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Community and Q&A

Need help with insulating a gambrel style shed

WHITESOMER | Posted in General Questions on

I have a 14×36 gambrel barn style shed with vinyl siding that is currently being used for storage that I would like to use part (probably half) as office space. I’m not looking to fancy up the place, I’m just looking for a cost effective way to insulate to stay warm because it’s currently an icebox. It’s 2×4 construction (framing, rafters, joists), OSB sheathing, and has two(2) loft spaces. I have purchased Roxul Comfort batt R15 and 4mil clear construction film for the walls but I am not sure how to approach the open ceiling/roof space. It has a continuous ridge vent but no soffits. I live in Southern MD climate zone 4A. I’d appreciate your suggestions as I am a novice at all of this. Also please include any advice for the walls.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    First of all, you should return the "4 mil construction film" to the store where you bought it. You don't want to include any interior polyethylene in your climate zone.

    The lower and upper slopes of your gambrel roof should be treated like any other cathedral ceiling. If you want to insulate these sloped roof assemblies, you'll need to adhere to one of the recommended insulation methods described in this article: How to Build an Insulated Cathedral Ceiling.

  2. wjrobinson | | #2

    Post some interior pictures, Dana may have some great incites... even I might.

  3. WHITESOMER | | #3

    Thanks for responding so quickly. I’m trying to decipher through the article that Martin recommended. I have attached a few pics. Please disregard the baffles on the ceiling I installed those before realizing that my shed does not have soffits for continuous airflow. Also, in the pic where I have begun to insulate the walls is it okay to leave them as is (no drywall)? I was only planning to drywall the section I would be using for office space. I thought I could use the construction film for the area that wouldn't have drywall.

  4. wjrobinson | | #4

    Angela, sorry to say but IMO there is no way to insulate the space to building code with out going for more expense than you may have budgeted.

    You might doing it your way keep going with batts and cover all with Tyvek. Or use kraft faced insulation and staple it up as that would be an easy install. It's not right but if this space is temporary and has no bathroom or kitchen etc...

    Are you going to insulate the whole space or section off some of it? The floor is going to be cold. How are you heating the space or yourself?

    If others have ideas... all I know is if you can create a very small space, you could heat it with a space heater, still as we all know none of these ideas are thought of as very safe ideas.

    Added thoughts;

    If you frame a separation wall, add a ceiling, add gable end vents, insulate the ceiling, insulate the walls, add some rigid foam to the floor then a layer of sheathing over it.... keep the space small, heat with electric baseboard or..... a small lp vented heat unit on the wall... once you add some kinds of heat it makes sense to put up some drywall for fire protection. Building code issues abound.

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #5

    If you want, you can develop a detail to introduce vents at the bottom of your gambrel roof. If you don't want to do that, you have to build an unvented roof assembly using spray foam insulation.

    Exposed polyethylene is a fire hazard.

  6. WHITESOMER | | #6

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm planning on going with a smaller space to keep it warm and drywall the walls as AJ suggested.

  7. wjrobinson | | #7

    Martin, I'm guessing spray foam is not in the budget or DIY.

    If an easy to add ceiling is added with 2x4s the insulation becomes easy the venting does and the cost stays low, and the heating cost stays low and easy and it is a DIY project. Why in earth would someone spray foam?

    Angela your budget is what controls next what to do.

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