How to Insulate a Garden Shed: A Do-It-Yourself Guide

how to insulate a garden shed

Last Updated on July 23, 2021

Shed walls may very well be good at keeping out the rain, but they aren’t known for being that warm when it comes to winter. However, that only applies if you go ahead and leave the walls as they are, but at that point, it’s no surprise that your garden shed is a bit chilly.

There are several ways in which you can insulate shed walls. All it takes is very little knowledge and sometimes the ability to think out the box a bit when it comes to potential insulation material.

So that’s what we are going to check out right now. We are going to look at shed insulation and how to insulate a garden shed so that both your shed walls and shed floor no longer feel cold or damp.

How Insulation Helps

Insulation makes a difference. It changes the heat transfer between the outside and inside, and how it affects it depends on the weather conditions. It also makes it easier to prevent moisture build-up, where the changes in temperature and humidity can easily cause a problem.

Insulation helps to deal with all of that, so it’s a good thing to consider.

What is the Best Insulation?

First, let’s begin by thinking about what insulation material is going to be the best to put on your shed wall or shed floor.

Now, there are several options ranging from using bubble wrap to fibreglass wool insulation, foam boards, and many others. They can all do a pretty good job as well if you manage to apply them correctly when insulating a shed.

But let’s explore a couple of options more closely.

Using Bubble Wrap

Using bubble wrap strips is not expensive, and bubble wrap insulation is surprisingly effective. However, it’s best to not simply use this on its own. First, you are going to burst the bubbles, and they play a major role in the insulation aspect, and it’s also going to be easy to tear.

In saying that, if you want something that’s not going to break the bank when insulating a shed, then this is going to be a good option.

Mineral Wool

Another good option is mineral wool, or you may see it referred to as Rockwool. This stuff comes in thick mats. You may have even come across it before if you have insulated a loft. It’s mineral wool as it actually comes from a mixture of volcanic rock and slag.

Mineral wool is good at regulating temperature. It keeps heat in and the cold out, or vice versa, depending on the weather. Also, it’s going to be effective as a form of sound insulation as well.

PIR Insulation Boards

You may not have heard of these boards, but they are amazing when it comes to trying to insulate a shed. PIR stands for polyisocyanurate, and it’s basically foam. However, you will see them coming in a type of insulation slab, which can then be cut to size.

This type of insulation material is very popular in the construction industry. It’s easy to pick up at a DIY store, and it does come in different sizes. You may also notice that it has a foil backing to it. This just takes its ability to insulate a shed to a whole new level.

Plasterboard or Hardboard

Often the problem with some of the insulation materials is that they take up a lot of space on the shed wall panels. That means you do lose a bit of floor space, and some people don’t want to do that.

Plasterboard, or hardboard works as well, is an option that you may want to use. You can effectively create another wall on the inside of your shed by screwing the plasterboard onto the shed frame. Depending on the size of your shed, it won’t even cost that much either.

Alternatively, you may want to use a plywood board if you wish to use a cheap solution that is still pretty effective at retaining heat. Plywood boards come in different sizes, as well as thicknesses, and can be cut to size with ease.

Fibreglass Insulation

The final one that is really worth a mention is fibreglass. This is, as the name suggests, material that is made directly from glass that has been recycled. Also, it comes in rolls and is relatively inexpensive to buy.

The fibreglass has air bubbles within its structure, and this plays a key role when insulating a shed. The only problem is that it does lose its effectiveness if it becomes wet. In other words, you need to make sure that your shed roof, or even shed walls, are not letting in any water, or you are going to be ripping out your new insulation in next to no time.

So, you have different options, and they will also fit various sizes of budgets. All you now need to do is to understand how actually to insulate a shed.

To make life easier, let’s break up your wooden shed into sections.

Insulating Your Shed Floor

If your shed is brand new, then it’s best to use insulating material below the floor. It will be best to use an insulation board, wear protective gloves, have two woodblocks for the floor joists, a jigsaw, and a tape measure.

Insulating a New Shed Floor

When you have these items to hand, this is all you need to do:

  1. Cut your wooden blocks to size.
  2. Put a minimum of two wooden blocks below the cavity at the joints.
  3. Take the foam board that you are using for your shed floor insulation.
  4. Cut the board to the size of the space between the joists.
  5. Add the insulation.
  6. Check it’s now sitting flush with the top of the joists.
  7. Put your flooring on top.

