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Are there any good isocyanate-free alternatives to spray foam insulation?

I'm looking to build a home from shipping containers, and I see that closed-cell spray foam insulation is typically chosen for these kinds of projects due to high R value and anti-moisture properties of the spray foam.

Are there any good alternatives to closed-cell spray foam for this kind of project?

Asked by Mark Baxter
Posted Fri, 03/14/2014 - 01:24

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Mark,
First of all, it's hard to transform a steel shipping container into a home. I lived in a steel shipping container for a year, so I know all of the disadvantages and problems with steel shipping containers. It will be cheaper to build a new house with ordinary framing lumber than to correct all of the drawbacks of a shipping container.

To answer your question: you can insulate the interior or exterior of your shipping container with rigid foam insulation. Polyisocyanurate probably isn't isocyanate-free (not that it matters much), so if that's your criterion, you'd probably want to choose EPS or XPS. The blowing agents used to make EPS are more environmentally friendly than those used to make XPS.

In many areas of the country, EPS can be purchased used (from companies that salvage rigid foam from demolition sites or re-roofing jobs).

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Fri, 03/14/2014 - 04:43
Edited Fri, 03/14/2014 - 08:32.

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