5 Amazing Ways To Insulate A Shipping Container Home

spray foam insulation for a shipping container home
"houston-texas-spray-foam-insulation" by dunktanktechnician is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

How to insulate a shipping container is one of the things that come to mind when you want to build one. Learning how to insulate a shipping container home is very important and it can indeed make a difference. Which is why we created a list to help you figure out how to insulate a home the right way in no time.

Types of Shipping Container Home Insulation

What you will notice is that there are different types of shipping container home insulation. First, you have the interior insulation. A lot of people go with this because it helps you maintain a rough, rather industrial look. It’s still a cool approach, and one that you totally need to check out on your own.

Exterior insulation is important as well. While insulating the interior might be OK for some, it’s not exactly the best option. When you do insulation on a shipping container, you do want to have exterior insulation.

This is crucial because it allows you to keep you safe even during the colder months without a problem. That being said, exterior insulation is obviously more expensive.

Materials for Exterior Insulation

The materials for exterior insulation can be stone, plaster, wood and so on. They can actually help provide a pretty impressive insulation and the quality you get is rather impressive. Yes, it does have its fair share of challenges, and in the end that’s the thing to pursue.

With that in mind, you can use cork for acoustic and thermal insulation. So there are certainly options, you just have to find the ideal ones that suit your needs and requirements. Then you will be more than OK.

Then there’s the mixed insulation. The idea here is to insulate the interior and exterior. You can apply interior insulation just for one part of the home. Then you insulate the entire exterior.

Granted, this is not exactly the recommended option, because there can be a thermal bridge instability. You can have massive temperature variations and that on its own might not end up being good. Still, some people applied it and it worked for them, so there’s that.

Challenges you Face When Insulating a Shipping Container Home

There’s no denying that you can find many challenges when you’re insulating a shipping container home. It just comes with the process. Before you decide what insulation material you use, you want to narrow down how you build the walls.

When you connect multiple containers, then adding space from the inside of the walls is not a problem. However if you just have 1-2 containers, then space will become an issue.

You can use exterior cladding in order to ensure that there’s more space in the interior. These things matter more than you imagine, especially in a situation like this. Which is certainly a thing to keep in mind.

Read More: Exclusive Pros, Cons, and Costs of Shipping Container Homes

cork insulation board
Cork insulation board. Photo courtesy indiamart.com

Cork-based Insulation

A lot of people try to go the natural route when you focus on the insulation on a shipping container. The truth is that cork is one of those natural materials to offer you a pretty good insulation without dealing with chemicals.

Most people try to stay away from chemicals as much as possible these days anyway. So it makes sense to have things like cork being provided, and that’s certainly a thing to take into consideration.

Cork is biodegradable and renewable, so it’s actually one of the better materials out there when it comes to insulation. Another thing to note is that you don’t have to cut down trees to harvest cork. Instead you get the bark from trees every 9 years.

This is why cork is a good option. Because it’s a renewable resource and it does convey a tremendous experience and solution. It’s totally something to keep in mind, and you will appreciate the value and benefits that you expect. Which is exactly something to pursue and focus on all the time.

Is Cork Insulation Carbon Negative?

That being said, this harvesting process is making cork carbon negative. Then there’s also the fact that cork offers great acoustic properties. Which means you don’t have to worry about sound transmission as much.

It’s totally something you want to consider. And in the end you will be more than happy with the process and experience. That’s why cork can be a good idea for shipping container home insulation.

“Fire resistance” by ilovebutter is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Using Wool for Shipping Container Home Insulation

Another material that you could possibly use for insulation is wool. Yes, wool is also renewable and it can help you insulate your shipping container home without that much of a hassle.

A lot of people might end up dismissing this because they think it’s not working the way they want. But the truth is that wool is actually very reliable, efficient, and it can be the answer to the how to insulate a shipping container home question.

Wool has a very high performance and it’s environmentally friendly too. It has an R value of 3.5 per inch. To put that into context, it has a similar insulation value to denim, fiberglass, and many others.

Fire Resistance of Wool Insulation for Your Container Home

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that the lanolin you find in a sheep’s wool is actually a natural flame retardant. You don’t need to add any chemical solutions and in doing that, you will be quite impressed with the value and quality.

The fact that there’s great thermal performance and you also don’t have to spend a ton of money is amazing in its own right. Which is why we recommend using this particular approach when it comes to insulation. Obviously there are other options, but overall you are getting a pretty good value for money and the quality is definitely there.

When you’re insulating a shipping container home, you always want to find the right option that suits your requirements and your budget. And yes, this might very well be the one you want.

Cotton Insulation

When we think about materials for shipping container home insulation, cotton is actually a very good one. It’s an ethical solution and one that truly gets to make a difference.

