Carboard as insulation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Heather J, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2008
    I'm putting together a rabbit hutch/tractor (I found the most awesome wheels, I'm so excited!) anyway, we lost a rabbit to the heat this summer, so I wanted to put some kind of insulation at least in the roof, but I don't have room for traditional insulation (plus I'm trying to do this from items on hand as much as possible.) someone mentioned they used carboard as insulation. If I used a few sheets between the 2x4 rafters, would that create enough pockets of air to keep the heat down in the summer/ heat in during the winter? Even a few degrees would help.

    If this goes well, I might try to make a chicken tractor off of a similar plan next spring for mating trios or juveniles.
  2. I thinks that would be a great idea...and I will steal it! I was planning on lowering the ceiling in our coop, to keep in chicken body heat. Any barrier is good. Just make sure it stays dry. If wet, it can make things real bad for the animals in the coop/cage.
  3. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2008
    I'm planning on doing a layer of the outside material, then the cardboard between the 2x4s and then another layer of some sort to keep the rabbit out of the insulation because I know he'll shew on anything.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Yeah, if he can reach the cardboard, he will chew that also.

    I am using cardboard this year for my chicken coop, as I have an old, drafty henhouse built about 60-70 years ago and the boards have shrunk, leaving huge gaps. I already put up some earlier this summer and it definitely kept it somewhat cooler in there. I've been collecting thick cardboard for some time with this in mind. The chickens have ignored it, but I free range, so it may be different with birds kept in the coop most of the time. I think they get a little bored and might peck at most anything.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Cardboard covered with an inside layer, or multiple layers of cardboard, is just ASKING to become a mold farm. And has very, very little insulating value.

    A single layer of cardboard, not covered with anything, will not mold much (and if it does, you will notice and be able to remove it) -- however it will have essentially zerio insulation value.

    Anything else that is a continuous sheet will do just as good a job of stopping drafts.

    If you want actual insulation, a better bet would be to scrounge foam packing material (which sometimes comes in 1"+ solid sheets, just like you'd BUY it for insulation purposes; but the more typical types, that are molded into the shape of whatever they were packing, are useful too; or you can stuff packing peanuts into plastic bags that you flatten out in the spaces between studs. It will have to be covered with something where the chickens can get to it. You could use cardboard [​IMG] if you don't mind replacing it periodically; otherwise you can scrounge thin plywood or panelling or stuff like that.

    To find free styrofoam packing materials, ask the stockboys or managers at every store you go to, especially when you actually see them unpacking items onto the shelves and there is styrofoam involved. I have always found it pretty easy to come by, when I go into active scrounging mode.

    Have fun,

  6. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2008
    Thanks, I just happen to have a convenient supply of packing peanuts. I hope I have enough, if not, I'm sure I can get more.
  7. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Packing peanuts are not very good insulation and are not fire resistant. Pay $10 at your local lumber supply for a bag of cellulose insulation - treated for fire resistance. Packing peanuts have big gaps providing for movement of air. That is not good insulation.

    I know it is tempting to do a cheap insulated chicken coop, but if you don't want it as insulation in your house walls, it probably is not good insulation for your coop.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    My house is insulated with saw dust! [​IMG] It is an old farmhouse and stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so I guess sawdust would be a good choice? [​IMG]
  9. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    Using any type of organic insulation is risky if it is not treated.

    If it happens to get wet, and starts to decay, it will heat up an possible start a fire. Although cellulose insulation is made form paper and card board it is treated with a chemical to make it fire resistant.
  10. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    My barn also has some sawdust insulation in it. Sawdust / wood shavings are a better insulator, actually, than styrafoam packing peanuts - because the smaller particles trap the air better. If you have large air gaps in your insulation, then it does not trap air -- it is actually the small, isolated pockets of air that prevent heat transfer. In larger pockets of air, a small convection "cell" is set up which effectively transfers heat from the warm area to the colder area.

    If you use fiberglass batt insulation (or wool, if you have a local sheep source!), this traps air between the many small hairs. However, if there is a breeze / draft, then batt insulation doesn't work because the air (with the "pressure" of a draft or wind) will still migrate through the insulation.

    If you use batt insulation, in particular, it is very important to caulk/seal the air leaks around the edges of your coop construction. You can airseal with caulk or foam.

    If you use densely-packed cellulose insulation (chopped up newspaper, but treated with borates for mold resistance and fire resistance), then this also serves to prevent air leakage, by trapping the air at the edges of your insulation chamber (the space between your studs/framing that you are insulating).

    Someone else on this thread suggested using packing material -- meaning the styrafoam forms/sheets that come packed around electronic equipment. That is a good idea, but again if combined with air sealing around the edges. And, keep in mind that any large gaps between your foam chunks will not only serve as missing insulation, but will set up heat transfer convection cells that will migrate heat outside your coop. So, if you wanted to use these, you could actually fill the gaps with sawdust or clean pine shavings (better than nothing), or, preferably, with cellulose insulation.

    All of the above is from modern building science/ insulation.

    I am building my insulated coop right now, and I am also working on airsealing / insulating my house basement. I am actually reusing some of the old insulation from my basement in the coop -- because while I want the coop to be somewhat insulated, I am less worried about the coop, overall, vs. my house.

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