In or Out? Were you born in a BARN? :)

29 Dec

Shut up, TED.


I was going to bring you up to speed on another really terrific ISBU project I’m involved in, but TED… Well, we all know how TED is. He’ll whine and cajole and then ask you so many questions that you end up writing an entireย  post about them.

So… yet another year of RR posts will wind to an end…

… as I’m writing an entire post to address TED and his Four Thousand and One questions…

And then, I’m gonna see about getting him transferred to Guam. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ted said (in a rather lengthy comment to a post, no less…) ๐Ÿ˜‰ :

Note: The formatting is mine… the rest of the nonsense is TED’s. Gawd’s breath, I just hope he’s better with an M4 than he is with that infernal keyboard of his… ๐Ÿ˜‰

That said… don’t blame ME… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, here we go… again;

Ted “hunts and pecks”;

Happy….uh, Merry….Crap, forget it! Back to work!

So reading and catching up has my questioner going again. Time to ask da man.

Psst, thats YOU Alex. Yeesh.

When starting at phase line alpha, Ronin insists on sandblasting and floor removal. Stop me when I’m wrong, ok?

Editors note; Um… dude, you’re almost always wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚

No, not YET…I’m just starting! Crimony!

I suppose my first question would be which would you say would last longer and require the least long term maintenance. Painted exposed ISBU walls or some form of siding? Say for argument purposes Hardi-panel t-111 looking fiber cement board (primed and painted of course).

Editors note; Um… you know.. sooner or later they’re gonna go out behind the PX looking for that siding and you’re gonna be going to the brig. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now hoping your gonna say the Corton siding wins hands down I venture behind the curtain to ask Mr Wizard an idea he normally cringes at.Inside insulation.Feeling somewhat safe since you didn’t eat “Cold in Wyoming” as a snack I will venture this question and hope for similar fortune.

Editors note; Yeah, but I LIKE those guys… ๐Ÿ˜‰

First, YES! I do understand that insulating inside eats space like a fat kid in the doughnut shop.

Got it! Roger!

Si’! Da! So….Now I’m confused…ur, more confused.

Editors note; And that should surprise me… why? ‘)

If the outside of the ISBU is more durable, weather and disaster resistant than its more traditional counterparts how do we take advantage of that if we insulate/add siding to the exterior?

*ducks and scans for thrown shoes*

Yes, I’m looking for the cake and eating it too.So to that end here is my thought.

What if one had 2 40′ containers set on piers, para to each other say 16 feet in between. That gives roughly what, a lil over 1200 sq feet? Now if you spray in your insulation (closed cell poly)is there a difference between sparying and the panels used above as far as “R-value”?? I

suppose my reasoning is sorta that maybe by maintaining the containers integrity as much as possible and minimizing the stick framing required that it would maxamize the atributes of the container? Not having to repaint faded siding or replace siding that was damaged via say fire or high wind seems a good idea, right?

And since its just me, huge space is not really needed. Not saying I have any desire to build a tiny home or hobbit dwelling but maybe something reasonable.

So in your opinion and knowing that some loss in interior space would be acceptable, which makes more sense…inside or outside insulation? Which would you say costs more to do?

Thanks Alex!

Argh… where do I start? Oy… that TED is making me nutzo… ๐Ÿ˜‰


Pour pilings and embed steel in them to weld containers to.

Drop ISBUs on pilings.


(Moron was strapping on a hernia belt. Oy…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cut out your walls FIRST. No sense cleaning up metal you ain’t using indoors. Use that removed CORTEN steel corrugation OUTSIDE for shutters, covered porches and stuff like that there. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now. start thinking about places you’ll actually BE.

(You’re asking yourself why I don’t frame everything in, right here and now, right? Wait for it…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

First, ISBUs are painted with this concoction called “anti-fouling paint”. It’s nasty stuff. It has to be to hold up to Mother Nature continually trying to kick it’s um… er… derriere. ๐Ÿ˜‰

See? I can be “PC”. Now excuse me while I go wash my mouth out with soap. That PC crap leaves an aftertaste… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now where was I? Oh yeah… Ted… again… Oy.

Anti-fouling paint. You need to render it harmless in places where you’ll come into contact with it.

That means sandblasting. And after you get all that crap sandblasted off (Oh my… the fun you will have… oy!) you need to carefully inspect your containers for cracked welds, or other imperfections that can now be easily fixed.

You want to sandblast all the lips areas of your containers too, on the inside AND outside. It’s an easy way to check for cracks and defects and this way you don’t have to fight the floor to do it.

