Ideas for Interior Pole Barn Insulation

Pole barns can be built economically but offer little protection in regard to insulation.

Fiberglass Batting

A metal pole barn can be insulated to improve its ability to retain heat.A metal pole barn can be insulated to improve its ability to retain heat.
The metal siding commonly used in pole barns is a transmitter of heat. This means if it's hot on the outside, it will soon be hot on the inside. Cold temperatures also rapidly pass through the metal sheeting. This leads to pole barns that can be uncomfortable for livestock and subject equipment stored in the buildings to rapid temperature changes. There are some practical options for insulating a pole barn.

Traditional blown fiberglass insulation can be used in pole barns but it is difficult to install. Fiberglass-batting insulation is designed to fit between the studs, or vertical timbers, in a conventional wall. Adding studs between the poles of the pole barn provides niches to hold the fiberglass insulation, and you can add ceiling joists between the rafters for the same purpose. Add a vapor barrier, or plastic sheeting, to prevent the movement of moisture over the insulation. Moisture is a problem with fiberglass-insulated pole barns and this method is not recommended in high-humidity areas, according to the website Insulation 4 Less. Use the stud and joists for finishing the inside of the pole barn with plywood, paneling or moisture-resistant drywall.

Radiant Barriers

Radiant barrier insulation, also called foil insulation, comes with a backing material for stability. Radiant barriers are stapled to the wood components of the pole barn. The radiant barriers reflect radiant energy and can effectively reduce thermal transfer by as much 50 percent. Radiant barriers are available as 4-foot by 8-foot sheets. The foil side is installed facing toward the walls and ceiling to reduce the effect of summer heat on the pole barn. Mounting the foil side facing toward the interior of the barn increases its ability to retain heat within the barn during the winter.

Spray Foam

Spray foam is an effective insulation, according to the website Pole Barn Plans. The sprayed foam not only covers the metal of the pole barn sheeting but all the wood components within the barn. There are spray-foam insulation kits available in aerosol cans, but since a project the size of a barn would require hundreds, if not thousands, of this type of kit, it is best left to a professional with large-scale equipment.

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.