Roof insulation for the OKC container home

Apologies for the delay in progress updates for the OKC container home. I have been reluctant to post about what has been, to date, the worst aspect of construction, mainly in terms of execution and results.

After searching for a residential spray-foam contractor for several months and then waiting for the weather to cooperate, I finally found a guy who was both interested in the project as a whole and also seemed competent, SEEMED being the operative word. We had to wait for the weather to reach a suitable threshold so that the foam could cure properly, and that itself was a wait of one month, and then waiting for scheduling availability created another month’s delay.

Finally, dude showed up to do the work. (I’ve decided to omit the contractor’s name because, in fairness, he was trying something new and untested in light of the uniqueness of my project; however, if you would like to avoid hiring him, message me directly or comment and I will give you his name.)

We had originally discussed and agreed to him spraying two inches of closed-cell foam on the roof’s exterior. Then, Morgan and I would coat the foam ourselves using a product based on his recommendation (more bed liner, most likely). He had told me he would build a scaffolding around the roof so as to block the wind and also trap any errant foam during application.

Sounded like a plan.

When dude showed up, however, he springs on me the idea that he can avoid building a scaffolding by instead building a wooden frame around the roof perimeter and then laying plywood panel across it, under which the foam could be sprayed. Further, the plywood panels would have plastic sheeting on them to which the foam would not stick. That way, the panels could be removed, and Morgan and I could proceed with a protective coating as planned.

BUT THEN, dude suggests that if he were to omit the sheeting and just allow the foam to adhere to the panels, I would have a rooftop surface on which I could walk and potentially develop a patio. The only caveat was that he couldn’t guarantee how level the plywood surface would be given unpredictable expansion of the foam between it and the roof.

After some discussion in the driveway, I eventually went with this latter plan, as the idea of a walkable rooftop appealed to me.
I should’ve stuck with the original plan, though, and not let dude off the hook from what he originally told me, because the results were far below expectations and in fact constitute the most embarrassing/lackluster aspect of the container to date.

container roof foam
To install spray foam insulation on the container’s roof, a 2×4 frame was laid around the container’s upper frame.
 
spray foam container roof
Sections of 4×8 sheets of plywood were laid across the 2×4 frame and screwed together.
  
container roof spray foam
Closed-cell foam was then sprayed underneath the plywood sections, thereby adhering the wood to the container roof via the foam.
    
spray foam container roof
The end result left a lot to be desired. First, each plywood she had been installed upside down, with a big black stamp reading THIS SIDE DOWN facing up. it’s hard to see in the picture, but a regular expansion of the spray foam in each plywood sheet had caused peaks and valleys between each section of plywood. Some sections had way too much foam under them; others, not near enough (if any at all).
  
seam between plywood panels
This shot typifies the seams between plywood panels across the roof. Morgan and I would eventually shave these down to create a smooth, sloping seam, and then cover them all with generous amounts of caulk.
  
container roof spray foam
When I asked the spray foam guy to come back and add more foam to sections of plywood that seemed like they had more give than others, I would find several holes that appeared to have no extra foam sprayed in them at all. You can see how this hole, drilled after the installation, lacks excess foam flowing out of it, as had been the case with every other seam between plywood sheets.
  
foam seams
Work begins on smoothing out the foam seams between panels.
  
  
container roof structure
Morgan wound up having to make cuts to the edge of the plywood/2×4 roof structure. I had originally asked dude to do it; he tried, gave up and called another guy. That guy did a terrible job, so this is Morgan setting about fixing it.
  
    
    

Eventually, all the roof work was completed. Having the insulation on the roof made an immediate difference in the climate control inside, and now, if I’m heating the space, the thermostat will usually crawl one or two degrees above the set temperature AFTER it kicks off. It also stays cool for a long time if I need AC, and it only kicks on a couple times per night (that I’ve noticed).

So, despite the headaches of dealing with yet another sketchy contractor, addition of insulation has made a positive improvement to the container’s efficiency.