The best part is that a lot of companies are offering a cotton-based insulation solution. And you will find that it’s actually delivering a similar performance to wool and fiberglass.

So, why not use cotton to begin with? In many cases, you will find it to be less expensive when compared to other options anyway, so that’s totally a thing that makes a huge difference.

You don’t have to treat cotton with any chemicals, whereas other compounds might need treatments, which is a problem. With that being said, you need a vapor barrier if you want cotton insulation.

Disadvantages of Using Cotton to Insulate Your Shipping Container Home

When cotton is wet, it becomes very dense. Upon that happening, you will end up with cotton losing some of its properties. The challenge here is that it takes a while for it to dry out and thus regain some of those great properties. But if you get past that, it’s actually going to be more than ok.

So, is cotton a good idea for shipping container home insulation? It depends on where you live and if there’s plenty of wetness there. Thankfully, for the most part shipping container homes will be ok with cotton insulation.

But if the humidity levels are high, then you may want to find other options. Still, it’s one of the best materials out there and certainly something to think about in a situation like this.

Read More: What’s the Best Spray Paint for a Shipping Container Home?

spray foam insulation for a shipping container home
“houston-texas-spray-foam-insulation” by dunktanktechnician is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Spray Foam Insulation

One of the options that many shipping container home owners are trying out is definitely spray foam insulation. It offers a very fast and efficient way to insulate, and the quality itself is very good.

The fact that you can spray the insulation material on both the interior and exterior certainly adds some great results. It’s definitely the type of thing that a lot of people appreciate, and it helps convey the benefits you expect.

With that in mind, some shipping container home do have toxic paints and this insulation has the potential to trap that. The downside is that the chemicals can actually end up off-gassing into your home.

This insulation method is not sustainable. If anything, the materials used here are from the petrochemical world, so far from something sustainable. That means there are various hazards that can bring in problems, things like asthma, respiratory problems, even lung damage in some situations.

However, not all of the spray foam is the same. However most of these things can end up damaging the environment. And that’s certainly a thing you want to think about. It’s totally something that you want to consider and in the end the potential is going to be well worth it.

Is Spray Foam Insulation Toxic?

Are these toxic? Most of them are, and that’s why you want to ask a professional’s help before you end up using such a method.

Yet when you learn how to insulate a shipping container home, you always want to have some options. This particular method is great, and it can work in some cases. But it’s obviously not fully foolproof and it certainly has its downsides. Yet in the end, you will find it works quite well and that’s exactly what you must think about.

strawbale insulation
“Sue Installing Insulation in Attic Roof – Strawbale House Build in Redmond Western Australia” by Red Moon Sanctuary is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Strawbale or Hempcrete to Insulate a Shipping Container

Another way to start insulating a shipping container home is via using strawbale or hempcrete. These insulation batts are fluffy, thick and also comprehensible. The cool thing about strawbale or hempcrete is that the insulation materials you can use here are very affordable and eco-friendly. They are stacked like blocks, and the nice thing is that you don’t have to worry about massive temperature changes.

At the same time, the strawbale or hempcrete insulation is bringing in a low R value, which means the thermal resistance values are not overly high. Which is great, because you get to access some nice benefits and plenty of results.

Are These Great Insulation Options?

It certainly takes a bit of a trial and error to narrow everything down, and once you do it right, the potential can be very impressive. Rest assured that strawbale or hempcrete are some great options, even if they might seem a bit challenging to use at first.

For most people, the thing that makes strawbale or hempcrete ideal is definitely their price. Are these the perfect container home insulation? Not exactly. But the fact that they are affordable means you will not have to worry about dealing with massive prices. Instead, you can finally have an insulation solution that works for your budget.

Going past that, you will also notice that Strawbale or hempcrete can be used for exterior and interior insulation. It’s one of the more versatile insulation solutions and it’s totally something you want to think about.

That’s the ideal thing here. The fact that you have the opportunity to optimize and adapt your insulation is totally something to think about. Yes, it’s going to be difficult at first, but in the end the potential is going to be well worth it. And that’s the thing to pursue the most in a situation like this.

At the end of the day, we all want to insulate a shipping container home with materials that will help protect us and also maintain the right temperature. Strawbale or hempcrete can do that. And while it might not be the best insulation method, it’s definitely one of the more affordable ones.

Conclusion

Finding out how to insulate a shipping container home is extremely important and one of those tasks you need to take into consideration. Yes, there are challenges that can arise, but with the right amount of help you will be able to achieve amazing results.

That being said, these 5 shipping container home insulation methods are very efficient. And we guarantee they will work very well. There are some criteria to think about, which can make one of these solutions more or less ideal. But at the end of the day, all of them will work if you want great insulation on a shipping container!

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