Author Topic: Shipping container home possibilities  (Read 13967 times)

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Frank S

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Shipping container home possibilities
« on: May 24, 2012, 07:33:15 PM »
 Shipping containers are stacked by the millions around the world empty. With  a little thought they will make excellent homes either small cabins or huge Villas.

  Here are a few good points about them
 1 by using them as homes or shops you are being green for the environment, by recycling materials that are readily available and in most cases quite in expensive to purchase
 2 they can be made very energy conserving
 3 will last almost forever
 4 can be moved like a modular home in some cases
 5 will weather out most any storm that nature can throw at them
 here are a couple of designs that I have been working on bear in mind these are huge compared to how most are done.
 
5612-1 
  after shipping  the walls will be cut out leaving the end frames interior walls  will be prefabricated using steel studs
 that I will make in my factory using this

 
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phil b

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 09:13:48 PM »
Frank- Is this idea doable? Yep, I'm there and doing just that.

Shipping containers are exactly what I am currently building my new house from.

I welded and bolted three 8X40 footers together in parallel. I have arches cut inside between the rooms..

Here's some of my specs:

Anchored with 3' dia X 6'concrete cylinders on each corner. Containers are sitting on a packed bed of gravel. The gravel provides excellent drainage and reduces heating and cooling costs.

Pex in the flooring will provide the heat, in the case photovoltaics cannot keep up.

Skylights are made from 6 inch dia, 10 gauge pipe. Each provide light and are designed to blow out in case of a tornado to save the structure and its occupants. (1 sq. ft. per 50 cuft of inside living space)

Polyurethane insulation mixed with recycled Styrofoam insulation will be on the OUTSIDE of the containers, including under the floors. Six inches will provide about R-42. The insulation is covered in 4 layers of ferrocement.

Oak paneling on the inside applied with adhesive.

Electrical wiring is THHN and ran through EMT and trays to drastically reduce any fire hazard.

All the lighting will be LED. Samples of led lighting have arrived for evaluation.

4 Kw of solar on the roof. I currently have 940 watts on the roof now to power the construction and cannot use more than 600 watts per hour. Midnite classic charge controller with a 3500 watt outback inverter. A second will be installed later.

Double French doors are planned to be inside the container's doors. The big steel doors can be closed and locked from the inside during bad weather. A few electronics are in the works to automatically close the door just in case...

Here some things to consider:

The containers will probably have to be cut and welded if they are tied together. The primer and paint in the containers are "zinc laden epoxy." So if you want to live past construction, you need a supplied air respirator or at least a good respirator for organics and particulates. Period.

The floors are also laden with pesticides and preservatives.
My containers burned a few weeks after I bought them because I was using them to store furniture and other things. They caught on fire at the end of a very long hot day and I got careless with a acetylene torch while cutting doorway arches. I have over 30 years experience with a torch without anything happening like this before. I didn't like the furniture anyway.  :) The fire burned most of the paint off as well as creating a layer of charcoal on most of the floors. Now, I'm thinking that was a good thing because the pesticides and paint are gone. The plastic bushings in the doors were the only item I regret having melting. The doors are a bit hard to close.

So Frank, there you have it in a nutshell. When I get the chance, I will take pictures so anyone with a little experience with a torch and a wire feed welder can build a safe home to live in. My house will be published on the Internet on several sites in the public domain for everyone.

I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have. I'm a bit slow right now because I'm working on my house, so please be patient.  ;D
Phil

Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 10:13:29 PM »
PHil I have been accumulating ceramic marble and terrazzo floor & mechanical tiles for quite some time now and will probably fill 1 container with the construction materials for shipment. A few years ago I built a hydraulic wall saw for a concrete cutting company it would be no step for me to build 1 for myself with a cold cut blade and coolant it would slice a side out of a container in a matter of a few hours. that way no risk of fire , a nice clean cut and usable stock afterwards instead of a rubble pile.
 A good sealer then 2 inches of floor grout then Tiled and no worries about the floor
     
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AcWxRADAR

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 09:02:01 AM »
i thought that I should chime in on this subject.  I am a newbie to this forum, but I have used a shipping container for many years.   I now have two of them.  The first one is a 40x8x9.  I bought it for a storage shed and workshop for my cabin.  It is amazing how much stuff I can put in there!

The first thing I did after the installation on the site was to coat the floor with Industrial Epoxy (just like the garage floor sealers you can buy from Menards or Lowes, etc).  I figured that I would be storing lawnmowers and ATVs inside and I didn't want the wood flooring to become saturated with oil and gas should the vehicles ever leak or I became careless and spilled. 

I first powerwashed the flooring and let it dry.  Then I rinsed the floor with muriatic acid and powerwashed it again, let it dry for a few days.  Then I went over it with chlorine bleach and powerwashed it off and let it dry out for several days.  When I applied the epoxy coating, it really soaked in deep!  It took a LOT more than they said it would, but then again, they were estimating how much it would take to coat a concrete floor, not a wood floor. 

