Shipping container house - anyone made one of these or live in one?

by Carole
I see all these fabulous homes made from old shipping containers. Whether it be a tiny house using one recycled container, or several containers linked or stacked together. They appear to make great modern, open plan homes and the bonus is they are cheap and re-use materials that would otherwise be redundant. Anyone live in one or ever made one or planning to make one? I would love to one day buy a plot of land and do this! Drawbacks? Problems or difficulties? Would love to hear from you!
  4 answers
  • Josephine Howland Josephine Howland on Feb 03, 2016
    My husband, a few years ago, helped someone with converting one into a work space. Hubby did the finishing space some one else did the electric. My husband has done carpentry and insulation for work before he got sick. So he insulated the container with spray on insulation after he put up the framing, then finished the inside with plywood. My next door neighbor took two containers and spaced them about 40' apart. Then he poured a concrete floor between the two. He then built a gable roof over the whole thing. Then he built walls and installed doors. He's just using it for storage, but imagine the possibilities? If you added windows and opened the two containers into the open space between the two containers? You could make a great house out of it. Good luck with your adventure.

    • Carole Carole on Feb 03, 2016
      @Thank You Josephine Howland I noticed a couple of these containers in our area but I am not sure if they are using them to live in or as workshops. The property in question was bought a few months ago and since then, although there is a house on the property, these containers have appeared and have the ventilation chimneys on the top and cement patio area around but too far away to see what they are using them for! I would love to knock on their door and ask them about the containers but I don't have the nerve! Perhaps I should pluck up the courage and ask them if they mind if I have a sticky beak!

  • Josephine Howland Josephine Howland on Feb 03, 2016
    Bring cookies or wine, cookies are safer, then knock on their door. Cookies will get you everywhere.

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Feb 04, 2016
    Be very careful when using shipping containers as a living space. These containers are treated and coated to withstand sea water, which means they are coated with chemicals, such as chromate, phosphorous and lead based paints. Also the wood floors in many are infused with chemical pesticides like arsenic and chromium to keep pests out. Everyone loves to think it's "green" to use them, but the truth of the matter is that the waste in prepping (sandblasting the chemicals, replacing the floors, cutting openings with torches), produces nearly a thousand pounds of hazardous waste that then has to be disposed of, not to mention the fossill fuels required by the heavy machinery needed to transport/lift into place. Yes, it's 1/4th the waste than an entire container going to a landfill, and that seems to be the "green" claim....but truthfully, these containers are reused and reused for their intended purposes until they are too rusty or damaged to use. Unless you hire an architect/engineer, once insulated, framed, etc., you will have less than an 8' tall ceiling, unless you combine/stack/weld units together, which will require a lot of structural engineering. Finding a builder with the experience may also be an issue, as well as permit/plan review folks and inspectors not knowing how to handle them. IF I ever decided to use shipping containers, it would be through a company who does it on a regular basis. One who builds off site and then delivers the finished product to the property. Using random containers not closely inspected for weakness/damage, chemicals, etc., in my opinion, is asking for trouble, and probably zero savings over a conventionally framed home. Background of my experience in using containers (not with housing, so perhaps someone can give you the "pros"): I built a "green" shrimp farm, where we used 40 of these containers for the "ponds". The amount of sand blasting and additional coating, as well as the structural work required (although it was excessive, as we half buried them, set in concrete, and then filled with water), was mind-boggling. The entire "green" science and tax-payer funded build failed and the shrimp farm closed within a year, now leaving 40 embedded containers in the ground....sooooo green.

  • Ginger Ireland Grivois Ginger Ireland Grivois on Feb 04, 2016
    You can contact SnapSpace Solutions Inc. in Maine and get all the answers you needed. They are very helpful.

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    • Ginger Ireland Grivois Ginger Ireland Grivois on Feb 13, 2016
      @Carole :)