And the Winner is…

5 Jan

Greetings, Corten Campers!

I’ve spent several days writing a series of comprehensive posts, guaranteed to hold you spellbound on the edge of your seat, and make you wonder where Ronin gets all this wonderful IQ from…

Okay, maybe not… 🙂

And, even “I” wondered just what the first post of the New Year would be about, as I struggled with research that includes navigating government documentation, periodicals, and “pages deep” websites designed ( I suspect) to “confuse and amaze you”, thus preventing you from actually using the gained information to successfully navigate the Federal Grant Process….

So, while I finish up a “multi-part post marathon”, chew on this;

“Fast-build” a 320 square foot ISBU home;

ZEROCabin does it again! Do they actually BUILD anything?

My thanks to Jesse at Texas Container Homes (who builds homes for the elderly), for reminding me of this.
Um… I’d had it in my scheduler for months and I meant to run it earlier, but somehow I forgot to post it…

Senility… Who knew? 🙂

And we’ve all heard about the controversy about Ceramic Insulation that you just spray onto a container instead of using “regular” insulation. Right?

I get asked about this “mysterious and magical” stuff at least five times a week.

Well… here’s how it started:

Bob Vila (you remember Bob Vila, right?) talks to an expert about Ceramic Insulation;

Now ya gotta love “The BOB”, and I even admire David Cross.

Now David is a good friend of the blog. “Mr Famous” Bob Vila? Not so much. He’s apparently  “too good” for us! 🙂

But Dave… we were talking about DAVE, remember? He’s  “the Power behind the power” that is SG Blocks, which is one of the leading ISBU Based construction giants on the “GREEN” planet today.

While I admit that I agree with him about most ISBU related topics. I’m just not convinced about Supertherm.

Here’s a “private company sponsored” promo for the material;

And yet another;

Sound’s good, huh?

It seems good, but if you can’t verify it with “Industry Accepted Redundant Testing,” it’s just …

…um… “nonsense. “Ask any engineer.

Or… if you don’t know an engineer…  you could start with this article:

“Insulating Paint” Merchants Dupe Gullible Homeowners

I love the “Cookie Sheet and Court” segment in the commentary. It’s just brilliant!

And if you’re a Rep or better yet, an Engineer with a Ceramic Coating Company, and you’d like the chance to rebut this post, just drop me an email. I’ll be happy to post your response. Here at RR, we’re all about discovering the “truth.”  You know… the kind based on facts.

Sheesh… now “we’re clouding the issue with facts”… is it any wonder that building with containers gets so confusing?


I’m asking you to get involved.

If I’ve helped you, informed you, educated you, or just entertained you with the hundreds of posts we written… please consider donating a few bucks to the blog, to help us survive and rebuild OUR home. Every dollar counts, and  every penny gets carefully spent. There’s a Paypal button right up there at the top of the page. It’s easy, it’s SAFE, and it’s SECURE. Every family deserves a home, and ours is no different. Our family needs a home. Our situation is dire. I’m not going to waste bandwidth plastering pictures up of my wife in her sickbed… or my 2 year old little boy who orbits it. I’ve written about the circumstances here, already. If you can spare “a donation to the cause”, we’d appreciate it.

FYI: Anybody who doesn’t love Bob Vila is a “Commie.” I know it’s true, because my Mom (the Major) told me so. And unlike those “other guys”… Marines know EVERYTHING! 🙂

‘Nuff said.


4 Responses to “And the Winner is…”

  1. G January 5, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    greetings Al

    not heard from you since a while, all ok?

