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Why build houses with containers?
Containers are an excellent building material for houses, as they are designed to withstand heavy internal and external loads under the most adverse conditions that a house would ever have to endure. In addition, the container structure is stronger than a traditional wood frame, and it is fire, mold and insect resistant. Taking advantage of these qualities, we have created homes that are comfortable, environmentally friendly and inexpensive compared to traditional construction.
Obviously, containers were not created to be used as homes, but through some creative design we have found practical solutions to all the limitations.
What are the most valued features in our homes?
- Resistance to hurricanes: the solid steel frame structure, when fixed to the ground with concrete foundations, can resist winds of up to 170 mph.
- Resistance to earthquakes: being a steel structure designed to withstand forces from all directions, it is extremely unlikely that it will collapse during an earthquake.
- Resistance to tornadoes: properly anchored, reinforced, and built with a solid foundation, a container house can best respond to the effects of tornadoes.
- Resistance to severe weather: prepared to withstand long trips overseas, container houses are very resilient to inclement weather and can be located anywhere on the planet.
- Constructed in accordance with the rules of the IBC: during the design phase and construction phase we have followed all guidelines from the US Residential Building Code.
- Comfortable: the house design, when partially modified from the original container width of 8 feet to 11 feet, can accommodate similar living spaces to those of a standard house.
- Insulation and interior trim: a lined interior with wood framing provides the same insulation and interior look that you would find in a traditional house.
- Easily transported: our houses are built in a factory and transported fully assembled to the site of final installation.
- Adaptable to uneven terrain: the design, including supporting stilts that can be adjusted independently, provides flexibility for installations on uneven terrain.
- Easily installed: supported by stilts, the house needs foundation only where these stilts are placed, therefore avoiding costly foundation walls around its perimeter.
Comfort and design features:
- The functionality of the floor plans, which eliminates unnecessary spaces, is a fundamental design decision when it comes to houses with limited square footage.
- The porch, many times overlooked because of cost reasons, creates a seamless connection between the inside and the outside living spaces.
- The heating and air-conditioning equipment, which are both available in all units, provide a better in-home experience.
Containers come mostly in 2 sizes (20′ and 40′) and can be combined in many configurations to generate many different floor plans. Further down you can see some of those models.
House prices start at $40,600
HS10E00 House Sparrow 320
HS42E00 – House Albatross 1760Detail
HS21S20 House Eagle 1120
HS01E01 House Sparrow 208
The House Sparrow 208 is a unit made with one 20 FT High Cube container and one . It's one of our smallest houses with 208 SqFt. It can be configured as a house (this...Detail
HS02E02 House Owl 416
HS03E03 House Eagle 624
HS20E00 – House Owl 640 – 3 Bedrooms
House Owl 640 is a unit made with two 40 FT High Cube containers. It's one of our most popular models and the house comes in a two and a three bedroom versi...Detail
HS20E00 – House Owl 640 – 2 Bedrooms
House Owl 640 is a unit made with two 40 FT High Cube containers. It's one of our most popular models and the house comes in a two and a three bedroom versi...Detail
SH02E02 Shelter Owl 416
SH20E00 Shelter Owl 640
During the design phase we discuss your housing requirements and either configure one of our standard models or create a concept house that will address those requirements. Estimated cost is one of the deliverables of this phase.
In this phase we will provide you with an estimate of the time to completion for the unit defined in the first phase. We create a project plan and secure the materials and resources that will be required for the project.
There are several steps involved in the construction of a container house. First step is the 'metal work' (openings and 'bump-outs'), then the framing, plumbing, electricity, and finishing details.
When the construction is finished, we check to make sure that everything is working properly and according to the specifications, and that the unit is ready to pass the inspections required by the local government.
The house is now ready to be transported to your designated site. Even though this is your responsibility, we can help you decide on a suitable company, and we will arrange all the pick up details with them.
Congratulations! Your house has now arrived, and it has to be installed following our check list. Even though installation is relatively easy, you may need help from a qualified company to complete the set-up activities.
Everything you need to know about shipping container homes
Shipping containers fill a crucial niche in the world’s economy. They are large and sturdy enough to uniformly transport goods but small enough to fit on trucks and light enough to be moved by cranes and forklifts. However, over the decades a challenge emerged: an excess of used containers.
