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Search traffic for sheds, storage sheds, and insulated sheds has all been on the rise, revealing the intense interest for sheds in American consumers. But along with that need for sheds comes the desire to have the best shed possible. Insulated sheds help satisfy that desire whether it be living out of a shed or trying to stay warm when working out in your gym shed. This article is dedicated to describing the ins and out’s of insulated sheds, including answers to common questions, shed insulation prices, and plenty more.
If you don’t want to read the whole article, just click on the section that you want to read in the table of contents. We’ll start out first with some more general questions about shed insulation and why it is important. From there, we’ll flesh out some of the specifics of insulated sheds such as the best insulation for a shed, insulation for a metal shed, and much more!
Table of Contents
Can Sheds Be Insulated?
The short answer is yes. In all honesty, insulating a shed is generally a simple process. We’ll get into the “how” of the DIY insulation process a little farther down in the article. For now, we’ll just talk about whether shed insulation is a wise investment for you. Vinyl and wood sheds are both great types of sheds that can be insulated.
To answer the second part of the question, “Should sheds be insulated?”, the answer can vary.
Should Sheds Be Insulated?
This question can depend based on what the use for your shed will be.
Yes, Your Shed Should Be Insulated If…
The answer is “Yes,” IF the use of the shed will be for residential purposes, storage of weather-sensitive items, or a workspace area. Residential purposes could include ideas like a music room, rec room, dining area, guest house, living room, etc. Basically, if you spend a lot of time in your shed, insulating your shed is probably a go-to option. Of course, you want your shed to be as comfortable as possible without having temperatures rise and fall quickly and sporadically.
Of course, generally, if you’re spending a lot of time in your shed, you’ll most likely have a heating or cooling system in place. Insulating your shed allows for much more efficient energy savings.
No, Your Shed Should Not Be Insulated If…
The answer is “No,” IF you’re not sure what the use of your shed is for yet, or you are looking at buying a plastic or metal shed. Another time insulation may not be worth it is when the purpose of your shed is simply used to store garden equipment like a lawnmower, weed eater, the 23 ½ hoes and rakes that you own, or any other gardening tools.
If you don’t have enough time to insulate the shed yourself, it might not be worth it since you probably don’t spend that much time in your shed anyway and having it done by professionals could turn out to be fairly expensive.
So, in general, the purposeof your shed is one of the main variables that will help you determine whether or not to install insulation in your shed.
Does Insulating A Shed Help?
If by “help” you mean better temperature consistency, more energy savings, better acoustics, or great sound absorption, then yes insulating a shed does help. Here are a couple of detailed reasons why:
The temperature inside of your shed will stay much more consistent when your shed is insulated. If there is no insulation, the temperature in your shed could fluctuate rapidly from cold to hot fairly quickly, depending on the outside temperature. If weather conditions are harsh and extreme in your area, insulation helps save heat and allows for a more consistent temperature. Insulation allows for heat to be retained longer during the winter and cold air to be retained longer in the summer. This helps for weather-sensitive items such as pieces of art, wood furniture, electronics, and nice clothes.
Increased Shed Life
Insulating a shed is a great way to increase your shed’s durability and overall lifetime value. The insulation also works as a weather resistor, mold resistor, and rot resistor.
This is a logical benefit of insulating a shed. Without insulation in your shed, its functionality is limited to say gardening equipment, or its use is limited to mild temperature zones, etc. However, if your shed is insulated, the door of shed-use possibilities becomes wide open. From a music room where you can grind out some tunes and beats to a small living space where you can enjoy the sunshine and read a book in quietness and tranquility–these options and many more become available with shed insulation.
Shed insulation is one of your best friends if you’re looking to create a small office workspace or some other type of space where you can just study or focus in peace and quietness.
Are you looking to use your shed for a pet house? Insulation in your shed will keep your pets warm and content by not having them face the extreme temperature fluctuations of a shed that has no insulation.
