The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Dragonstrike on December 03, 2015, 07:12:21 AM

Title: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Dragonstrike on December 03, 2015, 07:12:21 AM
Hey everyone, back with another question.

One of my dreams when I become stable with possible job options for the future is to either live in or build shipping container homes/regular homes/etc.

It seems like a worthwhile investment when it comes to real estate/property ownership.  As well, if time and energy invested with some thought, can seem to be a great idea for a business.

So what are everyone's thoughts on them, whether to live in them or otherwise?

Also, what if any resources do you have to read up on?

Again, advice always welcomed.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: CowboyAndIndian on December 03, 2015, 07:32:28 AM
I was always interested in it.

You could get your container modified before you complete it.

http://www.cubedepot.com/container-modifications/

Do a google search on them and you see some great ideas.

Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: FLBiker on December 03, 2015, 08:22:37 AM
Very cool.  I've been learning about tiny houses and have been thinking I'd like to build one in 5 years or so.  This is an interesting angle.

I live in FL, though, and I feel like these might be harder to keep cool.  I have always wanted to learn to weld, though, and there is a tech school nearby that I've had good experiences with...
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: CowboyAndIndian on December 03, 2015, 08:27:48 AM
...
I live in FL, though, and I feel like these might be harder to keep cool
...

The shipping containers might be perfect for FL. Hurricane proof (if your mod includes shutters for doors, windows).

Enough of insulation should keep the cooling costs low. Solar panels on top could shade the container, reducing the heat and generate enough electricity to run the house (maybe with the PowerWall from Elon Musk's company). Could potentially go off the grid.

One great advantage is that you could live in the container as you build it.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: AlanStache on December 03, 2015, 08:28:27 AM
Very cool.  I've been learning about tiny houses and have been thinking I'd like to build one in 5 years or so.  This is an interesting angle.

I live in FL, though, and I feel like these might be harder to keep cool.  I have always wanted to learn to weld, though, and there is a tech school nearby that I've had good experiences with...

In vegas there is a shipping container outdoor mall, all the shops I went into were cool and comfortable (and had AC).

OP: if you have not read Brandons blog he talked about shiping containers a post or two ago and has a few links.
http://frominsidethebox.com/ (http://frominsidethebox.com/)
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Jack on December 03, 2015, 09:14:50 AM
In vegas there is a shipping container outdoor mall, all the shops I went into were cool and comfortable (and had AC).

Well sure, with enough AC you could live inside an active volcano! The question is how much the electricity bill would cost.

Most of what I've read suggests that by the time you add insulation (which pretty much has to be spray foam), plumbing/electrical and finishes, a shipping container home would cost a similar amount per square foot as conventional construction.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: FLBiker on December 03, 2015, 10:10:13 AM
Most of what I've read suggests that by the time you add insulation (which pretty much has to be spray foam), plumbing/electrical and finishes, a shipping container home would cost a similar amount per square foot as conventional construction.

Interesting!  Thanks.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Cromacster on December 03, 2015, 10:36:27 AM
Well sure, with enough AC you could live inside an active volcano! The question is how much the electricity bill would cost.

Most of what I've read suggests that by the time you add insulation (which pretty much has to be spray foam), plumbing/electrical and finishes, a shipping container home would cost a similar amount per square foot as conventional construction.

I've read the opposite.

From what I understand shipping containers are more of an architectural or recycling statement over an affordable living accommodation.  Price also depends on if you are buying versus DIY.  I've seen detailed DIY builds that come out to 80$/sqft (No plumbing and limited electricity).  The few I've seen marketed for sale from manufacturers are more in the range of 250-300$/sqft.  Granted the cost/sqft is going to vary based on location, in my area new builds are in the range of 150-200/sqft.

Here is an interesting read regarding the subject.

The Shipping Container Cabin in Perspective (http://www.tincancabin.com/2013/12/the-shipping-container-cabin-in-perspective/)

...
I live in FL, though, and I feel like these might be harder to keep cool
...
The shipping containers might be perfect for FL. Hurricane proof (if your mod includes shutters for doors, windows).

In one of the build blogs I followed the builder used shipping containers for their security.  It was a hunting cabin and when he was away he could shut the doors and not have to worry about being broken into other than by a very motivated person.

Tin Can Cabin (http://www.tincancabin.com)

(http://www.tincancabin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Finished09.jpg)

(http://www.tincancabin.com/wp-content/gallery/finished-exterior/exterior1.jpg)
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Jack on December 03, 2015, 11:53:47 AM
Well sure, with enough AC you could live inside an active volcano! The question is how much the electricity bill would cost.

Most of what I've read suggests that by the time you add insulation (which pretty much has to be spray foam), plumbing/electrical and finishes, a shipping container home would cost a similar amount per square foot as conventional construction.

I've read the opposite.