Where some saw a problem, innovative architects saw an eco-friendly opportunity. Since the mid-2000s, designers began repurposing containers into a wide array of buildings. Some structures can be simple—a single compact shipping container outfitted for dwelling—while others are complex designs that use multiple containers merged with other structural components.
So what exactly goes into building a shipping container home? And are they as economical, sustainable, and livable as claimed? We break down what you need to know below.
What is a shipping container house?
A shipping container house is any dwelling made from a shipping container, but the resulting structures can be quite diverse. Shipping containers usually come in two sizes, either 20 feet by 8 feet or 40 feet by 8 feet. The smaller of the two equals about 160 square feet of living space, while the larger container gets you 320 square feet. There are also two height types, regular (8.5 feet high)or a high cube container that provides about a foot of extra vertical living space. Some shipping container homes stop here, using these compact spaces as standalone tiny homes or offices.
But many builders or owners combine containers to create larger homes, like this version in Missouri. In homes with multiple containers, walls are often removed to create more spacious interiors, and traditional construction methods add exterior materials and additional rooms.
Some containers are stacked in a row to create multi-level residences, while others can be twisted and turned Jenga-style to deliver striking architectural masterpieces.
Where do the shipping containers come from and how do you buy one?
If you buy an empty, brand-new shipping container, it will likely come from manufacturers in China; the Chinese company CIMC produces around 82 percent of the world’s steel shipping containers. Used shipping containers are a more eco- and budget-friendly option, but you need to carefully inspect their condition. Pay attention to the different certifications. Some are certified for being able to ship goods overseas, and more stringent certifications designate containers that are wind and water tight.
Some containers are identified as “one trip”—which is just like it sounds—which offer a good balance of value and decent condition. “As is” containers may have been used to transport dangerous chemicals or they may have rust, doors that don’t seal, or holes; these aren’t advised for home construction.
Used containers are available from either national dealers or local sellers. While national dealers have large inventories and can deliver to most any location, local sellers often have better prices but don’t offer delivery. Twenty-foot containers can be moved using a standard forklift and hauled on tow trucks, but 40-foot containers usually require a crane.
Finally, a new batch of companies are providing shipping container homes ready for purchase. These tiny homes range in style and price, but they offer a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants a shipping container home but doesn’t want to build it themselves.
What kind of permit do you need to build a shipping container house?
Shipping container architecture is still relatively new, so the most important thing before starting construction is to research your local laws and regulations. You need to ensure two things: First, that your container building will fit on the land, and second, that it will meet existing building codes and zoning restrictions. Building codes set standards for what structures must have in order to receive an occupancy permit. Zoning regulations, meanwhile, dictate where a home can be built.
Some codes and regulations explicitly say whether shipping container homes are allowed while others group “non-traditional” structures—like tiny houses or dome homes—together. Shipping container homes are more likely to be allowed in more remote or less trafficked areas, but you really need to check with your city or county planner for the specifics.
What are the drawbacks of building with shipping containers?
Despite their housing-friendly attributes, shipping containers can pose challenges when used for homes. First off, remember that almost all shipping containers are eight feet wide with an interior room width of just over seven feet. That’s quite narrow, even for people accustomed to living in cramped apartments. If you want wider rooms you’ll have to use multiple shipping containers with walls removed, or enclose the area between two parallel but separate containers.
Another potential drawback is that the metal of the containers can make it hard to install insulation. While typical wood walls with studs have a cavity for insulation, the corrugated metal sides of a shipping container doesn’t. Large-scale projects that use multiple containers might also require extensive steel reinforcement, adding to potential costs.
Are shipping container houses more sustainable than traditional homes?
Advocates for shipping container homes applaud them for giving unwanted containers a new life. According to most estimates, there are millions of unused shipping containers in the world. It’s often cheaper to receive new shipping containers than it is to send them back to suppliers, which means that some containers are discarded after only one trip.
Reusing a safe shipping container is an excellent example of building with recycled materials, and shipping container homes can also encourage a smaller footprint and less usage of other building materials like wood and masonry. Owners who are open to alternative living spaces like container homes often incorporate other eco-friendly elements, such as solar panels, wind power, water recycling systems, and rainwater harvesting systems.
Still, some used containers are hardly eco-friendly—they may have held toxic chemicals or have been treated to prevent corrosion during transit, leading to high levels of chemical residue. Picking the right container is key.
