Insulating a Plastic shed??

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Old 06-22-19, 06:41 PM
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Insulating a Plastic shed??

Hello everyone. I have been all over trying to figure out how or even if it's possible to insulate a plastic shed, and I flat can't find anything. Basically, my shed is a small 10'x8', but I'm using it kind of like a workshop. The problem is that I want to use it as a workshop, but where I live, it gets well into the 100s. I'd like to buy a mobile AC type thing, but I figured I would need to insulate my shed. Any ideas how that could be done? It's obviously not the most sturdy thing, but is there no type of insulation I could use? Doesn't have to be pretty. Maybe even foam spray or something I don't know. Thanks for any answers.
 
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Old 06-22-19, 07:23 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I'm guessing this shed is out in direct sunlight all day ?
Is it a dark color ?

I doubt a portable A/C would be of much use. Possibly one with dual hoses but that would still struggle.
A window A/C would be more effective. If you are in hot and dry area maybe an evaporative cooler would be better. Uses a lot less electricity but does need a water source.

As far as insulation.... spray foam would be one choice. Styrofoam panels may be another.
 
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Old 06-22-19, 08:18 PM
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Well, when I say portable, I mean one of those ones that's like much bigger than a window unit. Like this: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Control-P...waAisbEALw_wcB .

And the outside is dark. Here it is: https://www.homedepot.com/p/US-Leisu...7479/100652232

Do you think I could even do it without insulation? Oh, and styrofoam could work. That's smart.
 
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Old 06-22-19, 08:32 PM
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It looks to be a single exhaust line portable A/c with very optimistic specs. The problem with a single exhaust line unit is it draws the cool air in from the room and discharges it and the hot air outside. A two hose unit draws air in from outside to cool the unit and the hot air goes outside. Costs more but is more effective.
 
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Old 06-22-19, 11:44 PM
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There is no easy way that thing is going to be insulated, if it's like my deck box it's blow molded and the panels are probably an inch thick and hollow.

Those were never assumed to be occupied, they are storage only!
 
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Old 06-23-19, 03:50 AM
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I would screw rigid foam panels to the inside of the shed. Right now the shed is probably R1 or 2 so anything you do will be a dramatic improvement.

As for an air conditioner you MUST have a two hose portable unit or a window unit. A single hose portable wont stand a chance cooling the shed on a hot day.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 04:25 AM
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I would screw rigid foam panels to the inside of the shed.
There is nothing to screw it too.

I have a large deck box that is the same the walls are very thin plastic with min gap a screw would easily pull out. Maybe glue but it was never intended to be insulated so it would be a cobble job at the very best!
 
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Old 06-23-19, 05:47 AM
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The only workable options I can think of are either to paint the roof white, or to get a black camper's canopy for shade, or both.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 06-23-19 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 06-23-19, 06:38 AM
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I'm thinking along the same lines as Hal. First thing I would do is paint the roof and at least the south and west exposures a lighter color, preferably white. The other thing I was thinking, obviously dependent on local codes, and although your latitude may make it pointless, is a fence, even if it's just posts and a canvas tarp, along the south side of it. But even just the paint I think would be as beneficial as insulation.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by aka pedro
(snip)
First thing I would do is paint the roof and at least the south and west exposures a lighter color, preferably white.
(snip)
But even just the paint I think would be as beneficial as insulation.
Also, if possible, you want the doors facing North or West to get the prevailing breeze, and so you can paint the South side and roof white.

Once you get some shade, I'd consider "thermal intertia" from some masonry-
either add some pavers on the shady north side, or set a few stacks of concrete block with holes facing out on the north side as "shelving" but also as a "thermal mass" that should cool down at night and help keep cool during the day.
 
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Old 06-23-19, 10:13 AM
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"thermal mass" that should cool down at night and help keep cool during the day.
Just to be sure that I understand, your saying a pile of blocks/bricks/pavers along the outside of the structure are going to cool down at night and will help keep the building cool during the day?
 
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Old 06-23-19, 11:38 AM
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Yep.

Assuming that "Fenix" is short for Phoenix, as in Southwestern US.
Think "Adobe."
The material that made the southwest US and northwest Mexico livable for thousands of years before air conditioning. was invented.
Thick masonry cools down at night, if it is IN the shed, in CONTACT or UNDER the shed then you get a lower temperature.
Another option is a "mister" around/in the shed that sprays cool water which evaporates.

IF the OP is in the 100 degree climate along Florida / SouthEastern US, then massive masonry still works, but due to the high humidity you want to focus more on airflow and removing condensation than on massive masonry.
 
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Old 06-24-19, 08:46 PM
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Thanks for all the great answer. So it basically sounds like I won't be able to add an AC. Do you think a unit could be good enough to cool it without costing a ton in electricity or having to insulate (since it can't really be insulated).
 
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Old 06-25-19, 08:17 AM
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AC really depends on the climate-

Are you in hot-arid (Arizona), or hot-humid (Florida)?
For hot-arid, a simple water mister will cool you down, for hot-humid a fan and shade are a good start.
 
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Old 06-28-19, 08:40 AM
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Hi, I believe any type of styrofoam insulation must be covered by a non combustible material, read the warnings on the product, also an 8X10 area then you add a 2 hose AC unit your loosing space.
Geo
 
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Old 06-28-19, 10:36 AM
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The main purpose of batt insulation is to slow air movement and heat radiating from the underside of a hot roof.
You may be able to accomplish that without much actual insulation, you simply want to reduce radiant heat and limit convection to the peak of the roof.

I have gotten good results reducing the heat in a garage and attic by simply draping thin white fabric across the rafters.
It sounds odd, but I found that this
1) reflects the radiant heat from the roof back towards the roof, greatly reducing the radiant heat reaching the floor below.
2) confines the hottest air to circulation above the fabric, while allowing the air below the fabric to circulate separately (basically this allows a "pool" of cool air to form below, and separate-from, the hot air in the peak of the attic.

I took several old window shades inherited from Aunt-X and quickly stitched them into long bolts of fabric. Just drape the run of fabric over the rafters, and hammer-tack to the ends to the gable ends of the roof. This puts a layer of gauzy white fabric between YOU and the HOT roof.
This dropped the attic temperature in summer by about 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit, from an instantly-dripping-with-sweat 115 F to an at least tolerable 85-90 degrees.

This DOES require that you have a peak vent in the roof, with the plastic shed, I suspect a utility knife will make vents, remember to cover them with some screening on the inside.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 06-28-19 at 10:53 AM.
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