A ton of people have been asking me how to build a container home that actually works?
If you are looking for the best guide with step by step instructions, you can check that out here.
Alright, in this blog post I am going to give you tips and tricks on how to build a shipping container cabin or home.
How To Build a Container Home
Before we get started, I just want to let you know that I am not a professional builder or engineer and will be giving you information on my personal experience.
If you want a step by step guide, click this link and learn more
Step 1: Design Your Cabin
Before you do anything, make sure how much space you want with your container cabin or home.
Most shipping container dimensions are around 8×20 or 8×40 and you will need multiple of these.
The easiest arrangement of container is to line them up like I did, but your imagination is the limit and your check book.
If you are looking for a design tool for your shipping container home, check out Google Sketchup.
You can check out ISBU News to see what kind of models are out there.
If you need inspiration on a design, you can just Google “Build a Container Home” and see what’s out there.
Step 2: Consult an Engineer
When you are changing the structure of the shipping container, make sure you consult an engineer specially if you are removing walls etc.
When you do major changes like that, you will have to reinforce the shipping container to make sure it’s strong.
You can Google “Build a shipping container home” engineer and you will find a list of people in your area.
Step 3: Purchase Your Containers
After you have gone through steps 1 and 2, you can finally purchase your containers.
When buying the containers, check out China for prices…
They have great prices, but the only downfall is the shipping time…
It can take up to 4 months for get the containers to your home.
You can also buy used containers locally which can be a great choice.
This way you don’t have to wait months…
Just make sure you do a proper inspection before buying a used shipping container.
Check out sites like craigslist.
Step 3: Build The Foundation
Now this is when an engineer is important…
You can look into concrete or wooden supports on the ground for a single container all the way to a full basement for many containers.
Like I said earlier, make sure you get a qualified engineer and builder when it comes to building your foundation…
You don’t want your cabin home fall over LOL.
That will be a big no no.
In the example below, I show you 10″x 10″ x 1/4″steel plates.
I have examples below of a 8’x20′ shipping containers.
Step 4: Placement of Containers
The fastest way to place your containers is with a crane…
Now if you don’t have a crane locally, you can have a Swing Thru truck.
You can also rent a rough terran forklift for a few hours.
Just make sure that forklift can handle 5000 pounds and a 20′ container…
Once these shipping containers are on the foundation, it’s easy to make minor adjustments with a large crowbar.
Step 5: Connect all the containers
There are several methods of actually connecting the containers together…
You can use bolts, special clamps or even welding to make sure everything is intact.
Personally, welding and specialized clamps work the best…
Step 6: Reinforce Your Shipping Containers
A lot of the time, you will have to remove walls or structural components and when you do that, make sure you reinforce your shipping containers.
Again, have an engineer look at that and see what’s best for you.
Do this before you put the roof on!
Step 7: Build Your Roof
Alright, now it’s time to put on your roof.
You can use a simple low pitched shed roof if you like the look…
It’s also the cheapest to build.
Make sure you insult your roof!
Step 8: Cut Out Shipping Container Openings
When it comes to door and windows, you will have to use some kind of cutting tool.
You can use a jig saw, plasma cutter, cutting torch, grinder etc.
Now obviously you don’t want to use a grinder or jig saw to make huge cuts, I would use a plasma cutter personally.
Now be cautious when doing these modifications because it can reduce the structural integrity…
Make sure you have the proper reinforcements.
Step 9: Flooring
When it comes to the flooring of your shipping container, they are filthy.
You can choose to encapsulate the floor with epoxy which will create another barrier by building a sub floor on top of it.
Make sure you first wash the floors with a solvent with 91% isopropyl alcohol to remove your surface oils and ads adhesion.
Step 10: Seal the cracks
When you remove any interior pieces, you are going to have ugly gaps.
You can weld steel strips on the side gaps.
You can also insert the backer rod to a uniform depth that was about half way into the gaps.
Step 11: The rest…
Make sure you frame, sheath and weatherproof your new home…
Also, remember you add enough windows and doors…
And put a subfloor to make everything nice and dandy…
Remember to hire a electrical technician and run any necessary wiring…
And last but not least, remember to insulate your containers unless you want to freeze your butt off in the winter…
For a more in depth guide step by step, click here to learn more.
I hope you enjoyed my how to build a container home and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below…