Why do this?

Well, because a smart camper welds angle iron onto the side rails to carry his floor decks and SIPs roof panels, that’s why. You really want to breathe that anti-fouling paint while you try to weld to it? Really?

You can also get under the boxes to apply SPF to the bottom of them, if you want to.

Once you’ve made your repairs (remember that mild steel and Corten steel aren’t good neighbors so choose your materials carefully) it’s time to cover that metal back up.

Save yourself some time and trouble and use a material called RUSTGRIP.

It’s the only coating/paint/concoction that is made by SPI (the rascals that make Supertherm) that I use often.

Funny, I was just having this conversation the other day… ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, at the risk of repeating myself:

For the record;

AFTER you sandblast all the crap off (including the heavily leaded paint that youโ€™d never want your kids or the elderly to be aroundโ€ฆ) you (at the very least) Rust-Grip them. Rust-Grip is a one-part polyurethane coating that combines with atmospheric moisture to cure. Upon curing, RUSTGRIP provides corrosion protection.

From the SPI docโ€™s which Iโ€™ve also quoted elsewhere here somewhere (I forget where, like a couple of hundred posts ago);

Seal virtually any surface and protect it against corrosion, weather and physical wear with Rust Gripยฎ. Rust Gripยฎ is a three-coats-in-one system that acts as a primer, intermediate, and topcoat with a single application.

Rust Gripยฎ is a metallic-based, moisture-cure polyurethane encapsulating coating designed to coat and seal air, moisture, and minerals out of surfaces. Rust Gripยฎ stands up to acids, salts and caustic materials with no loss of strength! For EPA VOC standards, Rust Gripยฎ falls under the metallic pigmented coating category. Rust Gripยฎ is 414 grams/liter VOC. (California limit of 500 grams/liter.Benefits of Rust Gripยฎ:

  • Fast Working โ€“ Rust Gripยฎ begins its cure cycle within an hour, penetrating and swelling to seal surface pores.
  • Versatile โ€“ Rust Gripยฎ protects steel, aluminum, concrete, wood, fiberglass, and lead-based paints. It is excellent for minimally prepared surfaces.
  • Class A Fire Coating โ€“ In case of fire, Rust Gripยฎ will help to prevent spread of, and will not contribute to, the burn.
  • Strong and Lasting โ€“ Rust Gripยฎ has a 10+ year lifespan on substrates under normal conditions and strengthens surfaces to 6780 psi (473 bar).

While you can shoot it on, most people roll it on. Apply two coats. Wait about three hours between coats. Voila. Instant encapsulation and protection. It’ll fully cure in about a week to ten days.

And, you can indeed paint over it so that you get that designer shade of pink you’re craving…ย  we wouldn’t want that container to clash with your tutu… TED. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wait about a week first. We found it works best if the stuff starts to fully cure before you coat it with something besides profanity.

And yes… there ARE other materials that will do this “seal and encapsulate” process. Rustgrip is just easy to find and it works right out of the can. Why change horses if you have a good one already?

All you’re doing is creating a primed and encapsulated surface area, just waiting for whatever you’ll do next.

In TEDs case, it’s packing for Guam… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, maybe not.

You now have containers ready for the next step.

(We’ll all assume that TED removed those nasty pesticide ridden floor panels long before he picked up those boxes to plant up in the air on the pilings. Or I will personally find my way to his house and kick him all the way back to Iraq. Right TED? That’s right… snap that salute, soldier.) ๐Ÿ™‚

IMHO (Yeah, like I’m ever REALLY humble) in TEDs case, it should go something like this:

He’ll use wood. Dollars to donuts, he’ll use wood. So, that ‘s the route I’ll take;

Deck between your boxes, and create your floorspace. Close it in by building your framed walls fore and aft. Create your rough opening for glazing and doors… TED.

(Look, you gotta guide TED by the nose, or he’ll screw it up… trust me on this.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

NOW frame your wall cavities for your SPF and insulation.

WHAT? “SPF AND insulation?” What the he-double-L am I talking about?

Shut up, TED. Keep reading.

And stop making that face at the monitor, Your face will freeze like that. Trust me when I tell you that you didn’t win any genepool at work, and you can’t afford it. ๐Ÿ™‚

The best thing in the world about SPF is that it does three or four jobs with one application.

  • You get a vapor barrier.
  • You get a moisture barrier.
  • You get great r-values out of it.
  • AND… you get some rack and shear” help, too.

