Video: How to Insulate with Steel Studs

Originally published by the following source: Applied Building Technology GroupFebruary 6, 2019
by Timothy Ahrenholz

   

Humans aren’t good “talking” thermometers, because we “feel” thermal conductivity.  Want proof?  As my college physics prof often told us, you’d rather the outhouse had a wood seat than a porcelain one on a cold night (even though they’re the same temperature)! 

Well, just like porcelain, steel is a much better thermal conductor than wood, and sometimes that’s a disadvantage.  For example, if a 6” steel stud wall is filled with nominal R-21 cavity insulation, the effective R-value of the wall only increases by R-9.05 [see footnote 1].  That’s more than a 50% reduction, merely due to the thermal conductivity of the studs!  So rather than insulate the cavities of steel stud walls, it is much better to attach continuous insulation to the outside of hjgh conductivity framing.  An unbroken layer of insulation significantly reduces the problem of thermal bridging, which saves money both during construction and during the lifetime of the structure

Not only is the use of continuous insulation on steel stud walls a good idea, it is a requirement of the IBC and the IECC!  To learn more about this application, visit continuousinsulation.org, where resources are available specifically for commercial buildings.  Use the steel wall calculator to see how much continuous insulation can improve your thermal performance

Please watch this short video, with in a series of videos we are highlighting, for a quick review of the concepts introduced above:

 

 

For additional information, please review the previous videos in this series:

  1. Fear Building Envelopes No More with This Website & Videos
  2. Thermodynamics Simplified Heat Flows from Warm to Cold
  3. Moisture Flow Drives Water Induced Problems
  4. Video: How the 'Perfect Wall' Solves Environmental Diversity
  5. Video: How Important Is Your WRB?
  6. Video: A Reliably Perfect Wall Anywhere
  7. Video: The Best Wall We Know How to Make