Just try not to scrutinize it too closely when you come to visit.

Burst-pipe disaster at the OKC container home

During the entirety of this project, there haven’t been too many things that constitute a “disaster.” In reality, the following tale of a burst pipe that flooded the container overnight doesn’t really a disaster make, but it was a frightening episode that caused more than a little inconvenience.

So, as I mentioned in the kitchen post, the Heatworks1 instant hot water heater was mounted under the sink. After the sink went in, the unit was flushed and activated according to the manual, and it surely did make hot water in an instant. Everything seemed to be working fine.

Well, a few days after the kitchen had been finalized, I showed up to the container one day and noticed a giant puddle out front as I pulled up. “Did it rain last night?” I thought to myself. Upon opening the door, it looked like it had rained INSIDE the container, because there was a discernible layer of water covering everything that had been on the floor.

The aftermath

HW1-5
Everything that had been on the floor, from my snowboard bag filled with clothes and gear to all of Morgan’s tools, had to be taken outside to dry in the sun and wind.
KSINK 002
We opened doors and windows in the hopes that increased air circulation would speed the drying of any moisture that had crept into the walls and trim boards.

For a while, I couldn’t figure out what had happened, but then I opened the kitchen sink cabinet and noticed all the pipes under there were wet. I called the plumbers, and they were able to point out the problem fairly quickly: A piece of PEX tubing installed as part of the outlet line of the Heatworks1 had exploded somehow. The plumbers noted this was highly unusual, as PEX tubing is ultra-durable. While it may give way to hairline cracks and pinholes in a line, the plumbers say they had never seen a piece of PEX fail in the violent manner in which mine did.

So, they went about replacing the burst PEX line, but it became clear that the HEATWORKS1 had developed a leak on its inlet valve, on the bottom of the unit. It would just have to remain off until the manufacturer, whom I also contacted that morning, sends a replacement, which they seemed happy and willing to do after I jump through a few hoops online.

Later that day, a neighbor came by to tell me he had noticed the container leaking from the drain valve that leads out the bottom of the kitchen floor to the outside, thereby creating the puddle seen in the photo above. He was kind enough to shut off the water main at the meter box near the street (I think he’s actually a plumber, too).

Anyway, it was very relieving and heartwarming to know I’ll soon be living in a place with great and considerate neighbors such as that.

 

Skirting for the OKC container home

Constructing the skirting was one of those projects that I envisioned in my head as being pretty straight-forward and easy, but damn if it didn’t wind up taking about two weeks (and still has some finishing touches left to do!)

Building the panels we wanted to use from scratch was painstaking, plus they were heavy and cumbersome to move around after they were assembled. Even after powering through panel creation, we then had to face the many tedious tasks of pre-drilling holes in the concrete piers from which we could mount brackets and then affix the panels to them. We also shot screws through the bottom edge of the container directly into the framing of each panel. Last, a series of stakes driven into the ground behind each panel further stabilizes the skirting, and we caulked and coated all the joints for waterproofing in addition to painting the whole deal with truck bed liner.

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Kitchen comes together at the OKC container home

Pretty much concurrent with the work for the shower, work progressed on the kitchen as well. The base cabinets had already been installed, but I still needed a counter top, a sink to go in it, a fridge, a pantry and a hanging cupboard.

OKC container home raw cabinets
Here you can see the kitchen cabinets as they appeared after installation. Doors removed for staining. Notice the Heatworks1 instant hot water heated installed on the sidewall of the cabinet, under where the sink will go. This comes into play later.

Heatworks1 under sink Heatworks1 under sink

For the base cabinets, I chose a stain color called driftwood from Home Depot and applied it using a brush, then further textured the stain by running a ragged piece of plastic over the freshly applied coat of stain. The end result creates striations throughout the stained surfaces (hard to see in pic; I need to get close-ups…).

IMG_3328

Storage

Hanging cupboard
Morgan installs a hanging cupboard above where the counter top will go.