Protection Against Dampness
Having a musty, damp storage space, workspace, or recreational space is anything but great. Without insulation, a musty, damp shed space could very well happen. As we mentioned, shed insulation keeps temperatures more consistent which does not allow for sudden temperature drops. This helps keep condensation from happening, which lessens mold and dampness.
If you’ve done electrical work in your shed, keeping your shed from getting damp is imperative to your shed’s safety. As we mentioned, shed insulation is a great way to keep that condensation out. Vapor barriers and proper ventilation will also greatly aid this process. We’ll talk more about vapor barriers and proper ventilation later.
Hopefully, these 7 reasons helped solidify in your mind that an insulated shed is generally much better than a non-insulated shed. Keep reading to learn about the different types of shed insulation.
What Is The Best Shed Insulation?
Great question! The best all-around shed insulation is spray foam insulation. However, if you’re looking for a low-cost DIY option, the best insulation for you may be a roll insulation product such as fiberglass insulation.
It can be difficult to sort through the different styles and insulation materials. And then there’s always the question of “What do you mean by the best insulation.” By best do you mean cheapest? Most cost-efficient? Most effective insulator? As you can see, the “best question” is a little broad. Before we dive into the specifics of that question though, we need to explain a little concept.
Understanding R-values is key to understanding shed insulation. Why? The reason is that R-values are a method of defining the resistance of heat transfer through a material. In fact, the “R” in R-value stands for just that: resistance. A more in-depth definition of R-values is a quantitative calculation of resistance to thermal energy through a material or, more simply, R-value is a measure of heat conduction. Here’s the R-value formula.
R = ∆T ÷ Heat Flux Through Barrier.
Rest assured. This formula isn’t very hard to understand. The “∆T” stands for the difference between the colder and warmer sides of the insulation barrier or the thickness of the insulation barrier. So we can conclude that: ∆T = thickness of insulation.
“Heat flux through barrier” refers to the measurable thermal conductivity of the material, which, in this case, is the shed insulation.
Let’s give an example. Say you bought insulation that is about 100 mm (4 in.) thick and has a thermal conductivity of 0.5 btu·in. / h·(ft. sq.)·°F. Don’t let the units confuse you. All you need to do is divide 4 in. by 0.5 (4 in. ÷ 0.5) and BINGO! The R-value for your shed insulation is 8.
There are many different variables that can affect the overall R-value of a piece of insulation. Some of those variables include:
Type of insulation
Thickness of the insulation
Absorption of moisture
The installation process itself
These are just a few of the different variables. In other words, there are plenty of things that could affect the effectiveness of your shed’s insulation.
Now that you know what R-value is, you may be wondering “What is a good R-value for my shed’s insulation?”
What Is A Good R-Value for Shed Insulation?
A good R-value for shed wall insulation should range between an R-13 and R-23, depending on whether you’re using 2x4s or 2x6s for your shed walls. As far as ceilings or attics go, between an R-30 and R-49 is sufficient. R-13 to R-30 is a good range for shed floors and crawlspaces. To be clear, these R-values greatly depend on where you live and in what temperature zone you may be in.
This article talks a bit more in-depth about R-values and how to achieve great R-values in your shed.
What Are The Top Forms Of Shed Insulation?
Here are a couple of the main forms of insulation and their definitions.
Spray foam is a very versatile type of insulation that can be used to help seal and insulate a shed. Although a bit more expensive, it does what most other insulations do not and that is attack any crevice or cranny in your shed and insulate it.
Roll insulation is basically large rolls of insulation that can be unwound on your shed roof or siding. Several perks to roll insulation include flexibility and also the ability to be layered for an increased R-value. Roll insulation also allows fewer gaps, providing for more effective insulation. It also works well as a thermal bridge across the joists, allowing for an even better-insulated shed.
Loose-fill insulation (blown-in) insulation consists of small particles from materials such as cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool (stone wool). Loose-fill insulation is probably best installed by professionals because they understand, based on the settled density of loose-fill insulation, how much insulation to place to achieve the desired R-value. The installation process, however, is fast and simple.
