Shipping Container Modifications: Insulated Shipping Container

Insulated Shipping Containers For Living Spaces In Australia’s Climate

An insulated shipping container will help keep the heat in during winter, and the heat out during summer. Due to Australia’s harsh climate, insulating a shipping container is necessary if you want to create a comfortable living space from a modified or repurposed shipping container. In this article, we’ll run-through some of your options for insulating a shipping container. But first, here’s a bit of background information on shipping containers.

Shipping Container Insulation


Shipping Container Uses

There are approximately 120 million shipping containers transporting cargo across borders at any given time and this estimate is only expected to increase. The number of shipping container vessels have steadily grown as the shipping container logistics industry continues to expand. These aluminium or steel containers made the transportation of goods efficient and affordable,  and thus revolutionised cargo transportation and international trade.

Not only used for transportation, a vast number of shipping containers are being recycled and repurposed into innovative uses by daring architects and environmentally conscious homeowners. It’s easy to see why; these brightly coloured boxes resemble building blocks, the foundation to any architectural design.  In previous articles on our blog we’ve seen how shipping containers can be modified into instant popup bars, wine cellarsportable workspaces and even for recreational facilities. Despite the potential high cost, construction time, transportability and structural strength, designing shipping container living spaces for Australia’s climate can be a real challenge for any architect.


Why You Should Insulate Your Shipping Container Living Space

Shipping containers were not designed to house inhabitants for extended periods of time. There are modifications not necessarily required, but advised-on to make living conditions more comfortable. Many people skip insulation as it increases the costs and reduces the internal living space. The local climate can make or break your container housing. Australia’s harsh weather can cause complications for your container DIY project with its scorching summer heat and chilly winters. Insulation not only keeps out the heat and cold, but also helps prevent condensation.

Methods For Creating An Insulated Shipping Container

Spray Foam Insulation

An ideal insulation method is spray foam insulation as it ensures a seamless vapour barrier that helps to prevent condensation – reducing the likelihood of corrosion and mould. It can provide comfort from both cold and humid weather. Spray foam is also the quickest method and the most flexible as it allows you to spray into gaps of any size. Spray foam gives you the choice to insulate your container internally or externally and can even be sprayed underneath your container to prevent moisture from the ground seeping in. Best of all, the foam can be painted over to achieve the aesthetic you’re after for your insulated shipping container living space. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive insulation method and can be a lot messier to apply than other insulation methods.

spray foam shipping container insulation

Insulation Panels and Blanket Insulation

These two insulation methods are more DIY friendly but requires stud walls to fit it in. Insulation panels and blanket (or roll) insulation can be bought at predefined sizes and fitted in between the gaps of your stud wall. Panel insulation is relatively more expensive than blanket insulation but is quicker to fit. It is also the thinnest insulation method compared to the others.

Blanket insulation is considered the cheapest method and can be made from mineral (rock wool) or fibreglass. However, fibreglass requires care when handling and protective equipment should be worn to ensure safety whilst installing.

shipping container fibreglass insulation

Natural Insulation – The Eco-Friendly Options

A more environmentally friendly insulation method incorporates natural materials such as wool insulation, cotton insulation, living roof and mud walls. Wool and cotton insulation is similar to blanket insulation but used natural sheep wool or recycled cotton instead of fibreglass. Living roof is not an alternative for insulation but it can reduce temperatures by up to 8% during warmer weather. Lastly, mud walls are an ideal insulation method for dry and hot climates. It can be applied externally on the container’s roof and walls using battens.

insulated shipping container wool insulation

ANL Containers specialises in modifying containers in to living spaces. We also supply insulated shipping  containers suitable for temporary accommodation as well as Reefer containers, suitable for transporting temperature-dependent goodsContact ANL Containers Hire & Sale at 1300 284 896 and get a quote today.