I wan't sure how well it would work at first, but after 10 years or more, it is holding up beautifully!  I park golf carts and 4-wheelers and my Bad-Boy mowers in there.  I am always skidding rocks across the floor, but you can't tell.  The epoxy seeped into the wood and any scratch just looks like the epoxy went deep into the wood grain below. 

I built a storage shelf system along one side wall.  It is four tiered and 22 inches deep and 20 feet long.  I can put a LOT of stuff on these babies!

I have yet to run power into the unit, but I guess I really don't need it too bad.  Been getting by w/o it for ten years now, guess it isn't too much of a hindrance.

To go further, I have seen pix of people making fantastic homes from them.  I mean homes that should be 1/4 $M or higher - at least they look that way!  And of course, very luxurious cabins as well. 

RADAR 
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Clyde "FATS" Potter from "The Cowboys"

frackers

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 04:54:01 PM »
Check out http://www.restart.org.nz/ to see some real good use of containers..

This is what it looked like 21 months ago
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 05:01:19 PM by frackers »
Robin Down Under (Or Are You Up Over)

Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 06:01:18 PM »
Somebody actually had their head screwed on straight to accomplish that most places would have said ewu we don't want those ugly old containers in the center of our town.
But it just goes to show that if one has a bit of a vision some really nice looking architecture can be made out of them. 






Well maybe not all
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MattM

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 07:23:07 PM »
How much are people paying for them?  Last price I heard was $4500 for a clean one.

Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 11:06:24 PM »
The last Richie Bro's Auction in FT.Worth had several go for around $3000.00 the 20 footers were fetching a hefty $2800.00
 A few months back we bought a 45ft Mayflower furniture van for $500.00
 They are great as they have tie down slots every 8 inches vertical and every 2 ft along both sides running the length of the van  Having 2 4ft doors on 1 side and 1 8ft double door on the other and the full width rear doors make it nice for ventilation plus light
  I am currently in process of setting up a small machine & work shop in it.
 eventually we want to get about 6 KW worth of solar to mount on the roof and wall off a small storage room in the very front to mount 2 to 3 sets of 48 volt forklift battery banks which will be vented outside and isolated from the rest of the van via a sealed steel door. Also a pair of 275 gallon totes will be placed on the roof but removable for transport should we need to move the van  the water will be for the machine shop and a restroom that will also be constructed in the front of the van. the 10 ft 6 in interior celing is high enough to allow for a pair of light crane rails to be mounted we will have a small 2000 lb cap bridge crane running the length this should yield us an 8 to 9 ft hook height
 over the wheel wells we will be building combination work tables with tooling storage under the tables. a couple of awnings on both sides and it should make a nice mobile shop. my forklift will just fit in the rear of the van
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Smithson

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 09:15:27 AM »
Maybe I'm missing something here but couldn't you just build a frame house (shell) for less than the cost of the containers?   A "clean one costs 4500". 

My grandson has allergies (Asthma etc.) and can't even sleep in a bed with a wooly blanket.  Even with just a trace of pesticides left in the building that would be a deal breaker for him and I'm guessing for more and more people as time goes on.

Other than that and the price they are probably ok.  Are these the same containers you see on the North Slope of Alaska and the show "life below zero"?  Also do they sell the wheels with the container?  Are what you mean by containers just worn out Semi Trailers?  Curious.   Arch




Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 11:37:58 AM »
The steel shipping containers wouldn't be sold with a chassis under them. Everything under the sun is shipped in those Ocean transport containers. One of the big draws to their use in alternative construction is they are virtually impossible to destroy.
  Sorry to hear that your Grandson suffers from allergies. A lot of folks in today's society suffer from one or another, some very severe.
 Yes a frame structure may be knocked together cheaper I guess, but when you consider that it will never be any more than matchsticks held together with a few nails then you still have to have something for the walls which is usually made out of wood as well.
  With the steel containers if a person is smart they will use steel studs then  insulate and drywall over that then there is nothing that will hold a flame long enough for a fire to get started.
 America's biggest downfall in housing construction started when the first settlers landed, discovering the over abundance of forests.
 Trees should have been used to make ships or furniture and Stone should have been used for buildings, using timbers only for roof support, or temporary structures.
 Personally I feel that today wood is still only a temporary use material.
   
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joestue

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2014, 02:29:38 PM »
So you buy 8000 pounds of steel for 3000$, comes with a wood floor too.

That is 32*40, 1280 square feet of exterior wall surface area for 2.34$ a square foot.

