Shipping Container: Installing Panels on the Ceilings

How To Links:


On this page you will learn how to insulate shipping container ceilings.

  • Section 1 is about the basics about the Ceiling inserts used to fill the air void.
    • The first video is about the application of the ceiling inserts.
  • Section 2 pertains to choosing the flat panel overlay, installing and bracing the panels.
    • The second video is the application and bracing of the flat panels.
  • Section 3 Installing Wood Framing and Insulation.
    • The third video explains building the frame and adding the insulation.

Section 1 Install the Ceiling Inserts:


Apply adhesive in an "S" pattern

Cut and trim the ceiling inserts to fit and follow the contours of the out side edges. Apply adhesive in an "S" pattern. Brace the insert until the glue sets. The inserts can be braced with the flat panels holding them in place.

Apply an even bead of Pl Premium to the Ceiling Insert in an "S" pattern. 

Apply Pl Premium to the Ceiling Insert

Brace the insert until the glue sets. The inserts can be braced with the flat panels holding them in place.

Installing Flat Panels on the Ceilings:

Section 2 Installing Flat Panels

Section 2 pertains to choosing the flat panel overlay, installing and bracing the panels.


    • The second video is the application and bracing of the flat panels.
    • Install either the UX 2.0 or EXi 2.5 to the Ceiling
Two Step Process;

The ceiling of the shipping container is a two step process first you install the ceiling inserts. Then you choose to insulated with either the UX 2.0 or EX 2.5 flat panels. These panels are 48″ x 24″ and are installed on ceiling after the inserts are finished.

*In this application you are bonding two non-porous surfaces together, the metal ceiling and the InSoFast panel. Additionally you are working against gravity and the need to to brace the panels in place until the adhesive sets. Add water in the form of a very light or atomized spray from a plant mister bottle to the applied adhesive. This will accelerate the adhesive's set time but decrease the re-positioning time.
UX 2.0 Panels for the Ceiling;
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 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 for the Ceiling;
EXi 2.5 Panels

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

Installation and Bracing;

Installation and BracingCeiling UX 2.0 Press into Place

The UX 2.0 or EXi 2.5 flat panels installed on the ceiling will need to be braced until the adhesive has set. Installing the side wall panels fi rst enables you to shim the panels up in place at the edges. This eliminates a row of bracing on each side. Make a “T” style brace with 2x4s to hold the panels in place until the adhesive cures. A unique feature of the panels is that they have a tongue and groove edge, the braces can be installed roughly 4’ o.c. Be gentle - don’t pound the vertical braces into place to avoid bowing the ceiling.

Press the panels into place;

Press the panels into place and add a center "T"-brace at least 48" wide and tall enough to firmly hold the ceiling panels in place.

Installing the side wall panels fi rst enables you to shim the panels up in place at the edges. This eliminates a row of bracing on each side.

Use a

The shims are removed after the adhesive has set. After utilities have been installed, fill gap with foam.

Ceiling UX 2.0

Increasing R-Value in a Shipping Container Ceiling

Section 3 Installing Wood Framing and Insulation


    • Installing Wood Framing and Insulation.
    • The third video explains building the frame and adding the insulation.
Adding a Frame;

Increasing Ceiling R-Value

Additional insulation can be added to the InSoFast system to obtain higher R-Values. Install the ceiling inserts along with the UX 2.0 or EXi 2.5 flat panels. Here we are adding a rim joist attached directly to the CX 44 panel's studs.Next install the studs on the rim joist this can be aidded with pre-installed joist hangers.

The InSoFast panels serves as the prime moisture/condensation control layer;

The InSoFast panels serves as the prime condensation control layer.

Add a 2x4 frame work to act like a drop ceiling. Ceiling 2x4 spacing can be 16" or 24" o.c. Install cavity insulation. This is an easy way to increase R-Values in the ceiling to meet local building codes requirements.

Ceiling Assembly R-Values

Framing may be lowered to allow for additional continuous insulation above the framing.

Lowering the framework also allows you to run servies like electric and plumbing through the ceiling without drilling through the lumber, Another benifit this keeps the water lines in the conditioned space.

The Recommended Adhesive:


PL Premium

1. Why Use Loctite PL Premium 3x;

Loctite PL Premium

LOCTITE® PL PREMIUM® POLYURETHANE CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE

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' 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
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;

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.

6. Cleanup;

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.

Download PDF Instructions


Container installation guide     pdf
Container extended installation guide     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.