But wait… there’s more;

You get a big bill from the guy you bought the SPF from. It’s more expensive. Sure, it does more (and in my opinion it’s worth it) but it’s gonna cost you.

And TED is “one a those guys” who sells boiled peanuts by the side of the road when the traffic lights turn.ย ย  He looks into your window all sad and stuff, rolling his big puppydawg eyes, so you’ll buy his styrofoam cup fulla whatever the heck that crap is…

I have it on good authority that he counts pennies. In fact, he counts them so often that even the old ones are all shiny again from all the handling.

SO… we’re gonna take another road…

The road into “Cheapville”…

(And for those of you who don’t know… TED is one of my pals who is trying to build a home for himself inbetween bouts of serving his country (so we can all sit here safe and sound and shoot our mouths off) while he dodges bullets and other implements of destruction. So, I’m gonna help him build the best home possible, for the lowest amount of money we possibly can.)

Okay… SPF is cool, cool, cool. But it costs more.

So… why not use the SPF (say about an inch of it) to actually coat the inside and even the floors (even the ones that you decked into your boxes).

YES… TED. I realize that will only give you an r7.

But what if I follow that up with a cheaper insulation product, like rigid polyiso foam?ย  Slabbed up and stuffed into the cavities (or floor cavities) on top of that SPF, you’re gonna get about r5.6 an inch.ย  And, it’s WAY cheaper. You can even find if for free on FreeCycle and CraigsList.

You just gotta go get it and haul it off.

In a 2×6 framed wall, you get about 5″ of cavity to stuff with “toasty goodness”.ย  So, you can easily accomplish R values in the range ofย  r28 (or even a bit more) depending on what PolyIso board you use.

Note that this works with 2×4 framed walls too. You have just over 3″ to work with, right?

You’ll achieve R values of about R18, easy.

Is R18 enough for Los Angeles? Yep. But is it enough for Colorado or Wyoming? NOPE.

Go big, or go home… to somebody else’s home. At least that one might be warm when Jack Frost is trying to kick your… um…er.. here we go again… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes, you’ll lose some R value to your doors and glazing.ย  However, you’ll have a really easy time of insulating your walls and any idiot can do it – including TED…

… provided he doesn’t cut himself on the knife he uses to trim the rigid insulation to fit.

Now, all you need is a toasty SIP roof (go as big as you can afford… R40 or better, TED) and you have your insulated, weathered in shelter…

And best of all… you still have some extra money left in your pockets…

TED… Once you’re weathered in, you can work thru the winter in spite of all the snow and inclement weather and not have a care in the world, except the driving distance to the nearest emergency room when you either electrocute yourself on the welder or cut yourself with a skillsaw…

(Man, I still can’t believe they actually issued YOU a weapon…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now… for the exterior.

In TEDs case, he should just leave it alone. That anti-fouling paint covering up those Corten Steel panels is gonna last a long time. First, it’s OUTSIDE. It’s not gonna hurt him. It’ll offgas into the air.

And he’s already like… um… braindead. SO I doubt it will hurt him.

Yes, TED. The Corten Steel walls will oxidize. It’s part of their charm.

In fact, I spray them with a baking soda concoction I created that will age them to a cool “camo-ish…color” that will blend the boxes into the treeline hue.

(Unless the idiot bought BLUE boxes…)

Um… Ted… you did, didn’t you? You bought BLUE boxes… Man, there is no helping some knuckledraggers… ๐Ÿ˜‰

And NO! You can’t just shoot latex over “Anti-fouling paint”. It will bubble and blister like mad. So, why cause more work for yourself. I mean, it’s not like TED is gonna have any neighbors. Have you listened to TED?

Can you imagine living next door to him? I didn’t think so. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I’d just let Mother Nature do her thing on the outside of those boxes and use them to really hammer home the;

I’m that nut who lives in the cargo containers down the road…” vibe.

That’ll keep the vacuum cleaner salesman off your porch. ๐Ÿ™‚

Seriously TED… I’m glad you’re home safe and reasonably sound. I was gonna have to go find you and give you a severe beating, otherwise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I gotta go look for an old boot I can throw at TED. More later…

G_D Bless TED, America and all of you…

Happy New Year!

Note: No peanuts or vacuum cleaner salesmen were harmed in the writing of this post.


