A 16’ overhead door opens to reveal 4 containers

A 16’ overhead door opens to reveal 4 containers

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One of the joys of visiting customers is to see what they have done with their containers! I stopped in to see a recent customer who added 8 of our 40’ containers onto his warehouse. Here are some pictures of the great way he maximized his warehouse with our containers!

The company moved into a new space that had a great combination of office and warehouse space. There was plenty of land around the warehouse as well. However, the original building just didn’t have enough storage space for them. Each department needed room for extra materials and supplies.

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Enter the genius of Gary, the owner. He solved their storage problems without needing to build or add to their heating bill. He set up two sets of 4 containers each butting up to the warehouse. The containers are set two across and two high. They created a small deck and railing for the upper level. Movable stairs were installed to access the upper level. He also installed a 16’ overhead door for each set of containers. Being in the Midwest where it gets VERY cold in the winter, we could feel the rush of cold air when the doors opened coming in from the container. Up until then, it had been rather cozy in there.

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The space is split up by department. They assigned each pair (up and down) of containers to different departments. For one department that had equipment that had a tendency to grow legs, they put in a partition with a lockable door.

Their set-up now gives them over 2500 square feet more than what they had before the containers were set up. Gary, the owner, was thrilled with the flexible arrangement and the cost was far less than physically adding onto the warehouse! He even put a roof over the area between the two sets of containers for a spot to store their ladders and other tall materials out of the weather.

Outside of the warehouse, they also have additional containers. They have two 40’ containers set end to end with one another. They cut out one of the 40’ sides to each and installed the pallet racking and tarps, which fold down to protect against snow.

Containers are so flexible and can offer up a perfect building block to so many different ideas. We love seeing those ideas come to life with our containers.

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So you want to insulate your container.  It seems like it should be easy, but the biggest question to ask yourself is which way is best for me?  Today we're going to talk about 4 different styles of insulation:  traditional roll insulation, spray foam insulation, foam board insulation and structural insulated panels.  All have their own pros and cons, so I'll try my best to cover them.   Also, we'll try to tackle different kinds of interior walls at the end.

If you have experience with any of these, I am strongly encouraging people to comment below - add pictures if you'd like!  I know a lot of you have tackled this and your advice is great appreciated!

Traditional Roll Insulation

This is the style most do-it-yourself-ers are used to.  Frame in the container like you would a traditional insulation project, however, you can put your 2x4's flat against the wall so they protrude into the interior of the container only 2" instead of 4".  Roll in the insulation and cover with whatever paneling/interior walling you would like.  The pros to this one - you might have already done a project like this, making it easy to figure out how to do it.  The cons - it does take up a bit of space, you have to deal with roll insulation and the framing has to be cut perfectly to fit in perfectly into the height of the walls since you can't nail them into the wall of the container.  Also, you may need to put in a vapor barrier to prevent condensation, which is just one more step.

Spray Foam Insulation

This is quickly becoming my go-to method of insulation.  Some framing is still necessary here, but spray foam insulation is applied as the walls are installed to keep it inside.  The pros - you can get insulation into every nook and cranny in the corrugation of the walls, increasing your r-factor and reducing condensation, and a good r-factor can be reached with narrower walls. The cons - it takes a little more know-how to get the application just right (however there are companies that will do that part for you) and the cost can be a little higher than traditional roll insulation.  Overall, I think it is a good mix of price and value.

Foam Board Insulation

Foam board insulation is a product that we sell and is available through most container sellers.  It consists of 2" of foam board with a thin panel on one side to be the interior walls of the container.  This is usually a laminated material that can be easily wiped clean with a cloth.  The boards come pre-cut to fit into the walls, ceiling and doors of the container and installation is, in theory, relatively easy.  However, installation does require using some clips that are adhered to the inside of the container and the ceiling panels keep the walls panels in place.  The door panels can be a little trickier to install.  The pros - it is a an all-in-one product so you don't need to find paneling for the interior walls, the kits come with everything you need for installation.  The cons - it takes up a full 2" for a very medium-level r-factor and can be a little clunky to install for novices.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are panels designed to provide both structure to walls as well as insulation.  They are mde with OSB panels, a foam core (or other material such as plywood, cement board, etc) and a connector piece for putting them together.  They are by far the strongest option here, and are widely used in modular homes.  I do not have any experience in using them, however, I think that the additional structural support might be useful in projects where large portions of the container are going to be cut out and additional structure needs to be added to the remaining walls.  The pros - they are very strong and provide a high r-factor.  The cons - they are expensive and heavy, which make them a little more difficult to work with.

 

Interior walls

Related to insulation is what to use for your interior walls. The beauty of modifying your container is that really, anything you want pretty much will work.  Here are some common ones: plywood/OSB, thin wood paneling, FRP panels, fabric-covered fiberglass wall panels, drywall, steel plating and literally anything else you can get to stick to your framing.  A stroll through your local big box hardware store can give you endless inspiration.  When picking what is going to be right for you, think about a couple of things to consider:

  1. How will you be using the space? If it is going to be an office, maybe going with the cloth interior of fabric-covered fiberglass wall panels would be good. Do you need to clean it often? Then FRP might be best. Industrial use that you need steel, there you go.

  2. What is your budget? Some options are more expensive than others. Plywood is going to be cheaper than steel plating.

Do you have examples of projects you have completed?  How did you insulate your container?  What worked and didn't work with that?  Please comment below.

 

As the National Portable Storage Association annual conference and trade show, one of our container modification kit suppliers unveiled their latest kit – the container barn door.  They brought a 4’ door as an example of the kit, however doors can be made in whatever length you would like.

The kit comes with the barn door, tracks above and below the door that weld onto the container and a lockbox to secure the door.  Weather-stripping may be added for an additional charge.  Generally the door is set up to be a singular door, but two doors can be installed together for access to a larger section of the container by the doors.

To see a video of  the sliding barn door click here.

If you are interested in container barn doors, please let us know!