Author Topic: Shipping Container Houses  (Read 9822 times)

BC_Goldman

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Shipping Container Houses
« on: July 01, 2013, 08:11:25 PM »
Anyone interested in or have a shipping container house? I've been reading about them and the concept is pretty neat. I live in a condo with about 950 sq ft. Three 40' containers would have a similar amount of space and can be purchased for around 2k each. Now, I know turning it into a house will cost more but couldn't Mustachians be able to do most of the work themselves? Biggest challenge would be welding and cutting the steel I think. Next would be insulating (as steel transfers heat well). Personally, I would think that adding a layer of foam insulation and siding would help with that and also make it look more like a normal house. They weigh 5+ tons each so that's a nice bit of thermal inertia but I don't know how that compares to a normal house.

This seems like a very mustachian project to me. Maybe a bit more towards ERE but I'm totally fascinated by the concept.

Micheal

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 11:09:22 PM »
I've also seen a few of these micro houses too.  If i were a bachalor id probally do somethign similar, but then I've never had a probelm tent camping for 2-3 weeks at a time.

BC_Goldman

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 12:03:14 AM »
They don't necessarily have to be micro though. They can be stacked and two or more in parallel can have adjacent walls cut out for more space. So two could provide a 40' x 16' space or three 12' x 12 bedrooms with a 4' hallway alongside them as the second floor.

gooki

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 04:07:49 AM »
I've done a fair bit of research, and design on this. I'd do it if I had the balls to build without building consents.

1x 40ft container would make a nice, yet 1 bedroom home.

3x 40ft containers should make for a very nice 3/4 bedroom place.

For insulation a company here in NZ spays on an insulating type of concrete to the interior and exterior.

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carolinakaren

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 04:52:49 AM »
I've read a good bit about this type of housing also. You might want to consider a "reefer"' which is slang for a refrigerated shipping container. This may eliminate the need to add insulation. It is also possible to get containers that are taller if you like higher ceilings, but I can't remember the specific name for those.

Micheal

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 05:54:45 AM »
By micro house I meant something like these, http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/8-great-micro-houses.aspx#axzz2Xt8bKcAE  shipping containers being cheap would make a good building material for a home, a friend of mine's house is actually built from overpass birdge sections.

Russ

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 06:58:36 AM »
I've thought about it quite a bit. I like the fact that, if you don't change the outside too much, you can throw your home on a truck, train, or boat and be somewhere new in a week.

Spork

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 07:57:37 AM »

I've read a little about these and find them interesting... and seen photos where some look like a regular stick built house.

One caveat: living in a faraday cage has it's drawbacks.  Probably more so if you have multiple rooms with no RF between rooms.
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BC_Goldman

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 09:35:05 AM »
I've read a good bit about this type of housing also. You might want to consider a "reefer"' which is slang for a refrigerated shipping container. This may eliminate the need to add insulation. It is also possible to get containers that are taller if you like higher ceilings, but I can't remember the specific name for those.

My idea is to have it look as similar to a regular house when completed. I think the hi-cube type will definitely be necessary. They are 9.5' on the outside with about 8'5" on the inside. Might recover some room by removing the flooring but my goal is to make it as simple as possible. I think the extra space would go for allowing ducts, wiring, plumbing,etc and still leave room for an 8' ceiling.

The reefers sound like a good idea. It all depends on how much that cuts down on interior space and how it complicates cutting the containers. I suspect it would complicate any cutting and welding.

I got inspired late last night and drew a rough plan for turning two containers into 3 bedrooms. Two smaller ones about 10x12 plus small 4x6 closets. Master bedroom is about 12x12 with 4x8 closet. Also includes a hallway and stairs to the lower floor. Total size would be 4 containers and should feel pretty large when I'm done. May need to rework so there's at least one bathroom on the upper floor or rework into a single floor with 3-4 containers. Have to think on it some more. I also found a website with some example plans for various sizes. Whatever I do, it makes sense to me to try and keep bathrooms and kitchen as close together as possible to minimize plumbing runs.

Zoe

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 10:29:56 AM »
I love, love, love these houses! I have spent a fair amount of time on YouTube and reading blogs from owners of them. I also had the idea to use the window cutouts as shutters that could close in case of a tornado/zombie apocalypse/drive by shooting.