6 Responses to “In or Out? Were you born in a BARN? :)”

  1. Jeremiah December 30, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    holy crap this has got to be the longest post yet. It’s almost a friggin book! (think it’s time to write part two to the intro book, boyo!)
    I have several comments….pssh, of course I do..jeez.
    First, “2 40′ containers spaced 16′ apart”??!! Jimminee Crickets! What is with people and the need for HUGE WIDE OPEN SPACES!? Just move to the friggin mountains, they have plenty of room to spare. 2 40′ containers offset 8-10′ with say 4′ between to form a hallway would be much more economical and space efficient – especially if this guy is living alone (which I think he said he was). It reduces the need for stick framing and large timber framing to span 16′ (12′ is the effective limit for a 2×6 carrying no load not to mention 16′ sections of lumber are EXPENSIVE!) With these two 40′ containers he’s got over 700 sf of space and the offset provides opportunity for outdoor flex spaces which increase the usable square footage without increasing your heating/cooling load. (this guy needs to fork out a couple hundred bucks for a basic design consultation with someone to figure out his program and space requirements before he goes and blows a ton of money on framing and square footage he doesn’t need).
    Ok, that’s out of the way. NEEEEXT!
    ‘1″ of foam and then a 2×6 wall with polyiso’!!!! you’re gonna lose almost 14 full inches of width inside the container! over the entire container that’s over 100sf per container! Obviously I’m rounding up and not considering any interior partitioning, but still! *jaw hits floor*
    Considering the added cost of larger framing (2×6 versus a 2×3 or even a 1×3) plus all the polyiso you’ll have to use….you’re much better off going with the SPF. It will cost a little more initially, but the time and labor you save as well as the added r-value, etc will more than make up for the initial cost.
    Clients/homeowners need to think about something more than just the initial cost of something. They need to factor in the overall life cycle cost of a material coupled with, if using polyiso, the added cost of additional HVAC requirements…The goal, especially with this type of home, is to reduce our dependence on public infrastructure thereby saving money in the long run. Pony up the dough Ted! You’ll thank us later. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Renaissance Ronin December 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

      Um… Wow.

      Okay, first:

      It all starts with location, budget and ability.

      Colorado. Miserable cold. Hot Summers. Stabilized spaces are pretty much a mandatory.

      Once you establish that, you have to know the builder. TED isn’t a rocket scientist and he ain’t rolling in dough (and while I haven’t beaten him with the “what in blazes is ONE person gonna do with all that square footage?”) his layout is consistent with several layouts currently being used by families all across America, to build multi-bedroom homes.

      So, I addressed it, “As Presented”.

      TED knows I hate putting insulation on the inside of a container. But, he want’s “Mad Max”. So, we give him “Mad Max.”

      Maybe TED thinks some woman is going to be crazy enough to put up with him. Stranger things have happened. Maybe she’ll demand sheetrock interiors? Maybe he’s afraid of small metal lined spaces? Who knows? Ummm, we’re talking about TED. Anything is possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And, I don’t get to decide HOW MUCH SPACE somebody needs. I can counsel them otherwise… but have you read Ted’s comments? He’s pretty hard-headed. ๐Ÿ™‚

      When you run ISBUs “apart” you do it in 8′ (on center) increments and use sonotube pilings to “bridge to”. This allows you to use 8′ dimensional lumber to build your decks and 4×8 plywood sheeting to cover ’em up.

      It gives you a strong, durable, “grid-like” floor system. Ted’s gonna DIY it, so it’ll probably be a little squeaky, but we’ll handle that when we’re actually building the floor system.

      He won’t have any trouble accomplishing that “reach”.

      I don’t know yet what he has in mind for roof pitch, but he’s not gonna have a terrible go of it. Using SIPs, it’s a pretty conventional roof.

      That said, I think the point I was trying to make was that by considering the pros and cons of your materials, and then by recycling and reusing materials as well, you can accomplish goals cost effectively.

      Sure, he’ll lose approximately 32 square feet per container (exterior walls only – approx 55 feet at .58+ feet wall depth) but he’ll make money on the deal over applying 3+ inches of SPF. To shoot SPF onto those walls in that 3″ depth is about two grand plus in Colorado (YMMV) if you do it yourself…

      (I just checked several sources there. I’m seeing costs of about $1.80-$1.90 a square foot. This includes rental of applicator system and some “help” labor.)

      To “frame and go” using SPF in a 1″ depth as a “starter course” is much less. In fact, it’s about $750. So, he has $1300 left to buy lumber for walls and scavenge or “procure” rigid polyiso boards.

