Five Insulation Retrofit Facts
You Should Know

Retrofit Insulation

Do your customers ever ask about retrofit insulation systems? Do you have questions of your own about the process? Rest assured: we have the answers you’re looking for. As an insulation laminator, we’ve received plenty of questions about retrofitting an existing building over the years. Keep reading for a list of FAQs, including a breakdown of the most important things to know about retrofit insulation systems.

When is it time for a building owner to inquire about an insulation retrofit?

decaying insulation board retrofit

Before and after the retrofit: Decaying insulation board in a 47,000-square foot metal building in Franklin, Conn. The OptiLiner™ Banded Liner System transformed the interior space of F.W. Webb Company*, New England’s largest plumbing and heating distributor.

Another way to phrase this question is, “What are the top reasons for an insulation retrofit”? Below are just a few of the many possibilities:

  • Poor existing insulation: If the insulation already installed in the building is old, damaged or is causing building performance issues, it’s time for a retrofit.
  • No existing insulation: If the building doesn’t have any insulation installed, serious condensation complications can arise.
  • HVAC updates: Changes to a building’s heating or air conditioning system often require an insulation retrofit.
  • Building use or ownership changes: Many times, new ownership of a building means a change in the building’s primary use, causing the need for an insulation retrofit. For example, if an owner purchases an old welding shop and plans to use it as a farm building, the insulation system would need to change to accommodate it.
  • Fire damage: Smoke-damaged or scorched insulation requires a retrofit.
  • Getting a building “up to code”: The evolving commercial energy codes landscape has created a need for higher R-values, so building owners are seeking insulation solutions with a maximum R-value.

What’s the most important question a building owner should ask before hiring a retrofit specialist?

“Have you ever done a building like mine, and can I visit it?”

The retrofit process is very different for metal buildings versus a pole barn, so it matters whether or not the specialist has experience in your specific type of building. Also, seeing the specialist’s work in person trumps any pictures they’ll show you. It’s important to look closely at the application and check for quality.

How long does it take for a complete insulation retrofit in an “average” sized metal building?

In short: That’s variable. Many factors can impact the completion time, including whether or not there are machines on the ground. On average, a retrofit specialist installs about 3,000 – 4,000 square feet of insulation per day.

What will the end result look like?

new insulation

A brighter, improved appearance is how most building tenants describe the finished product.

Insulation retrofit systems also aid in:

  • Sound abatement
  • Condensation control
  • Energy savings
  • A more comfortable interior climate: Adding insulation to a building can keep the interior warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer (up to 10 – 15 degrees warmer/cooler without any additional HVAC updates)

Are all buildings candidates for insulation retrofit?

insulation installation

No, not all buildings qualify for insulation retrofit applications.

In some cases, buildings have too many obstacles for the install to be a smooth, cost-effective process. Buildings that house indoor pools are one example. It’s important to remember to choose an installation specialist who will give you an honest recommendation. A building should only be labeled viable for a retrofit after it has been reviewed by an insulation specialist or installer.

For more information about insulation retrofit, visit, or
call 888-2-INSUL-8.

You can read more about the featured F.W. Webb Company’s insulation retrofit.

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Star Building Systems

Founded in 1927, Star Building Systems has seen and done it all, from supplying tool sheds for oil derrick drilling sites in the early oil boom days to hangar buildings during World War II. We set the industry standard for innovation and technology. Most importantly, we have the best builders in the business.

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