Shed Insulation

by Neil
(North Carolina)

I have a 10x16 shed I recently built. Its 2x4 wall and roof construction and its built raised up off the ground sitting on solid concrete blocks. As an afterthought I am considering insulating it to make it a bit more habitable this winter as I have a small wood shop in it. I also built a little play area for my kids in the loft area of the shed.

So, my question is how would I go about insulating it to make it a bit more comfortable this winter for me and the kids? I am thinking of just using a small oil filled electric heater to keep it from being so cold in there.


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Feb 07, 2018

by: John

Hi Neil,
Thanks for your question. The first part to answer is to give you an idea of the thickness of insulation that you need to make your shed comfortable. To give you an idea of the task I have listed below indicative thicknesses that you could use as a starting point in the walls, floor and roof.

2 inches (50mm) will give you some protection from the cold but you will still need significant input from your oil filled heater. This thickness of insulation would be more of a ‘season extender’ than a solution to making the shed comfortable in winter.

4 inches (100mm) of insulation in the walls would fill the void in your wall between your 2x4 timbers. This would give you a good bit of heat retention but you will also need to limit the size of openings in the shed such as doors and windows. Make sure that the door is exterior quality to better retain heat and that the windows are double glazed.

8 inches (200mm) Now we are talking! This thickness of insulation will keep you and your kids warm in the depths of winter.

The thickness of insulation is just the start. As some materials are better insulants than others. For example, Polyurethane has an R-value that is approximately 30% higher than Rockwool or Sheeps wool which are other common insulation materials.

You will also need to consider ventilation of the shed to allow some of the warm moist air to escape. Also, design in a vapour barrier to the inside face of the building to stop some of the warm and moist air from escaping and initiating condensation on the colder external parts of the building.

This condensation from escaping moisture can cause significant problems with rotting of timber frames if is allowed to escape and the external void is not ventilated.

I hope that this gives you a good start. Insulation will enable you to get a lot more enjoyment out of your building but make sure you do your research particularly with regards to vapour check membranes and cold bridging.

These articles will help you with more information on shed insulation:

This article is a good introduction into insulating a shed

This article gives more details of the properties of different insulating materials

This article is a case study of someone upgrading the insulation in their shed from Rockwool to polyurethane foam boards. And also the heating costs that he hoped to save


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