Tag Archives: interior

Steel Studs rather than Wood?

I’m hopeful that the ground will dry out enough over the next week (given that it looks like we’ll have good weather at least through this coming Sunday) that we can actually move the containers to their final destination.  Even if not, we’ll have them close enough that I hope to be able to drag them the last ~100 yards in the April timeframe when the ground really will start to turn back into the concrete that it resembled last August.

In the interim, I plan to continue to flesh out the interior of the containers so that they can become living spaces, even if that occurs prior to their final location change.  That effort would be a good test of the road-worthiness of these boxes, especially if we have to drag them any appreciable distance.

To fill out the interior, I’m planning on framing out walls ~2″ from the interior of the side wall waffle.  The extra space will be filled with a closed-cell spray foam insulation, and the walls will then be clad either in plywood or standard gypsum.  I actually like the idea of using marine grade plywood, which would make for a truly robust space that could handle any potential interior condensation, but cost may be a limiting factor.  One interesting shift from most housing, which may help manage costs to a certain extent, is that the interior sheeting has even less of a structural component than it does in a stick built house, not that it provided all that much to begin with. By placing studs on 2′ centers, and filling the void with spray foam, it should be quite reasonable to use a thin, 3/8″ plywood, rather than a thicker gypsum board.  I think that a nice varnish or even an oil finish will really provide for an interesting interior.  And if we don’t oil the walls, we have the option of painting as well.

I also just realized (after working on my model for a couple hours this evening), that I forgot to include the windows in the back side of the container.  The “front” wall will remain window free, as that will be one end of the bathroom, but there will be a window on either end of the bathroom, for light, and to add a bit of additional space to what will otherwise be a fairly cramped space.

I also need to add the interior wall, and add the raised bathroom floor.  So far (except for my weird header in this iteration of the model), this looks to be a good weekend project.  I think it’s realistic to think that I can at least get the walls framed in a weekend, and then plan on sprayfoam for the following weekend.

So, the only other point here, is that I think we’re going to go with steel studs rather than wood.  This lends it self to the studs being welded to the sidewalls where appropriate (not all studs are going to line up on the wall waffle, at least based on this model, but I haven’t measured the actual container waffle yet, so we’ll have to see).  Certainly the footer and header can be tacked on, and the cieling joists can also be spot welded into place.  This means that the frame will effectively be an extension to the exterior, even though that will also create a thermal channel from the exterior to the interior.  This may be a bad idea, and I’m certainly open to suggestions/reccomendations here as well.  One thought I had is to use 2.5″ channel, which is avaialble at Home Depot at least, and leave a 1/2″-1″ gap between the framing and the actual container wall, which will then be filled with the expanding foam.  This would provide a solid vapor/thermal barrier, but makes the interior shell free-floating until the foam is in place.  Could be interesting though, and it might be a simple matter of providing a few welded ties between the shell and the framing until some sections of foam are in place, which can then be cut out before the rest is foamed in (or left in place, given that the small pins won’t be much of a thermal conductor as the entire stud would be).

More thoughts, more concepts. I can’t wait to actually get this put into practice!