Tape for Metal Sheething
My brother recently built a pole building and is looking to air seal/insulate on a tight budget. My suggestion was to at least tape the seams of the metal sheathing before putting up roll/batt insulation. Any suggestions on tape?
Zone 5, Western PA
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part
Not an expert on pole buildings by any stretch, but...the way I've seen it done for any that are going to be more than unconditioned storage is to put up a WRB between the poles and the siding. I'd tape that if it's still accessible from the inside.
My concern with trying to tape the metal is that there are a few challenges with extreme heat/cold, the metal's movement and expansion, and it would look horrible if you did it on the outside.
There is no way to effectively air-seal your metal siding. As Andy said, the next best (but still not very effective) method is to tape the WRB - which is required by most building codes to be installed under the siding.
Yea, I knew those would be the answers. I appreciate the feedback. Siding is already on and it's not coming off. Unfortunately, my advice as been ignored every step of the way and now I'm being looked at for a cheap-o approach. Does it even make sense to tape the seems of the siding from the inside? Or should that just be skipped completely? I thought it would be better than nothing but maybe not worth the effort (which would be substantial!)
Keep in mind, it's a 25 foot tall building with a garage style door that extends the height. I'm wondering if taping is just a waste of time.
I might just advise him to use roll insulation and move on.
What's the interior finish going to be? Are there opportunities to use it as an air-barrier?
Interesting thought. The interior is going to be finished with more metal. I wonder if I can lay something on the interior as an air barrier.
That's a fairly common strategy. Either poly or some other smart membrane. Reading Martin's much more comprehensive articles on the subject is well worth the time.
Buy him a nice puffy coat and move on.
Sounds like a great place to keep his tractor out of the rain and snow.
My guess if it was possible to make this pole barn into a high performance building it would cost more money than your brother wants to spend.
If he wanted a high performance building he would have built one. Your brother has chosen to build a building at the lowest possible cost per square foot.
If he decides to heat and cool the place 24 / 7 he will pay dearly to do so but it is possible he will only heat or cool a few hours a year and come out ahead.
Generally people make the good choices for themselves given how they plan their lives and we don’t know his plans.
If you haven't seen it already, Martin Holladay did a nice job on this topic.
Insulating a Pole Barn
If you can’t create a tight air barrier, it’s hard to insulate your barn
Sean Heinle may also want to read this article: "Insulating a Metal Building."