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admin | Category: Shipping Container Manufacturers | 29.03.2014
I’m glad you gave an honest evaluation of your whole building from concept to finished cabin. In the end, there’s just too many differences between an off-grid cabin and a typical home to make comparisons. As I ponder building a container home, in Albuquerque, I will take so much of your article to heart. Mods International is (or was last summer) selling 40 foot containers (320 square feet) converted to housing for about $32,000 each. Oil patch crew housing needs to be tougher than standard mobile homes, hence the use of ISOs. Due to the high cost of closed cell spray foam, there will always be the temptation to use something else. I’ve been putting together a design with an intention to use rigid foam board against the metal shell and using a light-duty spray foam tool to seal all four edges. We are going to build a 1100 sq foot guest house using shipping container, so happy to have found this site . You would need to check the Material Safety Data Sheet of the spray foam you are considering to be sure.
All spray foams, open and closed cell, no matter what brand you’re considering, are urethane based foams. As far as formaldehyde goes, it’s not present in spray foam but it is used as a binder in fiberglass batts.
To accommodate my needs with shipping containers, I figure I would need 3 x 40′ containers.
There are some relatively easy and cost effective ways to add security to a conventional construction cabin. And simply from a sq ft perspective, one can find used 40 ft high cube containers for not much more than your cost for new 20 ft containers for those that might be considering bigger projects. Also, do you have or remember the actual labor costs for any of the contracted work you had done and if so, could you post it? For siding I assumed LP Smartside (Precision series strand substrate) – this is what I used on my framed cabin walls. I did include all of the labor costs with my estimates above, but I don’t have a good way to extract all of them. The spray foam IS a huge investment if used in a residence but with the impermeability of the container and the addition of spray foam, I had hoped to keep recurring energy costs to a minimum. Are you able to maintain a consistent temperature with the combination of foam and your wood stove? As for used containers, you have to be careful when picking them out but in general, if you’re using multiple containers you really only need one with a good undamaged left side and another for the right side or in a worst case simply buy two new ones for the outsides.


I think your idea with the epoxy is probably the best solution short of reflooring everything. I don’t have any problems keeping the temperature stable with my Jotul 602 wood stove, even down to -10F. The other problem with used containers is that many times you cannot get them all from the same manufacturer.
I had one question about treatment of the interior – did you have the containers sandblasted or anything to remove any chemicals that may have leached into the paint? I was thinking of other flooring options and considering a concrete skim coat over in-floor electric heating mesh. If I were doing something such as this, I would give some thought to replacing the existing flooring. I think it is very cool how you continually answer questions and published your website to help others with your container building experience. I’ve bounced between Airstream mobile trailers and a shipping container cabin home for some time now, wanting to put a get away place on a 150 acre property with a perennial stream outside LA, California. About a week ago, I became convinced after a California Airstream owner said I would not be happy having to constantly make trips to get propane to run the air conditioner under the baking sun and they leak. My first question is do you think a single mini split would help, especially when heating or cooling, when the doors and windows need to be closed. I like how you left the concrete foundation open and with fire issues in California, I need something that will not burn. What do you think of the idea of flipping the container where the wooded floor becomes the ceiling, and the roof metal seals the bottom of the open unit?
I’ve seen one unit that is 10 feet and I wonder if there is a way to modify your unit so all the utilities and solar instruments go into the 10 foot section, leaving more space for the living area.
I forgot – I brought up the Airstream trailers because they have metal exteriors and they are closed in like the cargo shipping containers, yet there is no problem with condensation and air circulation. In your #2 reply, the phrase to frame the side openings, does this mean to have a four wall foundation? If you look at the pictures of my cabin you will see that I have two foundation walls, one in front and one in back.
Naturally, the containers at the depot hang out until they're needed to transport something else back to China, India, or some other destination.A  The ones that remain build up and the price gets very competitive for the companies that want to sell them. It could take a lot of effort, but it's possible to find a container at a port location and a truck driver that can move it for you.A  However, for this to be cost effective you'll need a forklift on the other end that's strong enough to lift the shipping container off the chassis. The answer to this is normally "yes", but it really depends on the seller, the market, and how many containers are available.A  Depending on the size of the seller and their regular flow of containers through your area, in many cases you can get a better price for a bulk, high volume, or multiple unit order.
For me, one of the advantages would be, if you can get some work completed off-site, you might have a temporary habitable space in one end of one of the containers to work from.


We are just beginning the journey and are committed to containers (both for security and because we are building in a hurricane and tornado zone). I liked the aluminum, metal, shinny outer layer and less rules of just using a trailer, but on the flip side, I am concerned with very hot weather in the summer, earthquakes, fire and security. The land can be managed and keep clear around the home, but a lot of fires start from burning ash blowing into roof vents. I’m thinking of using metal framing studs with a metal roof with spray foam insulation.
If I wanted to protect my cabin underside from fire, I’d frame the side openings and cover it with sheet metal.
While the side opening containers are nice, and work well with some designs, they do cost considerably more than standard containers.
I am wondering if having a single mini-split would help with the circulation since both the cargo shippers and Airstreams are alike, and these are the kind of units they use, except they are on the ceiling of the trailer. If I wanted to protect my cabin underside from fire, I’d frame the side openings and cover it with sheet metal. You always hear about how cheap i bought this or that but then you also hear about all of new and extra cost’s . I have wondered about the true cost of using shipping containers to build a home so it’s really interesting to read your post.
You could also use one of the containers as a secure workshop, tool shed and material storage area while you complete the build.
The wood floor could actually be removed and just fill in like a normal home with a plywood floor. Removing a wall is also not that difficult, and you then have the advantage of some extra metal to play with. You can make a cheap cabin out of one and be primitive but is that what one really desires in one of these cabins or homes? I love closed cell spray foam, but it is very flammable so I am concern with a fire attacking from underneath. Personally, I consider brick to be a more fair comparison for it’s durability and strength instead of wood, vinyl, or hardiboard. When you created the framing walls in the front, where the windows and doors are, I can see you nailed the bottom of the framing to the wall, but how did you attach the wood 2×4 framing to the ceiling, etc.



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Comments »

  1. | Rena — 29.03.2014 at 21:41:38 Same area and and conductive storage size of the bottom.
  2. | TIGER85 — 29.03.2014 at 12:10:18 Design options that are contemporary.