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Old 03-31-15, 08:46 AM   #1
MishaB
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Default Shipping Container Homes

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking to start building my shipping container home next year, and at the moment I'm just searching around for information.

At the moment I read articles from TreeHugger (I think they are quite a big green blog) and here.

I'm wondering has anyone on here built their own shipping container home or do you know any other good websites to find how-to guides etc. TreeHugger is good but they normally only show the end home they don't say how they built it!

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Old 03-31-15, 11:42 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site.

I'm not aware of anyone here that has build or lived in a shipping container home. We'd love to hear about any progress you make though.
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Old 04-01-15, 12:03 AM   #3
gtojohn
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These are tiny container houses. the surf shack The Surf Shack: A Modern Beach Retreat from an Old Shipping Container | Design.org
And this one in Sri Lanka.
Shipping Container Cabana: Found-Objects Jungle Retreat | Designs & Ideas on Dornob
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Old 04-01-15, 03:00 AM   #4
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Hi Daox- thanks for the positive words I will be sure to keep you posted, but I don't expect to start building until next year.

@gtojohn - that surf shack looks really cool. It looks like a single container, I'm looking to use 2 40 foot containers....

@Barry_fighter - Thanks for the advice, I've been reading a lot about ventilation and insulation. Any ideas where to find more information about it?
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Old 04-03-15, 01:36 AM   #5
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I was surfing the net when I found this site any way get ready for something that will blow this topic off the forum. I am currently living in a shipping container except mine is built into a travel trailer Not done with it yet I just made rough improvements to make it livable. Towed it from Texas to Canadian border and back to Olympic Peninsula where it's in RV park. Some details it's a 40 feett high cube of 9.5 feet welded triple axle 5200k lbs axles and gooseneck trailer hitch I custom built. Some pointers I like to give, use spray insulation or the walls will sweat along with ceiling unless you exterior with foam board, go with PVC conduit for electrical so you don't get fried, put a vapor barrier down first. Last but least put a sod roof on it so you can tee off anytime of the year Who wants to know more?
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Old 04-12-15, 08:50 PM   #6
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Hi,
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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Old 04-12-15, 11:07 PM   #7
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Don't forget your vapor barrier to be put down before anything. Up here in Washington moisture got so bad when I first got here with this is use to rain moisture in here on the roof lol. Some mornings I literally had icecycles hanging inside of this place. It really sucked when it was hitting single digits with no insulation and highs in 20's, the wood stove I got for free would only burn a hour at longest.
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Old 04-15-15, 01:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtojohn View Post
These great looking examples are a good additions to this thread.

I have watched several BBC programs where people either directly used shipping containers, or manufactured 'pods' that were not very different in size.

One thing that I learned that really surprised me was how well designed shipping containers actually are, and the whole structure is under tension.

When you start cutting large windows and doors, you lose some of the original tension and strength and integrity.

But without windows & doors you're just living in a box... so there are trade-offs to consider.

-AC
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Old 04-16-15, 03:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC_Hacker View Post
These great looking examples are a good additions to this thread.

I have watched several BBC programs where people either directly used shipping containers, or manufactured 'pods' that were not very different in size.

One thing that I learned that really surprised me was how well designed shipping containers actually are, and the whole structure is under tension.

When you start cutting large windows and doors, you lose some of the original tension and strength and integrity.

But without windows & doors you're just living in a box... so there are trade-offs to consider.

-AC
Yes there is but you got to look at how much weight these are designed to hold by four courners. As travel trailer pulling I would never even get half this weight in here so I took half the 5 inch channel iron beams out underneath. Those are spaced 12 O.C. which is over kill. I have a record to vouche on how much these can takes, in Oregon a driver wouldn't move and ordered me to go around while towing it, his car is now considered totaled all i got was bottom lip bend in small area. Then there is this coffee shop the over hang roof was too low, well it isn't there anymore, that caused three of the ribs on wall to get bent.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spud_Monkey View Post
...in Oregon a driver wouldn't move and ordered me to go around while towing it, his car is now considered totaled all i got was bottom lip bend in small area. Then there is this coffee shop the over hang roof was too low, well it isn't there anymore, that caused three of the ribs on wall to get bent...
My comment was intended to address the problems that might be encountered if the potential owner/designer of a container home was interested in customizing the basic unit in such a way that it could be attractive to live in as well as beautiful to look at.

I find these issues more interesting to think about than the damage that can be inflicted on people and property.

For instance, here's a very interesting arrangement:



Or this amazing thing:


...and if you Google CARGOTECTURE, things really start to happen!!

I just found out that there is an architecture firm in Seattle that specializes in just this thing.

Here's a page from their website that gives some idea of their thinking.



-AC

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