Menu Close

What Does Insulation R-Value Mean?

How to Insulate a Metal Building for Greatest Efficiency

Graphic indicating insulation R-value.Before buying an insulation system for your metal building, you need to understand insulation R-value.

At its simplest, insulation R-value indicates the amount of heat flow through an insulation product.

The higher the R-value number, the greater the product’s resistance to heat transference.

The more effectively the insulation works, the greater your energy savings.

Typically, insulation ranges from two-inch-thick R-7 to nine-and-a-quarter-inch-thick R-30.

However, just buying thicker insulation and stuffing it into a wall does not increase energy efficiency.  The more air pockets in insulation, the better the insulation works.

In fact, squashing insulation actually reduces its effectiveness.  The R-value number indicates the insulation heat resistance at full thickness only.

Why Insulation R-Value is so Important

close-up of R-30 batt insulation with texts that says "What Does R-Value Mean?Steel buildings have many benefits over other framing materials.  However, steel has one weakness: thermal transference.  In an uninsulated metal building, summer heat and winter cold can follow through the framing, affecting interior comfort.

Nevertheless, insulating metal buildings with a first-class insulation system renders steel’s thermal transference moot.

For example, RHINO’s Pro-Value Insulation Package breaks heat and cold transfer through the steel, creating a comfortable, cozy inside interior.

Of course, the best metal building insulation is high R-value fiberglass batt insulation.  Options range from single-layer six-inch-thick R-19 batts to a twelve-inch thick double-layer with an R-38 value.

However, that is just one part of the Pro-Value steel building insulation package.

RHINO also includes a second layer of insulation to act as a thermal break, plus an extra-strong vapor barrier that serves as the facing for the interior.

Pro-Value Insulation also saves you big bucks on climate-controlled steel buildings.  RHINO customers who choose the Pro-Value Insulation find they save about 50% on heating and cooling.

Starting with a Tightly Sealed Structure

Even the best metal building insulation is only part of the energy efficiency equation.

If the structure leaks air, it gobbles up too much energy in spite of a high insulation R-value.

As an organic material, wood framing twists, warps, creeps, and sags with changing humidity.  As lumber-framed buildings age, nails start to pull out and loosen, creating air leaks and drafts.

On the other hand, a pre-engineered steel building creates a very tight building envelope.

The steel framing will never move or change in shape.  The high-strength bolts and screws used in a RHINO metal building hold tightly.  Consequently, our metal buildings stay tight and draft-free for the lifetime of the structure.

Insulating Metal Buildings during Construction is the Smart Move

Customers sometimes consider cutting corners by eliminating steel building insulation from their order.  They think they can add insulation to the building later.

Insulating metal buildings at a later date is possible.  However, it is much more labor-intensive to add steel building insulation to an existing structure than to install insulation during construction.

In delayed insulation installation, some of the structure will require disassembly.

In addition, removing and replacing steel panels could cause leaks, if screws are not placed in exactly the same locations.

Consequently, smart buyers install insulation during initial construction.


Now you know how to insulate a metal building for maximum efficiency: by including a Pro-Value Insulation Package with your RHINO metal building order.

illustration showing the contents of RHINO's Pro-Value Insulation Package for metal buildings

Learn More about the Best Metal Building Insulation System

Speak to a RHINO steel building specialist about your upcoming construction project.

Discuss your steel building insulation requirements, and we will help you determine the best metal insulation and insulation R-value for your specific needs.

Call 940.383.9566 now!

(Updated 7-14-2021.  Originally published 1-16-2018.)