Steel Frame home how should you insulate it

Why insulation contractors hate steel frame homes, are they really harder to insulate properly ?

To most Insulation Contractors or home owners a Steel frame homes looks the same as any ordinary home but there are some very real problems that only steel frame homes suffer when it comes to getting a quality insulation installed.

The problem is that while most insulation contractors know how to install insulation, most contractors have no idea how to stop the heat travelling though the steel frame itself. A insulation contractor that does not solve this problem will loose almost 50% of the customers insulation benefit. Any insulation contractor that knows what he is doing will strongly advise customers against putting batts into a steel frame home for this reason.

Insulation batts have no way to stop heat being transferred though the steel as they actually sit beside the steel and let the steel frame that your contractor is standing on ruin your insulation job.

5 Reasons batts don't work for insulation contractors working in a steel frame home.

  1. Steel is a fantastic conductor of heat and if you want a demonstration just put a pot on the electric stove and then put you hand inside as it heats up. You will feel the heat almost immediately coming though the pot (maybe don't do that it could be dangerous). In contrast if you put a timber bread board on the stove it would take ages to have even the smallest heat come though. I guess that is why we don't use timber cooking pots. Unless your insulation contractor covers the tops of the joists with a quality pumped in cellulose insulation that steel frame will ruin the job. The pumped in insulation is the best option because even when some batt installers try to double layer the batts, in a effort to cover the tops the next point stops it working.

  2. Batts leave gaps, well at least most batt installation contractors that I have seen in QLD leave gaps and that happens a lot more wen you are dealing with a steel frame shape that does not have nice square sides. As you can see in the video below the steel has a funny shape that spreads out to be wider on the bottom and smaller on the top. This stops a batt from neatly fitting against the frame of the house. Yes, your insulation contractor should do the job he was paid to like I have in the video below and make sure that their are no gaps but that leads me to my next point.

  3. Being a insulation contractor in Brisbane's summer heat is hard enough, Crouching and squeezing into all kinds or yoga posses while in upto 83 deg Celsius heat. Yep there is a reason in 30 years of doing this I have not been able to keep staff who do quality work while in this heat every day. Anyway in a timber frame home at least you are not standing on a knife edge for 3 hours. It might sound like a small thing to you but if your insulation contractor is not honest or lacks integrity, that job is going to get rushed though. Rushing this type of job is dangerous for your contractor and it will lead to you having a serious reduction in the benefit of the insulation batts.

  4. Batts are Itchy, some more than others but the only batts on the market that are not itchy at all are the Polyester batts. I don't know why more insulation contractors do not use Polyester batts but I think the biggest reason is because they cost more and the take longer to install than the other types of glass batts like EarthWool (Wool by name only, Nothing in them that came from a sheep).

  5. Steel frame homes are inherently more dangerous for your insulation contractor to work in than timber frame homes and another reason for that is because steel conducts Electricity. This should not make any differance but when you take packs of batts into a roof in tough plastic bags, they will need to be cut. Working with a knife in a steel frame home makes it that much more dangerous, there is no good place to cut on like the top of a timber joist. If you happen to hit a electrical lead you might not only kill you but anyone in the roof or the house that is connected to the steel frame.

5 Reasons cellulose is the best insulation for a steel frame home

  1. Cellulose fibre insulation contractors have an advantage over batt insulation contractors when it comes to installing insulation that works with a steel frame home. The main advantage is that because Cellulose fibre is pumped into the roof cavity their is no gaps. Zero gaps means a great result for the customer but it also means the insulation contractor is not in the roof for as long to do the job and so he is less likely to want to rush the job.

  2. Cellulose fibre insulation contractors can easily pump over the existing steel frame insulating the tops of the steel and reducing the amount of steel exposed to the heat in your roof dramatically. I recommend pumping over the steel frame by at least 50mm but the more the better.

  3. Cellulose fibre insulation is a bulk insulation and has the capacity to absorb the heat from the steel that it is sitting on and so that fact helps to take the heat out of the steel and stop it being transmitted into the house below.

  4. No need to cut anything in the roof makes your insulation contractor safer in your roof. The other safety factor is that cellulose fibre installation jobs only need one insulation installer in the roof at any time. That means there is always someone on the ground to get help if the contractor in the roof needs it.

  5. Less time in your roof also means less time standing on that knife edge of a joist and so it means much less chance that your insulation contractor will fall though the roof by slipping off the joist.

Bonus reasons why cellulose fibre insulation is much better are not only related to steel frame homes and so they can be found on my page that compares batts to cellulose insulation.