How do I seal a metal workshop building?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ November 22, 2010 ~ Comments

I have just bought a house and it has a 20 x 30 worshop outback. It's a metal building on a concrete slab. They did a pretty good job putting it together but there are many gaps between the walls and the slab. Also, there are many places in the walls and roof where they missed their mark for the screws and so there many holes. My question is how do I seal this building? I want everything sealed! I live in Georgia so this summer I would like to run some AC out there without cooling the entire county. Thanks.

James ~ Valdosta, Georgia

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi James, Let's tackle your metal building insulation issues one at at time. Where your building sits on the concrete slab I would try sill sealer. This is a flat insulation product that comes in a roll and is used when framing homes. It comes in at least 2 widths; one for 4 inch framed walls and one for 6 inch. You don't mention how large the gaps are, but I imagine they are due to the uneven finish on the slab so they shouldn't be too large. This product is about 1/8 inch thick and it can be folded over to double the thickness if needed. I would use folds to make it as thick as necessary to prevent it from being blown out by a high wind and it should also be a good deterrent for any water that wants to get through that gap. Sill sealer should be available at just about any home improvement store around Georgia.

There are a couple of different products you might consider for the holes in your shed. If there are only a few, you might try a sealant that comes in a tube like caulk. The only problem with using it is that you're going to need to remember to touch it up on a regular basis. If you plan to air condition the inside of your metal shed, it sounds like you may be planning on finishing the inside to some extent and those holes could eventually begin to leak through the sealant.

A better product for your application might be a rubber membrane type sealant. It is similar to the ice and water shield that's being used on roofs to help prevent ice damming damage. It comes in rolls of different widths and is self adhesive once you peel the backing paper off. This should be a long term solution for the holes in your shed as this product is supposed to do a very good job of preventing water intrusion.

For insulating your shed I suggest you try to find a metal building contractor around Valdosta. Commercial metal building contractors purchase metal building insulation in large quantities and you may be able to buy the little bit that you'll need for your shed from one of them. The insulation comes in rolls of various widths with 6 feet being fairly common and is usually several inches thick. You can usually get a thin vinyl fabric that's attached over the insulation so it isn't exposed on the inside of your shed and thicker materials are also available. A local metal building contractor should have all of those materials or be able to order them from their distributor.

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