The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Insulating a mobile home

A truckload of foamboard insulationAdding a roof and basement to his mobile home made it much easier for Zimmy to insulate his house.  We've tried to wrap our minds around insulating our trailer better, but since Mark's head already almost brushes the ceiling, we would clearly have to follow a similar route and we're not quite ready to embark on such a huge project.  Still, it's great to see how a trailer can be insulated relatively cheaply once you have a roof and basement in place.

Zimmy didn't give me figures on how much it cost to build his new roof and basement, but he did say that the subsequent insulation job cost about $500.  He managed to insulate so cheaply because he spent some time scrounging for materials:
Adding foamboard insulation to the outside of a mobile home

The local bargain paper had a listing of seconds 1"x4'x8' sheets of foil-faced insulation board [$3 apiece] and rolls of fiberglass insulation [$20 apiece] for sale so I just bought a whole truck load of the foam board and another load of fiberglass insulation. I also bought a load of door cut outs that are vinyl coated foam (haven't figured out a use for them yet).

With his supplies compiled, Zimmy and his wife ripped off the inside paneling and installed 6 mil plastic as a vapor barrier, putting drywall over that.  They tacked an additional two inches of insulated foam board to the outside of the trailer and coated it with 1/2" of plywood.  The resulting combination of insulation in the walls now reached R26.
Adding insulation above the ceiling
"The roof already had R19 of fiberglass insulation in it and the company I worked for sold me at cost bags of rock wool insulation," Zimmy wrote.  It was simple to add more insulation under the roof, bringing the insulative value up to at least R60.

Zimmy made sure that I knew he still planned to put vinyl siding over the outside walls of the mobile home.  I could tell that the insulating project had been a lot of work, but I'll bet he and his wife consider that $500 a very wise investment.

Fund your own journey back to the land with Microbusiness Independence.

This post is part of our Energy Efficient Mobile Home lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:


Edited to add:

Learn more about insulating and improving the efficiency of a mobile home in
Trailersteading.  Now available for $1.99 on Amazon.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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This is a super recycling project since they took something existing and turned it into something better that will save energy.

Insulation value is important but it is just as important to seal all the edges tightly too. Otherwise you will not get the full R value. Cold air can blow through insulation and wet insulation has a greatly reduced R value. Don't forget to seal ductwork too if it isn't in the conditioned space.

You can also get a tax credit for 30% of the cost of insulation added to your home through the end of the year.

Comment by Lisa Tue Aug 24 16:05:36 2010
Good points! I'm always in favor of reusing --- vastly better than recycling. Another big point in favor of old mobile homes....
Comment by anna Tue Aug 24 17:28:32 2010

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