Others argue that the energy required to make the steel boxes habitable erases the benefits of recycling. According to an ArchDaily report, the average container eventually produces nearly a thousand pounds of hazardous waste before it can be used as a structure.
Are they more affordable than other types of housing?
Shipping container homes are not always cheaper to build than traditional stick-built homes, but they can be. There are a large number of variables that influence project cost, such as location, size, design, and interior finishes.
The cost of buying the container itself can range from $1,400 for smaller containers to up to $6,000 for a larger, brand new 40-foot container. Newer containers will cost more than older containers.
A shipping container comes with a flat metal roof, exterior walls, and a metal frame that can double as a foundation—these elements are often cited as cost savings. But you’ll still have to spend money on transporting the container to your site, insulation, and interior finishes.
You’ll also still need to pay for land. Container homes, however, can often be built on (properly zoned) land that might not be suitable for normal construction without a lot of site work. If a plot of land is rocky or steep, shipping container houses can be elevated on sturdy pilings instead of paying for pricey excavation.
If you want an already built shipping container home, these can be as affordable as $33,000 for the smallest, most basic units.
Are shipping container houses faster to build?
Shipping container homes are often faster to build than traditional stick-built houses. The simplest and smallest of container homes can be built in a few days or weeks, depending on how much finishing work your design requires. More complex homes will usually still take at least a few months, and note that shipping container homes are still subject to normal construction delays.
For the fastest type of shipping container home, look for companies that fabricate most of the structure offsite before transporting them to your land. These prefab-style shipping container homes tend to be smaller, but they come prebuilt with most everything you need to move in right away.
Two if by Sea: DIY Cargo Shipping Container Home on Stilts
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“One if by land, two if by sea” goes the poem of Paul Revere – but not in reference to a pair of sea-shipping containers radically converted into a single on-land dwelling. A local train yard and a few hundred dollars can buy you a few five-thousand-pound insulated metal boxes. And at that price, who would not be tempted to plan their new home around shipping container-sized units?
Paul Stankey (and family) not only bought his structural materials on the cheap, but also used simple do-it-yourself processes to construct his cargo container house step by simple step – starting with pipes to leverage the containers off of the trailer attached to his truck.
After pouring simple concrete foundations, he and his partners used railroad ties, vehicular force and rounded pipes to roll the containers up and into place before welding them to the piers below.
On top of the metal shipping boxes, a wood-framed wall-and-roof system was constructed to extend the height and provide sloped rainwater drainage (leading to an on-site gray-water system). Plywood, prefab doors and windows, and the infill exterior sections were enclosed with relative ease.
The final result looks like a strange but compelling hybrid of contemporary design, classic building parts and cargo containers raised on pillars that cannot help but remind any designer or design historian of the great Modernist works of Le Corbusier.
With the popularity and convenience of prefab houses, more and more people are now shifting into modular homes. These innovative houses are advantageous because they are time-saving and readily available despite weather constraints. They are also pretty decent and highly customizable to fit your lot or space. So, from tiny homes to stacked apartments, modular shipping containers are becoming such a fad. That is why we also gathered some of the best shipping container home ideas that caught our sight.
Shipping container homes are not just for the compact urban setting. They are also fancy even for rural areas. But one aesthetic problem with the modular home is that they look uniform and repetitive. Yet with a spark of creativity, you can transform your space with the best shipping container home ideas. So here are the inspiring looks that turn the drab prefab into fab.
15 Creative Shipping Container Home Ideas
Compounding a Luxurious Home
The best thing about shipping container homes is that they cater to a various range of budgets. So whether your pocket can afford a tiny one or this looming container home, you will have a better choice. And to improve its overall appearance, it will take no more than a few coats of marine paint. A careful choice of color combination can create a wonderful shipping container home. Here is a rustic take of a modular home in natural wood and a dark blue paint exterior.
A Container Home in Art Deco
There is a wide array of the best shipping container home ideas for your reference. There are no hard rules in decorating it and container homes are versatile for your design vision. Thus, whatever style you have in mind, you will have no trouble putting it up. We love the stark simplicity of this Art Deco mansion basking in a charcoal black coat. It looks like a mirage amidst the lovely green of its surrounding yard.
