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Insulating a Pre-Engineered Metal Building

At Peak Building Systems, we understand that insulating your building can be one of the most important things to consider when planning a new building project. Insulating a metal building enhances both comfort and efficiency. By regulating indoor temperatures, insulation ensures a pleasant environment and reduces the workload on heating and cooling systems, leading to energy savings and sustainability. Additionally, insulation controls condensation, minimizing the risk of corrosion and mold. It also contributes to noise reduction, protects structural components by mitigating thermal expansion, and helps maintain consistent humidity levels. Increased property value and overall longevity of the structure further underscore the importance of proper insulation, making it a crucial element in optimizing the performance and value of metal buildings across residential, commercial, and industrial applications. In this blog, we analyze the three main contenders in this area: Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs), Fiberglass Batt Insulation, and Spray Foam Insulation. By examining their distinct attributes and merits, we aim to provide you with valuable insights into optimizing thermal comfort and energy efficiency within your architectural spaces.

 

Insulating a metal pre-engineered metal building has long been a confusing element of construction. Which system is right for me? What costs the most? Which costs the least? We're here to help you navigate these important questions with the following blog. It's important to realize that there are other options on the market. One such options is a great product called R-Seal, but we today we will be looking at the three most popular or familiar options in this space; Insulated Metal Panels, Fiberglass Batt Insulation and Spay Foam Insulation.

Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs): The Synergy of Form and Function


A Lexus Dealership uses Insulated Metal Panels


Our first subject of study is the versatile Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs). Acting as both structural elements and thermal insulators, these panels showcase a sophisticated construction, incorporating exterior and interior layers of metal with a central insulating core. This combination not only ensures structural integrity but also delivers commendable thermal performance, making IMPs an ideal choice for those seeking a harmonious blend of aesthetic appeal and thermal efficiency. At Peak Building Systems, we have partnered with Isocindu to deliver our customers a beautiful, efficient line of panels for considerably less than traditional options. Generally IMP's are king of the industry because of their versatility. However, that versatility and aesthetic comes at a definite price.


A Isocindu Insulated Metal Panel

Pros:

  • Aesthetically Pleasing: IMPs contribute to the visual refinement of structures, seamlessly integrating with architectural designs.

  • Efficiency in Installation: Their swift installation minimizes operational disruptions, facilitating a prompt integration into existing frameworks.

  • Exemplary Energy Efficiency: IMPs stand out for their exceptional capacity to regulate thermal conditions, contributing significantly to energy conservation.

Cons:

  • Initial Investment: The comprehensive structural and insulating capabilities of IMPs come with a steep upfront cost compared to it's alternatives, necessitating careful consideration of long-term benefits.



Fiberglass Batt Insulation: A Time-Honored Approach to Comfort


A diagram showing how fiberglass insulation is installed in a pre-engineered metal building

Transitioning to the enduring charm of Fiberglass Batt Insulation, this method employs batts of fiberglass material to create a comforting layer of insulation. Representing a more traditional approach, fiberglass batts offer practical and cost-effective solutions for those seeking reliable thermal performance. At Peak Building Systems, our customers can rest safe at night knowing that we only supply Silvercote insulation, which is the largest provider of Fiberglass Batt insulation in the country.

Pros:

  • Cost-Effective Elegance: Fiberglass batts provide an economical alternative without compromising on insulation efficacy.

  • DIY-Friendly Installation: In certain cases, fiberglass batts allow for a DIY approach to installation, though caution is advised due to the fibrous nature of the material.

Cons:

  • Oil Canning or Pillowing: If installed incorrectly, or if too much insulation is being installed between the girts or purlin and the sheeting, Batt insulation can cause "pillowing" or "oil canning" which is an outward bulge on the sheeting. Generally you are able to avoid this by utilizing the cavity space to achieve higher R-Values. It also helps greatly working with installers familiar with this process. When designing your building, make sure that your building provider knows what R-Value you are trying to achieve so that the best combination between cavity and compression can be utilized.


A metal building being installed with fiberglass batt insulation


Spray Foam Insulation: Achieving Comprehensive Sealing


Spray Foam insulation is installed in a metal building

Our final focus is on Spray Foam Insulation – a meticulous and expansive solution designed to permeate and seal every conceivable gap. This method, akin to a meticulous dance, unfolds as a comprehensive, adaptable insulator that fills voids, addressing thermal irregularities with precision.

Pros:

  • Hermetic Sealing: Spray foam's expansive nature ensures an impermeable barrier, effectively addressing minute gaps and fissures.

  • Superior Thermal Performance: Exhibiting exceptional thermal resistance, spray foam stands as an exemplar in insulation effectiveness.

Cons:

  • Limited Reparability: Once spray foam is applied, making changes or repairs to the building's infrastructure can be challenging. This limitation can hinder modifications or renovations in the future, making it less flexible compared to other insulation methods.

  • Airtightness Concerns: While spray foam excels in creating an airtight seal, it is crucial to ensure proper ventilation. In some instances, an overly sealed environment can lead to indoor air quality issues, as fresh air exchange may be limited. The other problem that may arise is mold.

  • Moisture Sensitivity: In some cases, spray foam insulation may be sensitive to moisture during the application process. If applied in damp conditions or if the building experiences leaks in the future, the insulation's effectiveness may be compromised, leading to potential issues like mold growth.

  • Environmental Concerns: Some formulations of spray foam insulation may contain chemicals with environmental or health implications. It's essential to carefully consider the environmental impact and choose formulations that align with

  • Monetary Considerations: Despite its efficacy, the initial investment for spray foam insulation may be relatively high, demanding careful consideration of long-term benefits.

  • Potential for Over-Application: If not applied correctly, there is a risk of over-application with spray foam insulation. Excessive foam can lead to bowing or distortion of metal panels, impacting the aesthetic appeal of the building and potentially affecting its structural integrity.




Selecting insulation for pre-engineered metal buildings requires a nuanced understanding of various factors, including aesthetic appeal, structural integration, and financial considerations. Whether one leans towards the sleek versatility and efficiency of IMPs, the enduring ease of fiberglass batts, or the comprehensive sealing offered by spray foam insulation, each option presents unique virtues and considerations.

To get started designing your new building or to speak to one of our experts about your options with insulation, give us a call today at (720) 282-5074 or visit our 3D Designer by clicking the button below!





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