More recently, batt insulation has become its own niche of shed insulation. Batt insulation is basically pre-cut pieces of typically fiberglass insulation (we’ll explain fiberglass insulation later) often attached to a vapor barrier to keep moisture from entering the shed. Batt insulation works great as wall, attic, or ceiling insulation. Some of the benefits of batt insulation include affordability and energy efficiency.
Here at Shed’s Unlimited, if you want your shed insulated with batt insulation, we’ll insulate it ourselves for you!
So to sum up, there are plenty of different types of shed insulation forms out there. At Shed’s Unlimited, we use spray foam and fiberglass insulation batts for our insulated sheds. After 30+ years in the shed industry, we recommend spray foam insulation. We’ll tell you a little bit more about spray foam insulation in the next section. Of course, the best insulation option for you may depend somewhat on your shed’s purpose or a variety of other factors.
What Are The Top Shed Insulation Materials?
This section will highlight some mainstream shed insulation materials, their basic costs, and some benefits for each.
Fiberglass insulation is a very common type of insulation that is most commonly used as batt insulation. Broken down, fiberglass insulation is basically glass fibers that have been spun or stretched out. Fiberglass boasts extreme versatility with a ceiling insulation R-value of around R-30. For 2×4 walls, fiberglass will have an R-value of about R-15, while the R-value for 2×6 walls will be around R-19.
A rough cost range for fiberglass insulation batts from your local home improvement store is about $0.60 for R-13 insulation and $0.85 for R-30 shed insulation.
Fiberglass insulation is a fairly inexpensive way to insulate your shed and is also simple to install, making it a DIY-friendly project. It’s also a great energy saver, poses no potential fire hazard, can be used as sound insulation, and best of all is environmentally friendly. This lets you feel confident and happy by not only upgrading your shed but also helping the environment. Now that’s a deal!
Foil-Faced Bubble Wrap
Although not technically an insulation material (it provides radiation protection), it still makes the list of practical shed insulation options. Composed of plastic air bubbles, foil-faced bubble wrap can act as a thermal break or blocker. What’s better is that it is very install-friendly, making it another practical DIY insulation material. However, foil-faced bubble wrap has a very low R-value (R-1 to R-1.1).
Although a wide-ranging field, ballpark costs per square foot for bubble wrap insulation from your major home improvement stores will cost around $0.49-$0.50.
If there is air space in front of it, foil-faced bubble wrap is a great insulator. As mentioned, it’s also a great option for a DIY insulation project. Check out this video if you want to learn more about bubble wrap shed insulation.
Foam board is just like what it’s called: boards of foam designed to insulate your shed. There are a couple of different types of foam insulations out there including EPS, XPS, and ISO. Let’s break each down a little further.
EPS – EPS or expanded polystyrene is composed of fused beads of plastic. Out of the different foam board options, EPS is probably one of the most affordable. EPS has an R-value of 4 per sq. in.
XPS – XPS or extruded polystyrene is denser than EPS and has a greater R-value–XPS has an R-value of about 5 per sq. in.
ISO – This is a fairly expensive option but has the highest R-value yet at R-5.8 to R-6.5 per sq. in.
Overall, the price range for R-5 XPS foam board insulation comes out to about $0.85 per sq. ft. R-10 XPS foam board insulation comes out to about $1.35 per sq. ft.
Foam boards are water-resistant, are DIY-friendly, and have excellent R-value. It also works great as an air blocker and can also help with moisture control.
A form of batt insulation, stone wool insulation is slag and basalt rock that is heated to extreme temperatures, mixed together, and then spun out into fibers. Rolls or sheets of stone wool are then made by compressing this mixture together.
Stone wool costs around $.62-$1.10 per square foot, giving an overall average cost of about $0.90.
From your major hardware stores, stone wool insulation batts cost around $1.00 per sq. ft. of R-15 insulation, while R-23 insulation comes out at about $1.50 per sq. ft.
