As we toil against a workload that is as challenging as “Spring’s Arrival” in Montana…
I’m going to reach into the mailbag and see what’s shakin’ in ISBU-land…
Here we go;
We’re building our ISBU cabin in the woods. We’ve set our 20′ ISBUs on concrete pilings we cast from scrap sonotubes, just like you showed us. Steel plates and J-bolts allowed us to weld the boxes to the pilings, just like you specified. After removing most of the interior walls (our largest open span is less than 16′ – reinforced with columns made from 2″ box steel – again like you showed us)) we’ve welded 1/4th inch steel plate along all of the connecting rails (top and bottom), to stiffen things up.
SPF (Closed cell Spray Foam Insulation) followed after we glued in firring strips. We DID insulate inside, as much as you hate that. We WANT people to see the containers outer skin. It’s that “Urban Chic” look! We love it! We went heavier than we planned on the thickness of the insulation, thanks to a generous insulation guy who really dug what we were doing.
Now, we’re staring at SPF and firring strips. Yuck. According to my wife, it feels like we’re living in a womb painted with vomit. SO, I’m anxious to get the insulation covered up.
You’ve said over and over again that you don’t like drywall (sheetrock). Sheetrock prices have jumped through the roof here. I need a low cost solution to sheetrock that is also structural enough to hang things like shelves, light fixtures and cabinets. We have an opportunity to buy 1/2″ MDO plywood sheets at a huge discount. It’s surplus from a big “boatyard” construction job that went bust. Thank you Craigslist! Can we use this? I can’t begin to picture what a “plywood interior” would look like.
We loved all the tricks you shared with us during our consult sessions. We literally saved thousands of dollars (contractors said it was impossible and YOU proved them wrong!) and it made completing this project within our budget possible!
Thank you so much!
Naked and exposed
First, don’t sell yourselves short. I didn’t prove anything. YOU proved them wrong by starting with a good design and then applying liberal applications of common sense and repurposing. YOUR hard work is making your success possible. I’m just the guy standing behind the curtain.
I also told you early on that if a consultant or tradesman can’t save you enough (in the consulting/design/building process) to pay for his/her services, you need to kick them to the curb.
It’s true. I’m not a big fan of sheetrock.
It must be all that smelly (rotten egg) Chinese drywall that got dumped in the South after Hurricane Katrina.
But seriously, when you’re building in a steel box, especially one that is clad with SPF, sheetrock just isn’t “necessary”.
Okay – first off, I have to say that using plywood IS more labor intensive and you have to think it through… It doesn’t cut as fast as Sheetrock and it’s a “two man job” because it’s harder to handle.
We use 1/2″ (15/32 or better) plywood in place of drywall all the time. MDO (Medium Density Overlay) is even better, for reasons I’ll explain later.
TIP: The best way to use plywood in an interior is to plan it so there are no visible seams that need to be taped. If you can do that, plywood is a joy to behold. If you are going to paint it, add a piece of molding over the seam (to hide it and add some visual interest). If you do it right, it’ll look like expensive “Architectural Paneling” when you’re finished, for about half the cost of cheap decorator panels.
Most of you know that we add firring strips into our Insulation plans (so that the SPF helps support them). This means that plywood cladding can be applied using glue and brads to secure it to the firring strips. If you do it like this, there aren’t any “screw holes” to fill.
One of the nice things about MDO is that it is legions stronger than drywall and it’s a “Marine Grade” plywood. MDO has a resin-bonded surface overlaid on it, so it’s so much more water-resistant than drywall. Prime it and paint it and it’ll be pretty much waterproof.
Okay, okay… nothing is waterproof. But, this plywood will be incredibly water resistant! And because it’s got that resin overcoat, the paint goes on smoother than a baby’s butt!
Another thing I want you to consider is that you should always build to code, even if you’re not building in a code-restricted area. It’s always best to build it right the first time with safety and integrity being a firm part of the partnership. That said; Walls (excluding trim and including paneling thicker than 1/4″) and the ceilings of a residential structure must not have a “flame-spread classification” greater than 200 (class A, B, or C) or a “smoke-developed index” greater than 450.
ALL common plywood construction panels are well within these these limits. And remember that any traditionally furred spaces must be fireblocked.
Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I suggest something like THIS:
Keep us posted as to the progress of your project. And send photos!
I hope this helps!