What Are the Best Tips for Insulating a Pole Barn?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
Spray foam insulation is a good way to cover holes.
Spray foam insulation is a good way to cover holes.

Some of the best tips for insulating a pole barn are to minimize the area that requires insulating. By blocking off the rafter area with a dropped ceiling, it's possible to insulate the barn with much less material. This will also create a smaller space to heat, making it much more cost-effective. Another tip is to use foam board insulation against the tin outer walls, which will help act as a moisture barrier and will not damage any subsequent fiberglass insulation that may be installed on the exterior walls.

A pole barn is a very useful building, but it typically does not posses many insulating properties on its own. It is usually made of thin tin sheets that are nailed to a wooden structure, and they allow wind to blow through and cold and heat to completely breach the building walls. In an effort to best winterize a structure, many owners begin by using a spray-on insulating product. The spray-on material is applied to the inside of the outer walls, then a fiberglass insulation is used to cover this material. The spray-on portion effectively covers and fills any holes or open seams in the outer walls of the building.

A tip that will save money when heating is to cover the fiberglass or foam insulation with a poly barrier. This plastic sheeting will prevent any air from exiting the walls and entering the interior of the building. It is also a barrier for the fiberglass strands and will work to prevent the strands from becoming an irritant to any occupants of the structure. The plastic, like the fiberglass product, is fragile and will benefit from a protective layer.

One of the most helpful tips when insulating a pole barn is to protect the insulation from damage. If the barn is to be used to house livestock, it is wise to cover the lower portions of wall with a durable, protective sheeting, such as plywood. This will save the insulation from being pulled loose by animals as they make contact with the walls of the barn. Often, animals such as cows and horses become fascinated with loose material and will refuse to leave it alone until it is completely torn free. This single tip can save not only money, but many hours of repeat installation.

Discussion Comments


What about foil insulation? Have you tried this for your pole barn?


@feruze-- Use house wrap. It's the best way to insulate against wind, water and moisture while still allowing the structure to breathe.

If you have rodents around, you also need to put in blocks.


@feruze-- You can install bubble insulation boards on the tin walls. It's not as good as spray foam, but it will protect from moisture and it's way cheaper. There are also foam boards which will offer more insulation than the bubble board but is cheaper than spray foam.

This is what I did with my pole barn that I'm using as a garage. I had the foam boards installed between the tin while the walls were being put up. Wood walls were installed on top of it.

It's also a good idea to ask around at home improvement stores about the best insulation material. Different parts of the country have different humidity levels. You need to select material that's best for the humidity levels where you live.

This will also determine where the insulation material should be placed. I put my foam boards inside, but I've heard that in some states, they put them on the outside of the walls because of extreme humidity levels.


I know that spray foam is a great way to insulate a pole barn but it's ridiculously expensive. Is there a cheaper way to achieve the same kind of insulation? Please share any advice!

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    • Spray foam insulation is a good way to cover holes.
      By: PiLensPhoto
      Spray foam insulation is a good way to cover holes.