That’s a quick and easy way to insulate a new floor, but what happens if you already have your shed built and you now want to add some insulation?

Insulating an Old Shed Floor

If you don’t want to rip up the floor and basically start again, then there is another option, and it’s to build a false floor. With a false floor, you certainly don’t want to make it too thick, as it does mean you won’t have the same headroom in your shed, so keep that in mind.

So, for this job, you will need a tape measure, your insulating material, which should be breathable, a pair of scissors for cutting, a jigsaw, and plywood boards to go on top.

To complete this task, you should follow these steps:

  1. Measure the floor area of your garden shed, and cut the breathable membrane to fit.
  2. Place the breathable membrane over the floor.
  3. Put your plywood over the top of the material.
  4. Fill in any gaps between the plywood sheets with a sealant.

And that’s all there is to it. A quick and easy job which then means you have insulated your floor surface.

How to Insulate a Shed Roof and Walls

When it comes to trying to insulate your shed, then the roof and walls follow similar lines. They will also use the same sort of shed insulation, so we can cover both options when discussing how to insulate your shed.

But here’s a quick note. If you have bought one of the more expensive garden sheds, then you will probably only need to insulate your shed walls. That’s because a top of the range garden shed will often come with some form of shed roof insulation already installed in the roof, and that makes life a whole lot easier.

However, if you don’t have that, then applying shed insulation to both roof and walls is going to be easy enough.

An Inexpensive Method of Insulating a Shed

Let’s begin by looking at an inexpensive way of insulating a shed for those people on a budget. Now, it’s not going to be quite as effective as another method that we will discuss later, but it’s still going to improve things from what they are like right now.

So, to do this, you are going to need to get some bubble wrap, a tape measure, some form of a board to put over it, a staple gun, a nail gun, and a jigsaw. Once you have those in place, these are the steps you need to follow.

  1. Take a tape measure, and measure the space that exists between the sections of wood panels on the shed.
  2. Cut the bubble wrap to allow it to fit into those gaps. You may want to double up on the thickness, so keep that in mind when cutting.
  3. Take your staple gun, and staple the different strips onto the shed panel. Make sure you do it on either side to hold the wrap steady.
  4. Take your top board, and measure then cut it to size to go over the top.
  5. Nail the panel to the frame to create a smooth finish.

That’s going to help keep the cold air out of your shed, and it’s a quick and easy insulation project to complete. Also, only use a thin layer when it comes to the top board. It saves you from losing so much space on the interior of your shed.

A More Expensive Way of Insulating Your Shed

Now we look at another way of dealing with the walls and roof, but this time it’s going to cost a bit more. However, most will argue that it means this method is more effective at what it does.

For this method, you are going to need some fibreglass wool, that breathable membrane again, a board to go on top, a tape measure, a jigsaw, scissors, and a staple gun.

Then, you need to do the following:

  1. Measure the panels in the same way as mentioned earlier with the inexpensive approach.
  2. Take the breathable membrane, and make sure you cut it to the sizes between the panels.
  3. Push the membrane into those spaces to fill them.
  4. Take the glass fibre wool, and add that to the top of the membrane.
  5. Take the boards, and cut them to size to go over the top of the panels.
  6. Fix them into place.

That’s how to complete this particular job. The only reason why it’s more expensive is because of the material used for insulating the walls and roof. Aside from that, it’s pretty much using the same methods and techniques as the other approach.

Other Areas to Think About

Also, aside from the walls, roof, and floor, you may wish to add some double glazed windows or check the door frame for any leaks or ways that air can get in. If you see cracks, then add some expanding foam to block out the air that’s getting in.

The shed door can twist and warp, so make sure it’s closing tight, or you are going to be destroying all of your hard work.

Final Thoughts

So that’s how you manage to correctly insulate a garden shed along with our shed insulation tips. As you can see, there are perhaps some materials that have been used that come as a bit of a surprise, but that’s part of the beauty of carrying out this particular DIY job.

At the end of the day, you want to simply keep your garden shed feeling nice and warm while also ensuring that the cold and damp don’t get in and begin to cause damage. The steps mentioned above should now make all of that so much easier.

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