Shipping Container: Installing Plumbing

Installing plumbing into container walls

Installing plumbing into container walls
Cutting out for waste pipes

Installing plumbing into a shipping container. In this video we used colorful tapes to help illustrate where the services like electrical, water, cabinetry will be located, in or on our wall. The tape is not necessary but it help determine your layout before you begin. Field conditions always vary and these videos are only meant to be a guide on how to use cut and shape the InSoFast panels.

 *With all plumbing make sure it is installed in conditioned space to prevent the pipes from freezing.

In this application we insulated both the interior and the exterior of the shipping container to reduce the chance of the pipes freezing in the winter.

Work with the right tools

Here is  a direct link to a trusted  supplier of the hot knifes that we use This kit comes complete with all the blades and sleds we used in the video.

Plan the Plumbing First!!

Cut out the plumbing chases first, other services like the electrical wiring can be made to work around the plumbing. Cut the InSoFast panels approximately ¼ inch shy of the pipe’s perimeter. Hot knifes will melt away the foam for a snug fit.

Be sure where your structural elements are before your cut a hole in the floor, ceiling or wall.

Any time you cut an InSoFast panel you should put an extra bead of adhesive on the foam near the cut in order to solid-back the panel to the wall. Fill in the gap with expanding spray foam after you’ve finished your installation to seal around the pipe. When the spray foam has set, use a knife to shave off the excess.

Building out the wall

Building out the wall.

Not all the plumbing needs to be installed into the InSoFast panels. If your floor plan allows for it, you can conceal the pipe inside an intersecting wall such as a bathroom plumbing wall or partition wall. Be sure to provide an access cover for the clean-out. For further tips on intersecting walls go to:

*Running Pipes through our Electrical raceways. While this may sound like an ideal way of hiding ugly pipes in your container home, we typically discourage running pipes behind the panels and up against the potentially cold metal wall as this may result in freezing and bursting of your water lines. Covering pipes behind the insulation separates them from the warm conditioned space and exposes them solely to exterior temperatures. Even if you have never had problems before, this method can actually create the conditions that allow them to freeze. However, you may be able to successfully install piping, such as PEX, behind the panels if you are in a climate zone that does not experience freezing ground temperatures.

Another method we demonstrate is to cut out a channel in the interior side of the panel. Part 2. You can also mitigate the potential of frozen pipes by insulating your walls on both the interior and exterior sides of your shipping container. Insulating only on the exterior side would not only be more budget-friendly, it may also be more effective. The hot knife can be used to fix over cuts and ensure a tight well insulated wall. When the plumbing is completed go back and air seal any gaps or over cuts with spray foam. After the spray foam is cured trim off excess with a razor knife or hand saw.

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.