Apart from this, there are various advantages of metal insulation that we are going to discuss below.

Benefits Of Insulating a Metal Building

Installing an insulation layer onto your metal building has many advantages for your metal building that we are going to discuss below.

  • Energy Efficiency

Are you worried due to the high electricity bills of your metal building? And even after paying high bills, you cannot get the desirable temperature inside your building structure. Then insulation is the solution to your problem.

Insulation can help you save your costs by providing high-level energy efficiency inside your building. Insulated walls help you to obtain a comfortable indoor environment and prevent outdoor temperatures from being affected by the building atmosphere. So, you don’t need to spend large amounts of money on HVAC systems.

  • Increase the Value of Your Metal Building

Insulation of the metal building not only increases the energy efficiency but also plays a key role in increasing the value of your metal building. It is a long-term investment as when you install insulation in your building it will eventually increase the value for potential buyers.

  • Regulate the Temperature

If your metal building is your workplace where a lot of people work together then insulation is essential to regulate the temperature inside your building. Same as if you use your metal building for storage purposes then temperature regulation is important to protect assets inside it. Without insulation, your metal building can serve as a freezer in winter and an oven in summer.

Additionally, insufficient insulation can lead to temperature fluctuation, and you have to spend more to maintain the temperature of your metal building.

  • Improve Comfort

No matter if people are living or working in your metal building, creating a comfortable environment is essential. Insulation plays a key role in improving the comfort of your building. A cozy environment in winter and refreshing in summer is all that everyone wants. This is attainable easily with the metal insulation.

  • Minimize Noise

Installing insulation into a metal building significantly reduces the noise. Metal insulation not only keeps the interior sound inside, but also prevents the exterior noise from coming in. Installing good insulation can create a better work area, leisure, and comfortable atmosphere.

Factors to Consider Before Metal Building Insulation

Insulation of a metal building is complicated and demands high expertise for perfect installation. One must consider the following factors when choosing insulation for metal buildings.

  • Planning

Many people rush to start the insulation process just after knowing its benefits. But, there is always a need to pre-plan things. It is essential to execute the project efficiently without fear of mistakes and failure.

Questions to Answer When Planning a Metal Building Insulation

  1. What is the regional climate?
  2. How much space is to be insulated?
  3. How much material do you require for insulation?
  4. What will be your project cost?
  5. What should the R-value of insulation be?
  • Insulation Material

The material you choose for insulating a metal building matters a lot. The wrong insulation material choice can let you experience the disadvantages of insulation rather than the advantages.

You have different options of materials to insulate a metal building in the US. These include:

  1. Spray foam
  2. Insulated panels
  3. Glass wool
  4. Rigid board insulation
  5. Fiberglass
  6. Rigid board
  7. Reflective foil
  8. Metal roof insulation
  9. Blanket insulation
  10. Loose fill
  11. Textile
  12. Cellulose insulation
  13. Mineral wool

Each material differs from the other and has contrasting features. Therefore, you must do your complete research before selecting the materials for building insulation. Look for the R-value and other features to align the choice with your desires.

  • Air Sealing

Proper air sealing is essential when tightening the insulation. It is mandatory to ensure the 100% efficient performance of insulation.

A little gap or slit in insulation can significantly reduce its performance, leading to money waste. Therefore, you must seal all gaps with reliable solutions to enjoy the A-Z benefits of insulated metal building.

You can use seal nuts and retention clips to ensure leakproof insulation. Use them on the double tap to insulate the building properly.

  • Building Codes & Regulations

Following building codes and regulations is another factor to consider when insulating a building. It is essential to ensure 100% safety and compliance.

Ignoring this factor can lead to issues during the inspection and cause hurdles during the insulation process. You might know all the rules and regulations. However, implementation is mandatory for flawless project execution.

  • Precise & Accurate Measurements

Take care of precision and accuracy when taking measurements and noting down details. It is essential for complete and proper insulation. Your insulation should be a snug fit to your walls or any other surface.

So, invest your time in exact measurements. The factor decides the efficiency of your building insulation layer. Double-check the values and measurements, and you can also get assistance from professional installers.