Camouflage with the Wood
Shipping container homes are noteworthy because they are eco-friendly and sustainable. The building and construction constitute lower waste production. Sustainability aside, it is also modest to put up. Its simple architectural feature makes it an easy starting point for a home project. Take a look at this wood-inspired container home that has a rooftop and spiral staircase. It is a fresh and exciting take for a nature-grounded life.
Stack Up in Style
The repurposed shipping container complemented by a modern blend makes up this industrial-inspired home. It has an elegant modern design that also exudes a rustic and rugged charm. The louvered privacy shutter is also an eye-catching aesthetic apart from its functionality. The mix of colors turns this stack of metal containers into a high-end-looking home competitive enough for the market.
A Hanging Home by the Trees
Treehouses are a stylish and dreamy escape not just for kids. But who needs a treehouse if you can put up your home on stilts and still commune with the trees? This hanging home in Brazil is one of the best container home ideas we can vouch for. It has metal pillars for foundation and support. The best thing about it is its balcony that extends towards the branches of the trees that is definitely perfect for nature lovers.
Clad in Timber
You will never quite imagine the before-and-after photos of shipping container homes. But those heavy-looking ridge steel can still shine with the best shipping container home ideas. The workmanship of the timber exterior of this home is hard to miss. Its cozy interior will also surprise you with its fully maximized space.
If you can pack up your things and glamp-up by the countryside, we bet you would. And with the best shipping container home ideas, it will be nice to take your whole household with you. This tiny home by the mountain ridge is complete with a green roof of solar panels. It looks like the perfect place for retirement, isn’t it?
Modular House with the Benefit of Space
One of the benefits of stackable and modular houses is their ability to be filled with natural lights. So how you place your container vans dictate the amount of ambient light you will get. Glass windows are one of the best shipping container home ideas to consider. Oversized windows will not only offer you a view of the outdoors, but they will also show off your home’s interior and all its boastful glory.
Give it an Architectural Edge
There is no need to live literally in a box if you can dub a luxurious architectural flair to your home. This World Flex Home introduces the geometry of container homes from a new perspective. The module includes the provision for a second-floor landing as an additional space for relaxation. It doesn’t feel like living in a box, after all.
Home with a View
If you have a sweeping horizon to enjoy, then embrace the advantage of the natural visuals. Install huge windows and let your small living space benefit from the cozy view. Elevating the home on a concrete post is also a functional idea to consider. It not only adds to its aesthetic persona but also solves drainage problems during the rainy season.
Unique Boat House
Shipping containers are built to withstand elements – even the rusty condition by the seashore. Thus, they are the perfect material if you are looking for a durable home by the waterfront. Moor it by the shore or jetty and enjoy your eco-friendly home by the beach.
Keep it Simple and Homey
Enjoy the laid-back life away from the toxic urban setting in a simple living space. With the best shipping container home ideas, you can. Here is a simple one that is made a home with the conventional door and windows. It may look simple, but it exudes the comfort and relaxation you would look for in a home.
Consider a Roof Deck
Roof decks add elegance and style to the simple exterior of a container home. Hardly do they get left out in the best shipping container home ideas. They give a bit of personality into the home and offer more open space to enjoy the panorama.
View from the Inside
There are multitudes of ways you can decorate your container home’s interior. If you want to keep it simple and rugged, there is no need to challenge yourself with the decision. The container’s ridge surface can pass as decorative inlays. Get the right furniture, lighting, and other extras and incorporate them into an industrial-style furnishing like this room.
Shipping container homes are bulky and thus, appear claustrophobic. To avoid its cocooning feel, homeowners feel the need to introduce lots of windows. However, you can also keep an air of mystery if you need to by outlining its strong appeal. This prefab home emphasizes the structural strength of the housing material with a clad outline. The dark choice of color makes it look more private, luxurious, and slightly intimidating.
The bulky container home boxes are becoming dominant among homeowners for practical reasons. They are eco-friendly, budget-friendly, and timebound. They are also reasonable for setting up regardless of the weather condition. Unfortunately, they are also prone to challenges like decorating decisions. But with the best shipping container home ideas, you can accentuate the functionality and aesthetics of a modular home. They may look the same, but shipping container homes are highly customizable – and that is where your creativity and idea can spin to turn the challenge around!
Container house on stilts shipping
Take cover. You are not the one: This session was just significant for all of us, the third course is still. And at the end of the third year in personal affairs, according to the dean's office, they will write us in.Shipping Container Home: Foundation Types - best type of foundations for container homes
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