Stone wool is a great sound absorber, is water-resistant, produces no fire hazard, is user-install friendly, is mold and damp resistant, and is also durable.
Spray Foam Insulation
Although spray foam insulation may have a lower R-value, R-value doesn’t take into account the value of sealing a structure, which spray foam excels in. So, even though the R-value of spray foam may be lower than other forms of insulation, spray foam will still likely perform better due to its sealing benefits. Spray foam also adds rigidity to your shed walls, floor, etc.
Closed Cell Spray Foam insulation will cost somewhere around $6.02 per sq. ft. for 2” (R-14) spray foam, and $9.03 for 3” (R-20) spray foam. Although these insulation costs may seem more expensive, these prices also include the installation cost per sq. ft. as well. Keep in mind that if you want your shed to be insulated by a professional, then the price per sq. ft. of insulation will rise.
One benefit of spray foam insulation is that it seals any small cracks, which keeps the air from directly transferring through any mating surfaces. Spray foam also doesn’t mold or hold moisture; as a result, it works great on walls and floors to keep out moisture. Plus, spray foam also adds a bit of strength to the overall structure of your shed.
All in all, we hope this gives you a better understanding of some of the different types of shed insulations.
What Is The Cheapest Shed Insulation?
Bubble wrap would definitely be the cheapest option; however, it’s not technically a shed insulation material. So, the next cheapest shed insulation type would be fiberglass insulation.
DIY Shed Insulation VS. Pre-Insulated Sheds
Here’s a quick overview of the differences between a DIY insulation install and hiring a professional to install the insulation for your shed.
DIY Shed Insulation
Of course, from a financial standpoint, installing the insulation yourself will definitely be cheaper, since labor costs will not be accounted for. You also can get to choose the specific type of insulation that you would like to use for your shed.
Although getting a professional to install your shed’s insulation costs money, you’ll at least be able to rest knowing your shed’s insulation will be done right. Especially, when talking about loose-fill or spray foam insulation, a professional installer may be the best option.
How To Insulate Your Shed
This is a process that can be read about all over the Internet. So, we’ll try to provide some helpful information here and then provide some other resources for further learning.
How Long Does It Take To Insulate A Shed?
This depends greatly on your experience in the construction industry. It could take anywhere from a weekend job to a fairly lengthy and intensive project for you.
Do I Need A Vapor Barrier For My Shed?
If you receive a lot of rain or live in a very damp climate, the answer is yes, due to its importance in keeping rot and mold at bay. If you don’t even know what a vapor barrier is, here is a basic definition: it’s a barrier made from plastic or some other material designed to keep moisture from attacking the inside or outside of your building.
For hot climates, put an exterior vapor barrier on your shed. If you live in a colder climate, install an interior vapor barrier.
How Do You Insulate An Outdoor Shed?
We’ll give you a quick overview of how to do shed wall insulation, shed roof insulation, and shed floor insulation.
How To Insulate Your Shed Walls
Here are a couple of steps to follow when insulating your shed walls.
Make sure that your shed doesn’t have any cracks, broken windows, or roof leakage.
Next, choose the insulation material that you think will work best for your shed.
Decide how to keep moisture out of your shed. A vapor barrier is a great option as well as making sure that leaks, etc. are all sealed off.
Take some measurements and find out how much insulation you’ll need to purchase from your local hardware store.
Now that you have your insulation, measure between studs and cut the insulation to size. Use adhesive to adhere the foam board to the shed wall. If you’re looking to use loose-fill shed insulation for your shed walls, then consider attaching plywood to your shed frame and filling in the space between the shed wall and plywood with loose-fill insulation.
Make sure that you have ventilation throughout your shed. If there isn’t much insulation in your shed, consider reading this article.
Here are a couple of videos that may help you as well.
How To Insulate Your Shed Roof From The Inside
A keyword is ventilation. Keep your roof and shed roof insulation well ventilated. Here’s a video going more in-depth on how the shed roof insulation process works.
