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Cheap Cabin Insulation

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  • Cheap Cabin Insulation

    I am moving into a small cabin for the winter and need some insulation ideas. Cabin is 10X12 with lap siding and a metal roof. NO insulation. It has a 55 gallon drum stove (read hotter than hell) but you need to keep her cranking just to keep warm. No studs or anything in the cabin, any ideas as to a good insulator for the roof and walls? I was thinking blueboard but I am open to ideas. I will be putting a new roof on Monday so now's the time.

    Thanks, Gooch
    Prince of Wales Island

  • #2
    Have you considered tearing it down carefully and rebuild.
    " Prepping for Survival, is to be able to segregate, what you think will happen, from what you hope will happen, from what you fear will happen, from what is happening".


    • #3
      Good thought but...

      I am building 3 new cabins while there and don't want to waste too much time on this place. It's in SE so sold is not too huge an issue I just don't want to burn as much wood. It runs about 120 degrees on the top bunk and 50 degrees on the bottom.
      Prince of Wales Island


      • #4
        A quality sleeping bag is pretty cheap compared to insulation, and you can take it with you on various adventures.

        I can't see putting the effort or $ into a structure that isn't worth the time and materials.
        Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

        If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


        • #5
          Since it sounds like you plan on keeping the shack for a while, at least, maybe you should go to the sawmill down the road and get some dirt cheap 2x4's and fur some walls out and insulate them with fiberglass. Might be able to do the same with the roof. You could do the whole thing in an afternoon, probably for $200-300.

          For the stove, it might work to pile rocks up around the stove to make a heat sink. Don't get them too hot though, or you'll be at 120 until morning instead of just for the first couple of hours. Don't light anymore farts from the top bunk, might help too.


          • #6

            If the walls had studs in them you could cover the inside of the studs with OSB and fill the hollow sections of wall with sawdust from a local saw-mill. In the midwest back in the early 1900's ice houses used sawdust for insulation; they kept ice all through the summer. BUT the walls were 16-18" thick as well.
            It should be dry though of it will nould in the walls .


            • #7
              I'd fir the inside of that thing out with 2x4s and use fiberglass batt, layer of poly to stop the wind and cover with the cheapest sheeting you can find OSB, Luan or whatever.

              Blue board would be relatively cheaper and less work but it is pretty flammable and does off gas some nasty stuff you may or may not be opposed to.

              2x, batt and sheathing are all pretty easy to move used so might recoup at least part of your initial cost when and if you move/ teardown etc...
              "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit


              • #8
                Fast and cheap would be put up vaper barrier. Try to get some space there between it and the walls, you will notice the difference right away. I rememeber one yr we sat in our T-shirts playing cards with are bunny boots on. every thing that was on floor like our water bucket stayed almost frozen. You can use a fan to push the heat down,Have all kinds of them since we see how well they worked, 12v, 110 volt, one on top wood stove thermo thing works!!and one takes 4dcells.
                Remember, Mother nature has no forgiveness for stupidity.
                If you don't care where you are, your not lost


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gooch View Post
                  I am building 3 new cabins while there and don't want to waste too much time on this place. It's in SE so sold is not too huge an issue I just don't want to burn as much wood. It runs about 120 degrees on the top bunk and 50 degrees on the bottom.
                  If you have a way to run it (power) a small 10" or 12" box fan in the peak aimed down would amaze you! As far as insulation goes anything that creates a dead air space, in sidewalls I have used packing peanuts, and for the ceiling I put them in trash bags and stapled them up, this was in my old workshop, I then covered the walls and ceiling with common cardboard from big boxes opened up, worked like a charm! I used the peanuts because they were free from a music store that was way happy to give them away!
                  in my new shop I used rolled fiberglass on walls and ceiling, cardboard on the walls and a piece of very heavy bubble wrap used for shipping canoes stapled on the ceiling, this shop is a little one 6'X8' and i heat it at 20 below with a toilet paper+alcohol heater/stove, or a 1 burner camp stove that screws on a 1 pound propane bottle,again, it works out just great! In my 12x24 cabin is where I use the fan.
                  Theres always a cheap way to insulate if you have a stapler


                  • #10
                    I had a stick frame cabin that had 2x4 frame and very little insulation. with lap bord out side. it was out of fairbanks with winter temps 50 below sometimes... What i did was in the summer in my spar time i took off the inside panaling one wall at a time for that wall i bought 2x2s and nailed them to the 2x4 now i had a 2x6 insulated it with r19 and moved to the next wall after puting the panaling back. after i did alll the walls i went to the roof I went with r-38. I could heat the cabin with very little wood after that and i had a very little woodstove the cabin was 12 by 20. it was like knight and day differance.. The other thing was the floor make shure that it has plenty of isulation r-38 0r better


                    • #11
                      If you want to get realy cheep then you can try out a few natural building styles. A clay straw mixture can get about R4 per inch. If you seal the wall after you build it nobody will know it is there. Insulation works by isolating air pockets. straw and dry sawdust work great as long as you have something sheathing the inside. That and just like your body a building looses the most heat through the top and bottom, head and feet.

                      It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.



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