How to Insulate a Shed

Shed insulation isn't always an instant thought. After all, why insulate your shed if you’re only planning to store equipment? Well, think again – insulating your shed is much more significant than you think. Most shed owners swear by it.

Sheds are no longer like giant tool boxes for gardening equipment. It’s not uncommon to turn them into a second home, an idea we firmly support. It's a good idea to have that quick getaway that acts as a home away from home, even though it’s only steps away in your backyard And so we're here to help you turn your shed into an extension of your home— with insulation to keep you comfortable, no matter the weather.

You can insulate a shed on a budget, but there are factors to consider. First off, if it’s already 10+ years old and you’re looking to extend its life by a couple more years, you’re better off buying a new shed. To support the added weight of insulation, the shed must have a sturdy frame, which is unlikely in older sheds. They’ll also be strong enough to hold the nails & screws you put in the frame.


Choosing the Right Insulation for your Shed

Figuring out the best insulation option for you depends on your budget, what you want to use the shed for, and what part you're planning to insulate.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is the most basic shed insulation. It’s also the cheapest. While utilising bubble wrap insulation is preferable to no insulation at all, bubble wrap in itself is not enough. However, it can still be effective when combined with a tougher material, such as an oriented strand board (OSB).

Rockwool Insulation

Rockwool is made from industrial slag and volcanic rock. It regulates heat and keeps humidity out, protecting the equipment & furniture in your shed. Additionally, it will act as a mild soundproof barrier, keeping sound waves from coming in and going out. .

Polyisocyanurate Boards

Polyisocyanurate (PIR) boards, often known as Celotex, are another common form of rigid insulation. These boards are made of stiff, closed-cell foam and are typically used for flooring, walls, and roofing. They can also be easily tailored to the size that suits the frame of your shed. In addition, PIR boards typically have foil backing to provide an additional thermal barrier and a vapour-control layer. This makes them heat-flow resistant, more effectively insulating your shed.

Breathable Membranes

Breathable membranes are designed to be water-resistant while allowing air to pass through. These membranes prevent moisture, eliminate dampness, and enhance airventilation.

Fibreglass Roll

For an environment-friendly option, fibreglass roll is frequently created from recycled glass. It contains many air pockets, meaning it won't shrink or lose its shape over time, making it a long-term option. However, when it becomes wet, fibreglass insulation stops being able to insulate. Additionally, it includes microscopic glass slivers that can hurt the skin or the lungs (if inhaled).


Plasterboard insulation boosts the thermal performance of your shed walls on a budget without drastically diminishing the inside area. You can use glue, nails, or screws to attach it to the walls.


Another great alternative is hardboard. It’s more affordable, long-lasting, and durable than plasterboard. However, plasterboards are more water resistant, so figure out which works best with your shed.

Plywood and OSB

Plywood and OSB both are resistant to high-impact stress. They’ll stand the test of time as you bang tools against the walls and move storage items around. .

Pallet Board

The rough, untreated appearance of salvaged pallet board may be the solution if you seek reasonably priced yet aesthetically pleasing shed insulation. Reclaimed pallet boards are the closest thing to free shed insulation. However, some pallet boards have nail holes, which will reduce their insulation effectiveness. If you're going for pallet boards, look for ones without holes.

Tongue-and-Groove Insulation

Tongue-and-groove insulation can be difficult & time-consuming to install, but it’s worth the investment. Nevertheless, these boards have a nice appearance and solid foundation for varnish or painting. It would be preferable to purchase a shed made of tongue-and-groove boards rather than installing them as insulation afterwards. Tongue-and-groove boards are one of the more expensive insulation options. But a shed constructed from this top-notch insulating material will inevitably offer a greater defence against heat, saving you time and money in the long haul.


How to Insulate a Shed?

This part is all hands on deck: we're insulating your shed.

Here's everything you will need:

  • Safety equipment

    • Dust mask

    • Safety glasses

    • Baby powder (helps lessen irritation from insulation-related particles)

  • Your choice of insulation

  • Tape/adhesive

  • Jigsaw

  • Staple gun

  • Heavy-duty scissors

  • Measuring tape 

  • Sharp knife, if required.

  • Roll roofing, if needed.

  • Hammer

  • Foam filler

  • Plywood, if required

  • 6-mil plastic vapour barrier

  • Soffit vents 

  • Baffles (optional)

  • Ladder or platform

  • Spray foam

Now that you have your equipment, you can get started on your shed insulation.

STEP 1: Clear the shed. Remove all of the shed's contents to gain complete access. This will allow you to inspect for any gaps or holes and any signs of roof leaks that may have been hidden by the objects kept within the structu

STEP 2: Check the roof. Before you start insulating the walls, floor, and the area surrounding the window(s) and door, ensure the roll roofing is secure because a shed will lose heat via the roof. Put a nail in it if it is. Replace the roofing if it is broken or the shed leaks; otherwise, better insulate it. You can use patches for smaller damaged areas.

STEP 3: Measure the wall/roof panels. Make sure your measurements are accurate because you want enough materials and insulation to cover your shed.

STEP 4: Seal around the door and windows. Gaps should be filled in around the shed's door and any drafty windows to prevent the entry of cool air.

STEP 5: Measure the space between the studs. Each insulation piece should be cut to match the space after being measured for each stud bay. It's recommended that each piece be an additional 3/4" longer and wider than your specifications.

STEP 6: Cut the insulation to size. This is where your measurements will come in handy. Cut your chosen insulation to size.

STEP 7: Place the insulation between the studs. The insulation should fit tightly because it is slightly larger than the stud bay, although there will probably be a lot of trimming to do.

STEP 8: Insulate the shed ceiling or roof. It works amazingly well to staple smaller plastic sheets before sliding the heavier insulation batts into position. Until a larger plastic vapour barrier sheet can cover the entire ceiling, it holds the batts in place pretty well.

STEP 9: Install a 6-mil vapour barrier. Since many insulations already include a vapour barrier, not all insulation will need this procedure. However, if you've chosen Rockwool insulation, you will need a minimum 6-mil vapour barrier, a sizable plastic sheet that will cover the walls and ceiling of the stone insulation.

The guidelines for using a 6-mil vapour barrier are as follows.

  • Staple the studs on after overlapping the seams by a few inches.
  • Remove the plastic covering the electrical boxes and windows.
  • Tuck tape all seams to prevent airflow through the vapour barrier and gaps.

STEP 10: Cover All the Staples and Openings with Tape. Any air behind the vapour barrier in your walls or ceiling should not be mixed with the heated and cooled conditioned areas. Make sure to tape around electrical boxes, recessed lights, staples, and holes or tears in the plastic to prevent this from happening.

Related: Frequently Asked Questions About Wooden Sheds


Additional information that may be useful for your insulation project

Insulating Around Recessed Lights

Ensure your shed's recessed lights are IC certified, indicating that "Insulation Contact" is permitted. Recessed lights can get hot with conventional bulbs, and you want to avoid starting a fire.

Installing Baffles for Ventilation

Baffles are stapled to the underside of the roof to safeguard the fresh airflow entering the shed from the soffit vents from the outside. You want the insulation on your roof to maintain the ventilation. To increase airflow, drill more holes above the double-top plate in the bays. Keep the baffles in place by stapling them. Once all the baffles are in place, spray foam to fill in any gaps or fractures to prevent air movement through the sides.

How to Fit Insulation Around Electrical Boxes and Wires

Boxes.  To mark where you need to cut the insulation, use a tape measure or hold it in place while making a precise cut mark. To know how deep you cut each electrical box, measure your boxes.

Electrical Wires.  Make a slot along the back of the insulation for electrical wiring (after taking measurements to be sure your slit is perfectly aligned). The electrical wires should be inserted into the insulation's slit after slightly bending the insulation. This will enable the wires to be safely buried in the insulation without obstructing the installation process.

Cut enough insulation to fit around any light boxes or thick electrical wires in any areas between the studs so that the insulation will still fit.


Does Your Shed Need Insulation?

Shed insulation sounds fun and all, but don't jump right into it. First, assess whether your shed needs ventilation.

It's a go signal on the shed insulation if:

You want to heat and cool your shed's inside, and if you use fibreglass or Rockwool stone insulation as insulation. Condensation could result from combining interior-conditioned heating and cooling with the elements because you are heating and cooling the interior of your shed. To keep those components apart, the vapour barrier is crucial. However, the ventilation also replaces the attic air above the insulation with cooler air from the outside, keeping warm air from rising and out of the ridge vent.

Abort mission on the shed insulation if:

The only situations in which you wouldn't require a ventilation system are when you're using spray foam to insulate the roof of a shed that won't be insulated and in which you don't want to heat or cool the shed's inside.

Of course, you know your shed, so it's better to research and decide how you plan your shed.


It's not enough that you have a garden shed. You could even want to store delicate equipment to protect it from harsh weather conditions, such as the cold of winter or the heat and humidity of summer. We can also assist you in determining whether it is worthwhile to insulate a pre-built shed before you begin work.

Come to think of it: your house has insulation; it makes sense for you to insulate a shed. After all, it is your garden shed, private den, sanctuary, man cave, or whatever fun name your shed has.

The Wooden Shed Company offers a variety of backyard or garden shed designs to build your ideal all-around shed. If you're thinking of installing a shed or renovating your shed, we're here to answer your questions.


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Contact Us

Phone: 027 441 4010


Address: 875 German Road, Starvation Hill 7495, New Zealand



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Warwick, S. (2022, June 26). How to insulate a shed in 5 easy steps. Real Homes.