Insulation and Ventilation for Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings: Experts Guide 2023!

May 5, 2023

Are you considering building a pre-engineered steel building?

Fortunately, pre-engineered steel buildings offer a variety of benefits, including the standing seam metal roof and low-cost fiberglass insulation.

Now you can create a highly affordable, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient structure that meets your needs.

Insulation and ventilation are two of the most critical factors to consider before starting a building.

In the past, insulation was often an afterthought, but today's building codes require a more thoughtful approach.

With the right insulation system, you can reduce energy consumption and create a comfortable working environment for your employees.

In this guide, we'll discuss the most popular ways to insulate a metal building and how they can transform your jobsite.

So let's dive in and explore the world of insulation and ventilation in pre-engineered steel buildings!

Why Insulating a Pre Engineered Building is Important?

Insulating a pre-engineered steel building offers numerous benefits and is a crucial component in ensuring its longevity and efficiency. Here are some of the main reasons why you should insulate your metal building:

  • Added insulation value: Insulation helps to regulate a building's internal temperature, resulting in lower energy costs and increased energy efficiency.
  • Managed interior climate control: Insulation stabilizes the temperature inside the building, enabling the heating and cooling system to work more effectively and efficiently.
  • Reduced heat loss and heat gain: Insulation reduces the amount of heat that enters or leaves the building, resulting in a more comfortable environment for occupants.
  • Increased sound absorption: Proper insulation can significantly reduce noise levels inside the building, creating a more comfortable and productive work environment.
  • Decreased condensation: Insulation reduces the formation of condensation, which can lead to moisture damage and mold growth.
  • Improved air barrier with various facings: Insulation also improves the building's air barrier by minimizing air leaks, which can result in energy loss and decreased efficiency.

Insulating a metal building promotes comfortable living and saves money in the long run. It stabilizes the temperature and reduces moisture, thermal bridging, and sound pollution.

By providing an extra layer of protection, insulation ensures that your pre-engineered steel building remains durable and efficient for years to come.

Types of Insulation for Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings

When it comes to insulating pre-engineered steel buildings, there are several types of insulation to choose from. Each type of insulation has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to select the one that best suits your building's needs.

Here are some common types of insulation for pre-engineered steel buildings:

Fiberglass Solutions

Fiberglass is the most popular insulation solution for metal building systems. It provides the lowest installed cost per R-value and is available with various facing solutions to give a durable and attractive finish. It is easy to install, eco-friendly, and causes less stress on equipment. However, PPE is required to avoid exposure to carcinogens.

Standard Metal Building Blanket Insulation

Traditional faced fiberglass insulation is installed between the outside face of the girts and the exterior metal wall panel. Standard metal building blanket insulation is easily retrofitted and very user-friendly when installing.

For standard applications, the R-Value ranges from R-7 to R-19. It is easy to install, has low installation costs, and provides an approved air barrier. However, thermal bridging at each girt location reduces the effective R-Value.

Filled (Girt) Cavity Systems

There are two different metal building wall insulation products that will fill the girt wall cavity. In both cases, the installer will first apply thermal break tape to the outside face of the gifts prior to installing the wall panels.

These filled cavity systems can stop air leaks and critters in their tracks, preserving air quality within your metal building.

They have low installation costs and are easy to install but can interrupt the purlins.

Fabric Liner System

After the wall panels are installed, the unfaced insulation is installed between the girts and held up by insulation hangers. When the process is complete and the insulation is installed, a fabric liner system is placed over the girts and the insulation.

This system works well in new and retrofit situations, meets most energy codes, and provides a high-quality vapor/air barrier, with an attractive white finish.

However, the installation process is complex, and it's harder to access purlins for electrical, maintenance, and HVAC services.

Rigid Board Solutions

Polyisocyanurate insulation is a continuous insulation solution for metal building systems. It reduces thermal bridging and has durable facings available, and meets most building codes.

However, it is an expensive solution, special lengths are typically required, and joint conditions need to be addressed, and coordination with building manufacturers is required regarding trims and building lines.

Insulated Metal Panels

This form of metal building wall insulation is not available through IDI Distributors, but it has become increasingly more popular with metal building systems in recent years.

It has an attractive finish on the interior and exterior, is a continuous insulation solution, and is easy to install with the right equipment.

It is a bit expensive, and special equipment is required for installation.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam has become an effective option for metal building wall insulation over the past several years.

However, building owners should check with the building supplier to understand if the spray foam may affect any warranties.

Closed-cell spray foam is typically used, but open-cell can be used in some applications. A fire-rated coating needs to be installed to the spray foam if left exposed.

It is easy to install and provides rigidity to the building (closed cell), but may void building manufacturer warranties and is more expensive than fiberglass.


Building insulation and ventilation play a vital role in ensuring the longevity and energy efficiency of pre-engineered steel buildings.

Proper insulation reduces energy costs, improves interior climate control, absorbs sound, and reduces moisture damage.

There are various types of insulation available and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your building's needs.

With the right insulation system, you can create an affordable, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient structure that meets your needs and provides a comfortable working environment for your employees.


Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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