How To Insulate The Floor Of Your Shed
We’ll answer this question from several different angles.
Prebuilt Shed Floor
There are a couple of different ways to insulate a prebuilt shed floor. One way is to remove the shed floor and then insulate it. Here are two videos on how to install the insulation.
Another way is to go underneath your shed and install it from the bottom. This method may take some bravery, but you can do it! Here’s a video showing how.
Rigid foam blocks work great for plywood floor insulation. Here’s a helpful guide showing how that process works.
Raised Cabin Floor
With a raised floor, you’ll definitely want to insulate between the joists, and possibly even insulate over the joists (thermal bridging).
What Are The Costs of Sheds With Shed Insulation?
Costs always help give a better picture of a project. That’s why we’re giving a couple of different cost ideas here. We’ll list a couple of sheds with their prices along with shed insulation costs here. Or, you can check out our official shed prices page.
8×12 Standard Workshop Shed With Insulation
Simple, elegant, and useful, the Workshop Sheds is Shed’s Unlimited’s most popular storage solution for your backyard. When folks need economical storage shed to get the garden tools hanging on the walls and the garden tools under a roof, the Economy Workshop Sheds are the number one choice in our Amish shed collection.
We offer Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation at roughly these prices:
2” thickness = $6.10
3” thickness = $9.10
By the way, these prices include the installation fees. Now all you have to figure out is how many square feet of shed space you want to be insulated, then add that to the shed price itself, and BINGO, you’ve got a simple price estimate for an 8×12 insulated shed.
8×12 Standard MaxiBarn Shed
If you are really serious about maximum overhead space in your backyard building, then the Standard MaxiBarn Shed is one of the most affordable options you’ll find. For getting the most cubic footage in your shed while keeping the most money in your wallet, consider a Standard MaxiBarn Shed.
An 8×12 Standard MaxiBarn Shed costs about $3,165–$4,161. Multiply the square footage of your shed by $3.50-$6.10 (depending on the R-value) or $6.10-$9.10 (based on thickness) and there you have your price estimate.
Sheds That Should Be Insulated
Here’s a quick list of just some shed types that should definitely be insulated.
Like we said, if you’re going to spend a lot of time in your shed, you probably want it to be insulated. Additionally, if you plan to store any kind of temperature-sensitive material in your shed you may want to insulate it.
Insulated Sheds With Electricity
It’s very common to insulate a shed that has been wired with electricity, especially in colder regions. Make sure that you install the electrical work in your shed first, ESPECIALLY if you are using spray foam as your insulation type because once the spray goes on, it’s nearly impossible to remove.
However, you could cut channels for the electrical wires if absolutely necessary, though that is not recommended. If you are using batt or roll insulation, you may have to slice the insulation a bit for the wires to run through. All in all, install the electrical work in your shed first and then insulate it.
Are Metal Sheds Insulated?
The quick answer is that they can be. Without insulation, rust can occur in a shed from condensation. Without insulation, a metal shed would not work well as a music studio either. If you’d like to learn more about how to insulate a metal shed, here’s a helpful article and a fascinating video.
Are Plastic Sheds Insulated?
Insulated plastic sheds are not a super common occurrence but can be done with bubble wrap or spray foam insulation. Insulating a plastic shed would probably not be a very difficult task.
Should I Insulate My Garden Shed?
Like we said earlier, it depends on your use. If you are just going to use it to store your lawnmower, weedeater, etc. then, no, it’s not necessary. But if weather-sensitive items are going to be stored in your garden shed, then, yes, definitely insulate your shed. So, no, generally you probably should not insulate your garden shed, but it at least should be vented for air circulation.
To sum it up, sheds with insulation are a valuable investment with many benefits. Whether you decide to install the insulation yourself or hire a professional, we can’t wait for you to experience the benefits of a shed with insulation. If you’re interested, Shed’s Unlimited offers storage sheds that can come with high-quality spray foam insulation already installed. Feel free to design your own shed on our 3D Shed Builder or contact us! Happy shed insulating!