To Insulate or Not

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Reinbeau, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground

    I've read many conflicting opinions. I'm planning on putting some kind of paneling on the inside of the coop, to keep them away from the nails, etc. Just to make it nicer inside, too. I've found some vinyl panels at Home Desperate that are light in color, weight, and look like they'll be sturdy enough. Is the dead air space between the outside 1/2" plywood walls and the paneling enough insulation? I've read about moisture problems, etc. and thought if the wind were blocked it would be enough. It gets cold here, in gardening zone 6a, what do you all think?

    If you think insulation is important, then what should I use, the pink stuff or some kind of board?

    And then there's the peak of the roof, do I close it off or insulate all the way up (hubby says there will be moisture problems if we don't close off the peak).
  2. RedTailRanch

    RedTailRanch Songster

    Mar 19, 2008
    Portland, OR
    My Coop
    I am building my coop this weekend (converting an old lean-to). I plan on insulating the walls using the "pink stuff". From what I hear, it's easier to use than the styrofoam insulation.

    My thought is that it's NOT going to cost me that much more and it is easier to do it now rather that wait until next winter and realize that I need/want to do it. Taking down panelling in the middle of winter with 30 chickens in my way does NOT sound fun.

    I also agree with your husband on closing off the peak/roof area. I plan on doing the same, but you should make sure that you have some sort of ventilation as well. Especially for the summer months!

    Hope that helps!

    (Edited cuz I can't spell this morning) [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  3. Carolina Chicken Man

    Carolina Chicken Man Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    I don't know if you need it or not, we certianly don't really need in NC. But, if you are planning on hanging paneling on the inside, the cost of insulation would be minimal, so I would go ahead and do it.
  4. pdpatch

    pdpatch Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    If your Coop is for your chickens that you will keep year round and with your winter and summer weather I would put in insulation. I assume the pink stuff is the fiber glass insulation. Working with sheets of styrofoam insulation is not very fun so I usually don't use it. Usually you get the small beads laying around from cutting the sheets. Some of your Chickens will try to eat any the small foam beads, or at least ours try to which is not a good thing for them.

    If it has paper backing this acts as sort of a vapor/moisture barrier. But what is much better is using a regular vapor barrier material or plastic between the insulation and your outside covering. This keeps the moisture away from the insulating material, usually when its wet it losses some of it's insulating characteristics.

    A good gauge of how much insulation is the same as you would for a home in your area. Since it will help with the cost of heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Make your vents so they can be opened and closed this also helps with the cooling and heating.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    First, it does depend somewhat on the number of birds and the size of the coop, because the more ventilation you need, the more heat loss you get with the air exchange and thus the more important insulation is. (Note that you ALWAYS need 'sufficient' ventilation, but the question is, how much is that relative to the size of the building, does that make any sense? I look forward to the baby being weaned some day so I can go back to having caffeine in the morning, lol)

    Dead air space is not really much of an insulator, although it will help vs drafts which is a good thing.

    Honestly, it is SO much easier to insulate from the get-go (since you are going to put up inside walls anyhow) than it would be to rip 'em out and retrofit, I'd definitely just insulate now. If you use rigid insulation board (not the stuff with the individual white 'beads', the colored stuff that is dense enough to cut with minimal mess) it will be extremely fast and easy to do. It will not cost all *that* much.

    Insulation is not going to cause moisture problems (well, unless the outer walls are real leaky and the insulation itself gets wet, but you're not going to do that [​IMG]). It can actually *reduce* moisture problems a leetle bit, by keeping moisture in the air, whereby it can leave through the vents, instead of condensing it out in droplets on cold walls, at which point it ain't goin anywhere just sits there making the coop damper. If you have a very insufficiently insulated coop, having moisture-permeable walls (which does not necessarily equate to uninsulated -- plywood w/fiberglas and no moisture barrier counts as moisture permeable!) will give you a little more margin of error. But the whole point is to design in sufficient ventilation [​IMG]

    I am not entirely certain about your roof/ceiling question. Are you asking whether to have a ridge vent? (My opinion: sure, if you don't get lots of windy snowstorms, but my fairly extensive experience with ridge vents in windy snowstorms is that *some* snow sifts into the building, which is tolerable in a horse barn but not a good plan in a coop). Or are you asking whether to close off the 'rafters' by putting in a dropped ceiling, like the ceiling of a normal room instead of a cathedral ceiling so to speak [​IMG] If that's what you're asking, on the one hand the advantage is that you get better insulation and a smaller volume to keep warm in winter; but the disadvantage is that you lose some opportunities for ventilation, and have the chickens' moisture concentrated into a slightly smaller volume. Personally I would leave the ceiling open but insulate it (everywhere, including along ridge unless I lived somewhere with unblizzardy enough winters to have a ridge vent).

    Rigid insulation board is not supposed to be used exposed in residential applications b/c it is such a fire-and-fume hazard if there's a fire. However I would not particularly hesitate to leave it exposed in a coop ceiling, where chickens can't get to peck at it, unless I was going to be hanging heat lamps, in which case I would cover it with something less combustible.

    Hope there was an answer somewhere in there [​IMG],

  6. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground

    Yes Pat, that helps a lot, thanx! And thanx to the others. Insulation will be applied!
  7. Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
  8. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground

    Awesome, Lynne, that's a great tip! Can you buy the vapour barrier at a Home Depot or equivalent? That'll solve my current problem, that hubby used expensive CDX plywood on the coop because he doesn't want to shingle it, just paint it, and he was kinda upset when I suggested Tyvek and shingles [​IMG]

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