Metal Building Insulation: How It Can Get Wet Before Installation & Ways to Prevent That from Happening

By Carport Central   |   Posted In: Prefab Metal Buildings, Customized Buildings


The walls are going up, and the foundation anchors are in place, everything is looking great – that is until the sky clouds over. Thunder rumbles, and a flash storm scatters the installation crew from your installation site. The storm disappears as quickly as it came, and then the crew gets back to work. All is well until they realize that the metal building insulation got wet during the storm. Is it ruined? Can you still use it? Does it make a difference if it fell in the mud compared to just getting rained on?

This situation is all too real for many people. At Carport Central, we know that Mother Nature is unpredictable, and these things happen. We want you to be prepared. So, whether you are wondering if wet insulation still works, how wet is too wet, or if mud matters, we have the answers you need. Let us teach you how to handle and prevent wet metal building insulation.

How Does Insulation Get Wet?

In a perfect world, metal building insulation would never get wet. After all, its R-value and level of thermal resistance are measured when it’s dry. That doesn’t mean it never gets wet, though. If it does get wet, what you need to know is whether the water is clean or dirty.

1. Clean Water

Clean water is either rain or dew. Maybe your insulation got caught in a storm or was left on your trailer and got covered with the morning’s dew. The question that is probably on your mind is whether or not you can still use this insulation. The answer is “maybe.”

First off, the kind of insulation is one determinant. Fiberglass is one of the most common insulation types, so let’s talk about that. The first thing you need to understand is the structure of fiberglass insulation. Glass fibers are stretched and stitched together, with open space between them. This open space is what helps with thermal resistance. Air is not a good conductor of heat. Water, on the other hand, is. What do you think happens when water gets into your fiberglass pre-engineered metal building insulation? The water fills the open spaces between the fibers. This greatly decreases the R-value and thermal resistance of the insulation.

So, your insulation is wet, now what? Since rainwater and dew are clean water, then it is likely that you can still use your insulation. Water fills the open spaces in fiberglass metal insulation, but fiberglass does not absorb water. This means that the water in the open spaces can evaporate and leave the insulation undamaged. However, this is only true to an extent. If the insulation is completely saturated and the shape is drastically changed, it is unlikely that the fiberglass insulation will regain its original shape and thermal resistance. If that is the case, it will have to be replaced.

2. Dirty or Contaminated Water

Dirty water is a different story. Like clean water, this water also fills the open spaces in fiberglass metal building insulation. However, the insulation is not left unharmed when the dirty water evaporates. Dirty water is water that has something else in it. Usually, it is contaminated with dirt, and sometimes with substances like oil. If these contaminants fill the open spaces with the water, they will remain when the water evaporates. Your pre-engineered metal building insulation will be damaged beyond repair.

The reason you cannot use this insulation anymore is because the contaminants, whether they are dirt, oil, or something else, have permanently changed the structure of the insulation. This permanently changes its R-value and thermal resistance, too. Contaminated insulation will not be effective insulation.

You might be wondering how your insulation for your metal building could come in contact with dirty or contaminated water. We have seen it happen in a few different ways. Construction sites can be messy; things can get knocked over or spilled. Not only that, but construction sites do not often have lots of vegetation. This means that everything turns to mud when it rains. So, if your insulation were lying on the ground, it too would become saturated with mud.

Our Tips for Keeping Insulation Dry

Now you know that wet metal building insulation is not the end of the world, it is not something that you have to deal with. You can easily prevent the headache of wet insulation by simply making sure it stays dry. This seems obvious, we know, but here are our best tips for keeping your pre-engineered metal building insulation dry:


1. If you can store it on a truck or in a leak-proof building, do it!

The best place to store your insulation is on a covered truck or in a leak-proof building. We suggest storing it in one of these places both during and after construction each day. This will ensure that no water, dirty or clean, gets into your insulation. This will keep your metal building installation running smoothly.

2. Get it off the ground!

If you do not have the option to store your metal building insulation in either of the places suggested above, make sure you get it off of the ground. Wet insulation that was filled with clean water is still usable, but it isn’t if the water was dirty. Getting your insulation off of the ground prevents dirty water from soaking into it.

3. Cover it!

If there is any chance of rain and your insulation is not in a fully enclosed structure, make sure you cover it with a tarp. If your insulation is off of the ground and covered by a tarp, you will not have to worry about clean or dirty water. Covering your pre-engineered metal building insulation saves you a lot of trouble.

These are three easy steps that you can take to prevent your new metal building installation from getting wet. Remember, pre-engineered metal building insulation can get wet and, if the water is clean, still be used. However, there is no guarantee that the insulation will be as effective if it gets wet. The R-value or thermal resistance may be decreased.

Make Carport Central Your Reality

There is no better metal building provider on the market than Carport Central. We provide the highest quality steel structures that are made to meet your specific needs. We want you to know that we are here for you through the entire process, from placing your order to installing insulation. We know that things can happen; insulation can get wet, but we have a promise for you. Even if your fiberglass pre-engineered metal building insulation soaks up clean water, dries out, and is still usable, you will never have to worry about your insulation getting wet again! Carport Central’s metal buildings are durable and stand the test of time. No rain, sleet, or snow gets through their strong steel roofs. You can rest assured knowing that your insulation and your building will stay dry for years to come. If you are ready to make that your reality, call us today at (980) 321-9898!


  • Carport Central

    Carport Charlie knows everything (almost) about metal buildings. Carport Charlie loves to show off his knowledge about steel structures and you can benefit of it too.

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