Shipping container homes allow building a durable and eco-friendly home for around half the price of a traditional home. Builders and contractors use intermodal steel building units (ISBUs) because the 40-feet containers are standardized and you can create a comfortable 1,300 square foot house out of four them.
You’ll discover many advantages to constructing a shipping container home, including that they are fairly easy to build and adhere with building codes. In addition, since shipping containers were originally used for freight, this makes them even easier to transport than a newly completed house. Shipping containers homes also withstand all types of weather, including hurricanes and tropical storms, especially if they are properly insulated.
How to Build a Shipping Container Home
Besides purchasing new shipping containers for sale in Australia, you’ll need to consider multiple other tasks like plumbing, insulation, windows, as well as laying it on a solid foundation. This guide will show some of the guidelines and steps to build a container home, but please take the time to meet with a professional as they are only suggestions.
- Begin by researching municipality issues and building permits in your area. Building code permit specifications vary by country and even by local area but they all consider safety issues, structural integrality, and energy conservation. Generally, you can speed up this part of the process by researching what your local specification’s are and bring in some drawings of a recently completed container house in the area. You’ll also need to submit your own drawings and designs but it sometimes helps if they see it can be completed successfully.
- Decide on your foundation and create it. Traditionally, many builders prefer concrete block because not only is it efficient but it is affordable. You can simply attach the containers and weld them with steel reinforcements. If money allows, consider adding a basement or a crawl space for extra storage.
- Prepare your storage containers to be made into a house. Remember that the more you modify its shape the more it hinders its structural integrity so check with a structural engineer first. It’s also recommended that you do any cutting, welding and reinforcing off-site before transporting the shipping containers to your new plot. This includes making frames for any doors and windows. It’s difficult to cut through heavy steel so if possible you want to use a plasma cutter because they melt the metal as they cut. However, you use an air compressor and special outlets to use them. Alternatively, you can use a sawzall, as the industrial strength ones will cut through what you need without burning up or leaving shards everywhere like a simple cutting disk.
- Attach your containers after transporting them. These Corten steel shipping containers can hold up to 57,000 pounds or 25,854 kilograms which accounts for an entire household. You need to fasten them to the corners like you would attach them on a shipping vessel. After that, weld them carefully to your concrete slab in your lot.
- Add a roof. While technically each shipping container has their own roof it loses its structural integrity as you join more containers together and water could build it. Therefore, think about creating a traditional hip-style roof which allows water to flow better and gives you the option of adding solar panels.
- Install your windows and exterior doors. Set both your windows and outside doors into the pre-measured openings. After installing them, frame them with steel sections.
- Apply insulation so that your container home remains temperature regulated. Attach a closed-cell foam layer of insulation to both the inside and outside walls of your home to protect it from becoming excessively hot or cold or from leaking moisture in. Alternatively, you can choose NASA-style ceramic based paints on the walls. These work well because they stick to the metal easily and prevent mould, mildew, and rust from forming.
- Put in the plumbing and electricity. Ordinarily plumbing can only go in a very few distinct areas, and the same with gas like the water heater, the kitchen and possibly a fireplace. To save money, you may want to consider solar panels for electricity. If you place panels on your roof, as well as add in a glass door, you’ll be able to capture more of the natural sunlight and its energy. This idea may not be ideal for desert climates but for neutral or colder temperatures, you should think about it.
- Put down flooring. While many shipping containers come with plywood, plywood is hazardous to your health because it’s sprayed with strong pesticides that can harm humans. If pesticides have been used, replace it with another type of flooring and make sure it doesn’t damage your container.
You can finding shipping containers all over the world, including locally in Australia to begin your container home project. It’s beneficial to inspect the containers you purchase so you know that they are new and or in good used condition. After all, this is your house, you want it to be durable and safe above all else.