Shipping Continer Homes

Discussion in 'Permanent Shelters' started by joshposh, May 27, 2016.

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  1. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Besides the earth bag homes I have been looking at shipping container homes for some time now. That would be my second choice to a off the grid style of home. Reason why it being second containers are expensive. But it is cheaper then purchasing a new modern home that's for sure.

    Some people have converted them to bomb shelters and modern living spaces. Whatever your imagination can draw up, these guys provide a excellent basis to grow on. Check it out.

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    1. archyanon
      I'm currently mapping out basic rough sketches for a container home. I've gone through quite a few comments on this thread, expecting to learn new things about how much goes into it. I'm not an architect/engineer but I guess I've done my research because there was nothing new. I know you have to find the right insulation, leave space for vents, that you have to stack them a certain way for support, weld them properly and whatnot. I'm not trying to brag, say I know everything, I don't think that in the slightest. Most of what I know is from my dad in con & recon+general common sense. One thing I am slightly worried about is size, most people use these as tiny homes but ours will be about 4,500 sq ft w/5 levels (w/a basement and attic b/c their size). Consisting of ten 8*40 & three 8*20 containers, it'll cost about $120k. I'm really excited to meet up with a professional and see what they think. Sorry this is a bit sporadic but if anyone wants to compare ideas I would be happy to.
       
      archyanon, Jan 22, 2019
  2. judyd1

    judyd1 New Member
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    It's just amazing to me how in an age where technology is becoming more advanced, life choices are going back to the basics, affordable basic housing, edible foraging. Simplifying. To really simplify, figure out what is the most important thing to you, and then eliminate what's not important. Shipping Container housing can work if the most important thing to you is family first. Anywhere your family is can be home.
     
  3. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    When we moved here in 2001, that container van for a shelter was getting popular. In fact, my husband's cousin had suggested it to us - buy a container van and place it in the vacant lot beside our property. That can serve as a reserved bedroom or anything. But the container van is made of steel and it does not come cheap. However, there was a sale of old container vans in the pier, quite cheap, okay. But how do you transport it? You have to hire a big truck, of course. And to position the container van in the right place, you would be needing a crane. In short, the use of that steel box is not that simple.

    After a few years of popularity, the container van lost its appeal. From our inquiries, that kind of shelter is not ideal for a tropical country because it can be as hot as an oven during the high noon with the scorching sun. Even an air conditioner is no match. So there, the container van can be a good shelter owing to its durability but not really as a home.
     
  4. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    shipping containers are nothing more than a steel box, hot in the summer,cold in the winter, sure they can be adapted, if you have a cutter to cut out for windows,and a welder to join them together, put in heating, but its a lot of work.
     
  5. explorerx7

    explorerx7 Expert Member
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    I have seen steel containers that have been transformed into beautiful homes. I believe that a some rust proofing application should be applied in preparation for the transformation which would enhance the longevity of the unit. Equip the unit with the necessary heating and cooling arrangements join probably two containers and install the appropriate fixtures and you would have a nice, sturdy home .
     
  6. Kev Brown

    Kev Brown Active Member
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    I think shipping containers are great options for people based in warmer climates. If you are located in a warm, dry area they can be adapted without too much hard work. To make them livable in cold, wet environments maybe a step too far as there are cheaper options available.
     
  7. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Correct, people are getting fed up with inflated prices and getting back to basic dwellings as an option. You can purchase one for 10k usd or less. That is considerably less then a brand new studio apartment that sells for 500k usd. With some retrofitting and insulation, it will look as it does in the pictures I posted earlier.

    It depends on your geographic location. Materials are cheap in the Philippines. I already priced it out and if I do majority of the work it would cost less then 2k usd. Why so little, cause I'm not a slow moving laborer. Materials are cheap in 3rd world countries but their methods would not pass OSHA standards. You don't need permits to build a house in the Philippines. One thing I will say about a container home, it will last longer and much safer then a traditional Filipino house.

    It is a steel box like a house is nothing more then a wooden box with holes in it. Every dwelling has been outfitted with insulation and modern necessities. Shipping containers are weather proof and will take a hit from typhoons and massive storms. They can be retrofitted with anything you need and doesn't require a builders permit. One can be delivered to your property and there is nothing the city ordinances can stop you from doing so. Shipping containers will save you massive amounts of money.

