Metal buildings can be a real challenge when installing WarehouseFoil™ because there is not a one-size-fits-all install method. Below we’ve shared the 3 best methods to attach radiant barrier to metal framing, and some ideas beyond that if you need to get creative. Take the time and effort for your project, and once you’re finished, you will immediately feel the difference in comfort.
There are many different types of metal buildings, so we are offering 3 different install methods below to help you tackle the job. If your type of building is not mentioned here, consider the main principles and get creative in finding a way to install the foil or give us a call and we can help guide you to the best solution. A few things to remember:
- Keep it simple – your goal is to just get a piece of foil between you and the hot roof. Whatever it takes to get the foil between you and the roof being heated up by the sun is the only thing standing in your way.
- Pretty is nice, but not important. It’s OK if the WarehouseFoil™ is wrinkled, crooked or sags a little bit – it still works!
- A big metal box (i.e. your building) is gonna be HOT in the summer! Installing a radiant barrier is almost like putting the building in the shade, it can make a big impact.
- If you are just focused on blocking radiant heat, a radiant barrier on its own is the right choice. If you have moisture concerns as well, then consider BlueTex™ Insulation for metal buildings. BlueTex™ was designed by us and it features premium foil attached to a foam core. BlueTex™ is especially easy to install in new metal building construction!
Install Method #1 – Use Self-Drilling Screws
When possible, the easiest install method for all metal buildings is to use self-drilling screws and attach the foil right to the metal frame. No pre-drilling is needed when you use self-drilling screws!
Using washers help make a tight seal and you can find washers in matching finishes for the foil (or white if that’s what you’re using). If you have a small building, using double-sided tape to hold the foil just in place while you add the screws can be helpful.
Generally ¾” screws are the way to go here and we’ve found that a magnetic hex head can make the installation faster when you use a nut driver.
You might have to leave some “gaps” between the strips of WarehouseFoil™ from time to time. Use the foil (or white) tape to help patch these areas up, but ultimately, a small area left uncovered will have minimal impact on the overall improvement of the building’s internal temperature!
Install Method #2 – Use self-adhesive pins & locking washers
This method is the best option because it’s fast and very effective. The idea here is that you use pins (attach them to the metal) and then you stick the foil through the pins and secure it with a locking washer. After that you can clip the ends of the pins off, or bend them back toward the base so they’re safe to move around.
The first pin option is a self-adhesive pin. It’s as easy as it sounds – peel off the paper backing, stick the pin to the metal, and then press the base down well. Then, you’re ready to attach the radiant barrier! It’s best to install all the pins first, then come back and attach the radiant barrier.
Note: the recommended maximum temperature for the adhesive on these pins is 140F. An easy solution to make sure they stay in place is to use a self-drilling screw to permanently attach the square base of the pin to the metal framing.
Follow the guidelines for a normal staple up, overlapping pieces if necessary and leaving gaps around the perimeter.
Install Method #3 – Glue perforated pins & secure with locking washers
This method is perfect for quonset style buildings, RV campers, container homes, and any other metal structure that either don’t have framing or you can not attach a screw into the metal. This method uses a strong adhesive to bond the base of the pin (perforated pin) to the metal and then after it dries (approx 24 hrs) you can install the foil insulation.
Boss Multi-Seal 180® is our favorite adhesive to use for this application. A small quarter-sized dab is all you need and you can use a Styrofoam® piece (or cardboard) to hold several pins at once as you apply the adhesive. Space the pins about 2′ apart, so a standard 4′ wide run would have 3 pins – one at the bottom, one in the middle, and one at the top. One tube of Multi-Seal 180® should be enough for 100-200 pins.
Just like the other pins, once the radiant barrier is attached and the locking washers are put in place, you can snip off the ends of the pins or bend them back toward the base.
Install Method #4 – Pin Welder (for large commercial buildings)
This method is recommended for large commercial buildings that are larger than 20,000 sq ft. In a larger building, using one of the above installation methods would be very time consuming and impractical, so we suggest a faster method: pin welding. In this method we recommend using a pin welder tool to instantly weld small pins to the metal framing – this machine is incredible! Watch as Ed demonstrates how it works and how easy it is to use. *In the video Ed is shown attaching BlueTex™ Insulation for Metal Buildings.
In just a few hours, you can easily have hundreds of pins installed! Because the pins are welded to the metal, you can start adding your foil insulation immediately, without any reinforcements on the pins. Then, like the methods above, you push the WarehouseFoil™ through the pins and secure with a locking washer.
Pin welders are available for purchase and rental through several companies online. Purchasing one is an investment, but one that’s well worth it when you have a large insulation installation job!
Install Method #5 – Get Creative
Have an idea that’s not listed here? Give it a try and tell us how it works! We’ve had customers use sheet metal screws, Velcro®, 3M Command Hooks, clamps, and other creative ideas. If you have some rafters or purlins that are a few inches to a couple feet below the roof, this is a perfect place to run the foil on top. If need be, you can glue furring strips to the metal and staple the foil into that. Many customers have used magnets to hold up the foil to the metal framing – round magnets, square ones, big and small. If you choose to use magnets, we recommend using the Neodymium (Rare Earth) magnets – they’re strong, easy to find, and they can be purchased in bulk. Another idea is to try our foil tape product! It comes in two styles: foil or white, to match the radiant barrier color you’re using and the rolls are 2″ wide so you have plenty of room to attach to the foil and the metal. Secure strapping, zip ties, wires or cable should also work well to easily hold the foil up. The main idea is to find a way for the foil to stay in place as close to the roofline as you can easily get it.
Send us some pictures and we can offer installation ideas if you need them. Remember, if the biggest obstacle you face in creating a more comfortable and efficient building is installation ideas, then you are in luck because a little ingenuity can go a long way.