I honestly don’t do a lot of cooking, and so I don’t have a lot of cooking supplies, flatware and related kitchen trappings. I only have two bowls, four plates, four forks, spoons and knives, two tall glasses, two short glasses, four shot glasses, one metal pot and one small frying pan. Between the base cabinets and this hanging cupboard, I should have more than enough space for my current kitchen plus the counter top appliances (burner, toaster over, coffee machine) that I’ll eventually want to get.

Counter top

In the interest of saving on material waste and also conserving a few dollars in the process, I went to Builders Warehouse in search of a remnant to use as my kitchen counter top. They have a kinda weird policy where if you buy a full new slab from the, they won’t do any fabrication on it (won’t cut holes, trim to fit or polish). If you buy a remnant, however, they will do whatever you want. So I was in luck when I found a remnant that was barely over the dimensions I needed. I also selected a shallow sink designed for an RV and, with sink and granite remnant in their hands, they trimmed it to fit, cut out the required hole and polished the raw edges after about a week after items were purchased.

Counter prep
Morgan lays down adhesive, which will permanently affix the counter to the cabinets.

COUNTER2

We lifted the heavy granite remnant into place and admired my new kitchen counter top. It would remain clamped overnight to encourage the bonding process. Going the remnant route definitely has its advantages with regard to the fabrication of a counter top that fits your needs, but it also helps if one isn’t too picky about the color or style of the granite, because finding a remnant that meets both practical and aesthetic constraints for a job would be quite difficult, I imagine. So, I wasn’t too picky going into my remnant hunt; I just wanted something close to the size I needed. Waste not, want not.

Kitchen sink

Now that we had a counter top, I could call the plumbers and have them install the kitchen sink up to code specifications. Of course, I had fired the original plumbers, but the tile guy had a recommendation that worked out really well: E3B Plumbing (inexplicably, I CANNOT find a link for these guys, so maybe I have the name wrong … ?). These guys have a central dispatch and uniforms, which speaks to their size and professionalism. They sent out two plumbers to install my sink on the same day I contacted them, and those guys were finished in about two hours.

KSINK 006

Consulting instructions for the faucet.
Consulting instructions for the faucet.

KSINK 005

KSINK 003

KSINK 008

And so, with the addition of a faucet, fridge and pantry unit, the kitchen really kinda came together all at once. The fridge I chose was a Danby apartment-sized fridge, which is Energy Star-rated and matched the look and feel of other design elements of the container. It works really well and is very quiet.

OKC container home kitchen

Shower installation for the OKC container home

Although installing a shower enclosure in the OKC container home would not require licensed tradespeople for permitting purposes, it also wasn’t something that Morgan and I were 100% confident we would WANT to do ourselves (even though we definitely COULD have…).

I had been looking at this DIY tutorial for installing a concrete basin. The procedure seemed straightforward enough, but at the end of the day a shower is the kind of thing one NEEDS done right. If it leaks, the problems created over time would more than exceed any money saved from a DIY job. Like I recently read online somewhere, “How comes there’s always time to redo an incorrect job but never enough time to do it right the first time?”

Great point.

So, I opted to contact a guy recommended to me from the former plumber. Jeremiah Crim from Rising Sun Tile out of Stillwater stays busy, but he was able to quote me for the installation of a Schluter shower system. His expertise combined with the reputation of the Schluter product would (hopefully) give me the confidence in the shower that I need to rest easy that it will last and long time and won’t leak.

  
  
The Schulter sheets provide a waterproof barrier that removes the need for mortarboard for tile. It also has grid lines that aid in the placement of tile. There’s even a component specifically designed to create a cubby in the wall. Last, the system includes a special kind of dense foam that allows for the creation of structural features, in this case, the shower curb.

Tile work

Next came the tile work to cover the shower enclosure. I wanted the bathroom to be a real highlight of the interior, so I was going for wow factor with my selection of tile style (while maintaining my minimalist black-and-white color scheme as portrayed in the walls and trim).