    From what I see there is only benefits from owning one. If you want to move, you don't have to pack. Just move the house. As a person who has owned and renovated house majority of his life, I can tell you now, that a shipping container and a combination of containers are easier to manage and maintain.
     
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  8. Tara

    Tara New Member
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    This is a great thread as I have been watching videos about shipping containers for awhile. Using insulated shipping containers helps with the heat situation. Also I watched a video where the builder used some type of paint that acted like an insulation. I mentioned in the tiny house thread about an architect that build a beautiful house out of 4 shipping containers.

    My main issue is finding a piece of land to plant my tiny house. Land in Southern California isn't cheap. I might have to leave the state.
     
  9. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 New Member
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    While I'm not even considering living in a tiny tiny house like this (it's just not my thing), I would agree that a shipping container is certainly not a bad way to do it. You do need some skills to get a few windows etc there but if you can get that done on your own then it would become a pretty cheap and easy way to build a small house.
     
  10. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    You have to go out in places where there is basically nothing. Montana and Arizona has a lot of land that people just don't want. You can get acres for cheap. I just saw a new TV show where a couple had bought 11 acres in Montana for 30k usd.

    But the best option to insulate the outside of your home would be using spray foam. It can be applied in less then a full working day, and by applying it externally, you won't have to give up internal living area.

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    As far as the roof goes, you should try and add something to keep the elements from sitting on the roof and baking it. But the foam method should be enough. But if you want to take it a step further, you can add a garden to your roof as it is now being used on houses all over the world. It will provide a lot of insulation for the sun.

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  11. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    There is very little skill when come time to install windows and doors. The containers weight is supported by its corners not in the center and won't collapse on you. Just cut out the hole you want and the windows can be fitted in. You can get it done in a day. Just have someone with a torch take it out for you. You know what the dimensions are for the windows as they are bought as a whole.

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  12. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 New Member
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    That's actually my point, you do need to have the tools and the knowledge how to use them in order to cut the container and to weld the window frame in place. It's definitely not rocket science but if you ask an average joe on the street whether or not they would feel comfortable doing that, I think 95% of the people will say no.
     
  13. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Then learn how to do it. If not welding then with a grinder. It's like you saying you want something done around your house, and your too lazy to learn how to do it, so you might as well hire a maid. If you don't know what is the work involved, research it. If you still can't figure it out, ask someone in you network how to do it. There are more answers then I can supply, but you will find one if you look hard enough. Tons of videos on youtube about it. Research it and not pan it off as a bad idea cause you think it's beyond your scope.

    I'm pretty sure you have driven a car before, and may have a license. Did you give up on the idea of driving before even trying? Or did you take the time to watch, observe, and put the work into it to learn and new skill?

    In prepping and survival you have to do things on your own, and learn new skill sets. Not blow it off and say, "average joe can't do this".
     
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  14. hades_leae

    hades_leae Active Member
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    I loved the very though of having a shipping container as a home because it was awesome to see the designs that people created. You can go on Youtube to see many tours of shipping container homes. Many people probably don't know this but you can have on built inside of a warehouse and have it shipped to where ever you want to live. I wondered how that process worked until I saw the footage.

    This woman wanted her home to be by the beach, so she placed it there, and a few years later she wanted to move it to another country near mountains, with no problems, she made that happen.
     
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  15. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Exactly, just pack up and move your house. It's that simple, and the container doesn't special building or traveling permits. It was retro fitted for living and it is technically still a shipping container. So why wouldn't you want to just buy a used on for under 10k usd and live mortgage free for the rest of your life? Sounds like a good idea to me.
     
  16. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 New Member
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    Dude. What's with the attitude? Bad morning?
    I never said it's not worth doing. Nor did I say that it's a stupid idea and you shouldn't do it. I merely stated that "You do need some skills to get a few windows etc there" which you obviously agree with since you are on about spending time on research, learning etc. I never said it's not worth it, I just merely mentioned that this isn't as simple as "buy a container, put a window in it, done in 2 hours"
     
  17. John Snort

    John Snort Well-Known Member
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    I've seen some container homes. Some were quite simple — no Windows, simple partitioning with plywood and the elderly couple living in the container were quite happy to be living off the grid. I've also seen fancier container homes which would take more skills but if you hired a welder they could not do as good a job but it will be "decent" enough to live in.

    It certainly is something one should take into consideration if they are moving to a rural area or just out of town but don't want to build a house. Another advantage, your home could be mobile.
     