      TIP: Frame first. Shoot SPF after. It will “glue” everything together. ๐Ÿ™‚

      You still get your moisture barrier. You still get your vapor barrier. You still get your pest reduction. You still get… blah, blah, blah…

      Plus, after he’s done that he has a “semi-insulated” cavity that isn’t going to leak – “no way-no how”.

      He finishes it out over time, between deployments. You can leave SPF exposed inside while you build. It’s not gonna hurt anything. It’s not like the sun or the environment is gonna hammer it to death.

      While I ABSOLUTELY agree with your assessment that the “Deep” coating of SPF is optimal (you read the blog, you know I use it almost exclusively for exactly the reasons you describe), TED just doesn’t have the funds to accomplish it.

      The budget defines the build. Where have you heard THAT before? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And, he’ll get to keep his “Mad Max boxes” in their “primal state”.



      (I’ve said this before but it bears repeating);

      I’d simply inset metal studs (to prevent thermal bridging) and then shoot SPF into the cavities. Sheetrock over. Voila! Skinny walls, good insulation values, lots of benefits, and almost no square footage loss.)

      And BTW: I’ve been accused of writing WAY longer posts than this one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Stephen Hammontree December 30, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    Just downloaded your book and I’m enjoying it. While I understand it is an introduction, I’m unclear on how windows and doors are installed into the 2″ square tubing framed rough openings. Do you have any schematics, drawings and/or pictures of the process. I’m curious as to how the window frame or jamb meets the steel skin of the container. Thanks.

    • Renaissance Ronin December 30, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

      Hi Stephen,

      Glad you’re enjoying our new book.

      (He’s talking about “Introduction to Container Homes and Buildings” and you can find it by clicking that “blue book icon” on the top right side of your sidebar.)

      Let’s address your questions;

      You’re essentially using 2′ square tubing to create a “subframe” for your window. Fabbed and then welded in place (inside the container between the top and bottom rails) you cut the skin out to create your “hole”. Then inside that newly created “hole” you make a steel box out of plate steel (“X by X by 1/4th in. thick”), to form the “rough opening”. This box is secured in place by welding it to that subframe you already installed. From the outside of the box, it’ll look like a “box shaped” steel lip extending out from inside. This “box” forms your “rough opening” for your window to slide into.

      The meticulous part is welding the “steel box” to the corrugated Corten Steel panel on the outside of the container. Your welder will hate you by nightfall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Then, you install your window in the “steel lined” opening.

      It’ll be described and drawn out in greater detail in our new book – currently living under the guise of “the #^$%@!! Container Home Construction book” as a working title. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And yes, we’re working as fast as we can… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Jeremiah December 30, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    I get the budget angle….but I still have to stand by my original comments. His upfront costs will be manageable but his overall lifecycle costs are gonna be much higher than necessary. This seems like something he’s willing to deal with, which if fine (it’s the typical choice all clients make when faced with initial construction costs – no matter the size and scope).
    Also, I was talking about roof framing, not floor framing. To span that 16′ space he’s gonna need something more substantial than typical 2×4 roof framing even for the SIPs.
    Mostly though, I wish he was a little less hard headed on the space issue. I spend a lot of time (as does any architect worth his salt) thinking about how to efficiently use space and get the most “bang for your buck” so to speak. The average person, when “designing” a living space, really has no idea how much space they are wasting. They see homes on HGTV and Oprah and think “I need more room”…or whatever. It just isn’t true. I could go on for hours about this, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, less is more if designed properly. Ok, that’s enough from me. Layta!

    • Renaissance Ronin December 30, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

      ‘Course you do… yer “a learned b@st@rd”… LOL!

      Remember that TED’s still gonna get the same approximate “insulation value”, it’s just gonna take a bite out of his butt.

      And I do counsel families to think about what they NEED as opposed to what they WANT. Smaller is better, in just about every single way, if you arrange it right.

      That really pushes the design up that totem pole, huh?

      And roof framing using interlocking SIPS isn’t really going to be all that difficult. It will need to get thought thru and the snowload will have to be carefully considered. It will need to be “more” than simple 2x4s. You’re right about that.

      I’d like to see TED really, really think about what kind of space he actually needs, even with an inclusion for a consideration for “down the road.”

      For one guy, even TED (who probably needs all that space to hide from his multiple personalities!) this is a pretty large structure, in my view. ๐Ÿ™‚

      It’s TED, after all…

      It’s not like he’s got women chasing him. He’s gonna be that “crazy old codger who lives over ‘der…”

      Oh wait… that’s me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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