How to Fix Falling Insulation in a Metal Building
Let’s be honest, fixing metal building insulation is not the most invigorating task on the planet. With that said, it can be easily manageable in a quick, efficient, and cost-saving way in order to return to more important matters. Keep in mind for every $200 you save per month in energy, and mechanical maintenance equates to $48,000 over 20 years.
Several metal building insulation repair options include:
- Upgrade or Modernize Insulation System
- Add to Existing Insulation System
- Replace Insul Bands
- Glue Insulation Pins & Secure w/ Friction Washers
- Lace Banding Overtop Purlins
Insulation is a key component to metal buildings. They provide multiple benefits ranging from temperature and moisture control to noise managements. Tears or falling insulation create a tremendous energy loss. Long-term savings are bountiful when proper insulation is applied to any steel building. However, insulation is still a necessity in prolonging the quality, integrity and sustainability of your structure.
Safety Tips & Techniques
Safety should always be your primary concern. Your life is more important than the insulation blanket dangling from the ceiling or peeling away from the wall. Take into account the risks associated with any repair and be mindful of the task at hand.
- Never use a ladder
- Wear Appropriate clothing
- Dusk Mask
- Eye Wear
- Long sleeves and pants
- Use Proper Equipment
- Patience and Attention to detail
- Take your time
- Use assistance
- Do not take short cuts
- Do not use cheap glues
- Do not use underperforming or inferior insulation materials
- Use an adequate amount of banding, but don’t skimp
Repairing the insulation within your metal building requires a knowledge of the type of system that was originally installed. There are two primary types of insulation systems – single layer and double layer.
It is common for insulation blankets to fall when a roof leak fills the wick absorbing fiberglass insulation with moister and the blanket of fiberglass comes down due to the extreme weight of water filled material. We have to assume you have addressed the reason for the insulation failure before the correction or repair can be started. If your insulation is falling in several areas and especially if it is a climate controlled environment you may consider an upgrade to a “banded” second layer which will add an additional layer to the existing layer and holding it up together with the new second layer. This has an extremely high benefit of energy saving costs and “cleans up” existing perhaps torn, dusty, or brittle conditions.
The single layer is a much older technique using a single layer of fiberglass faced with a vinyl material (usually polypropylene), which is placed between the inner, secondary purlins and the outer metal panels.
The double layer, and more common system places an unfaced layer of fiberglass between the inner frame and outer panels as well as an additional roll of faced insulation between the steel purlins. This insulation is secured and supported by steel banding fastened to the underside of the purlins. Insulation can be repaired on your own, but some repairs are better left to professionals. If working on the task yourself, refer to the following tips and guidelines:
Fixing Insulation on a Single Layer System
Faulty roofs and leaks are a main cause to falling insulation blankets. When a roof leaks, water fills the wick absorbing fiberglass making it extremely heavy and dense and ultimately tearing away from its support. Once the source of the failing system has been located, you may proceed with how it will be repaired. If the damage is significant or widespread, it may be wise to upgrade to a banded second layer to serve as a “cover up” while leading to improved energy performances. This would add to, instead of replacing the existing system, to help keep cost as low as possible.
Another option, of course, is to start fresh with a more modern system. This method does not have as many benefits however. There is more cost associated with a system replacement as well as more time and labor dedication in addition to a more extensive clean-up process.
Fixing Insulation on a Double Layer System
The double layer insulation system is the best option on the market these days. Even still, with a lack of attention to detail or improper installation techniques, the best product can have issues. However, these potential problems can be avoided at the onset if installed correctly. If there are faults to your double layer insulation system, it can be remedied. First, check to ensure the correct banding system was spaced correctly. They should be spaced at a maximum of 30” apart.
Falling metal building insulation in a metal building causes much heat loss as well as exposes a cold metal roof panel to the warmer interior. Condensation forms on these surfaces and creates moister to the underside of the panel which can rust over time or drip destroying contents in the building.
Small Insulation Repairs
Some insulation repairs will not require an entire system revamping. Instead, specific areas only will need attention. If that is the case, here are a few tips:
- Glue insulation pins to the underside of the steel roof panel then secure with friction washers.
- Clean and sand the steel panel if necessary for adequate adhesion
- 1 pin per square foot
- Lace banding overtop the steel purlins between the existing insulation and metal panel
- Leave the steel banding loose to feed the insulation blanket through the lacing
- Utilize a large ratchet strap to secure the insulation (temporary)
- Extends between bay beams – 20’ or 25’ long
- Attach ratchet to top flange of the of the beam
- Vital in controlling air-flow, condensation build up, and unwanted pests, noise or odors
- IRS tax credits for energy-efficient structures
- Energy preservation
- Lower cost of ownership
- Immediate and long-term return on investment
- Every $100/month saved equates to $24,000 over 20 years
Insulation is essential to a successful and accomplished enterprise. It is a product known to stand the test of time. There are times however that maintenance may be required to prolong the integrity of your steel building. When the time comes, have confidence knowing the task can be completed carefully, quickly and accurately. Whether retro-fitting an existing system or complete replacing one with something new, the manageable insulation repairs are necessary.