How to Insulate a Shed – Insulation Types & Materials

different ways to insulate woodshed

Your woodshed is a structure that does not usually contain the same kind of insulation as other structures on your property. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

With a little planning and armed with information, it is possible to insulate your shed and prevent it from feeling sweltering in the summer and icy in the winter.

All you need to do is add insulation to the ceiling and walls of this type of structure that has open-stud construction. Below is some information on how to insulate your shed.

Different Types of Shed Insulation

It is crucial to understand that heat shifts from hot areas to warm ones. It does this in an attempt to equalize the temperature in either of the areas. This means your shed gets cold from the outside in the winter and hot from the outside in the summer.

The differences between the outside and inside temperatures are instrumental in heating and cooling.

The temperature spectrum between a normal household temperature and freezing is often larger than a comfortable indoor temperature and the outside summer temperature.

If you live somewhere, that is either very hot or very cold; you will need to add more insulation to your ceiling and walls.

1- Blown-In/Loose Fill

This type of insulation is made up of fiberglass, cellulose, or stone wool. It is usually dumped or blown into finished wall cavities, hard-to-reach places, and attic floors.

This type of insulation usually settles over time and can create some cold spots when installing it vertically.

The R-value usually increases with enough compression. When installing, you should wear eye protection and a mask.

2- Blankets/Batts and Rolls

These are rolls or rectangles of insulation made from stone wool, fiberglass, natural fibers, or plastic that nestle in between the usual studs and joist spacings.

Batts and rolls are particularly good for floors, unfinished walls, and ceilings.

The R-value will usually decrease if you compress it. Wear eye protection and a mask when you work with these products.

3- Rigid Board or Foam

This is a pre-formed type of insulation that is made from polymers and tends to have better insulation capability per thickness than a lot of other materials.

These are particularly well suited for unfinished areas inside and outside, as well as floors and ceilings. Its R-value will increase with thickness.

4- Reflective Shed Insulation

This type of insulation is made of various materials and has at least one surface made with reflective foil.

The reflective surface helps stop heat from moving and is good for limiting downward heat loss. It is ideal for unfinished construction and has an R-value that varies with different applications.

materials used to insulate wooden shed

Different Materials Used in Shed Insulation

First and foremost, no matter what type or material you choose, here are a few things you need to do before installing shed insulation:

  1. Check for any permits that might be required.
  2. Plan out your electrical areas to ensure the number of circuits is correct.
  3. Ensure you have a proper ventilation system to control moisture and improve air quality.
  4. If you are planning for a toilet area, be sure you have the necessary permit and a septic hook-up.
  5. Ensure the air channels are unblocked to allow air to move through the structure.

Once you understand this, here are a few different materials you can use for insulting your shed…

1- Fiberglass

This is perhaps the least expensive and most commonly used insulation material. Fiberglass is a  loosely spun plastic material that is reinforced with small glass fibers.

Some manufacturers use between 30 and 70 percent recycled material for this.

The batts are designed to fit between 2×4 or 2×6 studs with 16-inch or 24-inch centers. If it is compressed or wet, the R-value is reduced.

2- Mineral Wool

Mineral wool is a material that is similar to fiberglass; only it is made using slag from blast furnaces or basaltic rock.

Made from recycled materials, mineral wool is fire-resistant and maintains its R-value when it is wet.

The batts are made to fit 2×6 or 2×4 studs with 16-inch or 24-inch centers.

3- Cellulose

This is a recycled paper product that is used to spray into new or existing wall cavities and attic floors.

It doesn’t need a moisture barrier, and the density of the material is what reduces heat transfer and airflow.

Ammonium sulfate or borate is usually added to kill insects and decrease the flammable nature of the material. It is not meant to settle or generate cold areas in the walls.

4- Polyurethane Foam

This is a lightweight foam that is made using petroleum isocyanate and polyol resin to react and bleed. It tends to expand 30 to 60 times more than its original volume.

This spray material is ideal for frame walls and concrete as well as hard-to-reach or strangely shaped areas.

It comes available as a PU-rigid foam in board format that can then be used as interior insulation.

5- Polystyrene Foam Board

Thermoplastic foam that is waterproof and soundproof is a popular insulation option. It comes in XEPS and EPS formats, with XEPS being better known as Styrofoam.

The EPS format is made of beads that expand in a mold, while XEPS is made during a process that uses continuous extraction to create a closed-cell product.

6- Reflective Insulation Systems and Radiant Barriers

Reflective and Radiant barriers come in different formats, both single-sided and double-sided.

These products are made with a layer of reflective plastic or aluminum foil. And instead of slowing the transfer of heat like other types of insulation, they reflect the heat from the sun back toward the walls or roof and out of the house to keep the temperature indoors low.

These are most effective in hot areas of the world and are often pre-applied to foam boards, cardboard or plastic panels, batt insulation, bubble sheets, and rolls of plastic sheets. Also, because they do not need a vapor barrier, they are commonly applied to exterior walls, in an attic, as curtains near windows or barrier wrap for outside walls.

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