One of the challenges in metal buildings is how you're going to attach insulation to the inside of the metal framing. We will cover that on this page, but just remember that for this application, the basic goal is to create an “envelope” inside the frame, made from BlueTex™ insulation that is attached securely to the inside of the framing.
The objective is to create a NEW interior air barrier, vapor barrier and thermal barrier with the foil side facing the exterior of the building and utilizing the gap created by the framing as the required airspace the foil side needs in order to act as a radiant barrier and reflect 97% of radiant heat BEFORE it enters the interior of the building. This will basically put the building “in the shade” from the heat, almost like it was instantly under a giant tree.
Additionally, by creating a NEW INTERIOR SURFACE with the BlueTex™ (as opposed to just having the bare metal), we should minimize / eliminate condensation from forming inside the building. As long as this new surface has a temperature that stays above the dew point, condensation will not physically be able to form. Learn more about what causes condensation in a metal building and how to prevent condensation in your metal building.
Because not all buildings are identical, you may have to get creative with your installation when you have an existing building you're trying to retrofit for insulation. If you have a specific question about how to install BlueTex™ in your building, please email us pictures and/or drawings and we will be glad to help you. We do this everyday and have seen just about everything when it comes to installations and applications. Let our experts give you some advice: contact us by email or give us a call at 800-595-8772.
PREP: HOW TO ATTACH TO THE METAL
Before you begin the install, you need to determine how you're going to attach the product to your metal framing. As mentioned above, you may have to get creative if you have special circumstances, but we've got a great system that should work for most of our customers. The video above goes over what we've seen is the best method, and you can read below to get more detail on how to complete an installation.
1) Choose the Best Way To Attach the Insulation
If your building has truss supports, now is the time to decide if you want to go on top of the trusses (blue line below), or behind them (red line below), with the BlueTex™ insulation. Ed recommends the path of the red line, though either approach will work.
We recommend using screws and locking washers to install BlueTex™ to your building. You can find supplies mentioned below on our Resources Page.
Fasteners: Using self-drilling screws
For this method you'll attach the BlueTex™ by using a screw gun/drill (cordless works great) to attach round insulation washers with self-drilling screws into the framing. We supply screws + washers HERE; no pre-drilling is required when using these screws. We recommend ¾" (5/8" will work too) screws with hex-shaped heads (as opposed to Phillips heads). It's super easy if you get a magnetic nut-driver attachment for your drill to help hold and drive the screws into the metal.
The best way to approach this install method is to have a helper and have them pull the BlueTex™ across the framing. You can easily pull 30 plus feet at a time and the BlueTex™ is super durable. Make sure the BlueTex™ is level and attach it with screws on the next metal support. While keeping the BlueTex™ pulled tight (by the helper), continue to attach the product to the framing as you move towards your helper.
Double sided tape can also be used to hold in place while attaching, but the helper/pull tight method is best.
Now that you know which method you're using to attach the product to the metal, let's get started with prepping the building for the installation.
2) Pre-assemble and paint your fasteners
This step is optional, but we do recommend this if you're looking for a more professional look. Pre-assemble the screws and locking washers using a drill and work gloves.
Then use cardboard or foam boards and arrange the screws in rows. Paint them white to match the BlueTex™ insulation and let them dry completely.
3) Prepare for the transitions in the corners, the gables and between the walls & roof
You need to have something in the corners of the building to screw the insulation in to (a "hard corner). We recommend a 2" x 2" piece of wood, or “ripping some 2x4”s (or some scrap wood) and you need enough to go on either side of each corner support, from the ground up to the tops of the walls.
To fasten the wood to the metal framing, we recommend using screws that are at least 2.5" long; Teks™ screws or standard self-drilling metal screws work well, but we recommend the hex-head self-drilling screws.
Pre-drill holes into the wood, then add the screws through the wood and into the metal frame.
To prepare the transition areas from the walls to the roofline, add a 1x2 or 1x4 horizontally across the wall, a couple of inches from the top edge of the wall. It's kind of like crown moulding in that it's up close to the top of the wall, but it will create a hard surface to fasten the BlueTex into as it begins going up onto the roofline.
Sides of the Overhead Door: Use a 2x2 and use an industrial adhesive to glue the wood directly onto the metal skin and let it dry overnight. This will make attaching the BlueTex around the door simple and it will look much nicer than any other method.
4) Mark up the metal frame as a guide before you get started
This is probably the most critical part to having a successful installation. In this example, let's assume you're using the 48" wide material. The first piece is going to go along the ground, right at the bottom of the walls.
Following the perimeter of the inside of the building, use a Sharpie and measure 48" from the floor and mark the metal. Do this on every single frame piece all the way around the building.
Now it's time to do the second run. Since you want at least a 4" overlap, you're going to measure 44" (48" - 4" for overlap = 44") above the first mark (that was made at 48" from the ground) and make a second mark. The second marks will be 92" from the ground. Continue this all around the building, just like before and if needed, continue making additional marks upward in 44” increments up the wall and onto the roof (see video for detailed info) until you reach the center ridge.
For now leave the corner bracing alone and don't remove it, but if you have any light fixtures or conduit, you may want to remove them at this time.
Now that you've done all the prep work, you're ready to get started!
