Should I even insulate with R-6 styrofoam boards?! Or no?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rehric00, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. rehric00

    rehric00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2013
    My husband and I are bumping heads here...

    He doesn't think I need a lot of ventilation in the coop. I sent him this link to prove him wrong. I will have my vents! LOL

    As of now, I have a heavy sturdy metal shed, with solid walls (meaning no windows)- that is changing soon. I will be adding 2 windows, the "doggie" door that will lead to the run, and I want to put one vent at each peak (one in the front, one in the back).

    The walls are bare and we plan to frame it out and put walls up. Today, we bought thick sheets of styrofoam to put between the studs, and will put wall board over that. He said that is the best insulation. He does not think the fiberglass insulation will be good, bc the shed is old and has some small holes here and there. I am going to try and patch most of them, but it would be impossible to get them all. Overall, it is mostly dry, but he worries about the fluffy insulation getting wet and whatever. I see his point to a certain extent.

    So my question is... is it even worth putting styrofoam insulation in there? It only has an R value of 6. I feel like that is pretty much the same as having no insulation, because the heat will go out the vents.

    Any suggestions? The coop is about 8x12. I just don't want to waste money on the foam insulation if it is pointless with the ventilation. It was probably $80 just for that stuff! Oh, I live in northern IN and we get a lot of bad lake effect weather in the winter time from Lake Michigan. Thanks for any and all advice!
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Feb 15, 2017
    R6 is better than nothing.
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    What is your lowest winter temp and how often do you dip below -5F?
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Insulation will keep the coop a little warmer in winter, but it really excels at keeping the temp more consistent. For example, in the past 7 days in CT, it has ranged from 15 to 53 outside. My coop, which is 2x4 construction with fiberglass insulation, has ranged from 25 to 54. The swings have been much lower on a daily basis compared to the outside temps. It does keep the coop warmer though. Low outside in the past 30 days was 3 degrees. The coop was 15. So my vote is definitely insulate. But pay attention to too much humidity and moisture. It is far better to be colder and dryer than warmer and wetter.
  5. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Quote: Where it is a metal shed I would insulate. I know I did out of necessity not because I wanted to. You will also have to cover your foam insulation with some something to stop the hens from eating it. Frostbite and condensation is a real possibility without good ventilation especially in a "METAL SHED". Here is my set up on most winter days I am subject to -40ยบ I live in Canada. I close the main door when winds are high. Two windows are open for the most part.

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  6. rehric00

    rehric00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2013
    I am northwest IN. It gets -20 occasionally, but not frequently. I took the insulation back... To be honest, I think it would be more of a hassle. I have heard of many people regretting it due to mice getting in and tearing it up. If winter becomes a problem, it wont be hard to put it up. Still going to frame it out with 2x4s and add 2 windows and 2 vents. So we will see. Thanks for all the input!
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Two issues with metal coops. First is condensation in the winter. And it tends to get really hot in summer. Insulation will help in both instances.
  8. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2015
    When framing no need to follow the 16" habit since it isn't structure and you aren't supporting drywall even if you do sheet it you will use something sturdier than drywall.
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    Here is the gospel according to Howard on insulation. Poultry husbandry books suggests a large single comb on some birds like Leghorns and perhaps a rooster will begin to show frostbite at temps around +5F down to 0F. Others like RIR, PR's, etc. are good down to -5F to -10F. After that, frostbite becomes a concern. So some start thinking supplemental heat, which is NOT the solution. The birds themselves crank out a remarkable amount of heat.......enough to raise the temps inside a coop as much as 10 to 20 degrees F.......enough to get them past cold spells down to -20 or worse. The purpose of insulation, if used, is to retain the radiant heat generated by the birds. Without it, the heat they generate heats the sidewalls (worse if those are metal) and radiate it on out to heat up the atmosphere.

    But ventilation is also needed, as in addition to the heat, the birds also generate a lot of moisture. Some from their droppings, but most from their breath. Moisture means damp and damp is cold, leading to frostbite. Good ventilation means moisture moves out......a good thing.

    So this then becomes a tricky dance between using insulation to retain the heat generated by the birds, and just enough ventilation to retain that heat, and cut down on the air exchange, but not enough to retain the moisture. Retaining the heat to raise the temps also allows the warmer air to hold more moisture, so the humidity level drops. But again, it eventually needs to vent to the outside.

    Coops down to about -5F don't need this insulation. The birds can take it. Below that, it becomes a factor to consider.

    Option B is to switch to different birds that don't have big single combs. Birds like silver laced wyandottes with pea or rose combs.

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