Shipping Container: Estimating and Panel Installation

How To Install:

Mantainer Denver 1

Interior Applications

CX44 Shaped Panel Installation
Flat Panel and Insert Installation
LowPro and Insert Installation
Shipping Container Exterior Insulation

Where to Start:

1. Start Here;

The first question to ask is why are you interested in insulating a container? Can you clearly define the project's scope? 

2. STOP:

Depending on your container's condition and end results you want to achieve, we can guide you to the best approach, which insulation panels, insert and/or insulated studs to use.

  • The condition that your shipping container is in, matters?
    • If you are trying to save money buying a container in "vintage condition," you may save money on the initial cost of the container but increase your labor costs.
  • Shipping container sidewalls are built on an 11" on center corrugation. 
      • Note this differs from standard framing construction methods built around 16" or 24" on centers. This affects other finish materials waste factors and attachment methods.
Questions we need to know to help you;
  1. What do you want to achieve when you are finished, the end result?
    • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, storage, etc.
  2. What surfaces do you need to frame and insulate?
    • Interior application?
    • Exterior application?
  3. How much insulation do you need?
    • What "R-Value" is required for your project? 
Are there building code requirements that you have to meet?

BEFORE you place an order with us talk to a design professionals and your local building code officials. Before you purchase your container is the best time to to discuss regulations, permits, and codes surrounding container building in your area. Different locations have different sets, of rules, zoning and building permit requirements.

  • Definition of Requirement - (a thing that is compulsory; a necessary condition.)
Helpful Resources:
What do you want to achieve when you are finished, the end result? 

Define your Scope of work;

  1. These pages can help you refine your needs, if you have questions give us a call @ 888-501-7899
    • Finally, make a plan and stick to it don't over-estimate your needs. Measure twice order once.

Define Project Scope:

Designed End Use of a Container;

In this section we define and narrow the available choices for insulating a container depending on the intended end use of the shipping container.

    1. Finished Interior/Exterior Space;

    Finished Interior Space; habitable, suitable to live in. This would be walls that would achieve higher R-Values, and would require planned services like electric, plumbing, windows and door openings and higher-grade finishes and cabinetry.

    2. Commercial Interior/Exterior Space;

    Commercial Interior/Exterior Space; office spaces, commercial spaces, retail pop-ups and other high-end habitable spaces. These would be walls that would achieve higher R-Values, and planned services like electric, plumbing, windows and door openings and higher-grade finishes and cabinetry.

    3. Industrial-Agricultural Spaces;

    Industrial-Agricultural Interior/Exterior Spaces; These would be walls where interior space is at a premium and services like electrical can be surface mounted. Insulation values can vary but a clean and durable finish materials like FRP fiber reinforced plastic or metal are desirable.

    4. Exterior Finishes;

    InSoFast is a stable insulation panel that will work well with most exterior finishes. Stucco, thin veneer stone, weathered steel siding, and board and batten siding's to name just a few finishes. The insulated framing systems allows the designer a wide range of options. The air tight, water tight, and 100% adhesive application, the steel shell need not be compromised with hundreds of screws holes just attaching the exterior finishes.

    Shipping Container Exterior Insulation

    1. Framing the lower Exterior wall
    2. Weathered steel siding install
    3. Board and Batten Exterior install

    The weathered steel we chose is heavier than most available material siding. Weathered steel, often referred to as *(Cor-Ten). Corten develops a light rust layer that once formed, will protect the underlying material and prevent further corrosion. That is why we chose it for this InSoFast project we are hoping for a dramatic yet rustic finished shipping container.

    Definitions, Standards and Terminology:

    1. Surface Definitions;

    A container is a cube with 6 sides, each side has 2 surfaces that can be framed and insulated. Added together interior and exterior, now the possible surfaces to insulate equals 12 sides with windows, doors, then R-Value the combinations are limitless. Container Wall Call OutsMake a plan and stick to it don’t over-estimate your needs. Measure twice order once.