  2. Sterling January 6, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    I’m not a distributor nor am I an engineer. I approached ceramic coatings 10 years ago with a lot of typical sketicism as I see here and other blogs by so-called experts. I have seen numerous companies come and go. Perhaps the biggest issue has been how these products have been marketed with all sorts of claims but with no supported testing. I do find it interesting you have targeted just one product that being Super Therm yet this is the one product in this industry that openly shows all of their testing. If you look at the list of testing you will see that the manufacturer has spared little money on testing which tells me they are more serious than the others who appear to do little to none. Do you really think this company would spend tens of thousands of dollars on their testing just to “dupe” the consumer? From what I see they have done this to satisfy the needs of the architects and engineers who expect to see this testing. In this day and age you simply cannot get away using any product in the building industry without the proper certifications.

    What I have found is that all insulation materials have their weakneses yet on the other hand they also all have their strengths. Just because an insulation product is labeled R-19 doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to provide that type of performance in all real life applications. This is perhaps the most misunderstood concept in the insulation market. For example for years fiberglass insulation has been used inside curling rinks and ice arenas yet it has failed miserably because it is both a heat absorber and a humidity sponge. Like your refrigerator the last thing you want blanketing it is a heat absorbing material when the objective is removal of heat from the inside. Since these types of environments are highly humid the fiberglass gets saturated with moisture thus allowing heat to transfer through freely. This material clearly has a short lifespan in these types of facilities perhaps 7 years and was simply replaced with more of the same over time.

    The point I want to make here is that you need to look at the ceramic industry with an open mind and don’t discredit a product on limited information. I read the blog “Insulating Paint” Merchants Dupe Gullible Homeowners” and was underwhelmed. The guy who wrote this is not an engineer either. He is a plumbing counter clerk and former roofer turned self-professed energy consultant/internet blogger. Ten years ago I would probably do as you are doing by jumping on his band wagon. Why? Because if it sounded too good to be true and mainly because I really didn’t understand the science involved then it must not be true. If you read the manufacturer’s comments about the testing done in Alaska you will note that they were not aware nor did they approve of such a test which means they would never have recommended their product to be used the way it was used in the test. We can always devellop a test for a product to fail. Would you apply foam or fiberglass to the exterior surfaces of a building? Lets do a test and see how well they perform at R-19 or even R-40 and see if they really do perform in such conditions.

    I have seen Super Therm fail and I have seen it perform very well. It all depends on the conditions of each environment. I have found that if you make an enquiry with a distributor they will ask you about the problem you are trying to solve and what the conditions will be. This is what they are supposed to do. They are not supposed to sell this product to you without this information plus it has to be documented, approved and signed by the manufacturer. I cannot think of another product that is regulated so tightly.

    • renaissanceronin January 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

      Hi Sterling,

      Thanks for your comment concerning Ceramic Coatings and Insulation.

      Here’s the gist of the message, I’m sending on RR about Ceramic Coatings.

      I’ve been investigating the claims of the guys behind Supertherm (and several others for a few years now) myself. In fact, at one point, I had cultivated a relationship with some people at SPI (the coating company behind Supertherm), specifically with the intent of not only proving their claims for “Insulation replacement” but actually using it on my OWN home.

      I HAVE a pretty good education and a great deal of understanding of the “chemistry” environment. I also have a pretty good working understanding of architecture, which brings with it a basic understanding of engineering.

      Combine the two and you get a “mishmashed bio-chem BS meter.”

      I WANTED to prove that ceramic coatings, and specifically Supertherm worked as advertised. Truly. Yet, there is no significant (and more importantly repeatable) testing process that will prove to me, or more importantly to planning and zoning, that it will replace insulation on a residential home.

      It’s like an “Urban Legend” that won’t go away… one that has roots in something that sounds logical, yet isn’t quite capable of being explained.

      First, I wasn’t debating the use of fiberglass versus a coating process. I’m on record as being anything but a fan of fiberglass batts for some of the very reasons you mention in your comments.

      I’ve actually inspected HOMES where Supertherm was used. Unfortunately ALL of them were in MODERATE climates where white paint would have achieved a similar function.

      In order for this product to have any real merit as a substitution for insulation it has to work at the claimed r-19 in all conditions. Period. Be it sunny Southern California, or Stormy Michigan, it has to deliver.