For the tile, Morgan recommended a friend of his: Brian Adair. In addition to being a great tile man, Brian is also a musician in several locally active bands.


  

Trim for the OKC container home

There’s nothing like the addition of trim to make a room feel finished. I really wanted my trim to pop in the OKC container home, so I opted for a high-contrast, black-on-white color scheme that also gives a nod to the modernist-minimalist aesthetic I try to bring to the space.

Before getting into trim, though, I just wanted to mention that I came up with a solution for those ugly HVAC ducts: bedliner. I think Morgan actually already had a partially used can, so I set to work applying black bedliner to each of the HVAC ducts that run from above the bathroom to the edge of the living room. At first, I used a brush, but those results were unsatisfactory, so I switched to a small roller, and that was really the ticket. The thick consistency of the product allows imperfections in the surface to be completely masked by a new layer of texture. I’m really happy with the results and plan to use bedliner in other areas.

HVAC ducts with bedliner
Bedliner solved the problem of the HVAC ducts looking nasty.

Trim goes in

The first thing we did was measure all around the windows, doors and along the wall where it meets the floor to discern how many linear feet we would need to buy. We wanted to paint the trim before it went on, which would actually save us some headache as opposed to painting the trim once its installed against our nice clean white walls.

BEFORE
To illustrate how the trim looks after first being installed, here’s a pic of the trim around the HVAC access panel that goes from the top of the bedroom wall to above the bathroom’s drop ceiling. You can see all the little holes from the nail gun.
Here's the same area with the holes filled using black caulk. Much cleaner.
Here’s the same area with the holes filled using black caulk. Much cleaner.
Trim 016
The kitchen window trim. The metal framing area between the trim and the gray window eventually gets painted black as well.
Trim 017
Trim around the living room.
Trim 018
Trim around the patio doors and the bathroom’s pocket door entrance. I really like the way the trim and the black outlets/light switches pop off the white walls.
Trim 019
Morgan cuts some trim to fit. We took the time to paint each piece BEFORE cutting and installation.
Trim 021
Trim around the bedroom window and along the floor. This window’s beige metal frame also received black paint.

NEXT TIME: The shower gets built.

 

Misc. progress on the OKC container home

A miscellaneous post including the pouring of the parking pad for the OKC container home, passing final electrical inspection, passing plumbing rough inspection, and installing one of two pocket walls.

Parking pad

For some reason, finding and hiring a concrete contractor to pour the parking pad was one of the most difficult hires of the whole job and spanned the course of two seasons. One guy quoted me more than $5,000, but I had already had an earlier bid for around $1,200. Another guy played phone tag for about a month before sending his son, but his son was such a greasy slime ball who tried to upsell me from the bat that I couldn’t trust them at all. Eventually, I put a message in a bottle and tossed it into the high seas of Craigslist. Since I wasn’t needing a licensed contractor, all I wanted to do was find an able body with the time, know-how and will. And right price. I found that person in Seattle native Bryan Childreth. He had pics of previous work and could start ASAP, so we worked out the details and he was able to perform and provide labor, arrange the gravel and concrete deliveries, and hire the Bobcat driver for a smooth $1,000. The work was completed during one below-freezing day in mid-January.

DRIVE1
A Bobcat cleared and smoothed gravel on top of the run-up to the area where the parking pad would be poured.
Two-by-fours create borders (known as forms) for the concrete to be poured in.
Two-by-fours create borders (known as forms) for the concrete to be poured in.
A cement mixer backs up to the form and pours in cement as workers spread it.
A cement mixer backs up to the form and pours in cement as workers spread it.
The white bits are pieces of glass fiber (fiberglass). The cement is glass fiber-reinforced cement (GFRC), and it requies no rebar for structural reinforcement thanks to the bonding properties of the fiberglass.
The white bits are pieces of glass fiber (fiberglass). The cement is glass fiber-reinforced cement (GFRC), and it requires no rebar for structural reinforcement thanks to the bonding properties of the fiberglass.
Smoothing the pad.
Smoothing the pad.
A bit of cement was left over after the form was filled, so I asked the workers to create a bit of a ramp to bridge the grade from the concrete pad to the gravel run-up.
A bit of cement was left over after the form was filled, so I asked the workers to create a bit of a ramp to bridge the grade from the concrete pad to the gravel run-up.
The finished pad, as seen from the bedroom door.
The finished pad, as seen from the bedroom door.