  • Safety Measures

Undoubtedly, playing with nails, clips, scissors, knives, and cutters during insulation is not a left-hand game. Therefore, you can experience many hazards during insulation if you ignore safety measures.

So, make sure you follow all the safety rules to eliminate the chances of injuries and other adverse circumstances. Make sure your working environment is completely safe to work in.

Tools You Must Use When Insulating a Metal Building

  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Hat
  • Goggles
  • Mask
  • Ventilation Needs

Make your metal building breathe easily. Ensure proper ventilation to eliminate moisture and air quality issues. Never block vents when insulating a targeted metal building. It is essential to keep the inside environment comfortable.

  • Budget

Never ignore this corner of the insulation of metal building projects. Determining the insulation budget is crucial to controlling expenses and completing the insulation timely. It is also essential to ensure the successful execution of the insulation project.

You can get assistance from estimators and ask them for their precise and accurate insulation estimating services to calculate the project expense.

According to research, the insulation of a 40’x60’ metal building can range between $2,400 and $6,600. Calculate yours according to your building dimensions.

Installation Technique

Above all, the installation technique you choose for your insulation project matters a lot. There are many options available in this concept (we are going to discuss the cheapest ones in the next section of this blog).

Get suggestions from experts and go with the most reliable option on your first attempt. It will save you time and money.

Different Ways Of Metal Building Insulation

So, you have read about the benefits of metal building and the factors that you should consider while installing insulation. Now, identify the cheapest way of insulating a metal building.

  • ISO Rigid Foam Insulation

ISO rigid foam or rigid board is the most used insulation method. These rigid boards reduce the thermal bridging that becomes a reason for heat transfer in a metal building. Thermal bridging is the prime source of heat transfer in a metal building so when this factor negates that eventually, your energy cost is reduced.

Insulation of foam boards is easy to install and meets most building codes and compliances. To get a better understanding, have a look at the pros and cons of ISO rigid foam insulation.

Pros of Rigid Foam Cons of Rigid Foam
  • Prevents air leaks
  • Controls moisture
  • Reduces Noise
  • Not a cost-effective solution
  • Difficult to install
  • Not fire resistance
  • Wood Or Mineral Fiber Insulation

The next is wood or mineral fiber insulation. Wood fiber insulation offers excellent performance due to its good conductivity. This insulation material offers a decrement delay which is the time that a material takes when the energy of the sun passes through. This decrement delay depends on the thickness of the board.

On the other hand, mineral wool insulation is the popular choice because of its good thermal insulation capability, which is due to its hard-bearing properties.

Pros of Wood and Fiber Mineral Insulation Cons of Wood and Fiber Mineral Insulation
  • Best choice for fire-resistant
  • Good for acoustic insulation and noise absorption
  • Easy to install
  • Does not seem readily available
  • Expensive
  • Not eco-friendly
  • Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Closed-cell spray foam insulation is the best replacement for traditional insulation methods. This type of insulation adheres to the surface and offers a seamless, airtight covering to the metal building. This type of insulation is applied directly onto a metal surface as a liquid and when hardened it gives a flawless insulation layer.

Pros of Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation Cons of Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation
  • Lower the utility expenses
  • Less susceptible to airflow
  • Does not rust or damage with time
  • Installation requires expertise
  • Cost of installation is higher than the other material
  • Lessen its insulation capabilities over time
  • Fiberglass Batts Insulation

This type of insulation is sometimes called blanket insulation due to the fiberglass usually comes into rolls or blanket form. This type of insulation is easy to install and does not require professional experience. This insulation type is popular due to its cost-effectiveness and easy installation. Explore below more about it.

Pros of Fiberglass Batts Insulation Cons of Fiberglass Batts Insulation
  • Easy to Install
  • Cheaper than other Insulation
  • Does not shrink
  • Requires additional vapor barrier
  • R-value decreases over time
  • Precautions need to be followed while installing this insulation
  • Brown-In Cellulose Insulation

This type of insulation is eco-friendly as the cellulose is made of paper products. In this type of insulation, cellulose material is blown onto the space where insulation is required to slow down the transmission of heat and moisture.

Cellulose insulation comes from any type of cellular plant but commercial cellulose insulation is specifically derived from paper or wood.

