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Natural insulation for Tiny Home on wheels  RSS feed

 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Thinking of different low budget natural insulation for small home on 7 x 18 trailer. I had an idea about stuffing wood pallets with slip-straw for the walls but not sure if any cob mixture could withstand highway speeds. My other option is wool. Does anyone have experience with natural insulation for a Tiny Home on Wheels?

I did find this page for using wool in a Tumbleweed style home. http://evanandgabbystinyhouse.wordpress.com/3-the-concept-of-using-natural-wool-insulation/
 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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If you avoid drywall and use something much sturdier, you can shred straw bales and compact it in between the outer and inner walls. It does add some weight but its real cheap and effective! Don't forget insulating the floor, people often forget that airflow circulates under the house in these tiny homes.
 
Rose Pinder
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Location: Otago, New Zealand
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How budget do you mean? Wool batts are a good choice, because you can staple the batt in place, but they are not cheap. But wool on it's own will also slump unless you find a way of holding it in place. Maybe lots of horizontal battens to make small cavities would lessen slumping (that would apply to straw too). How deep is your wall cavity?

I've heard the suggestion of rolling up or packing in secondhand wool clothing to use as batts. Not sure how that would go over the long term, but if you have a removeable interior lining you could check over time.

What are you lining with? If you can line in strips then you have more choice in terms of packing material (wool or straw), working from bottom up.

The floor is easier for obvious gravity reasons but I think you would still want to stabilise whatever you use somewhat.

Any natural insulation that you use that's not commercial won't be protected against insects. But again, if the interior is removeable, you could replace the insulation every 5 years or whatever.
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 410
Location: Otago, New Zealand
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Just read the link and wanted to say that wool insulation is normal here in New Zealand. Usually it's made into a batt (varying thicknesses depending on use), and is treated with borax to prevent insect damage. To make the batts a small amount of synthetic is used as a binding material. The batts mean you don't have to pack the material in - and I suspect this increases R value - you want the wool to hold air, not be so compressed that there isn't much. This is the problem with any loose fill insulation: you trade loft/insulation for packing so it doesn't slump, or vice versa. This is more of an issue in a tiny house, because movement will cause more slumping than in a house.

I think that tiny house will find that the wool slumps and leaves cavities that create cold (haven't watched the vids though, did they talk about that?). That may not be an issue in such a small space. I still think that putting horizontal batons in would make it more successful (you have to do this with batts anyway, just not as many).

Great to see that tiny house going natural though!
 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Thank you all for the advice. I will definitely be avoiding dry wall and weight is a concern. i hope to be under 6000 pounds, another obstacle for natural methods.

I would like to build it for less than 4,000 dollars and am planning to use reclaimed wood siding to line it. I found a local wool insulation supplier and am wondering if a roll or batt would be better for the project. Would the roll form would be more prone to slumping? The walls will be about 4 inches deep using standard 2x4 and the roll and batt options are both 3.5 inches wide.
 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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You can increase the insulative value of batt (of any material) by using a reflective wrap outside and bubble-foil as a vapor barrier inside.

You could shave quite a bit of weight off by using steel studs where possible. A welded steel superstructure would also lighten the trailer considerably and it would better withstand the rigors of travel.
 
Kate Nudd
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Jared,Hi
Congratulations on your tiny house project.
I am working away at an 8x20 foot one,using as many recycled materials as possible.( door and double pane windows all came from the backlanes,some of the trim wood as well)
Beginning the small electrical wiring system at this point. I chose wool insulation for the walls and roof. I am going with 5.5 inch batts in the 2x6 framed roof and am folding wool batts ( like the ones used in quilting) for the 2x4 walls. There is 5.5 inches of rigid foam in the 2x6 floor frame. Oh and I used rigid foam in the boxes surrounding the wheel wells. I have the reflective (one sided) bubble wrap to use as vapour barrier. All these choices were not as cheap nor as natural as I would have liked.
The wall batts (made specifically for insulating) came from a woolen plant several hours north of me and I am buying the roof batts in 12 foot rolls from Oregon. It will cost roughly $1500.00 to insulate the entire wee house.
What will be your heat source?
I have recently purchased a 'tiny' woodstove that should arrive from the US early Dec.
This winter will be a good test of the combined insulation and wood heat as already today it is -24 degrees celcius.
All the best.
Kate
 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Hey Kate,

Do you have any pictures of your project??
 
Kate Nudd
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Jared,Hello
I don't own a camera so am arranging for updated photos of the trailer...it is not completed ...doing the wall and ceiling finishing now...the woodstove has not been installed and won't be until the trailer gets settled onto land...not sure where that will be yet.
How's your project coming? Do you have photos to share?
What kind of insulation did you go with?
Kate
 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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oh neat! I am excited to see your progress. My project was put on the back burner as I did not have fund or space to complete the project. I decided to devote my energies to the garden instead...

http://natureprovides.wordpress.com/blog/

 
Natalie McVander
Posts: 63
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Going for low budget?

How about collecting a lot of used corrugated cardboard, gluing them together into the thickness of your wall, floor, and roof spaces, to the width of your studs.

I haven't heard of anyone doing this, it just came to me LOL
 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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hmm, perhaps. I do not know the R value of cardboard. I wonder if it would be able to hold up in the winter. Cardboard and sheep wool?!?! might get a bit moldy...
 
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