Topic discussion - INSULATION

Yesterday was a great day.  We visited Alan's container in Austin.  Man, what an awesome experience.  First Alan was a stupendous guy, and opened up his creation for us to visit and ask questions.  He so awesomely took the time that we needed to review key points and go over mistakes or things he might do different in the future.  Thanks Alan, it really helped.

I am going to breakdown what we learned into a few key groups and discuss one point per day until we get these issues brainstormed.  This way we can focus on what we discussed & learned.  Those keypoints are:

  • Insulation

  • Foundation

  • Air Conditioning

  • Wall strength

  • Windows

  • Materials

  • Welding

  • Tools & Equipment


    We learned quite a lot about the way Alan did insulation.  Alan stated that he used spray SOY foam insulation and had a person come out and do the work for him.  As you can see in the pictures, the foam was sprayed into the wooden frameout.  It was then applied and allowed to expand farther than the 2x4 frameout which resulted in over expansion.  Then he told us that they scraped it all to be flush with the 2x4 frameout and that made using wall coverings simple because it was a flat surface.  This is a great idea, but there are a few talking points that I see in what we are planning to achieve with ours.  Alan stated that there was a lot of inefficiencies in his build in many places.  His very artistic windows were single paned and had areas around them that allowed for escaping air, which made temperature efficiency drop.  He explained that he could have chosen to take more time with those areas, and greatly increased the efficiency if he had so desired.  This is something that we plan on working on for sure.  The reason I explain it this way is that we need to cover the other insulation properties that we are thinking of aiming for at this time.  

    I believe we are going to separate insulation into 3 zones.  One is the roof, two is the paint, and three is the inside insulation.  To start with the roof, we plan on making a roof that is about 24" or 2 feet above the house itself.  This will allow air to flow through and make a passive cooling effect.  That should have quite a big impact on the container.  However, as Alan stated, when he was inside the container before the insulation, even without windows, he could tell where the sun was shining on the outside of the container by temperature inside.  He was saying that the container is such a great conductor of heat that radiant heat passed through so easily you could feel it in the air alone.  That is amazing.  So the second idea is that we are going to use Ceramic Spray paint that allows for a huge insulation factor.  This will also help to cover the container in 1 color and help to make it look its best.  In my experience most containers need a good thorough paint job upon reciept if you want them to look great for a long time.  Third, is the inside insulation.  Alan advised us of the cost of his project and it was well within reason.  However, we are going to use project forms.  These forms will be a structured and outline system that helps us break down various elements of each project.  Time, cost, tools needed, DIY or hired help... these factors will be weighed and each decision will be voted on as we undertake each project.  So with that said, 3 types of insulation will be utilized at this time.  Roof, paint, and inside insulation.


      1. I had no idea there was a product like soy foam.

      2. Great point Mark. I had no idea either. However, for you and others who might want to research the topic, check out this site:

        They appear to be out of San Antonio and also service Austin.

      3. I had a simple question. How did he attach the wood to the sides? Or is it just build tight into there? And why not use regular insulation? Such as that pink foam stuff or whatever they call it. There is alot less work involved. No shaving just get the right thickness and bingo put up your drywall.


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