Electrical final

Now that we had all the drywall completed and lights installed (including that pesky “future plug” in the bedroom), we were ready to have MinnTech call in final inspection.

Living room lights on.
Living room lights on.
Bedroom all lit.
Bedroom all lit.
Bathroom light, an LED. We actually had the ceiling panels in by this point, but this is just to show.
Bathroom light, an LED. We actually had the ceiling panels in by the time electrical inspection was called, but this is just to show.
Kitchen lights on.
Kitchen lights on.
The container home's hot water needs will be met by thi little unit known as the Heatworks1. It uses carbon-fiber heater elements that will never need replacing as well as a digital control unit to deliver continuous, on-demand instant hot water, and it will live beneath the kitchen sink.
The container home’s hot water needs will be met by thi little unit known as the Heatworks1. It uses carbon-fiber heater elements that will never need replacing as well as a digital control unit to deliver continuous, on-demand instant hot water, and it will live beneath the kitchen sink.

We passed electrical inspection.

Plumbing rough inspection

With the hot water heater installed, we called for the rough-in plumbing inspection and passed

The sticker of approval on the main sink drain beneath where the kitchen sink will go.
The sticker of approval on the main sink drain beneath where the kitchen sink will go.

Installing a pocket wall and door

The installation of the pocket wall and door was actually one of the first things Morgan and I had wanted to tackle once I hired him, but we soon realized we would need to have that area drywalled before the pocket door kit could go in, and at that point we just decided to drywall the whole place before starting on this otherwise silly wall.

Drywall installed on pocket wall.
Drywall installed on pocket wall.
Mud on drywall on pocket wall as seen from inside bathroom.
Mud on drywall on pocket wall as seen from inside bathroom.
Mud on drywall of pocket wall as seen from kitchen.
Mud on drywall of pocket wall as seen from kitchen.

After that, it was just a matter of painting and priming the newly installed partition.

NEXT TIME: Trim all around and some progress on the kitchen.

Drywall (part 2) continues for the OKC container home

The tedium of drywall continued even after all the panels had been measured, cut and screwed into place.

The process continued like this:

  • Cover each and every screw head with drywall tape.
  • Smear drywall mud over each taped area.
  • Smear and spread drywall mud into joints where edges meet and corners where edges fail to meet corners flush.
  • Wait a day for the mud to dry.
  • Spread mud over entire wall to create desired surface (textured in living room and kitchen, smooth in bathroom and bedroom).
  • Wait a day for mud to dry.
  • Sand dried mud and reapply to create smoothness/a
  • Prime and paint the newly textured/smooth walls
Drywall mud
Mud covers the joint between two drywall panels as well as each freshly taped screw head.
Smooth drywall mud
Because I wanted the walls to have a smooth texture in the bedroom and bathroom, the mudding process was very tedious and time-consuming. The conduit at the top appears because I had originally told the electricians there would be a drop ceiling throughout, so they wired it as such. The hole in the wall was where the electricians had originally made an extra outlet to be used as a blank, which is standard for code; however, when Morgan and I were drywalling, we weren’t sure why it was there, and so we removed the outlet box to simplify cutting that drywall panel. Then, the electricians let us know they needed a hole and outlet there after all to be up to code. We eventually came up with a solution to fix one problem and conceal the other …
This is the hole the electricians created to allow for the code-required "future" outlet. I think I mentioned in a previous post that this area would become problematic ...
This is the hole the electricians created to allow for the code-required “future” outlet. I think I mentioned in a previous post that this area would become problematic …
Bedroom drywall smoothing
Another shot of the bedroom walls during the smooth texturing process.

