Insulating Steel frame homes

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Old 10-23-04, 11:42 AM
shield246
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Question Insulating Steel frame homes

What is the best way to insulate a steel frame home? Somewhere it says you should put insualtion between the frame and the sheathing as well as in the stud spacing. How Much between sheathing and frame? What kind?
 
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Old 10-24-04, 09:17 PM
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I am not sure of the type of structure you have. Is it steel beam that is sheathed and then steel studs?
 
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Old 10-25-04, 04:13 PM
shield246
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Originally Posted by resercon
I am not sure of the type of structure you have. Is it steel beam that is sheathed and then steel studs?
I am considering a package from rhinobldg.com, which is a steel stud frame package. But I am concerned that the cost of additional insulation (because of the thermal conductivity of steel) might make the packages not as attractive cost wise as they appear.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-26-04, 07:35 AM
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This is referred to as Platform, panel construction. The biggest problem I see with this type of construction are the Platforms, especially where the configuration is not a perfect rectangle.

As far as insulating these types of structures, they are done basically the same way as any other residential house. Your concern with the Thermal Conductivity of steel studs, not only applies here but also to wood. Surface area is the defining factor for heat loss concerning conductivity. The other factor is known as Thermal Bridging, which applies to studs.

To apply this, look at a solid masonry wall, the entire surface area of this wall conducts heat through the wall. Now if we look at a stud constructed wall, the surface area is dramatically reduced that will conduct heat from one side to the other side of the wall. The studs are therefore defined as the bridge for Thermal Conductivity. However, the defining factor is surface area. If you were to compare the heat loss to a steel studded wall verses a wood studded wall, the difference would only be significant if you lived in a very cold climate area, like Canada or Alaska. You also have to take into account the amount of mass between the two. For example, the wood stud is uniform in shape and solid from one end to the other, whereas, the steel studs are "U" or "C" shape and the inside of this shape is void. So the wood stud has more mass for heat to conduct through and the steel stud has less mass. There are also utility ports in a steel stud to allow for wires and pipes to pass through. These ports reduce the amount of mass that the heat can conduct through.

If you are still concerned about the amount of heat loss through steel studs, then I recommend asking the manufacturer about manufacturing the panels with a Thermal Break. I am almost certain they do have applications and even if they do not, you can create your own by installing rigid board insulation before installing the sheet rock. The Thermal break can be as thin as 1/8 inch to as much as 3 inches thick, depending upon your preferences.
 
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