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5 Types Of Metal Roof Insulation Options Explored In Detail

Posted on June 27, 2023

5 Types Of Metal Roof Insulation Options Explored In Detail

Insulation is essential to a metal building to help keep energy costs low and inside temperatures desirable. As roofing professionals, we understand the importance of quality materials and choosing the best products for each project.

That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to metal roof insulation. In this article, we’ll explore the top five insulation types to consider for a metal roof and their respective R-values. We’ll also discuss the benefits of each type of insulation and how to choose the right one for your needs.

So whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner, read on to learn everything you need to know about metal roof insulation.

How much insulation does your metal building need?

It’s important to understand how much insulation your metal building actually requires. The insulation needs of your building depend on several factors, including the climate, the size of the building, the type of insulation you plan on using, and the building code requirements in your area. Let’s take a closer look at these factors to help you determine the appropriate amount of insulation for your metal building.

  • Your climate: The colder the climate, the more insulation you will need to keep your building warm. For instance, if you live in a region with frigid winters, you may need an R-value of 30 or higher for your roof.
  • The size of your building: The larger your building, the more insulation you will need to maintain a comfortable temperature. 
  • The type of insulation: Different types of insulation have different R-values, which measure their ability to resist heat flow. The lower the R-value, the more insulation you will need. For example, spray foam insulation has a higher R-value than fiberglass batt insulation.
  • The building codes: Your local building code may specify the minimum R-value required for insulation in metal buildings. For example, the International Residential Code (IRC) has different minimum R-value requirements depending on which climate zone you live in.

In general, you should aim for an R-value of at least R-13 for the walls of your metal building and R-30 for the roof. However, if you live in a very cold climate, you may need to increase these values.

The Five Best Metal Roofing Insulation Options

There are many different ways to insulate metal roofs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. This section will discuss the five most popular options.

1. Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is a material that is created when two chemicals, namely isocyanate and polyol resin, are brought together. These chemicals are stored in separate containers and then are brought together in a spray. When the chemicals meet at the end of the spray nozzle, they react and form a foam. This foam dries in place, creating an effective barrier against air and vapor.

The foam is made up of small pockets, also known as cells. These cells seal any air gaps and form barriers that make it difficult for heat and sound to pass through. The foam also expands to fill the space in which it is sprayed, so the cells reach even the smallest nooks and crannies. These characteristics make spray foam an extremely effective insulator.

Spray Foam Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation

2. Rigid Foam Board Insulation

Rigid foam board insulation is an innovative building and construction material that can significantly reduce a building’s energy use and help control indoor temperature. 

It is made with materials including polyisocyanurate (polyiso), XPS, and EPS. Each is valued for its insulating properties and offers durability, energy savings, and moisture control.

Rigid Foam Board Insulation
Rigid Foam Board Insulation

3. Batt/Blanket Insulation

Batt insulation, also known as blanket insulation, is the most common type of insulation used in homes. They are made of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass, but also sometimes mineral wool or natural fibers. Batts are easy to install, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a DIY approach to installing insulation. They are also relatively inexpensive, making them a good option for homeowners on a budget.

Batt/Blanket Insulation
Batt/Blanket Insulation

4. Loose-Fill Insulation

 Loose-fill insulation pertains to a form of attic insulation consisting of dispersed fibers that are scattered across the attic floor. This insulation variant is accessible in cellulose or fiberglass formats. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper products like discarded newsprint, cardboard, and paperboard, which undergo treatment for fire resistance. Another type of loose-fill insulation, fiberglass insulation, is crafted from recycled fiberglass, akin to batt insulation.

 Loose-Fill Insulation
Loose-Fill Insulation

5. Foil Bubble Insulation

Foil bubble insulation, also known as reflective foil insulation, is a type of insulation material that is particularly effective at reducing heat transfer. It typically consists of one or two layers of bubble wrap material sandwiched between layers of reflective aluminum foil. The bubble wrap provides a thermal break and air gap, while the aluminum foil layers reflect heat, hence significantly reducing the amount of heat that penetrates through it and enters your home. 

Foil Bubble Insulation
Foil Bubble Insulation

This type of insulation is a cost-effective solution that helps improve energy efficiency, leading to lower utility bills over time. However, it’s worth noting that foil-bubble insulation is less effective at controlling conductive and convective heat flow, so it’s often used in combination with other types of insulation for optimal insulation performance.

Overall, determining the most suitable insulation type for your metal roof depends on factors such as climate, budget, and other specific requirements. If you’re uncertain about the ideal choice, it’s a good idea to consult a qualified insulation contractor.

Here is a table summarizing the R-values of the different types of metal roof insulation:

Insulation Type R-Value When To Use
Spray Foam 6-7 inch Cold Climates
Rigid Board 4-6 per inch All climates
Batt/Blanket 3-4 per inch All climates
Loose-fill 2-3 per inch All climates
Foil Bubble 1-2 per inch All climates, but especially helpful in areas with frequent sun

Pros and Cons of Different Insulation Types

Consider these pros and cons when selecting the insulation type that best suits your specific needs and requirements.

Spray Foam


  • One of the highest R-values of any insulation
  • Excellent for cold climates
  • Can fill all the nooks and crannies
  • Good soundproofing


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • Can be flammable

Rigid Foam Board


  • Easy to install
  • High R-value
  • Relatively inexpensive


  • Can be difficult to cut and fit around obstacles
  • Not as flexible as other types of insulation



  • Relatively easy to install
  • Comes in a variety of thicknesses
  • Inexpensive


  • Lower R-value than spray foam or rigid board insulation
  • It can be difficult to fit around obstacles
  • Sometimes messy to install



  • Can fill around even the smallest corners and edges
  • Relatively inexpensive


  • Dusty and messy to install
  • Lower R-value than other types of insulation
  • Can settle over time

Foil Bubble


  • Reflects heat 
  • Relatively easy to install


  • Lower R-value than other types of insulation
  • It can be damaged by moisture

To make the most of your metal roof, it’s essential to consider both insulation and aesthetics. After exploring this article, check out our blog post on the 9 Metal Roof Colors to Brighten Up Your Home, to find the perfect combination of functionality and style.

Get started choosing your type of insulation today

After reading this detailed guide on the five types of metal roof insulation options, you are now equipped to make an informed decision about your roofing project. If you need assistance or further guidance, don’t hesitate to contact Renova Roofing & Construction at (601) 647-3433. Start enhancing the efficiency and durability of your metal roof today!


1. Does a metal roof need insulation?

It is highly recommended to use insulation with your metal roof. Insulation helps improve your home’s energy efficiency, keeping you warm during the winter and cool during the summer.

2. What is the best way to insulate a metal roof?

The best way to insulate a metal roof depends on the property owner’s specific needs. Some factors to consider include the climate, type of metal roof, and budget.

3. How do I insulate against condensation on a metal roof?

Condensation forming on the underside of your metal roof can cause damage to the inside of your building. Fortunately, the correct insulation can help prevent condensation from forming in the first place by making sure the metal panel temperature never reaches the dew point. Many homeowners accomplish this using vinyl-backed fiberglass insulation, which helps prevent humid air from coming into contact with the cooler metal roof. Ask your local roofing experts to determine which insulation would work best for you.