    2. Abbreviations for rating the condition of used shipping containers.

    InSoFast Definition of Conditions

      • New (one trip)

      • Used (multiple trips minor dings and dents)

      • Vintage (Used hard lots of damage)

    It can be very confusing purchasing new or second hand container. Every supplier and reseller can grade conditions on a different scale of good, better, or best, ABC’s, 123’s, and other industry acronyms and certifications. The alphabetic soup of ratings. It all sound so complicated and confusing. Yet it is fairly simple, inspect your container before you make the investment. Would you buy a used car before you took it for a test ride? Take the time and visit your container reseller.

      • Institute of International Container Lessors –The IICL sets repair standards, by which all repairs are carried out. IICL is the strictest standards for used containers. Tools and Guides.
      • Cargo WorthyCW  Standard under which a used shipping container is deemed suitable for the shipping cargo.  The CW or Cargo Worthy standard generally implies that the container has a valid CSC.  That little plate attached to the container Convention for Safe Containers. Look for the latest inspection date.
      • Wind & Water Tight – WWT a standard under which containers are literally wind and water tight. In short, if you lock yourself inside the container, you should not see any light coming through the panels or roof. WWT makes no reference to the quality of the under-structure.
      • Convention for Safe Containers –CSC established in 1972 to promote and maintain a high level of safety of human life in the transport and handling of containers by providing generally acceptable test procedures and related strength requirements.
      • International Standardization Organization – ISO International organization based in Geneva working towards harmonizing worldwide technical standards; including those governing the construction of shipping containers
    3. Wall Preparation per Industry Standards

    Definition of Requirement - (a thing that is compulsory; a necessary condition.)

    Safety Precaution: Cut out all openings in the container and complete all welding, cutting or grinding operations prior to installing InSoFast panels. Do not expose the foam insulation or plastic studs of InSoFast panels to the flames, heat or sparks generated by welding, grinding or cutting on the steel container after panels have been installed. 

      • Ensure all surfaces are clean of any debris, dust, loose paint, etc before installing InSoFast panels. It is up to the installer to determine the suitability of the adhesive for the surface you are bonding to. If in doubt, an adhesive performance test can be done.
      • Eliminate any leaks before installing InSoFast panels. Do not penetrate the steel walls of your container with screws or fasteners. This compromises the continuous seal and can introduce moisture-related issues.
      • If the container has large dented or indented areas, we recommend hammering them as smooth as possible before installing InSoFast products. As an alternative, the foam of the panel or insert can be adjusted by either carving away the InSoFast foam or by adding spray foam as as a dent filler.
      • Cut out and frame all openings before installing any InSoFast panels or inserts.

    Modular Building Institute and National Portable Storage Association, Compliance Handbook.

    4. How to Choose the Best Container.

    If you are purchasing and converting a container for storage, a man cave, she shed, mobile office, or just insulated storage we recommend an in person visual inspection. It is okay to act like a Missourian, (the SHOW ME state). It be easier to modify a container in good condition then one with dings, dents, rust, and holes. 

    It is important to inspect the walls you want to cover before you order InSoFast. InSoFast panels are not suitable for every project. It is up to you to decide if you have the skills necessary to tackle leveling a wall using advanced techniques. A wall must be repaired and stabilized structurally. Containers should be hammered flat and true and all rust spots and hole fixed. InSoFast panels are designed to be applied to structurally sound walls. How to shim and level walls. Learn More

    The Recommended Adhesive:

    1. Why Use Loctite PL Premium 3x;

    Loctite PL Premium


    New Look Buy Shipping Container Insulation Panels in Monroe, NC

    Green Guard Certified Adhesive:

    One of the many reasons we recommend Loctite PL Premium is it has the GREENGUARD Certification.  It is important to us that you use an adhesive that has low chemical emissions, you are building in an airtight shipping container, improving the quality of the air you breath is kind of important.

    InSoFast panels were designed with simplicity in mind and we would argue that gluing them is not only the easiest method of installation but often the most effective. Third-party testing has shown the adhesive bond strength of our studs to have 108psi of holding power. This means each adhered panel is capable of holding over 5,000lbs!

    In Canada the Glue is LePage PL Premium

    Testing was conducted using Loctite PL Premium’s 3X Stronger Construction Adhesive, (in Canada it is marketed under the LePage PL Premium brand,) on clean concrete surfaces. It is the only adhesive we have tested. Other formulas and brands may not work as expected.

