So you want to build a shipping container home. Or perhaps you don’t; many remain unaware of what shipping container homes really are, and have only a vague idea of what creating a shipping container home would involve, and what they can really get out of a shipping container home. In the grand scheme, a shipping container home is one of the more involved ways that someone can recycle. Essentially, a shipping container home is a home made from a steel shipping container, which would have previously been used for shipping purposes. You may have seen shipping containers on trucks, trains, or even boats; and at first glance, they might not seem to be the most livable objects on earth. But the fact is that people have been experimenting with shipping containers as homes for decades, and more recently have been refining them. Creating a shipping container home doesn’t mean simply moving furniture into a shipping container and living in a reinforced box. A shipping container is simply the recycled based for what becomes a fully functional home, and as people work to save money on homes and become more sustainable, it appeals more and more. Though shipping containers do range in size and can potentially be used in conjunction with other shipping containers to create a large home, the tiny home craze has made them even more popular. As there are around 11 million unused shipping containers across the world, there are plenty of ways in which they could potentially be used. Let’s look more into how you could create the home of your dreams out of one of them.
It is very important, when looking at shipping containers, that you fully understand what you’re buying. This means that you need to look at those that you do buy in detail before making a final decision. But unlike with a typical home or even a car, you probably won’t be able to see it in person first. Shipping containers are often shipped across the globe. Yours may very well be arriving from another country. But what you can do is ask for detailed photos of the shipping container, from within and the outside as well. If you’re buying an older shipping container, it likely won’t be as good as new. Older shipping containers often have imperfections, like dents or rust; but you can often work with a few minor flaws. It’s more serious structural problems that could affect your home’s integrity that you need to be worried about. If you’d rather spend more upfront versus spending to fix a damaged shipping container, you can look into buying one-trip shipping containers. As the name implies, these have only undergone one trip and therefore require less work, but they’re usually more expensive upfront. It really depends on what you’d rather spend on, and work on.
Just because you want to jump into creating a home out of a shipping container doesn’t mean that you can arbitrarily jump into the process. Quite often, cities and towns have building codes that residents must abide by when building a home, even if their plans involve shipping containers. In fact, some may completely forbid building within shipping containers. Check on the codes in your area before investing in a shipping container, and furthermore see if there is any leniency to be found with them.
A shipping container may seem like the perfect base for a house; and with the right amount of work, it may very well be. But the issue that many homeowners find themselves struggling with after they ignored it initially is insulation. A poorly insulated shipping container home would, of course, be difficult to live in comfortably; and it could potentially present health hazards as well. But beyond that, it would also be expensive to live in, as you would inevitably spend more money on heating to keep the home warm for everyone inside. Of course, you’ll doubtlessly want your shipping container home to have windows like any other house; but when selecting them, make sure that they are well installed and designed to lock in heat, as about 10% to 25% of a home’s heat escapes through its windows, on average. Discuss insulation ideas with different contractors before deciding on a plan, and make sure that the walls and roof of your shipping container home are well-insulated. You’ll need an interior wall for blanket-style insulation, while foam insulation can be sprayed directly onto the walls. Then again, if you’re trying to build a shipping container home for sustainability reasons, and attempting to become as green as possible, you could insulate your shipping container home with wool or even choose a green roof. A green roof would partially involve vegetation and be placed over a waterproof membrane and is becoming increasingly popular amongst eco-friendly shipping container home enthusiasts. But again, it’s just one of several options.
No matter how well-insulated a shipping container home is, it can still become somewhat noisy when the wind is howling outside your door, simply due to the structural makeup of shipping containers. This doesn’t make the containers unsound; it just makes them more difficult to live in on a comfort level. Therefore, if you live in an airy that is prone to high winds, you should think about either further insulating your shipping container, going above and beyond the basics. Furthermore, you may want to think about installing a windbreaker on your property to shield your home from the window and potentially some rain as well. Think carefully before choosing your shipping container in this sense too; not all types are made in the same manner, and this could ultimately affect the overall quality of your home.
Clearly, there are a number of different factors to consider when creating a shipping container home. But there are a lot of benefits to making this choice, both for you and the world in general. With that being said, move forward with your plans if they’re right for you; just make sure your decision is an informed one!
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