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Facings for Steel Buildings

Insulation is actually very critical to steel buildings. That is why there are so many aspects of this single feature that you must know in order to fully understand how the system works for steel buildings. There has been a considerable amount of effort put in for this task, as you may well see – there are several articles just talking about insulation in a nutshell, there are those about thermal values, there are also those about available materials, among many others. This article for one, talks about another “side” of insulation called facings.

Facings, to put it simply, are sides of insulation oriented toward the insides of steel buildings. These facings are commonly recognized as “decorative” more than functional. However, they are originally made for another purpose – to act as vapor barriers. Moreover, facings contribute to structural integrity and effective interior lighting.

Facings are usually reinforced with fiberglass scrim or nylon mesh which adds to durability and resistance to wear and tear. The color of facings also largely affects light reflectivity. Today, reflective foil facings are particularly popular because they help brighten the interiors of steel buildings with no additional energy costs. However, you are always free to choose dark colors for a dimmer ambience.

Now, facings do not actually prevent water vapor from flowing into steel buildings. What facings actually do is minimize the rate at which water vapor flows, therefore preventing the accumulation of the water vapor within the insulation system. And if the insulation system is moisture free, so is the steel building. Consequently, energy costs are reduced.

In order to ensure that facings will function effectively, you have to take several factors into consideration. One would be the location. Facings are best placed on the heated surface of the insulation material or simply, the area where the vapor pressure is concentrated. Choosing the right location will ensure that the vapor does not reach the cool air that will likely cause it to condense. Permeance is another thing. Ideally, you must choose a material with low permeance as this is a measure of how well the facing can prevent the flow of vapor through the walls. Most steel buildings do well with a perm rating of no more than 0.1.

One drawback of using facings is that, in contrast to fiberglass insulation, facings can be affected by low temperatures. Facings tend to become brittle when the weather gets too cold and end up cracking when handled. This is the phenomenon more commonly known as “cold crack”. Therefore, if temperatures of 40 degrees and below are common in your area, the use of facings is discouraged. But if the contrary applies, facings are very much recommended for steel buildings.