Shipping containers are designed to be durable and withstand the rigours of international transport. However, while they keep cargo safe from damage during long sea voyages, they do little to regulate interior temperatures. Shipping containers can heat up considerably in hot climates and lose heat rapidly in colder regions without proper insulation. 

Luckily, several effective and affordable ways exist to insulate a shipping container to better maintain a comfortable interior environment for heat-sensitive items during transport. Follow these steps to insulate your container for its shipping duties properly:

Step 1: Select Your Insulation Material For Shipping Containers 

There are several effective yet affordable insulation materials to choose from:

  1. Foam board insulation  

Rigid foam boards like polyisocyanurate or polystyrene are durable and provide excellent insulation—cut boards to fit interior walls and ceilings.

  1. Fibreglass insulation

Loose-fill or batt fibreglass is affordable and effective. Stuff it into ceiling cavities and between wall studs.

  1. Reflective bubbles/blankets

Reflective insulation uses a layer of aluminum foil or film to reflect heat. Ideal for hard-to-reach places.

  1. Spray foam insulation

Expanding spray foams create an air seal and are easy to apply. Best for irregular surfaces or holes.

Step 2: Prepare the Interior

First, inspect and repair any holes or damaged areas on the interior metal surfaces. Cracks can compromise the insulation integrity. Use a metal patch to seal them.

If your container has a corrugated metal interior, you’ll need to install a vapour barrier first before insulation. Use six mil plastic sheeting and seal all seams with waterproof tape. This creates a barrier against moisture.

Step 3: Attach the Insulation

For rigid insulation like foam boards, measure and cut boards to fit snugly between walls and ceiling. Use construction adhesive to stick them in place.

Blow or pour insulation into ceiling cavities from access holes for loose-fill options. Stuff insulation between wall studs using a tool.

Reflective insulation usually unfurls like bubble wrap. Attach to surfaces using adhesive tape rated for exterior use.

Step 4: Seal Any Gaps

Use spray foam, caulk or tape to seal any remaining cracks or gaps around insulation material. This helps prevent air flow, which can compromise the insulation’s effectiveness.

Step 5: Inspect for Complete Coverage

Ensure all interior surfaces, including corners and hard-to-reach areas, have been properly insulated. No metal surfaces should remain exposed to the elements.

Step 6: Add a Vapour Barrier

If not using foil-faced insulation, install a 6-mil plastic vapour barrier on the warm side of the insulation—tape seams with vapour barrier tape to seal.

Step 7: Label the Container

Affix a label or sign on the outside of the container noting the types of insulation used and any areas that need extra protection, like top panels. This helps when loading and unloading.

Step 8: Test Effectiveness

Use an infrared camera or thermometer to spot-check temperatures inside the sealed and insulated container under different exterior conditions. Insulation should maintain stable interior temps.

Properly insulating your shipping container protects valuable cargo from temperature fluctuations during transport. The low-cost materials required are easily sourced at any hardware store. Following these steps ensures containers are sealed and insulated to industry standards.

Get it Right the First Time with Boxtainer Inc.

Purchasing a shipping container is a big investment! You would want to get it right on the first try. However, it’s easy to make costly mistakes like choosing the wrong size, missing hidden damage, or dealing with surprise fees down the line.

As Ontario’s premier shipping container supplier, Boxtainer is at your service! There are no hidden fees or surprises here. You’ll get upfront pricing on fully certified containers delivered straight to your site.

When you work with our experts, we eliminate the hassle of finding the perfect container tailored to your needs. Our team thoroughly inspects each container to catch any issues before you buy. We’ll also help identify the ideal dimensions,configuration, and features based on how you plan to use it. 
Get in touch with the pros at Boxtainer Inc. today!