Morgan devised a nifty solution for bringing the walls flush with the natural contours of the container’s ribbed ceiling: By shooting expanding foam into the gap between the top of the drywall and the bottom of the ceiling, we could create a tightly sealed surface on which to apply mud. Then, we could caulk the very top where the mud meets the metal of the ceiling. Prime and paint that and we’d have a seamless wall that conforms to every angle of the ceiling.

Foam drywall gap
Morgan sprays expanding foam into the gap between the top of the drywall and the container’s metal ceiling. Once the foam dried overnight, we went through and cut it to be flush with the wall.
After mudding the foam, we were concerned when we arrived the following day because a wealth of moisture had condensed on the ceiling. We eventually deduced that the moisture was coming from the mud itself, and, once it dried, we didn't have this condensation problem again.
After mudding the foam, we were concerned when we arrived the following day because a wealth of moisture had condensed on the ceiling. We eventually deduced that the moisture was coming from the mud itself, and, once it dried, we didn’t have this condensation problem again.

Here's the finished result of our work to close the wall-ceiling gaps. It looks great, but man what a [ain to go through removing all the excess mud from the ceiling. Overhead work is an arm burner!
Here’s the finished result of our work to close the wall-ceiling gaps. It looks great, but man what a [ain to go through removing all the excess mud from the ceiling. Overhead work is an arm burner!
Around this time, we also had a problem with Kluck, the plumber. Although generally a mild-mannered and soft-spoken guy, I had encountered what was revealed to be his hot temper way back when the plumbing was starting. He had become irate at the fact that there were some variables to be sorted out in the midst of planning and cutting holes for the plumbing system’s various drains and vents. All of a sudden, he began raising his voice and swearing at me on that day, and I really didn’t know what to do. After his blow up, he left, and his son explained to me that that’s the real Fred Kluck, and although I don’t really want to work with anyone as unreasonable and rude as that, I needed a plumber, so I decided to give him another chance.

Well, Kluck blew his second chance when, in the midst of Morgan and I trying to figure out how we could complete drywall under the sink, Kluck blew up in a similar fashion at Morgan. Although I wasn’t there, Morgan told me he thought they were going to come to blows. So, I allowed Kluck to return once more to collect a check and then fired him directly after. While it’s good riddance on one hand, I’m left having to find a new plumber to complete the job on the other.

Meanwhile, our toil continued. Here’s some pics of the painting and texturing:

PAINT
Morgan masterfully rolls on paint in the bedroom.
PAINT1
Here you can see that we’ve managed to patch the electrician’s crazy-big hole and re-introduce an outlet box to that pesky area above the breaker box. The conduit has also been partially engulfed in drywall mud.
DW-TEXTURE
A little hard to see, but this is the texture of the living room and kitchen areas. It was applied using a SUPER-SECRET proprietary technique known only to HB Contractors …

NEXT TIME: A miscellaneous post including the pouring of the parking pad, passing final electrical inspection, passing plumbing rough inspection, and installing one of two pocket walls.

Drywall (part 1) begins for the OKC container home

Given how small the container’s interior is, I though drywall would be a two- or three-day process.

I was wrong.

At any rate, Morgan and I purchased 26 or so 3/8″-thick drywall sheets from Home Depot. We decided to complete the drywall installation for the bedroom first; that way, we would have one room in which we could store all the crap piling up in the container while we worked elsewhere.

