How to Insulate a Pole Barn Ceiling

Insulating a pole barn's ceiling reduces heat transfer between the roofing and the barn's interior.
When combined with a vapor barrier and a properly ventilated air space, pole barn insulation stops condensation from forming on the ceiling. Condensation forms when warm, humid air collides with a cold pole barn roof. The ventilated air space above the insulation lets the roof breathe, and the vapor barrier limits humidity transfer between the insulated air space and the roof. Using foam board insulation panels as ceiling insulation creates a ventilation channel between the panel and the roof.

Step 1

Secure a vapor barrier to the bottom of the pole barn's ceiling joists with insulation staples, using a staple gun to place a staple every 6 inches along each ceiling joist. Work from the lowest part of the pole barn toward the ceiling's peak. Cut the vapor barrier to size with scissors. The vapor barrier looks like a foil-backed wax paper.

Step 2

Hold a 1-inch-thick foam board insulation panel against the bottom of the pole barn's ceiling joists. Secure the foam panel to the bottom of the joists with 1-1/2-inch cap nails, using a hammer to drive a cap nail every 8 to 12 inches along each ceiling joist.

Step 3

Secure each piece of foam insulation board to the bottom of the ceiling joists, using the same method used to hold the first piece in place. Cut the last piece in each row to size with a drywall saw.

Step 4

Fill the gaps between the foam panels and the pole barn's walls with an expanding foam. The foam prevents condensation-causing drafts between the walls and the ceiling.

Step 5

Seal the seams between each foam insulation panel with mastic, using a disposable paintbrush to push the mastic into the seam. Mastic, a paste-like sealant, creates an airtight insulation joint.

Step 6

Cover each of the cap nails holding the foam insulation to the pole barn's ceiling with the mastic, using the paintbrush to spread the mastic.

Things You Will Need

  • Vapor barrier
  • Insulation staples
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • 1-inch-thick foam board insulation panels
  • 1-1/2-inch cap nails
  • Hammer
  • Drywall saw
  • Expanding foam
  • Mastic
  • Disposable paintbrush

About the Author

Based out of Central Florida, Robert Sylvus has been writing how-to and outdoor sports articles for various online publications since 2008. Sylvus has been a home improvement contractor since 1992. He is a certified HVAC universal technician.