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Tape for Metal Sheething

pgh_sean | Posted in General Questions on

Hey all,

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

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  1. andy_ | | #1

    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.

  2. Expert Member


    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.

  3. pgh_sean | | #3

    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.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #4


      What's the interior finish going to be? Are there opportunities to use it as an air-barrier?

      1. pgh_sean | | #7

        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.

        1. Expert Member
          MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #10


          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.

    2. andy_ | | #6

      Buy him a nice puffy coat and move on.

  4. walta100 | | #5

    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.


  5. Expert Member
    KOHTA UENO | | #8

    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

    1. GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #9

      Thanks, Kohta.

      Sean Heinle may also want to read this article: "Insulating a Metal Building."

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