cardboard as insulation?

ams3651

Songster
12 Years
Jan 23, 2008
3,343
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NE PA
I went thru the pile of scrap wood my son got me and discovered I have enough to get started converting my shed. I have one question though. The wall at the back of the shed is about 3 feet from the back wall of the shed behind it, so its not getting the brunt of the wind. I have tons of cardboard boxes from things I have just bought, if I folded them say, double thickness, do you think they would be good insulation? It can get pretty windy here and the sides that are more exposed would be better insulated. Any one used this? Im in Pa and it can get down to about 0 degrees on some nights. But I also dont want it to be too hot because we can get high humidity and 90's in the summer also.
 
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red-hen

Songster
11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
168
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If the cardboard stays dry - isn't subjected to rain, snow, or high humidity it would insulate while it lasted. While rain and snow would directly break it down, the high humidity would probably bring on mold / mildew problems. So there are things to consider. It wouldn't be a bad short term solution. Or, if it was sealed as the middle layer of something that was moisture proof I guess it would insulate too -- this assumes of course that you have the waffle type cardboard with air spaces - not the flat sheets without air pockets.
 

ams3651

Songster
12 Years
Jan 23, 2008
3,343
13
223
NE PA
it is corrugated cardboard (freezer box, etc) and would be between the walls so it shouldnt get wet.
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
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Ontario, Canada
Quote:How much wind a side is exposed to doesn't have all that much to do with how much insulation it needs... you will still lose heat by radiation, even when the wall is sheltered.

I would honestly not mess around with cardboard. It has very very little insulating value, not much better than nothing; it will disintegrate as it gets damp, which it *will* do, even just from humidity; and can grow mold. It will be a nuisance to have to strip it out and do the wall properly; I really think you'd be a lot better off just insulating that wall same as the other 3.

If you're looking for something to do with all that cardboard, put pieces under the roost to catch poo. When the piece gets too pooey, remove to your compost pile (it will now have a really nice combo of carbon and nitrogen and will compost down pretty well) and replace with a clean piece


JMO,

Pat
 

ams3651

Songster
12 Years
Jan 23, 2008
3,343
13
223
NE PA
Ok thanks for the info. I have to do this as inexpensively as possible. I have my son on pallet patrol at the local nursery for wood. What do you think is the least expensive way to do it? I was also thinking about the styrofoam type stuff that you cut. It about 8' x 3' and about 6' at the peak. Someone a while back mentioned using used grocery bags...but thats alot of bags!
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
254
341
Ontario, Canada
Why not leave the inside of the walls open for now -- you probably don't really need insulation anymore this year until next Nov or Dec, by which time you may well have come across the materials somewhere
See what you can find from freecycle, craigslist, asking around, dumpster diving, etcetera. You will also need something to cover the insulation with, like cheapie ugly panelling or thin plywood or anything else that is peck-proof and moisture-resistant.

Good luck,

Pat
 

red-hen

Songster
11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
168
2
121
You might want to look into something called papercrete and a similar thing called fidobe. (google 'em)

Basically, papercrete is used newspaper mushed up with a little portland cement. The R value is supposed to be quite good. The cost of making it is very small. And when it dries it is extremely light weight. The only catch is, you'd need to water proof exterior walls. I have only been researching - so I don't have all the answers for you. But when you said cost is an issue it sprang to mind. Fidobe is like papercrete - except instead of needing any portland cement in the mix, they use very dry dirt to mix with the paper pulp - making it even cheaper.

Lots of stuff on line about it.

I'm glad you're not going to use the cardboard long term - - one of my relatives thought it was a bright idea to put cardboard under aluminum siding on a house ... and it is just rotting away under there turning to mold. It's a disaster long term.
 

ams3651

Songster
12 Years
Jan 23, 2008
3,343
13
223
NE PA
Quote:I have wood to cover the walls and this is a one time project, I just dont have the time to go back later. It a shed my grandfather built and covered with siding, he did a pretty good job. Thanks, I will consider my options.
 

LynneP

Songster
11 Years
Mar 21, 2008
4,746
57
231
Centre Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada
You'd have to regard it as temporary I think. Not only must it be bone-dry but it picks up moisture from humidity changes alone. Your climat4e and ours are similar, I believe, and my other thought is that the channels in the cardboard are perfect nesting sites for tiny insects, like lice. I know that foam and fibreglass are pricey, but if you install them with vapor seal you'll do it only once, and get years of satisfaction...
 

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