Proper insulation has multiple advantages. It can help regulate temperatures inside the pole barn, make the structure safer for any animals it houses, more comfortable for people and even make the structure last longer. Insulation can also address two problems associated with pole barns: extreme temperatures and moisture [source: Barn Insulation].
Any pole barn that houses animals should contain reflective insulation to protect livestock and poultry from heat stress. While heat stress is a function of temperature, humidity, air flow and solar radiation, once the temperature rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius), the absorption of solar radiation from the hot roof and walls of the pole barn can pose a problem. Livestock and poultry lack sufficient cooling mechanisms to control their body temperatures. Heat stress can contribute to lower milk production, lower fertility rates and even death. In addition to controlling indoor temperatures and reflecting heat away from the building, reflective insulation also helps control condensation [source: Barn Insulation].
The vapor-retarding features of reflective insulation resist moisture. Without any type of condensation control, anything stored in the pole barn can be damaged by moisture accumulation in the walls and ceilings, causing dripping, rot, mold and fungus. Because it is nonabsorbent, reflective insulation won't break down or promote mold or fungus growth [source: Barn Insulation].
There are two kinds of reflective insulation recommended for pole barns. Both consist of outside reflective foil layers, but one has a layer of foam in the middle, called Foil-Foam-Foil. The other kind has a center of polyethylene bubble, called Foil-Bubble-Foil. Both are thin, lightweight, flexible and strong. They can be cut with a utility knife, stapled, nailed and glued in place [source: Pole-Barm Insulation].
Foil-Foam-Foil is more energy-efficient than Foil-Bubble-Foil. For example, Prodex Total Insulation (Foil-Foam-Foil) is tested to perform from 20 degrees below zero Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) to up to 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) [source: Pole-Barm Insulation].
Not sure if you want to take on the whole project yourself? Read on to learn about pole barn kits, which provide everything but the tools and the labor.