Author Topic: Can walk-in cooler panels be repurposed for house construction?  (Read 1309 times)

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Offline momo

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Can walk-in cooler panels be repurposed for house construction?
« on: September 24, 2019, 06:32:37 PM »
Hello,

I'm in the planning/gathering reclaimed materials stage for my first home build. I see a lot of 4" or 6" thick walk-in cooler panels on Craigslist for as low as $10 per 4'x8' panel, but I can't find much information on whether or not it's a bad idea to incorporate them into house construction. I realize they're not structural in the way that SIPs are, but I'm wondering if and how they could be integrated for their insulation. My first thoughts were to either cut them and fit pieces between studs and joists or line them on the exteriors of the wall and possibly over the roof. I'm not sure how well any of these ideas might work. I live in a rural area and only have to worry about septic, plumbing, and electrical codes in case that matters.

I thought this forum of DIY-ers might be a good place to ask for input! I tried searching the forum, and saw one comment referring to this type of panel being used on a roof, but it didn't include details on how this was executed. Does anyone have any experience with repurposing walk-in cooler/freezer panels? Or any suggestions even if you haven't tried using them personally? Is there a good reason I'm missing for why people don't reuse them on houses? Any advice would be appreciated!

Offline NathanS

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Re: Can walk-in cooler panels be repurposed for house construction?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2019, 02:34:19 AM »
A few years ago I was able to buy 3" recycled foam board for $10 a sheet. That was admittedly probably the best deal I found on the whole house.

Things I would be concerned with... weight, cutting to fit may be difficult or impossible, once cut are they a reservoir for water, how much do they weigh, is it realistic to cut them, is it realistic to screw them to the walls, sharp edges, probably a lot of thermal bridging issues if you try to cobble them between studs and how do you deal with electrical wires...

Overall I would be skeptical but at $10 you could always buy one and experiment.

Used insulation is definitely something to keep checking craigslist for. The person I found was a roofer that redoes school roofs in the summer. He pulls all the foam panels off and resells them.


Offline Don_P

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Re: Can walk-in cooler panels be repurposed for house construction?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2019, 02:39:33 AM »
There are several kinds, from fiberglass insulated to various foams. The FG are generally very funky, the foams varying degrees of funk and rot. The problem I've seen is they come from a wet environment, they've seen lots of condensation. I've repurposed several into farm coolers but don't think I'd go out of my way to use them in a house. That said we took out a site built cooler in a store a few weeks ago and the owner is wanting to repurpose the polystyrene panels. They are 4x8x6" thick and largely came out intact. There were no "skins" on these but the interior face is coated in a fibered trowel on cement product about 1/4" thick that makes them heavy and kind of hard to think of how we will reuse them. At the same time I'm working on building a lumber kiln. We found someone on c-list selling factory blem 4x8 sheets for about 1/2 price, we're using them. I've done the same thing on a residential insulation job and that worked well. When we were scouring the pages looking for those blems I was taking a trailerload of shingles to the landfill. Just as I backed up another large truck was dumping a load of foam panels from a commercial reroof, really nice looking polyiso. Before I could flap my arms the big loader was shoving it into the pit... man I was wishing we had met at the gate, I would have paid him rather than him paying to dispose of them. Also bear in mind, I'm not sure of or if there is overlap in time periods, I've run into asbestos in the membranes on old commercial roofing jobs, that predated foam, I'm not sure if there was an overlap period where both appeared together.

Offline Roger522

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Re: Can walk-in cooler panels be repurposed for house construction?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2021, 01:27:53 AM »
Hello,

I'm in the planning/gathering reclaimed materials stage for my first home build. I see a lot of 4" or 6" thick walk-in cooler panels on Craigslist for as low as $10 per 4'x8' panel, but I can't find much information on whether or not it's a bad idea to incorporate them into house construction. I realize they're not structural in the way that SIPs are, but I'm wondering if and how they could be integrated for their insulation. My first thoughts were to either cut them and fit pieces between studs and joists or line them on the exteriors of the wall and possibly over the roof. I'm not sure how well any of these ideas might work. I live in a rural area and only have to worry about septic, plumbing, and electrical codes in case that matters.

I thought this forum of DIY-ers might be a good place to ask for input! I tried searching the forum, and saw one comment referring to this type of panel being used on a roof, but it didn't include details on how this was executed. Does anyone have any experience with repurposing walk-in cooler/freezer panels? Or any suggestions even if you haven't tried using them personally? Is there a good reason I'm missing for why people don't reuse them on houses? Any advice would be appreciated!

Offline Roger522

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Re: Can walk-in cooler panels be repurposed for house construction?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2021, 01:46:50 AM »
I have been installing large and small coolers for 32 years there are seval types to keep in mind the best type are panels that have wood constructions on the  frame of the panels that have cam locks that interlock each panel so when you interlock 2 panels you basically have a 4 x 4  construction they are so strong when assembled you  assembly them you  build a house but you have to cut the panels for doors and windows and learn some sheet metal skills note lots of sharp metal objects so be careful but several I have installed survived tornados with no  destruction


 

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