    2. Estimating Adhesive Quantity;

    Estimating Adhesive Quantity

    Estimating the amount of adhesive YOU will use has variables beyond our control like condition of your walls and how accurate are you with a glue gun? The example below is for one side wall of a 20' standard height shipping container you will need approximately 3 tubes of the adhesive. That is in a perfect world. PL Premium 3x adhesive is applied in a ⅜" bead on the backside of the studs onto the ribbed surfaces.  We realize that a 3/8" bead of glue is very subjective. It is important that there is enough adhesive to squish the dovetails on the back side of the stud when pressed to the container wall. Adhesive follows the "Goldie Locks rule, too much, too little, and just right. If you are doing just right you can expect that 1 large 28-fl oz tube will cover 18 of our 24" long studs or enough glue at a 3/8" bead to cover 36 foot long bead of glue. 

    Additionally you will have to estimate for glue around openings like windows and doors.

    1 large 28-fl oz / 828 mL tube = 18 (24" studs or inserts)

    • CX 44 (22 panels with 2 studs each plus 8 end wall edges) = 52
    • 52 ÷ 18 = 3 tubes of the adhesive

     To verify that enough adhesive is used, press the panel into place. Pull the panel back and check to see if the adhesive has spread out beyond the full width of the stud. It is normal for the panel to "float out" from the side of the container when it is accommodating irregularities in the container walls. Additional adhesive may be necessary in some areas.

    3. Adhesive Quantity Chart;
    LOCTITE® PL PREMIUM® POLYURETHANE CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE Rough estimate for  28 ounce tubes of adhesive required
    Container CX 44 Side Walls End Wall and Inserts Ceiling and Inserts Swing Doors Floors Total without doors and floors Total Estimate with doors and floors
    20' Standard 3 Per side total 6 2 1/2  6 1/2 3 7 13 23
    20' High Cube 3 Per side total 7 2 1/2  6 1/2 3 7 14 24
    40' Standard 6 Per side total  12 2 1/2  13 3 14 28 45
    40' High Cube 6 Per side total  13 2 1/2  13 3 14 29 46
    4. Important Notice: Container Surface Preparation, Temperature Application;

    Important Notice: Container Surface Temperature Applications

    When bonding EPS and XPS foam insulation, use above 40°F (4°C) and avoid cure and surface temperatures above 90°F (32°C). Surfaces must be clean, dry and free of frost, grease, dust and other contaminants. Pre-fit all materials and protect finished surfaces. If using cartridge format, cut nozzle at a 45° angle to desired bead size and puncture inner seal. Be very careful not to allow Loctite® PL® Premium to cure on a finished surface.

    Cold Weather Tips:  

    Interior Installation

    Heating the interior of the container will not be sufficient for the adhesive to cure because the insulation panels will not allow heat to transfer to the container surface.  It is recommended to either move the container to a heated area or tent and heat the exterior until the adhesive has cured.

    Exterior Installation

    The interior of the container can be heated until the adhesive has cured.

    Interior and Exterior Installation

    Install the exterior panels first while heating the interior.  Allow adhesive to cure before installing interior insulation.

    Overview / FeaturesTechnical Data / Directions

    5. Safety Precautions and Cleanup;

    Wear gloves. Cured adhesive on bare skin will not come off immediately with washing and will cause skin to darken. Cured adhesive and discoloration will come off in about 3 days.

    Clean tools and uncured adhesive residue immediately with mineral spirits in a well-ventilated area to the outdoors. Remove cured adhesive by carefully scraping with a sharp-edged tool.

    PDF instructions and other guides

     CX 44 InSoFast Shipping Containers Brochure pdf
    InSoFast R-Value vs Space Comparison for Shipping Container Insulation pdf
    LowPro Solution for Insulating Containers Brochure pdf

    InSoFast Plus Method

    Need a higher R-value? No Problem! Start with a base of InSoFast continuous insulation panels they are feature-rich and easy to install. Then add rigid foam insulation over top of InSoFast panels.