Shipping Container: Estimating and Panel Installation

How To Links:

1. Project Estimation

Decide which surface that you would like to insulate. A container is basically a cube with 6 sides, each side has 2 surfaces that you can cover. The possible surfaces now equals 12 sides, interior and exterior surfaces add in windows, doors, then R-Value the combinations are limitless. Start by figuring out how many surfaces you want to cover and R-Value (energy efficiency) you want to achieve.

Container Wall Call Outs

2. Wall Preparation per Industry Standards

  • If the container has large dented 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 removed to accommodate the dented area by scraping or cutting out the excess.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cut out all openings before installing any InSoFast panels or inserts.

3. Panels & Inserts 

The InSoFast CX Container panel and the Inserts are designed to fit most shipping containers. Containers have three types of corrugations: side wall, end wall, and ceiling. Refer to the container diagrams to determine if the InSoFast products will fit your container’s corrugations or if you will need to order custom inserts.

  • The CX 44 Panel 24" x 44"
    • Designed to fit 44" wide weld seam to weld seam.
    • CX44  Panel (5 panels/box) 36.67 s.f.
      • One 20’ high cube wall would require 5 boxes of the CX 44 panels
      • One 40’ high cube wall would require 10 boxes of the CX 44 panels
      • Side Wall Inserts Option if you are not using the CX panel

The CX44 panel varies in thickness from 2 to 3 1/2″ of thick of closed-cell, injection-molded EPS foam body achieves R-11 insulation. The CX44 is specifically engineered to fit the unique profile of a shipping container, optimized for interior finishing with the electrical raceways built-in. The panel in adaptable and will work on interior or exterior walls applications. It is a good choice as a base panel for the InSoFast PLUS when higher R-Value is needed.

SideWall Inserts 

  • In Boxes of 28 inserts 4' long (covers 12’of the container wall 8’high)
    • One side of a 20' container would need 1 3/4 boxes of the Side Wall inserts
    • One side of a 40' container would need 3 1/2 boxes of the Side Wall inserts

End Wall  or the containers nose corrugation

  • End Wall Inserts - 4’ (20/box) 72 s.f. coverage
    • One box per end wall
    • UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 (5 panels/box) 40 s.f.
      • You woud need 2 boxes UX 2.0 and one box of inserts
      • You woud need 2 boxes EX 2.5 and one box of inserts

Ceiling corrugation 

  • Ceiling Inserts - 4’ (57/box) 160 s.f. coverage
  • UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 (5 panels/box) 40 s.f.

    • One 20 Container Ceiling would require 4 boxes of the UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 and 1 Box of ceiling insert
    • One 40 Container Ceiling would require 8 boxes of the UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 and 2 Box of ceiling insert

Floor: UX 2.0 or EXi Panels 2.5 (5 panels/box) 40 s.f.

  • UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 (5 panels/box) 40 s.f.
    • One 20 Container floor would require 4 boxes of the UX 2.0 or EX 2.5
    • One 40 Container floor would require 8 boxes of the UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 

UX 2.0 Panels

2″ thick  of closed-cell, injection-molded EPS foam body achieves R-8.5 insulation The UX2.0 is our thinest profile panel, optimized for  flat surface interior finishing. The UX 2.0 will work on floors, walls, ceiling and can be adapted for shipping container construction or other unique applications. It is a good choice as a base panel for the InSoFast PLUS when higher R-Value is needed.

EXi 2.5 Panels

2 1/2″ thick of closed-cell, injection-molded EPS foam body achieves R-10 insulation. The EXi is our thinest profile panel, optimized for interior finishing. The panel will work on floors, walls, ceiling and can be adapted for shipping container construction or other unique applications. It is a good choice as a base panel for the InSoFast PLUS when higher R-Value is needed.

4. The Recommended Adhesive

  • PL Premium 3x Construction Adhesive is the only recommended adhesive for adhering the InSoFast panels to shipping containers. Other formulas and brands may not work as expected.
  • PL Premium 3x is a moisture-cured glue that takes as little as 24 hours to cure. Under cold or dry conditions, the adhesive will take longer to cure. If you are in a dry climate, you may want to lightly mist the panel with a spray bottle of water to expedite the curing process.
  • PL Premium 3x is freeze-thaw stable but it does not cure during freezing temperatures. Even with heating the inside of the container, conditions outside the container will effect the cure time.
  • It will be necessary to brace panels on the ceiling while the adhesive sets.
  • Ensure adequate time for the adhesive to cure before attaching finished materials such as drywall and cabinets.

Loctite PL Premium


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.

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' Container - Standard 3 Per side total 6 2 1/2  6 1/2 3 7 13 23
20' Container - High Cube 3 Per side total 7 2 1/2  6 1/2 3 7 14 24
40' Container - Standard 6 Per side total  12 2 1/2  13 3 14 28 45
40' Container - High Cube 6 Per side total  13 2 1/2  13 3 14 29 46

Safety Precautions
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.

Use above 40°F (4°C) and below. 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.

Apply adhesive to one surface of the material being bonded. Press the surfaces firmly together. Materials may be repositioned within 45 minutes after applying the adhesive. If bonding two non-porous surfaces (such as foam, metal and fiberglass), add water in the form of a very light or atomized spray from a plant mister bottle to the extruded adhesive. The repositioning time will then be reduced to less than 30 minutes. Use mechanical support for 24 hours while the adhesive cures.

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.

5. Tools and Supplies

  • Long snap off blade utility knife
  • Saw – hand, jig, skill, table
  • Gap and crack foam for sealing corners/openings and at the top of the wall


  • PL Premium 3x Stronger Construction Adhesive
    • 28 oz. tube covers 50 s.f. of InSoFast Panels
    • 28 oz. tube covers 100 l.f. of InSerts

6. Controlling Condensation

A shipping container provides the perfect air tight "building envelope". This type of construction requires a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system that provides fresh air exchange and controls latent moisture. It is also very important to prevent condensation that is caused by air leakage or infiltration. This is done by air sealing with expanding spray foam gap and crack filler or sealant:

  • At and around any cutout, outlet, penetration or opening through the InSoFast panels, container walls, ceilings or floors.
  • Anywhere the InSoFast panels intersect the container, ceiling, sides or floors.
  • The backside of the InSoFast panels to the container wall every 4’ horizontally as the panels are being installed.

7. Need more insulation?

  • When higher R-values are required for the walls or ceilings, additional sheet foam can be added.
  • Install the InSoFast panels and simply tack or glue sheets of foam in place. Install drywall or other interior finishes using longer screws to penetrate at least ½" into the face of the InSoFast stud.
  • CX Container panels can also be installed on the exterior, providing a greater R-Value and also an attachment for siding.

|Video Links:|

Download PDF Instructions

Container installation guide     pdf
Container extended installation guide 2019     pdf
Insulating a shipping container door      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.