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4 Best Types on How to Insulate a Shipping Container | Coast Containers

July 15, 2021
Jessica Bingham

How to Insulate a Shipping Container?

Knowing the best way to insulate a shipping container may be new territory for some people looking to create a portable storage space, temporary office or container home! With many different insulation types for various insulation needs, it may be overwhelming for a ‘newbie’ to determine the right fit for them. We want to provide an easy-to-follow explanation of the best insulation type for you based on insulation type, budget and container usage. Now let’s dive into the basics of how to insulate shipping containers!

What is Shipping Container Insulation?

Shipping containers are primarily made from steel and are sealed shut by large doors at either end of the container. Since containers are made of steel, they adapt to the climate in which they are stored. Insulating a shipping container can regulate the temperature and climate inside your container. Shipping container insulation is designed to prevent heat or cold air from coming into your container. Depending on what you plan to store in your shipping containers, such as foods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and temperature-sensitive items, insulation will be needed. Insulation provides energy-efficient temperature control of your container by regulating the temperature inside. Wondering how to insulate a container home? Stay tuned …

4 Best Ways to Insulate a Shipping Container

There are many forms of insulation for shipping containers, but we wanted to share our top four insulation recommendations with you to find the best insulation option for you! Whether you are looking for tips on how to insulate a shipping container home, office space, or storing temperature-sensitive items, there are many insulation types to choose from. 

Blanket Insulation 

Blanket insulation is designed to provide a comfortable temperature for your container while being easy to install and low cost. It comes in either pre-cut lengths to fit standard wall heights (technically called “batts”) or long rolls that can be cut into pieces that perfectly fit your space (technically called “blankets”). Blanket insulation is fluffy, compressible and not self-supporting. This insulation will need to be installed between wood studs to support the insulation while keeping it structurally sound. Blanket insulation comes in various forms and materials:

  • Fiberglass insulation: is the most common material used in blanket insulation because of its low cost and flexibility. 
  • Mineral rock and slag wood: is made from ceramics and minerals, or “slag” which is a byproduct of metal production. Comparable to fiberglass, however, made from different materials. 
  • Plastics and natural fibers: made from cotton and sheep wool or recycles materials such as denim. 

The R-value upon purchase will indicate different thicknesses and densities are available for fiberglass insulations, depending on the needs of your interior space. 

Styrofoam Insulation 

An excellent option for basic storage needs! Using styrofoam to insulate your container is ideal for someone with a smaller budget who wants to install basic insulation in their shipping container. Styrofoam panels are glued right to the container walls, so there is no need to install stud walls. 

Styrofoam insulation is not suitable for storing highly temperature-sensitive items, only for basic storage needs. 

Loose-Fill Insulation 

Loose-fill insulation is used to add to existing insulation by filling in gaps, irregularly shaped areas and filling in any obstructions that may have transpired during your insulation process. Applied by adding small chunks of insulation into the desired areas of the wall that are missing insulation. Purchase loose-fill insulation in the forms of cellulose, fiberglass and mineral wool.

Spray Foam Insulation 

Spray foam insulation comes in several different materials that are applied by spraying the liquid onto the walls of your shipping container, which will then harden in place. A great option for containers that need to be cool, warm or dry, depending on location! If you know your container will be located in an area that experiences extreme changes in weather, this is the option for you.

The hardened liquid forms a barrier within the container to resist air movement and reduce heat by stabilizing the temperature. The spray foam mixture expands into place between the studs of your container, getting into every space ensuring a tight seal. 

What Material to Choose for Insulation?

Home 

Now you may be wondering how to insulate a shipping container for living in! The most crucial factor to consider when choosing shipping container home insulation is which one will create the best air-tight seal. Having an air-tight seal is energy efficient and cost effective because it keeps your home’s cooling and heating system from going into overdrive. The main goal is to save you money in the long run by choosing the proper insulation for a comfortable temperature. 

We recommend spray foam insulation as the best option to ensure every nook and cranny is sealed. Spray foam will expand into the hard-to-reach areas and irregularly shaped corners, providing the best results. A professional has to install spray foam insulation, and it is more costly than other insulation forms. However, the pros outway these cons, with the costs of insulating as you will be saving money in the long run because of its air-tight seal, high R-value (thickness and density) and permanent insulation that will not need maintenance a few years down the road. Investing in high-quality insulation will benefit you for years to come. 

The next best type for shipping container house insulation is high-level blanket insulation! Blanket insulation is perfect for those DIYers who want to cut costs when building their shipping container home. Many people who decide to build a home from shipping containers love to get their hands dirty and do most of the work themselves. Choosing blanket insulation will allow you to install this without the help of a professional and save on the higher costs associated with spray foam. Also, an excellent option for people who live in a neutral climate where heating and cooling won’t be a high monthly cost. 

Garage

You also may be wondering how to insulate a storage container for your vehicles, recreational vehicles and sports equipment that’s taking up too much room in your home garage? Heavy-duty insulation is unnecessary for this kind of storage. We recommend using styrofoam insulation or low-level blanket insulation as they are both low-cost DIY options. 

Office

Turning a shipping container into a portable office space is highly popular in industries that require temporary office spaces. Insulating a shipping container office will be necessary if you are spending long hours in the office. We recommend using blanket insulation and loose-fill insulation to insulate your container as it is low cost and a great way to ensure your container has a tight air seal. Using the loose-fill insulation in nooks and crannies that the blanket insulation may have missed will further increase your container’s insulation quality, all while saving you money. 

Cold Climates

Colder climates require insulation with very high R-values, meaning the higher the R-value, the greater the effectiveness of the insulation’s resistance to outside temperatures. We recommend using spray foam insulation as it has a high R-value that doesnt lose its effectiveness over time. 

Hot Climates

Hotter climates require fire retardant insulation, which is why we recommend using fiberglass insulation as it is fire retardant and great for homes in dry climates. 

Conclusion 

Shipping containers are great for storage (temporary or permanent), portable office spaces, container homes and more! At Coast Containers, all of our new and used containers are wind and watertight, rodent proofs, and customizable to your liking. We also offer many different containers, which can have thermal insulation or regular insulation depending on what you want to use your new container for. Find out all about our new shipping containers and the different modifications we offer herePurchase your container from us today, and we would love to help you with any customizations and insulations you want – contact us today to see how we can help!

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