A 4*8 x3/4 sheet of exterior grade plywood is running 50$ and that works out 1.56$ a square foot.
And you need a 9$ sheet of OSB under it, at 18 cents. And a layer of tyvec, at 9 cents. 30 cents for 2x4 studs on 12 inch centers. (to make the math easy.)
32 cents for the cheapest drywall i can find at 10$ a sheet.
Adds up to 2.38$/square foot.

seems to me the cost to plasma cut the container apart and weld it back together should be about the same as to complete an exterior wall from wood.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 02:37:01 PM by joestue »

MaryAlana

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2014, 02:38:03 PM »
Now add in labor to construct it Joe...

Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2014, 05:49:39 PM »
you cover the wood floor with 2" of grout & tile the floor.
 2 containers welded together and anchored to 9 24"  8 ft deep bottom belled concrete footing piles will withstand  2 F5 tornado's hitting it at the same time, it may move around and bounce up and down in a 9.1 earthquake but will still be structurally sound afterwards excepting for changes or additions to the inside.
 The steel used to make them  many of them is Cor 10 which has a high resistance to rust as well.
 
   People stick build homes out of 2x4s & 2x6's then clad the outside with brick and think they have a better home than one with steel or wood siding when in fact siding be it 26 ga steel 1" wood or 3" brick is nothing more than eye appeal. insects & vermin can still find a way to chew their way inside eventually.
  the one huge downside to a steel shipping container is the need to create ventilation.
  Ultimately the best built homes ever were made 5 to 600 years ago some as many as a 1000 years ago were constructed out of carefully quarried from igneous or metamorphic rock.
  People who build based on cost usually have 2 reasons to do so.
 1 a shelter is just that, nothing more nothing less whether it is a natural cave a buffalo hide tepee  or a wood shack the occupant only requires protection from the elements therefore there to them no logical reason to spend more than absolutely necessary.
 2 they are looking to construct something that looks nice enough to RESALE later at the highest profit per $ spend to construct.
 I hesitate to mention the 3rd category which would be available funds. Folks who construct under these circumstances usually find they have built a money pit. Or those who buy a ready made tract or even a gated community home by financing the thing to the limit of their credit normally do not live in them for very many years before they want or need something else.
  Shipping container homes can be as spartan or as architecturally elaborate as the owner has imagination & funds to do so. Combining or marrying a shipping container into an existing or new construction home can yield a whole new aspect to the scheme
  Personally I'd rather use 1 or 2 in conjunction with 3 to 4 ft thick adobe, cobble, rammed earth, or even stone & concrete walls       
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MaryAlana

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2014, 10:43:26 PM »
Hey a buffalo hide teepee is pretty dang comfortable even at -20... they had doubled walls, a nice grass floor, effective ventilation for the central fire... was warm for the week I spent camping in it.

electrondady1

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2014, 07:36:07 AM »
if you live down there in tornado ally with cars and truck and trees flying around all the time i guess living in a steel box has its place. cheaper than an underground bunker. but you can't put a shipping container on a lot in town and call it home. it brings down other peoples property values and that will get them irate.


Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2014, 08:04:41 PM »
I'm not keen on towns much and for sure have ZERO use for cities or their inhabitants. Towns 5,000 or less populations are still small enough not to have too many over zealous self aggrandized officials  but large enough to have a few stores where the essentials  can be purchased  but 3 miles to their city limits is actually closer than I want to live. because they have a way of growing into small cities.
 Cities with populations in the 100s of thousands or more need walls built around them to keep them from encroaching on folks who chose not to live in them.
   I am currently located within the city limits of such a city, even though as the crow flies it is over a mile to my nearest so called neighbors, the meddling fingers of the city are ever present.
  My only salvation is the fact that I have everything on wheels when we get through with the projects we are doing I'll fold up my kit and turn the key on the bus then drive off
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birdhouse

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2014, 08:17:37 PM »
@frank s-

you'd love it where my land is at.  10 miles outside of bickleton, WA.  population 94.  it's a 40 minute drive to the nearest town of 3500. 

one of the main reasons i was drawn to the place! 

adam


Frank S

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2014, 12:31:13 AM »
Adam I used to own some land a little under 1/4 of a sq mile located about 50 miles out from Marble Bar Australia. that was to be our retirement spot  but my land agent who was paid to keep all taxes current did not so in 2010 when we went on holiday there. Me and the Australian Government agreed that I no longer owed any taxes and no longer held rights to the parcel of land the only good thing that came out of the agreement was the land agent gets to spend the next 25 years in prison for land fraud.
 Too bad really because I really liked the area nice and hot with a nice sized billabong formed by a bend in the Coongan river when it had changed its course many years ago.
  So I guess we will settle for a spot out near some of my ancestors home territory in west TX. I think it is the Comanche in my blood that makes me like the more arid areas, since I am not ichthyo-sapien enough to like humidity above 35% for long periods of time
 
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armadillo

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Re: Shipping container home possibilities
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2014, 06:38:13 PM »
An informative thread on container camp coversion on another forum:

http://www.goldismoney2.com/showthread.php?70531-CANtainer-Camp