I may seriously consider doing one of these for a cabin later on.

prodarwin

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 12:57:07 PM »
I've spoken with someone who has built a few.  The general response I got when I inquired about them was:  "They are neat, but a huge pain to do.  Ultimately, building a stick-built home is cheaper and more useful."   Apparently insulation is a huge problem, as is condensation when it gets cool outside.  It's a shame, I've always been intrigued by these.

Now I'd like to plan on doing something like the the "Z-Glass" from Tumbleweed, but in the area I live in right now it doesn't make sense financially as resale would be terrible in an area like I live in now - And, I love having a garage :)

Adventine

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 07:44:51 PM »
I would love to do the shipping container house.  A couple of years back, there used to be a chain bar/restaurant in my city whose main draw was that it was made out of several stories worth of containers stacked on top of each other (and, I imagine, lots of other materials to hold everything together). Forgot the name, though...

The concept looked fun and interesting. I agree though that cooling and ventilation are going to be a problem. The restaurant I mentioned had airconditioners everywhere.

gooki

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2013, 01:50:16 AM »
We have shipping container shopping mall in our city.

http://www.restart.org.nz/christchurch-restart-village-take-a-look.php
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Leisured

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2013, 07:32:07 AM »
Gooki made a good point about spray on insulation. Usually polyurethane, and poisonous gases in a fire, but probably acceptable for low density housing.

I think manufacturers of shipping containers should recognize a market for container houses, and make modified versions of shipping containers, with panels in the walls which can be removed to make windows, and some electric wiring, plumbing, and phone lines built in.

Gooki also makes another telling point: Christchurch was hit by an earthquake, and shipping containers can stand up to them.

And for something different. Make the bubbles larger and opaque, and perhaps double layer for insulation.

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happy

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2013, 07:41:33 AM »
A place up the road has a 1 br flat in a shipping container.  A very expensive hotel was remodelling and the owners got an all marble (grey) bathroom and  a nice recycled kitchen. Took one end off and fitted a sliding glass door which sorted light to the living/kitchen area..  Not council approved I understand, but seems to work ok.
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stubby

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2013, 11:12:46 PM »
Here's one that got built close to where I live

http://8747house.blogspot.com

Katnina

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AlmostIndependent

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2013, 02:19:52 AM »
Im fascinated by these. I've been researching plans for them for a while.
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AlmostIndependent

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2013, 02:24:30 AM »

I've read a little about these and find them interesting... and seen photos where some look like a regular stick built house.

One caveat: living in a faraday cage has it's drawbacks.  Probably more so if you have multiple rooms with no RF between rooms.

The sides and roof are actually pretty thin; unless there were several walls involves I don't think you'd have much problem. All the strength is in the floor and the corner posts. I worked on a container ship for a while...it's funny where random knowledge comes in handy :)
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turboseize

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2013, 06:26:34 AM »
Containers are great. The military loves them - container houses are an easy way to bring halfway civilised accomodotion into the wilderness.


There are several companies who build housing containers - you can choose sanitary installation, window size etc, and containers are insulated.

At the moment, an investor is building a student dorm in Berlin: http://www.berlin.de/aktuelles/berlin/3133569-958092-frachtcontainer-werden-in-berlin-zur-stu.html

Cromacster

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2013, 01:40:17 PM »
http://www.tincancabin.com/

This site has a pretty good summary and step by step on DIY.  He hires out most of the welding and cutting work, but still details what is required.

I am interested in container houses as a cabin/vacation property.  Though I might start by using a 20x8' to build into a shed.  But would insulate similar to a home and add windows and so on.  A cheaper way to learn to ropes of container homes.
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Cinder

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2013, 02:03:03 PM »
http://www.offgridworld.com/diy-single-mom-builds-shipping-container-tiny-home-for-4000/

Just saw this go around facebook, pretty neat

Quote
Lulu is a single mom who’d gone back to school and didn’t have the time or interest in working full-time to pay for rent. So when she had to move out of her more conventional home, she decided to move herself and her daughter into a shipping container. With no building experience, Lulu spent just one month cutting windows and a door and installing insulation and a basic kitchen (complete with propane-powered campstove and on-demand water heater)….Using only recycled building materials- including used floorboards, windows, cabinets, doors, bathtub, toilet and sinks- she built the entire thing for about $4,000 (trailer included).

