Shipping Container: Insulating Swing Doors

Insulating the Container's Swing Doors with EX2.5 (FP-2.5W) Panels

Before you start

There are many styles of shipping container doors and just as many ways to insulate them. Doors vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, advanced tools and carpentry skills is required for this application. Like all of our panels they can be cut and modified to fit your size container. We will show how to use the InSoFast EX 2.5 flat panel (FP-2.5W) to insulate this door.

It is best to have a sample kit on site to fit and measure for your door.  The inserts supplied in the sample kit represent most of the common role formed angles the container manufacturers use.

Getting Started

Finished Door

Cutting Panels to Width

The EX Series panels (FP-2.5W) are 2-½” thick and will stick out past the door frame. Additional insulation will be added over the door frame to make a flush surface The EX panel is 48” long. You will need to cut the center piece out of four panels for each door. It should be friction fit but not so tight that the panel bows. This will eliminate the need to have to brace the panels while the adhesive sets. You want to make sure that the three studs in the panel are centered in the opening.

Cutting the Panels to Height

When measuring the bottom panel, include the angled part in the measurement as shown with the black dotted lines. In this application we are insulating the interior and exterior of this container. To accomidate the extra wall thickness we choose 2x6 wood bucks for strength and thermal properties. Wood is a better insulator than steel and we wanted to reduce the chances of condensation.

Cutting All the Angles

Cut the angles on the panels. The beveled cut starts about 1” back from the front face of the panel. Use scrap foam to get the angle correct with a test cut. The end wall insert (in the sample kit) is approximatley 25º. Measure and set the table cutting the angle.

Cutting out for the Rails of the Top and Bottom Panels

Measure the depth of the top and bottom rails which are about 1-½” deep. Roll the panel up and into place over the top of the bottom rail. Make an impression on the back of the panel by striking the front surface. This will leave an impression for the groove cut across the panel. This can also be done in two pieces instead of creating the groove cut on the back of the panel.

Removing Foam for Fastener Heads

Press the panel firmly against the door to leave bolt impressions in the panel. Drill out with a 1” spade bit. Remove enough foam so the panels sits tight against the door.

Dry fit the panels in place to assure proper fit.

Filling between the Panels

Use sheet foam (by others) to fill in around the cut panels around the outside edges. In this demonstration we use our  panel's cut-off pieces trimmed down to the correct height to fit between panels and then cut to the proper thickness to cover the exposed rib of the door which is about 1”.

Cutting Horizontal Side Pieces

You can either use the cut off ends of the panels that were set aside that are cut and ripped to thickness or use 3/4” foam board. Hold back the foam to accommodate a wood trim piece to avoid seeing the foam.

Glue Panels in Place

Remove all the dry fit pieces. Add a liberal amount of Loctite PL Premium 3x adhesive to the studs and foam.  The vertical foam pieces will have to be taped in place until the adhesive has set. The outside edge has a durable wood frameto protect the foam edge from exposure all foam edges should be covered.

Finishing the Door

Allow the adhesive to fully cure before applying finishes.


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.

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.