Barndominium has become the latest modern trend for those looking for a sustainable style of living. Apart from being inexpensive, barndominiums are fast to build. However, one thing most new builders struggle with is how to keep their homes energy efficient using the best type of insulation.
The best insulation for a barndominium is closed cell spray foam due to its effectiveness and durability. This insulation has foam adhesion that removes condensation and enhances performance compared to other types of insulations like backed fiberglass insulation or traditional vinyl.
Read on to learn more about why closed cell spray foam is the best insulation, its pros and cons, and if there are other types of insulations that would be suitable for your barndominium.
What Is Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation?
Closed-cell spray polyurethane foam is a type of plastic spray that, when applied, forms a continuous air seal barrier in specific parts of the home, commercial structures, and pole barns. This type of insulation resists heat transfer and provides an effective solution that reduces air infiltration.
The FEMA or Federal Emergency Management Agency has categorized closed cell spray foam insulation as resistant to water damage and floodwater thanks to its ability to eliminate bulk water. When used on the roof, it creates a bond that protects the roof and reduces water seepage through weak areas.
What’s more, the Spray Foam Coalition states that closed cell spray foam insulation can improve a building’s durability and strength. Its rigid nature means it holds up even when hit or bumped.
Why Is Closed Cell Spray Foam the Best Insulation for Your Barndominium?
Heating and Cooling Benefits
Closed-cell spray foam has a unique ability to go filling tiny cracks and crevices, which in turn expands and dries while blocking water and air. What’s more, the material blocks cold and heat.
Foam insulation can reduce your heating and cooling costs, depending on where you live. Although it’s an investment that will cost a lot more compared to other types of insulation, it saves you money in the long run.
Prevent Mildew and Mold Growth
Both open and closed cell foam insulation prevents moisture from seeping into the walls. Nevertheless, closed-cell foam insulation provides a barrier against water as it isn’t permeable to moisture. You won’t have to deal with mold and mildew as less water will get through your walls.
Durable and Sturdy
Closed-cell spray foam insulation is dense and hard, which helps to strengthen the walls of your barndominium. Dealing with heavy snow and strong winds will be a thing of the past as the insulation holds everything like glue.
Moreover, spray foam is durable compared to styrofoam and fiberglass insulation. You’ll notice that styrofoam breaks over the years, while fiberglass will sag with time.
Other Types of Insulations That You Can Use for Barndominiums
If you’re strapped for cash and find spray foam insulation expensive, you can consider the other types of insulation below.
Fiberglass Batt Insulation
Fiberglass is made from plastic reinforced with fine glass fibers. The plastic-like insulation is inexpensive, lightweight, and simple to install. Like spray foam insulation, fiberglass can reduce the transfer of heat and cold by trapping it in, which helps with cost savings.
On the downside, fiberglass doesn’t reinforce the structure like spray foam. Also, it doesn’t stop moisture from getting in, which could lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Although fiberglass slows the transfer of air and cold, it’s still air-permeable, and that means it doesn’t prevent humid and warm air from getting into contact with the barndominium walls. Any contact of fiberglass with the sun can lead to itching, irritation, and rushes.
Blanket and Batt Insulation
Blanket and batt insulation is made up of mineral fibers of processed fiberglass or rock wool. It’s also an inexpensive insulation option but requires extra caution when installing to ensure effectiveness.
You can use the type that has a radiant barrier backing as it works well for metal buildings like barndominiums. This type of insulation has an R-value of R-3 per inch, depending on thickness.
Bubble insulation consists of polyethylene bubbles that work as an extra thermal barrier to stop condensation. A barndominium consists of steel and metal frames, which means it could transfer heat energy in and out easily.
This type of insulation prevents this problem by reflecting radiant heat to keep the temperature differential off your barndominium panels. Some types of insulation have a perm rating of less than 1.0, which means that it can create a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from passing through and lead to condensation.
It also doesn’t promote mold and mildew growth. Bubble insulation remains unaffected by humidity, which is beneficial if you live in some areas with high humidity. Bubble insulation has an R-Value of R-6-R-10 depending on the thickness.
Blow-In or Loose-Fill Insulation
Blow-in or loose-fill insulation is an eco-friendly and inexpensive type of insulation. This type of insulation is resistant to airflow compared to fiberglass. Cellulose is a blown-in place to fill cavities. Its thickness makes it ideal for the prevention of heat loss.
Moreover, cellulose can be installed in existing wall cavities through drywall, plaster, or wall sheathing. You’ll need a professional to install the dense-packed type of insulation. The downside with blown-in insulation is its cost, but it’s able to fill the tiniest holes where other types of insulation may not fit.
Structural Insulated Panel Systems
SIPS commonly referred to as structural insulated panels are becoming more popular with metal structures and buildings. While they were associated with commercial structures, more residential buildings are now using them.
Insulated panel systems consist of thick layers of rigid foam insulation that are bonded between two layers of structural material like metal or plywood. Apart from being used for exterior walls of the house, you can also use them for roofs, walls, and additions to the house.
Steel skinned insulated panel systems provide a tough exterior that is 10 times airtight than ordinary construction. They are also noise-proof, unlike other insulation materials. Furthermore, this insulation is mold/rot resistant. Energy-efficient and durable. Unfortunately, insulated panel systems can be very expensive and wouldn’t be ideal for a barndominium homeowner on a budget.
Comparison of the Different Types of Insulation
Below is how the different types of insulation perform against each other.
|Type||Spray Foam Insulation||Batt and Blanket Insulation||Structural Insulated Panels||Blow-in or Loose-fill insulation|
|Material||polyurethane||Fiberglass, natural fibers, plastic fibers, mineral wool||Foam board or liquid foam insulation core||Fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral rock|
|Area of Application||Open new wall cavities, enclosed existing wall, unfinished attic||Unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings||Unfinished ceilings, walls, floors, and roofs for new construction||Hard-to-reach areas, unfinished attic floors, open wall cavities|
|Installation Method||Can be pressure sprayed or applied using tiny spray containers||Fitted between beams, studs, and joists||Fixed together to form roof and walls||Blown into place using equipment or it could be poured in|
|Benefits||-Inexpensive-Sturdy and durable-Mold and mildew resistant||-Suitable for joist and stud spacing|
|-Superior and uniform insulation|
-Less time to construct
|-Ideal for adding insulation to existing areas and near obstructions|
Closed-cell spray foam is highly recommended for insulating barndominiums. The formulations sprayed onto ceilings, floors, and walls where it expands to fill the space. Once it hardens, it becomes a solid cellular plastic with air-filled cells. It’s ideal for barndominiums as it’s durable, eco-friendly, helps reduce your heating and cooling bills, lowers noise, and prevents the growth of mold and mildew.