Mumintheburbs

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2013, 03:31:55 PM »
Along these lines but a different product is to consider finding decommissioned portable buildings eg those that have been used as offices or lunch rooms on large building sites. My hubby is a crane driver and Occasionally does jobs moving these. For just a few thousand dollars you can find something that has doors, windows, some insulation and potentially even plumbing. He sees people using them for hunting cabins and the like, but they would be easy to make liveable as a home.

Cromacster

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2013, 06:25:39 AM »
http://www.offgridworld.com/diy-single-mom-builds-shipping-container-tiny-home-for-4000/

Just saw this go around facebook, pretty neat

Quote
Lulu is a single mom who’d gone back to school and didn’t have the time or interest in working full-time to pay for rent. So when she had to move out of her more conventional home, she decided to move herself and her daughter into a shipping container. With no building experience, Lulu spent just one month cutting windows and a door and installing insulation and a basic kitchen (complete with propane-powered campstove and on-demand water heater)….Using only recycled building materials- including used floorboards, windows, cabinets, doors, bathtub, toilet and sinks- she built the entire thing for about $4,000 (trailer included).

While I don't doubt the story, I doubt the amount of money she claims she spent.  A used shipping container is somewhere between 1000-3000 depending on the size and condition, guess she got lucky and got it for free.  Plus the cost to have it transported to the location.  Then if it needs any sort of foundation poured, although it doesn't look like there is a foundation.  And I wonder how she got the land.  Props to her though, the location looks nice, and her buildings do look great.

Others on the board here may have more experience with the following, but through research and advice on other boards, I have found it is cheaper to just build a structure or shed using standard methods than it would be to purchase and transport a shipping container.
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ichangedmyname

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2013, 10:54:00 AM »
How much would one shipping container cost? Will you just purchase used ones?

I've seen restaurants and clubs out of those in the Philippines.
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Jwesleym

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2013, 10:57:28 AM »
You might want to try a pole barn house. You can find kits with all of the materials to build a basic structure (24x24 garage) for $4000-$5000. It has been engineered and will pass code, as a structure. These kits include windows, doors, siding and roofing. You will still have costs for electric and plumbing etc. but I think you will end up with a better structure for less cost than the shipping container house. You can further reduce cost by using recycled materials and build to a set of engineered plans. The best thing is that 2 people could build one of these, you just might need to borrow/rent a fork truck or something to lift the trusses.
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Cromacster

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2013, 12:10:29 PM »
How much would one shipping container cost? Will you just purchase used ones?

I've seen restaurants and clubs out of those in the Philippines.

Depending on the size and condition they probably average 2,000, plus any delivery fees (i've read around 500-700 depending on how far it has to travel).  Yes they are essentially all used.  You can arrange to purchase a "new" one.  I say "new" because it will be used one time for shipping products of some sort, then it will be sent to you.
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Lil_Bit

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2013, 08:56:08 PM »
This was sent to me a while back.  Two shipping containers used to build a nice house.

http://www.mtnsh.com/5224

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Shipping Container Houses
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2013, 04:07:33 PM »
Where we live in Tennessee (well, our "permanent" residence, I guess), there's no building codes to worry about. So it'd be no problem to throw a few together and call it a house! To top it off, there's a company the next county over that has lots and lots of shipping containers; dunno what the price would be, but couldn't cost too much to have one delivered 30 miles away.

My plan was to put six in a square configuration. So you have the normal four making a square, then the ends are doubled up. One doubled-up side would have a large living room. The other side would have three bedrooms plus a small hallway. The top would be a kitchen, the bottom would have laundry area and a guest bedroom. You could walk all the way around in a loop (you'd have to walk through the guest bedroom, but it shouldn't be in constant use). You'd also have a nice private courtyard in the middle of the square, maybe even enough room for a small swingset. So feel free to let little kids go out and play, they can't wander off too far!

If I wanted an enclosed garage, I'd simply get another container and put it on the left (if I connected it to the rest of the house, that'd make it triple-wide on the left side). Should be pretty easy to convert a container into a garage. Would still have lots of room at the other end for junk...I mean storage of really important stuff.

For insulation, I'd want to insulate mostly on the outside, since space is a premium inside. I "might" put up some thin drywall on the inside just for looks. Electric lines may be run along the edge of the floor. If height isn't a problem, I could build a false floor, and run electric/water/etc. under that.

Who knows, if I ever get around to doing this, I might do things completely differently. I have given it some thought though, and have at least a rough idea of what I could do.