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Old 04-12-15, 07:50 PM   #6
Apprentice EcoRenovator
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 152
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I am in the middle of building a container home. I didn't find any free plans anywhere on the net. I will publish step by step construction after I'm finished. They will be free to anyone or company that wants to build or modify them.

My major reason for using containers is they are metal and very tough. I want a near tornado proof home. TV news footage from the tornadoes in Oklahoma back in 2011 showed a shipping container tumbling through the air then cartwheeling on the ground. The oilfield workers inside had a few injuries, but no fatalities. I'll bet they had a few choice words!

I started just like with any other house. I found how much of a footprint the concrete had to have for my soil. I compacted it, added limestone gravel and compacted it again. Over several months, I had a foot of gravel that acted more like pavement and great drainage.

Then I found out how much the building had to weigh to keep a tornado from pushing or picking up the building. Most of the engineering is minimal. It can be found on the internet and very good examples on youtube.

The completed house will be about 1000 sq. ft. because there are only 2 of us that will live there. Therefore, less resources like heating and cooling, cleaning etc.

When purchasing containers, look them over carefully and make sure the doors function well. The corner posts should not be damaged in any way. Check the roof for dents and dings. That will be a source of potential leaks in the future.

I do agree with Spud about the walls sweating. My solution is to insulate the outside with EPS and concrete mix. Yes, they are mixed together with sand, Portland and water reducer. A propane torch will not ignite this product after curing. The EPS is found at lots of businesses. If you ask for it, they will usually save it for you and even call you when they have a sizable pickup! I'll either buy or build a device to exchange fresh air to keep the moisture down.

Basically, I have three 8'X40' containers that are sitting side by side. They are bolted together on the corners with four 1/2" bolts then welded on the sides and top with 1/8" thick strap steel. The foundation is two feet high by two feet wide with eight inch stemwalls. The rebar from the concrete foundation is welded to the shipping containers in 60 locations(overkill). I wanted to get an idea about the strength of the welded rebar so I welded a couple of pieces to the containers. It took a new 20 ton bottle jack to break the welded rebar. The break was actually the containers' metal that sheared and not the rebar or my welding. I was ready to run for cover when they broke. It sounded like a grenade going off.

All the plumbing is ran in the chase under the containers and all the electric wires are ran inside between the containers and along the outside wall. The inside walls are stucco. If the wiring is somehow overloaded and causes a fire, the structure can't burn down. I'll just have to replace the wire. The building is grounded through two uber type grounds which, in this case is a 3' by 3' by 4' tall piece of concrete with a rebar cage inside that. The uber also serves to keep the containers from twisting in a tornado/hurricane.

Maybe that gives you a few ideas. If you have any questions, just ask. I'll try to answer them but please be aware that I only get on this site once or twice per week.
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