      When I pushed questions at Supertherm guys, they were vague, and non-committal. Then finally, I was told that they’d only talk to me if I had projects encompassing thousands of square feet of “commercial” application.

      They were anything but helpful.

      Those posts are in the RR archives. I looked at this for months. And got nowhere.

      Based on that, would you recommend that families risk their safety on the product? Especially when the application cost is so high? I certainly wouldn’t.

      I value a child’s health far more than any corporate spreadsheet.

      To answer your question;

      Do companies spend thousands of dollars marketing to sell product to unsuspecting, uninformed buyers?

      Yes, every single day, especially in THIS economy.

      Are their claims always honest, and factual/applicable?

      Not always.

      So, we have to be diligent.

      Do I think that Superior Products International is trying to perpetrate fraud against “rubes?”

      No. That would be incredibly stupid on their part. They’d just find themselves buried under enough litigation to fill in the Grand Canyon.

      But, do they have any proof that can be demonstrated and duplicated that Supertherm is an insulation replacement? No.

      Even SPI COATINGS, the guys behind Supertherm will tell you:

      Are there any current formulas and related ASTM testing to correctly test the effects of a ceramic coating used as insulation?

      No. All current testing procedures in recognized laboratories are based on substrates and materials that offer a required minimum of thickness of 1 inch and assess only conductive heat transfer. The dry thickness of Super Therm® is 8 dry mils or 8/1000 inch.

      Does Supertherm have value as a coating?

      According to industrial sources I have, and they are chemical engineers mostly, I’d have to say “yes”.

      But when I asked those guys if they’d put it on their house, instead of insulation, they all just laughed.

      Every one told me that it’s just a coating designed to reflect heat OFF pipe or roofing surfaces. Every one agreed that “it wouldn’t work as a way to stabilize an envelope against the environment, for living inside.”

      If it really worked as an “insulation replacement”, every architect, naval architect, and builder would specify it. The money saved in labor alone would probably justify it’s use.

      Would a ceramic coating that performed to r-19 levels make my life easier? Yes. I’d embrace it in a second, IF IT WORKED, and you could prove it.

      Imagine how much time and labor would be saved by my building families if all they had to do was spray on a coating of some “miracle coating” applied “using either a conventional air pot or an airless spray.” My people could handle that.

      I’d be the biggest disciple on the Internet for it.

      Sadly, there’s no PROOF that it works. I’ve seen ALL the tests that the coatings guys at Supertherm circulate. There isn’t a shred of evidence that this coating, “properly applied” to a container, will replace insulation and make the space habitable by humans.


      Even SPICOATINGS, the guys behind Supertherm will tell you:

      Are there any current formulas and related ASTM testing to correctly test the effects of a ceramic coating used as insulation?

      No. All current testing procedures in recognized laboratories are based on substrates and materials that offer a required minimum of thickness of 1 inch and assess only conductive heat transfer. The dry thickness of Super Therm® is 8 dry mils or 8/1000 inch.

      What I get whenever I bring this “ceramic coatings” mess up, is people who go on about how “it’s just misunderstood,” but fail to bring forward anything that looks like real proof.

      So again, I say to anyone in possession of it… SHOW ME THE PROOF.

      And do it in a manner that I can duplicate. If you’re right, I’ll gladly say so. It’ll change the way we do things for the better. Truth be told, I’d LOVE for SPI and Supertherm to be “right.” But you’ll have to convince me with FACTS.

      Until then, let the buyer beware. If the product literature from the manufacturer doesn’t “SPELL it out in writing” that it will hold up ON and IN your HOME (and in a courtroom) specifically, as promised… without being “vague” or elusive, don’t use it.

      ‘Nuff said.


  3. Me-Me-Me January 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe! I’ll go and read some more! What do you see the future of this being?

Comments are closed.