  18. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    containers were built to carry goods, not for people to live in. they are quite flimsy if you watch one being taken apart, and are prone to rust and condensation, and I have heard it said they wont stop a bullet if one were to come that way.
     
  19. Tara

    Tara New Member
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    Yes, but I don't want to live in Montana or Arizona. There's more to life, for me, than living cheaply. This is my quandary.
    Applying the foam insulation on the outside is genius! I have seen it used inside and it does take up the internal living space.


    Another genius idea!
     
  20. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Its not only about cheap living but off the grid and being able to survive withoutbojtside intervention. I have no idea where you will be able to get cheap land in Cali with open ended zoning. Every square inch there is valuable.
     
  21. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Majority of your statement are wrong. They are suitable dwellings regardles of your opinion. It is a fact that these structures are heavy duty. They are resistant to all natural disasters that no house can withstand. Hurricane, earthquake, and hail proof. It can protect your electronics from a magnetic pulse.

    They are built tough to hold 1000s of pounds and then stacked several containers high. As far as not taking a bullet, they can take small munition fire. But any normal dwelling will not be able to withstand high powered weaponry.

    Everything you have said is baseless and sounds made up for argument sake. Look at the picture below. Does that look like inappropriate housing to you? You're nuts if you think that.

    E3yzoqp1WWt53PrdhIgtVH94gzfzyhF9.jpeg
     
  22. Tara

    Tara New Member
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    Land is a premium here especially in Southern California. Every once in awhile, I discover a small piece of land for sale. But the regulations are another stumbling block. I do think it's only a matter of time before I decide to leave California. I was a military child and moved around a lot. California was the first place where my family planted roots. I did move to Las Vegas for a couple of years, but I came back. It was too hot there.
     
  23. filmjunkie08

    filmjunkie08 Active Member
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    I think these are the coolest things. They would be great in tornado prone areas as they are so heavy. Unlike many other tiny homes, i doubt they would be carried off. I am excited to learn how i might get one of these containers.
     
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  24. John Snort

    John Snort Well-Known Member
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    Shipping containers aren't tornado proof.

    In 1931, in Minnesota, a tornado lifted a train 80 feet into the air and dropped it in a ditch. Most of the passengers died. I suppose an F3 tornado could do worse to shipping containers.

    To survive a tornado build an underground storm shelter.
     
  25. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    There are some that have dug into the earth and buried their containers and encapsulated it with concrete.

    Check ebay and craigslist. Or go to your nearest shipping company and inquire. Internet searches help.
     
  26. Rere

    Rere New Member
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    This is a great thread as I have been watching videos about shipping containers for awhile. Using insulated shipping containers helps with the heat situation. Also I watched a video where the builder used some type of paint that acted like an insulation. I mentioned in the tiny house thread about an architect that build a beautiful house out of 4 shipping containers.

    My main issue is finding a piece of land to plant my tiny house. Land in Southern California isn't cheap. I might have to leave the state.
     
  27. zeedollar

    zeedollar New Member
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    Living in a shipping container can be cost effective to if you do not like excessive cold or heat then you should reconsider before getting one as they tend to heat up pretty quickly in sunny weathers and also increase chill in your home. Maybe you should consider giving it an interior wood work.
     
  28. omegaman

    omegaman Expert Member
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    I dont know about the climate where you are. I have a container as a storage shed and first of all, coming stock the ventilation is non existent. The containers are made for salty, humid transports and they dont want to let that air in to destroy the cargo. Then comes the insulation problem. Stock it's an oven in the summers and a coolbox in the winters. Third is that you will propably want a nicer opening than the container doors. Fourth is that these containers are made to hold a massive load. On the corners and straight downwards. They are pretty fragile from all other directions. Try and stand in the middle of one and you will see what I mean.

    All this can be fixed if you are in for it. But by then the pricetag will be so high that you should have just built a house instead.
     
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  29. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I personally think that a pair of them with a gap about the same as the width of the containers with a roof over both would be a great place. It would be like the basic dog trot houses that the pioneers built. the place in the middle lets the air flow through and also give you a dry place to store things and hangout when it's hot. You can close the end in during the winter and with a tin roof over it actually have an open fire in there. If you put the containers up on short 3' 0r 4' piers you would also have storage underneath.
     