From what I understand shipping containers are more of an architectural or recycling statement over an affordable living accommodation.  Price also depends on if you are buying versus DIY.  I've seen detailed DIY builds that come out to 80$/sqft (No plumbing and limited electricity).  The few I've seen marketed for sale from manufacturers are more in the range of 250-300$/sqft.  Granted the cost/sqft is going to vary based on location, in my area new builds are in the range of 150-200/sqft.

Allow me to amend: I've heard that the finished cost per square foot for a shipping container home is at least as high as for a conventional stick-built home. I meant my statement to convey that shipping containers aren't as cheap as people tend to think they are (given that you can sometimes get the actual container for free). It was meant to explain the price floor, not the price ceiling.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Dragonstrike on December 03, 2015, 06:54:10 PM
Originally I was thinking of buying 4 containers, offsetting them to increase height and floor space, add some welding in there, and then designing inside and out.  Weather resistant preferred, but also economical, green energy living as well.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: The_path_less_taken on December 03, 2015, 08:30:38 PM
Originally I was thinking of buying 4 containers, offsetting them to increase height and floor space, add some welding in there, and then designing inside and out.  Weather resistant preferred, but also economical, green energy living as well.

Ditto. But I'd want 4-6 on the ground in a diamond(ish) pattern. Then a second story with 4 angled across.

I'm tired so maybe I'll have to explain later....pictured from the air, it would look like a six sided star. This would throw shade, break up the wind, etc. I'd have a walkway around the inner circumference of the upper story so only would need one door into each. Or if fancy, two at the most.

The inside diameter of the diamond (ground floor containers) would be a fish pond/fully enclosed garden...I would have two small gates at the top and bottom of it.

The only way to know your LOCAL prices is to ask around. And be creative: there are times of the year when truckers are scrambling for work. If you found some an hour or two away from you there's always a chance for you to figure out transport yourself versus relying on the shipping container company.

Realistically, the cheapest containers that are prime grade are going to be near an international port, like Long Beach, CA.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Zikoris on December 03, 2015, 09:41:03 PM
One of the local social housing organizations built a little recycled shipping container apartment building a few years ago near where I live. Here's a link to a little video tour, and they have pictures of the units as well: http://www.atira.bc.ca/imouto-container-gallery/videos (http://www.atira.bc.ca/imouto-container-gallery/videos)

I think it's pretty cool. I'd totally live in one. Apparently they're exceptionally soundproof, which is handy for apartment buildings.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: jengod on December 03, 2015, 11:30:24 PM
Signifying nothing, this video of a shipping container home on a California ranch makes me happy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuzHQtaznPo
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: S on December 04, 2015, 12:50:17 AM
Signifying nothing, this video of a shipping container home on a California ranch makes me happy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuzHQtaznPo

Kirsten Dirksen (owner of the youtube channel for that video) also has one on a couple making a company out of it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWIJc144mgQ
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: captainawesome on December 04, 2015, 11:14:48 AM
Kirsten Dirksen as has this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87pkn2APTOU

While it is in spain, I think it is much cooler than your regular shipping container.  I'd love one.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: gliderpilot567 on December 04, 2015, 11:29:12 AM
I lived in one for six months (with a roommate!) while deployed. The "hard billets" were shipping containers, modded into small rooms, arranged into two rows with a hallway down the middle and stacked 3 high. It was dark, quiet, and cozy - a fairly cushy deployed living situation. Beat the freezing ass cold of the Afghan winter, and much better than living in the tents or the plywood B-huts.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Exflyboy on December 04, 2015, 06:17:59 PM
Remember to talk to your local building permit office to see what they will require.

You may have to prove the finished structure will meet local codes.

Snow loading on roof for example of 80lbs per sq foot in some locations.. you may have to provide calculations to prove they will withstand this, even though it may be obvious the boxes will be perfectly fine.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Syonyk on December 04, 2015, 10:53:27 PM
"Temporary structure" covers most of that, in most areas. ;)

Though they really don't take much side loading.  You can't bury them, for instance - the earth will crush the sides.  They're very, very strong as designed, with loads going through the corner posts.  The actual walls are very strong in the vertical crushing direction, but not great against side loads spread across the wall.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Exflyboy on December 05, 2015, 12:39:33 AM
Yes, but you may have to prove it!

Talk to your friendly structural engineer to make a few rough calcs should do it.
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: spokey doke on December 05, 2015, 08:06:37 AM
been intrigued by these for a while:

http://www.montainer.org
Title: Re: Shipping Container Homes
Post by: Dragonstrike on December 05, 2015, 06:35:34 PM
I figured there would be some type of permit or building zone codes I'd have to follow of course. All in due time when I have the funds to start building of course.

Anyone have any dream ideas to include in something like this?  Granted if you had enough space to fit it and the ideal funding as well.