GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Best way to insulate a steel pole building: Moisture and condensation

kyriegle | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

We are going to build a 40×48 steel pole barn.   I am going to frame out about 1/2 of it as a living space while we build our home on the same property.

It will be a permanent living area as we will always keep it for guest and friends family so I do want to build it well.

Is spray foam good enough on the walls to create the vapor/air barrier? (closed cell).

I have had one insulation contractor suggest and quote me for open cell foam and I know it does not act as a vapor barrier.

Should I install a stand alone vapor barrier on the outside prior to installing the metal siding?
Climate zone 6.  Low wind area, surrounded by full growth hardwoods.   Morning sun, afternoon sun, that will mostly be on the south side of building about 4 months of the year.   Hot & humid in the summer 90/95 with 85 ish percent humidity and winters that average 2 feet of snow, frost that carries 12 inches and an average temp of 20F.   We do get into the -20s.

THank you!

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Ky Riegle,
    This question comes up a lot on GBA. You might want to read these earlier Q&A threads:

    "Pole barn insulation?"

    "My project is insulating a 54 x 72 x14 pole barn in southwest Michigan"

    "Building an energy-efficient metal building"

    "Pole building wall insulation"

    "Insulating a pole barn"

    "Insulating a “pole building” / garage"

    "Insulating a pole barn (best order of layers, vapor barriers, etc)"

    You have a lot of challenges. Your three biggest challenges are:

    1. How will you insulate the foundation?

    2. How will you create an air barrier?

    3. How will you limit thermal bridging?

    1. kyriegle | | #2

      THank you. I spent some time searching just not enough i suppose. THanks!

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |