Installing Spray Wall Insulation – Shipping Container Home

[wposflv src=http://localhost/containerliving.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/spray_foam_installation.flv]

Pro Tight visited this week to install the spray wall insulation. They started by protecting everything we didn’t want foam on such as the sockets etc that saves digging out at a later date. The spray foam has a heat reaction that when sprayed gives off heat when it expands. This meant that although the guys started at 7am and were swapping every 45 minutes for a break due to the heat build up by lunch time they were down to swapping every 10 minutes. Not normally a problem for them but they aren’t used to working in such a confined space as the apartment which also meant as the walls got insulated the more heat built up as it locked heat into the shipping container home. We got the ventilation fan going upstairs to try and help with the problem as well as some of the fumes given off that made your eyes water with a similar affect to chlorine from swimming pools. Doesn’t hurt just irritating and even if you wore glasses or goggles it wouldn’t prevent it from happening. Not normally a problem in large places like factories etc. where the guys would normally be insulating walls.

Will be seeing the arrival of ship rock this week as well as hopefully the electric supply being installed. Add to that the 1800 ft trench needed for the water pipe supply I have plenty to be doing.

How to insulate a shipping container home

Its probably one of the biggest issues facing container homes as well as the reason many people get put off from building a shipping container home. In reality though there are several options open to people and they don’t all involve specialist equipment.

The best insulation comes from a foam spray currently that can be added externally or internally. Generally I would advise externally as it saves wasting space on the inside of the structure. At the same time the foam spray doesn’t leave spaces for vapour build up which could cause rust or rot long term.

There are DIY kits as shown in the one I added from Amazon personally I advise getting a company in or looking at hiring the industrial equipment especially if doing the entire container also remember to get safety gear as this stuff is extremely sticky and another good reason to get a professional in is insurance.

The next method is using things like glass fibre or injected insulation in between cavities internally or externally. First issue is that it doesn’t seal 100% and if vermin find their way in they can nest inside the walls. It also doesn’t carry the same insulation properties as the foam with a much lower rating currently although like most things in the industry everyone is pushing for better quality and standards so that could change. Also looking at alternative methods there are many other things that can be used on the same principles but I advise a bit of time and research on any insulation methods as every salesman doesn’t give you the negatives just the sales pitch. For me I would go with the batten method with many projects purely down to low cost and also ease of installation.

Specialised insulation or heat reflective paints are still in the early days but do work to some degree can’t really rate them myself as I have yet to find some here in the Philippines but do know the industry says their great while other people are a bit more skeptical so would need some feedback on these types of methods as simply it needs “proof in the pudding” rather than industry fed information

The other method which is my favorite but not always easily available is natural cooling which can be as simple as placing the shipping container home in a shaded area, building a trellis on the side that gains the most sun and growing plants that will cover the trellis. Or raising the building off the ground to allow natural heating and cooling due to using the elements to assist. During the day air travels under the home at the same time the sun heats the exposed ground area which at night naturally can heat the home. Adding into the mix air ducts to naturally force cool air through the home with no running costs or adding a secondary angled roof to use as shade as well as rainwater harvesting are all alternatives. One I thought of while visiting someone’s farm recently with spring water everywhere is running natural water flow under or over a building to cool the building from the water supply while using the same feed to the fish ponds so that the water isn’t wasted.