Container Homes: The Essential Questions
Read This If You’re Considering Life In A Container
The idea of creating an inhabitable space inside a shipping container dates back to the 1960s. Fast forward to 2015 and these massive steel boxes are growing in popularity.
Main reason being the fact that building with shipping containers is environmentally friendly and often much cheaper than a traditional home.
Perspective: A standard 12 metre shipping container at a weight of 4 tonnes takes around 8000 kWh of energy to melt down.
Now the average amount of energy used to convert a shipping container into a home takes around 400 kwh, a 95% reduction when compared to melting down the steel.
So what are the vital questions before getting real about this steel?
Here are some of the most important things to consider when buying a container:
1. Decide on whether you’re going for an insulated or dry freight container?
(via Remain Simple)
2. Be on the lookout for “one-trip” containers if you’re aiming for mint condition. These containers are usually made in Asia and used once for cargo shipping before being sold. You’re likely to find them listed as “new” or “like new” but expect few scratches from their one-time trip.
(via Arch Daily)
3. Try and get your hands on “corten steel” if you’re living in wet conditions or near the ocean. Corten is a corrosion resistant weathering steel. It’s a new-ish material also used in construction projects because of its ability withstand rusting.
4. We’d suggest going for a “factory paint” label if you want a freshly painted look, instead of refurbished look. Refurbished containers can have issues with paint peeling from rust.
5. Another handy tip is to find a container with a “no shipping label” – meaning you won’t find a large company logo on the container.
6. A “cargo worthy” container indicates that the unit has been inspected by a cargo surveyor.
It has been deemed worthy of ocean cargo transport.
Well used containers are classified as “wind-water-tight”. Wind and watertight indicates that the seller believes that it’s a well sealed container, but hasn’t been inspected by a surveyor.
7. Shipping containers that are labelled “as-is” are the most worn and economical option. In most cases, these containers have been retired by shipping companies, they have some leaks or damage, they are partially rusted and they have 1 or more shipping labels painted onto them.
There is a also a large supply of as-is shipping containers across the globe, so you have a good chance of purchasing one at a pretty decent price.
The addition of new doors or windows will compromise the seal and security of the original model.
Other options include roll up doors, heat units, air conditioning units, skylights, security bars, partitions, vents, fans, framing and insulation.
Take into consideration the importance of building regulations and planning once you’ve chosen your container.
When you’re ready to start building and constructing, find a contractor with previous experience (good experience!)
Check out that time we worked on our own container home experience.