The first part of our drywall process basically went like this:

  • Measure for the space that requires coverage.
  • Measure out and mark with a pencil that space on a drywall sheet.
  • Measure and mark for any outlets, switches and other abnormalities in general.
  • Use an Exact-O knife (with a sharp, fresh razor blade) to cut along the pencil lines. Rather than actually cutting THROUGH the sheet, this merely scores the top side.
  • Position the scored sheet so you can break it along the score lines using your knee.
  • Use a rasp to file off any irregularities in the cut edges, and use a drywall knife to cut out rectangular holes for outlets/switches.
  • Place the cut sheet against the wall and affix using drywall screws. (Ours were self-tapping screws suited specifically for the aluminum studs framing the container interior.)

So, we repeat that process ad nauseum, with Morgan doing the measuring of the space and telling me what to write down, then me measuring and cutting on the actual sheets. Then Morgan would screw them in place as they became ready.

Morgan Brown, of HB Contractors, screws a drywall section into place near the bedroom window.
Morgan Brown, of HB Contractors, screws a drywall section into place near the bedroom window.
OKC container home drywall
Morgan screws a drywall section into place above the bedroom door.
OKC container home drywall
This is a section of the kitchen where the water main enters the container through the floor just to the left of the front-door frame. This area became problematic later on.
The interior of this bathroom wall needed to accommodate the HVAC service lines (left and right). The rough in for the sink drain is in the middle.
The interior of this bathroom wall needed to accommodate the HVAC service lines (left and right). The rough in for the sink drain is in the middle. Drywall mud has already been applied in this photo.
Bathroom drywall in OKC container home
Drywall for the bathroom nears completion. This is the only space that received a drop ceiling. Note also that Morgan was able to build a knuckle wall to conceal the PVC pipe running alongside the window’s right edge. That pipe acts as an air vent for the shower and allows it to (eventually) drain properly.

Next time: Drywall work continues with taping, mudding, texturing, sanding, priming AND painting. PLUS: A nifty solution for bringing the walls flush with the natural contours of the container’s ribbed ceiling …

 

Installing insulation for the OKC container home

The installation of insulation constitutes perhaps the easiest step so far in vastly improving the container and making progress toward a livable space. The worst part about the task is working with insulation.

In my younger days I sought employment as a day laborer in Durango, Colorado. My first (and last) day of work for that company consisted of manually unloading a semi-trailer’s worth of hard-to-grip, mostly torn insulation bundles. We were issued neither gloves nor safety masks, but hey: This was 1999.

Even still, I wonder if, as I and a few other misfits desperate for cash bungled our way through that Herculean effort, the concept of a cargo box as dwelling unit wasn’t subconsciously burrowing into my psyche. The lasting impression of that task, besides a phenomenal case of itching once it was over, was that semi-trailers may look big from the outside, but you really have no idea just how big they are until you’ve plumbed the depths of a loaded one from front to back.

At any rate, here’re some shots from the OKC container home’s insulation install, taken over the course of three days in December 2015. Luckily, I had stashed two pairs of coveralls along with some other old oilfield gear in the container several months earlier, which allowed Morgan and I to work itch-free:

OKC container home insulation
Installing the insulation was easy enough because the rolls came in lengths that were shorter than the vertical gaps between the studs. We cut small lengths to make up the difference. Then, it was just a matter of spraying adhesive to the flaps on either side of each baffle and sticking them to the studs.
OKC container home insulation
I had wanted to hire spray foamers to coat the container’s interior, but this proved cost-prohibitive based on several quotes. I settled for R-13 from Home Depot.
OKC container home insulation
We did all the easy gaps first before filling the gaps that would require more cuts. Remember this space in particular; it comes into play later (in a bad way).
OKC container home insulation
Most of the container looked like this once all the interior insulation was installed.

My biggest concern about installing the cheaper insulation is that it may hinder my ability to gain Energy Star certification. The organization has minimum requirements for WOOD-FRAMED buildings, but nothing for a metal structure like a container. My only consolation is that I remain able to afford at least having the exterior of the roof and floor covered in closed-cell spray foam and then weatherproofed, so maybe that will help offset whatever deficiencies arise upon examination of the interior insulation.

Next time: The arduous (and, inexplicably, contentious) drywall process begins …