A Few Hiccups and the Spray Foam Spaceman

Insulation_9Every one we meet up with these days asks – “How’s the house going?”… and to be totally honest it’s all been a bit much. The house is finally insulated and looks like a dwelling from another planet at the moment, but it’s been a much longer and more expensive process getting to this point than we hoped. Cam has been on a number of intensive training courses for his guiding business (19 days in total!) which has slowed things down, and the insulation team upped their prices and had to push things out by a week.

Although the delay wasn’t planned, it has been good to get a small break from the project and we are ready to getting going again next week… for three days, before we head off to the Eastern Cape for 10 days! So it feels like a lot of starting and stopping but I thought it was time for an update anyway.

When we published our last blog post, we had just finished the basic structure of the bridge walls and the floor (if you haven’t seen the floor plan, check it out in this post). Here’s what has happened since then:

1. The roof


Cam built a roof over the bridge which is attached by 6 bolts, so it will come off when we move it but is very sturdy for now. On the right you can see what it looks like from the inside.

2. Electrics and plumbing


L to R: The electrical conduit, wires and light fittings are in place, and will get sealed in with the insulation. Our outside shower! The plumbing for the inside shower mixer.


This is the back of the house, you can see the pipes going in for the sink and the electrical point for the geyser.

3. Insulation

The insulation option we went for was a spray polyurethane foam insulation, applied by a company called Insuseal. If you want to know more about this amazing technology, check out their site here: http://www.insuseal.co.za. And the best part is that although it’s not cheap, it’s green!

The polyurethane foam is created by mixing two chemicals which instantly expand and harden when they are exposed to the air. Here is a great illustration which I pulled from their site to show how it works:



Insuseal arrived with their van and generator and applied the spray foam from the van.


The foam is sprayed straight onto the metal surface where it expands rapidly.


Our colourful little containers have turned into a strange foam block!


Foamicles! The foam dries hard almost instantly and takes 24 hours to fully set.


The theory is to rather apply too much than too little, but we really got a bit more than we bargained for and will need to spend quite some time cutting off the excess to expose the wooden beams for our wooden cladding to attach to.

After lots of trimming and cutting back foam (please note all the black bags on the right), this is how our home looks this afternoon.

After lots of trimming and cutting back foam (please note all the black bags on the right), this is how our home looks this afternoon.

What’s next?

Now that the ceiling is insulated, Cam can start on the ceiling boards and then the interior dry walls. Although, we’re kind of missing the steel container feel so we may leave some of the walls exposed on the inside. Next time we check in with you, the exterior will probably look pretty similar but hopefully the interior will be starting to take shape.

A few cool links…

A few little highlights include being featured on the wonderful Midlands Musings blog by the most lovely Keri Bainborough,  a mention on the Miss Moss blog and we got featured in the latest addition of the Tiny House Magazine – if you would like to read a copy just drop me a line and I will send you the PDF version. Our instagram account is also getting so much amazing love so if you are on Instagram and haven’t found us yet, we are @smallerhouse_biggerlife.

And last but not least – I love finding other inspiring container projects and the best part about this one is that it is also in South Africa, check it out: a shipping container coffee shop: http://www.dwell.com/shops/article/coffee-shop-made-shipping-containers-south-africa


3 thoughts on “A Few Hiccups and the Spray Foam Spaceman

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