Begin Your Installation
You can go corner to corner and if you do this, I'd recommend doing the side walls first, then the roof, then finish with the end walls and gable ends.
The other option is to do a wrap around method. Depending on the size of your building, you can go all the way down one wall, make a 90 degree turn, continue on, until you go all the way around the 4 walls or terminate at a door or another corner.
STEP 1-A The Walls
START AT THE BOTTOM: Use the floor of the building and the bottom part of the framing as your guide to start the first run. Install BlueTex™ so that the foil side is facing out of the building (away from you) with the tape tab facing DOWN (you actually will NOT use the tape tab on the first run of insulation). The easiest thing to do is remove the paper backing and fold the tap tab over the edge and stick to the back side of the insulation, basically, you are hiding the tape tab.
STEP 1-B The Corners
When you get to the corners you should have 4"-5" left on the end OR enough to continue down the wall to the next corner. At the corner joint, use a flat blade (like a putty knife or drywall blade) and use the flat edge and tip of the blade to push the insulation deep into the corners, allowing just enough room to fasten the screws and washers into the wood piece you installed during your prep. For each 48" wide piece, you should use about 3 screws - one at the bottom, on near the top and one in the middle.
Remember, you can easily cover the screws with our matching tape to make them disappear or you can pre-paint the screws and washers white to match the BlueTex™. Continue with this approach around the entire perimeter of the building until you're done with the first run across all of the bottom of the building.
STEP 2-A The Second Run
Move up to the second run and line up the insulation with that Sharpie mark you made at 92" above the ground, with the tape edge pointing down toward the bottom piece. Overlap the seams 4" to help give a secure backing to press the tape down and insure good adhesion.
Just like before, start in the center and fasten your first screw about 8" from the top of the piece and then fasten your second screw at the bottom edge of this second piece which is right where your overlap area is. From there, follow the same plan - work from the center and work out toward the corners.
Note: if you have corner bracing on the building, you are usually going to reach that by either the second or third piece of insulation.
STEP 2-B Prepping the Corner Bracing
If you have corner bracing and are opting to go behind it (red line in the top illustration on this page), follow these steps.
Unscrews the two screws on the bottom of the brace. DO NOT unscrew the top screws of the brace! Pull the bracing away from the wall about 2" - 4" and do this all the way down the wall. Run your BlueTex™ behind the corner brace up the wall and as far up as you can go. Fasten the BlueTex™ just like before, starting at the center of the wall and working your way out, put in your top screw first, then your second screw on the overlap. For now, just fasten the top and bottom.
When you're done with the 2 fasteners pull the brace back down toward the BlueTex™ and set it so it rests just on top of it. Use the brace as a guide and take your utility knife and cut two slits in the BlueTex™, one on either side of the brace. Then you can push the bracing into those slots, and then you can use the same screws you took out to re-align the brace and attach it back to the frame.
Note: If you're using the 6mm product, the screw holes may not align anymore, so you may have to make new holes to attach screws. Once you drill new holes, you should be able to reuse the same self-drilling screws you took out.
THE ROOFLINE: Ideally, you want to keep a continuous new interior surface and connect the walls to the bottom of the roofline. Usually, you can just keep going without any difficulties, but if this is a challenge, please send us some pictures and we can offer some technical advice to help you.
If you have square tubing connecting your gable end to the roof, be sure to watch the video above for how to attach BlueTex™ in the corners.
Connecting the gable ends to the roofline may also require some insulation tape to get a good airtight seal. Continue up the roofline until both sides meet in the middle. Here you have to decide: are you going to vent the building, or not vent it?
VENTED VS. NON-VENTED
NON-VENTED BUILDINGS: If you are not venting the building, then overlap the sides at the center ridge about 6" - 10" inches and secure with washers or screws/washers. Taping the top seam is optional.
VENTED BUILDINGS: If the building is ventilated, then leave a 3-6” slit/gap at the top of the roof, regardless of whether you have ridge vent or not! If you do not have ridge vents, but you do have other types of vents (usually gable vents or a gable fan), this gap will allow for air to move out of the top of the building via the path of least resistance.
FINISH UP: Finish closing/taping all the seams on the walls and roofline. Use extra tape to “clean up” any exposed seams or loose pieces from cutting.
We realize that retrofitting an existing building can be a challenging project. However, we can confidently say that both the improved comfort and eliminating sweating/condensation is absolutely worth it!
We have thousands of customers who have installed a radiant barrier in their building and they are consistently amazed at what a difference it makes.
We also offer REAL customer support/technical advice with real people. We are NOT here just to SELL you something. We are here to SERVE you!! If you need help planning or installing your project, please contact our experts. It’s best to send a short summary of your project and any questions you have. Then, our experts will call or email you back for any extra details we need to help you choose the best insulation solution for your building.
*This step is optional INTERIOR FINISH: You can leave the interior layer of BlueTex™ exposed and the install will be done. If you want a completely finished look however, you can cover the white surface of the BlueTex™ with just about anything for an interior finish! Depending on your application and what you use the building for, the most common interior finishes are OSB, plywood, tongue and groove or drywall to secure shelving, signage, racks, etc.
If you have any questions about this install process, feel free to contact us at 800-595-8772!