Pros of Brown-In Cellulose Insulation Cons of Brown-In Cellous Insulation
  • Easy to Install
  • Eco-friendly
  • Increases heat resistance
  • Requires additional vapor barrier
  • Moisture-magnet
  • Prone to settling and compression
  • Loose-fill Insulation

There are two materials used in loose-fill insulation cellulose and fiberglass. Cellulose insulation is discussed above. Loose-fill fiberglass insulation is a popular choice nowadays as it provides a beautiful look at reasonable costs.

This type of insulation is made up of zillions of tiny glass particles. Each particle has jagged ends that help them to be firmly locked with each other when they fall on the surface.

Pros of Loose-fill Insulation Cons of Loose-fill Insulation
  • Lower cost than the cellulose insulation
  • Can reduce energy bills
  • Fits into tight spaces
  • Not a pest preventive
  • Have to be installed by experts
  • Susceptible to absorption of water
  • Reflective Foil Insulation

This type of insulation is installed in the interior of metal buildings and is made up of reflective material that reflects the heat away from the building. This type of insulation reflects 95% of heat and helps to prevent it to the other side of its panel.

This insulation type prevents heat from entering the building in summer and preserves heat inside the metal building in winter.

Pros of Reflective Foil Insulation Cons of Reflective Foil Insulation
  • Durable and sustainable
  • Does not retain heat
  • Resistance to moisture
  • Expensive insulation
  • Need other material to be mixed in colder areas
  • Needs cleaning time to time

What is the Cheapest Way of Insulation?

We discussed different types of insulation for a metal building in the above section. Every type of insulation has its pros and cons. The cheapest way to insulate a metal building depends on various factors including the size of the building, the location of the metal building, the intended use of the building, and more.

However, we advise you to install glass fiber insulation if you want effective insulation in your limited budget. Moreover, it is essential to consult with any insulation installing company to get the most cost-effective option for insulation of your metal building.

R-Value, U-Value, and K-Value

There are three terms commonly used in the insulation world.

  • R-Value

The R-value or the thermal resistance of insulation decides how efficient the material is in resisting heat transmission. Insulation increases as the R-value moves up. It is measured in square meters per degree Celsius per watt (m²K/W) unit. You can determine the R-value of any insulation by checking its thickness. You can increase it by adding layers to isolate and meet your needs.

  • U-Value

Unlike the K-value, the U-value shows how much heat can be transmitted from the given area of insulation material. In other words, it determines the thermal transmittance of the materials under consideration.

Furthermore, insulation increases with a reduction in U-value. Also, it is calculated in watts per square meter per degree Celsius (W/m²K) unit.

Above all, thickness and the density of the material can significantly affect the U-value of the insulation material. Air gaps and thermal bridges also affect the U-value.

  • K-Value

How much an insulation material can conduct heat is determined by the K-value (thermal conductivity or lambda value) of the material. It is expressed in watts per meter per degree Celsius (W/m°C) unit.

Unlike the first two types, it only depends on the material types and not the thickness of the material or the number of layers.

You can determine this value using the density and the type of insulation material used in a building.

See some of the most common insulation materials with their K-values or thermal conductivities below.

Materials Thermal Conductivity
Mineral wool 0.03 – 0.04 W/mK
Expanded polystyrene 0.03 – 0.04 W/mK
Extruded polystyrene 0.02 – 0.03 W/mK
Cellulose fiber 0.04 – 0.05 W/mK
Polyurethane foam 0.02 – 0.03 W/mK

Final Words

Do you want to save money on your electricity bills? Do you want to insulate your metal building for robustness? Is noise a big concern for you? Whatever the reason, installing insulation in your metal building is the sole solution.

There are many types of insulation available. You can choose anyone from them according to your requirements. However, if you’re looking for the cheapest insulation way then we recommend fiberglass insulation which is not only cheapest but also sustainable and eco-friendly.



Fiberglass insulation is the cheapest and most effective insulation method. This type of insulation is not only cost-effective but also durable, moisture-resistant, easy to install, and does not retain heat.

Cellulose material has the highest R-value but this material is susceptible to water absorptions and needs high-level expertise to install.

Yes, DIY insulation can save 30% of installation costs compared to professionals, but this DIY insulation requires expertise along with a high level of safety measures to be followed.

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