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  30. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Master Survivalist
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    Find a way to tie those containers to the Earth. Dig pylons or "dead men" and run steal or heavy steel cables between container and these. Have footers that tie their rebar to the structure and use a strong formulation of portland cement to reinforce foundation blocks / hold the rebar lines.
     
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  31. coffee

    coffee Well-Known Member
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    I love these ideas, I am looking at buying land soon, and plan to look into shipping container as an option for living and storage; and using one or more as shelters for livestock.
     
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  32. IBME

    IBME Well-Known Member
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    I buy the new 20' ones with doors on both ends. Then frame up a wall inside one end with large window and small door.
     
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  33. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Portable buildings are another possible choice. They cost a bit more than the containers but are easier to turn into really nice small homes. they come to you framed and dried in with the inside bare. That allows you to wire it, plumb it, insulate it and then close in the walls after that is done. I actually know several people that live in these small places. You can live cheap, save your money ad then build a bigger place as your funds allow. When you finish your bigger place you then have a great little shop, storage building or she shed. They even make them now that are designed from the start to be turned into homes that are bigger. If you either have the skills or are willing to learn the skills this is a cheap way to get into a nice small house.
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  34. poltiregist

    poltiregist Expert Member
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    All these ideas are doable , but it would be cheaper and easier to just build your home the traditional way ,boards , nails , and sweat .
     
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  35. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    You are right but many people don't have the money or the skills set to frame up a strong structure. Also getting financing on wood and materials is harder than for portable buildings. It is nice to be able to start off with a dried in structure whether it is a portable building or a shipping container. If you are working in an isolated area without power finishing with battery powered tools is fairly easy and you can do it alone where as framing is better with more power and help.
     
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  36. anon.amus

    anon.amus Active Member
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    I am in no way a fan of google, But their free CAD progran Sketchup (computer aided design) has 100's of container homes allready designed you can downloan-or upload, you can also change them, add other buildings, even the sun position.
     
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  37. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    When I was young I worked building homes one summer. Back then you hammered the nails in the wood with heavy framing hammers. You never had to ask if a person was right or left handed because their dominant arm was usually much more heavily muscled in the forearm. We at least had power saws but the old man that cut our rafters and such had little use for them. That old man was stout. Without power tools framing is hard work and uses muscles that very few are used to using these days.
     
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  38. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    You are very correct. Every time I changed professions, I discovered muscles I never knew I had.
     
  39. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Master Survivalist
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    If building a tiny home / cabin in the woods specifically for survival reasons, build in barriers that will stop most ammo up to and including deer rifle ammo. If trying to stop armor-piercing ammo, it's gonna cost you. Use layering to reduce costs. Use shielding where it will be most needed. Other rooms will have to be no-go / write-offs during any attack.

    Metal containers will provide some protection, but if lined with scrap ceramics or walled gravel space, the bullet will yaw and dump its forward momentum. Could use shipping pallets as matrix for dumped-in gravel. Outside these pallets (i.e. inside room, facing inside), seal with plywood, paint or drywall over the plywood. Your bedroom could be your safe room. Think protective glass or non-shatter glass. Metal mesh of high thickness will stop incendiaries and smoke canisters. Fire extinguishers, think fire extinguishers! Pipe-in fresh air from an area away from your house. Similarly, pipe-out smoke. Fans will have to be operated with charged lead-acid batteries.

    Think some sort of cheap escape tunnel. Metal conduit would be of aid. Cut a trench out from house and drop heavy conduit down into the trench then cover. Have entry to tunnel concealed beneath floor. Dig up entire yard area as if planting a field so that tunnel route can't be detected. Plant all manner of scrap metal hither-thither in the yard and around your house so that if anyone brings in a metal detector, they'll get innumerable false-positive readings.

    Goons attack at night. So do military-trained folk. When attacked, send up hanging flares above positions they may occupy. Try not to light-up your own house. If you do use lights, make them blinding lights and/or retina-burning green lasers -- these lights are to be pointed at invaders, duh. Don't forget smoke grenades for concealment -- buy the most huge puppies you can afford. You want a enormous wall of smoke.

    Having dug-up your lawn, grow food on it. Why grow grass for an out-in-the-boonies shack?! Think about growing plants to feed not only you and family, but also goats or whatever critters you wish to raise. Corn will draw-in deer. Unfortunately so will cantaloupe. Kill the dang deer when they start ruining your cantaloupe crop!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 10:38 PM
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