Vapor barrier, or not to vapor barrier...
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    DaubsNU1's Avatar
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    Vapor barrier, or not to vapor barrier...

    30x40 steel pole barn with wood frame and trusses, located in eastern Nebraska, 13' to the bottom of the trusses. I've been building 8' wall around shop so I can run electrical, put in workbench, and mezzanine. Insulating the walls with R-19 fiberglass batts, covered by 7/16th OSB. Did not include a vapor barrier in the walls.

    I did use spray foam to seal gaps / seams at bottom of walls and at the wainscoting before building walls.

    Down the road I would like to finish and insulate the walls up to trusses, then install ceiling at bottom of trusses, blown in insulation above that. Will likely heat the shop only...no AC plans at this time.

    Been reading and considering vapor barriers and have seen different opinions.

    Based on my climate "Zone" the local extension suggested putting a single vapor "retarder" on the inside of the walls, between heat source and insulation. They also said vapor barrier not necessary or required.

    Other message boards are big on vapor barriers, suggesting they are needed.

    Your thoughts on vapor barriers?
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    sennister's Avatar
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    If the walls are still open it is cheap.

    If doing full spray insulation it is probably overkill but it looks like you sprayed the gaps and such and are doing batt insulation (if I read that right). In that case and you haven't put anything up on the walls yet (sheetrock or whatever you are doing on the inside) then I would put up a VB. If you already did rock the walls (or OSB I think you mentioned) then it might be a lot of work to go back and do it now. You probably won't see much return on your investment (mostly time and labor) at this point to mess with it.

    For what it is worth my garage build is the same size space and I will be doing a VB before it is rocked. My ceiling is a bit lower (10.5') but that doesn't change much. I am a little on the fence if I do full spray insulation vs batt for my walls. Most likely will be a combination like you did and if that is the case then I will for sure do the VB.

    Another thing we did is all electrical boxes are the barrier style with a foam seal against the rock.

    Like these.

    Arlington FN102F Switch/Outlet Box with Vapor Barrier, 2-Gang, Nail-On: Amazon.com: Industrial Scientific
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    jdforever's Avatar
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    Vapor barrier.
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    Iíve done spray foam insulation on two steel buildings now. Itís worth every penny if the walls are still open. I wouldnít be without it.
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    arlen's Avatar
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    In my opinion, whenever you have a heated building envelope you should have a vapor barrier. Without it, warm humid air infiltrates into the insulation, and the moisture will condense out as the air cools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arlen View Post
    In my opinion, whenever you have a heated building envelope you should have a vapor barrier. Without it, warm humid air infiltrates into the insulation, and the moisture will condense out as the air cools.

    exactly rendering the insulation much much less effective....IE typical house batt insulations have a VB on the living side of things..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripsaw View Post
    Iíve done spray foam insulation on two steel buildings now. Itís worth every penny if the walls are still open. I wouldnít be without it.
    I thought spray foam insulation has the built in properties of the vapor barrier...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titleist1 View Post
    I thought spray foam insulation has the built in properties of the vapor barrier...
    I read it as he used the crack filler type spray foam, for filling gaps he had. True spray foam insulation, ie, covering the entire wall, etc. does not need a VB. Blown in insulation should have a VB. It doesn't cost much and it sure won't hurt anyway.
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    DaubsNU1's Avatar
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    Here are some pics...

    Walls are built, insulated, and faced with OSB.



    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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    arlen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaubsNU1 View Post
    Here are some pics...

    Walls are built, insulated, and faced with OSB.



    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    Your insulation is faced. That will be good enough for your application.
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