How to Build a Steel Building that Will Stay Warm in Winter

Insulation Options, Heat Sources, and Other Important Pole Building Considerations

As a leading post-frame builder in the Midwest, our team is accustomed to answering questions and giving recommendations on pole barn insulation options, as well as other factors related to maintaining a warm working or living environment in these unforgiving winter months.

Although a steel post frame building might not seem like the first place you’d want to be in the dead of winter, there are actually a number of energy-efficient solutions that can make your pole building feel as warm and welcoming as any other traditional home or workplace in the Midwest.

So, whether you’re looking to build a new workshop, man cave garage, pole barn home, or commercial storefront – here’s how to ensure it will stay warm, cozy, and fully-usable all year-round.

1. Consider Layout & Location

First, don’t overlook the obvious building aspects that have a large impact on how simple it will be to keep your new steel building warm in the winter.

One of the biggest factors is the overall building size. The larger you build the more energy and materials it’s going to take to heat. Higher ceilings also make heating more difficult as heat will rise up and away from you.

Location plays a big factor in the overall temperature of your pole building.

Also, consider how the building will be used. Most commercial buildings will probably need a full HVAC system, but a small workshop for personal use most likely won’t.

Don’t forget about the most natural way to heat your steel building – the good old sun in the sky. You can use the warmth of the sun to your advantage by strategically building in a spot where sunlight can hit the steel, or you could even add large windows or skylights in a spot where the sun shines. This will let you capture more of the sun’s heat while also providing natural lighting to your space.

2. Add Insulation

Spray foam insulation is best at filling cracks and crevices.

Pole building insulation is what helps keep the cold air out and the warm air in. For buildings with a dedicated heat source, insulation is also a key factor in determining overall heating costs.

In addition to temperature, pole barn insulation serves as a defense against building deterioration as it helps block damaging moisture and condensations from entering your building and forming rust, mold, or mildew.

Your main steel building insulation options are traditional fiberglass insulation rolls or spray foam insulation.

At Greiner, we use TextraFine™ fiberglass insulation because of its strong ability to prevent moisture, mold, and mildew. It is also fire resistant, completely safe to have around children and pets, and made from 85% recycled content.

Spray foam insulation tends to be a bit more expensive than fiberglass, but the benefit is in its amazing coverage. Because it is a spray, this insulation is better at filling all corners and gaps of a wall and ensuring maximum protection from the elements.

Textrafine™ Insulation is more cost-effective and still effective.

3. Choose a Heat Source

If you plan on spending prolonged periods of time in your building, a permanent heat source will allow you to consistently maintain comfortable temperatures year-round. There are many different routes you could go here, each with different levels of expense, convenience, and practicality for your particular type of building.

For pole barn homes, many folks go the traditional route of installing a gas or propane furnace. With this comes the need to route ductwork throughout the structure, however, the result is more even and more controllable heat distribution.

This residential pole building features a fireplace in the main room.

For a smaller hobby shop or man cave, a forced-air heating unit hung from the ceiling may be enough to heat the entire structure.

Another option is a heat pump, which is more energy-efficient than a furnace but takes longer to warm a space up. If you have a reliable source of wood and don’t mind the work, you could also install a wood-burning stove to get through the winter months.

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Another residential pole building with a traditional heating system.

If you’re looking to really live or work in comfort, consider radiant floor heating. Radiant heat is very efficient because there is no heat loss through ductwork. Just imagine the comfort of always having a warm floor to walk on during the frigid winter months!

Get Free Pole Building Advice

As you can see, there are many different factors that affect the comfort and usability of steel pole buildings in the cold, wintery months. The good news is that you have the control to build in a way that ensures optimal warmth and energy-efficiency, and Greiner has an expert pole building team that is happy to walk you through the process from design to completion. Request a quote online or give us a call at 888-466-4139 to get started on your warmth-filled metal structure.

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