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  • Writer's pictureDuncan Farrow

Maximizing Your Shop's Efficiency: The Importance of Insulation

When it comes to building a shop, insulation is one of the most crucial factors to consider. Without proper insulation, your shop will be inefficient to heat and will be cold and drafty in the winter. If you live in a region that experiences hot summers, such as the British Columbia Interior or Okanagan, insulation becomes even more important. Without proper insulation, your shop can become unbearable to work in during the summer months, especially if you plan on using any heat-generating equipment. And while insulation may seem like an unnecessary expense, it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run by reducing your energy bills and prolonging the life of your building.

When it comes to building a shop, insulation is a key consideration that often leaves people with three big questions. First, What's the best type of insulation to use? Second, What R-value should be used for optimal results? And finally, Is it possible to add insulation later on?

Just finished installing some blow-in insulation!

Types of Insulation You Can Use in Your Shop

There are generally two common types of insulation used in post frame or wood frame buildings: batt insulation and spray foam insulation. Batt insulation is the most common type used in post frame buildings. Spray foam insulation is more expensive than batt insulation, but it provides a better R-value rating and helps to strengthen the building structurally.

Rollout insulation is another type, but it's not common in post frame or any type of wood frame buildings. It's mostly used on metal buildings and has the lowest R-value of all.

blow in insulation being installed in an attic
Blow-in insulation

Recommended R-Value

Typically, for a shop, the standard is to use somewhere between R 20 to R 22 insulation in the walls and R 40 to R 60 in the ceiling. They use a higher R-value insulation in the ceiling because of the excessive heat in the attic during the summer months, and you don't want that to be coming through from the attic. In the winter, all your heat rises, so it's best to have the most R-value in the ceiling.

Interior wall liner being added to an insulated building

Insulating Later

Lastly, can you add insulation at a later date? Yes, you can. However, the downside is that you'll have to remove anything stored in the building before insulation can be added. So, if you have a bunch of vehicles, workbenches, and other equipment in your shop, it might be a bit of a hassle to take everything out. If you have the budget for it, it's better to insulate the building right away to avoid emptying it out later. But, if you're looking to save some cash, you can always build the shop first and insulate it later on.

Insulating a small storage building
Insulating a small storage building

Insulation may not be the most exciting aspect of building a shop, but it's certainly one of the most important. By taking the time to research the different types of insulation available, determining the appropriate R-value for your walls and ceiling, and deciding whether to insulate now or later, you can ensure that your shop is comfortable, efficient, and built to last. So don't skimp on insulation – it's a crucial investment in the long-term success of your workspace, and who knows, it might even save you a few bucks on your energy bills.

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