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What is a Container Home? - SimpleTerra

What is a Container Home?

What is a container home?  A container home is shipping container architecture.  It’s using shipping containers as a structural element.  A structure element is splitting a complex structure into a simple element.  This means that the structural element cannot be broken down or decomposed into parts of different kinds such as beams or columns.  

So what does all this mean?  The material of a container itself is used to build a container home. 

Why Turn a Shipping Container Into a Home?  

Rocky Mountains 2 BR w/ Deck

Turning a shipping container into a home has become popular over the past several years.  The integrity of a container is very high as they can withstand harsh weather conditions.  

Shipping containers are built very sturdy.  Its frame is made of steel welded together with corrugated Corten steel.  

This  provides the exterior enough strength that it can withstand a stack of nine other steel containers on top of it.  

Qualified professionals such as engineers, metallurgists and technicians build the shipping containers.  

There is very little variation of the metal's strength due to stringent procedures, methods and materials used.  

The steel is welded together rather than nailed allowing a much stronger and sustainable connection than nail to wood.  

Containers are now being used at residential homes, office buildings, malls, schools, apartment complexes and much more.  

Why wouldn’t anyone want to use something so sturdy for his or her home?

Advantages of  Container Homes

Some of the advantages of using a container is that their shape and material is easy to manipulate to fit more than one purpose.  

One example is that there are certain measurement standards to building a container.

This can make it easy for someone who would like to use 3 containers side by side.  They can cut out the walls touching to join and make a larger room.  

It’s also possible to use two 40-foot containers by stacking one on the other to create a two-story story home.  At one end, they can also have a staircase built in the container to go upstairs.  

Another advantage is it’s a lot cheaper to build a container home than a conventional home.

Since containers are being used already with companies to ship, many of these companies are willing to sell their containers used or new.

Another advantage is that containers already fit shipping standards and don’t need modifications to ship.  

So transportation by ship, truck and rail -prefabricated measurements makes it easier to determine the size needed to transport.  

Disadvantages of  Container Homes

There are a few disadvantages to using a container as a home.  One is that steel is a conduit of heat, so if not properly insulated, the container can turn into an oven.  

Containers come in various sizes from 20 feet to 50 feet.  While, anything from 20 feet to 40 feet is manageable to navigate, a 50-foot container isn’t the easiest and may pose difficulty transporting into or through residential areas. 

Containers can also build up humidity and have condensation leading to rust.  If not treated or insulated this will turn into a problem.  

Since containers are so heavy, it could pose a problem to move them.  A crane or a top loader forklift is just a couple of options to aid with this.  While these are usually present at the dock, hiring someone who is licensed to work with these heavy machinery may cost a little.  

If someone decides to buy a used container, they may need to worry about what kinds of spillage have happened in the container.  To avoid this, it can be requested that the container be stripped of all it’s wood interior floors and the metal abrasive blasted (sanded down) and repainted.  


What Ways Can I Modulate My Container Home?

Sierra Nevada Container Home
Appalachian Container Home

A shipping container is modular and it can be manipulated to add pretty much anything a conventional home has.   

Just like a convention home, a container home can have windows placed onto it.  Not only that, but you can have large glass sliding doors to let light or a cool breeze in.  

You can also have a split system to help with temperature regulation.  

Some people may opt to have the top of the container removed so that they can have wood roofing since metal conducts heat. 

Removing the metal top and replacing it with wood will help to keep room temperatures down and livable. 

A rest room can also be added into a container home.  You don’t need to make a bathroom outside but there are some regulations as to how you go about getting rid of your sewage. 

 Whether you’d like to have a connection to a septic tank or hook it up to the county plumbing, all of this can be done through proper planning.  

You can check with your counties sewage regulation and administration to find out the details of how they’d like for you to go about waste control.

Is it possible to turn a shipping container into a pool?  Sure! Seek a structural engineer to help you plan how to turn a container into a pool. 

They’ll deal with all the paperwork and help with obtaining the proper materials necessary to make a container into a pool.  

There are many ways you can use a shipping container.  It just depends on what you’d like to make. Seek the right professionals and anything is possible. 

Is It Worth It?

Is making a shipping container into a home worth it?  Many people will say "yes".  They feel it’s allowed them to build something they wished for without breaking the bank.  Who doesn’t want to save money?  

It’s given them a strong long lasting home.  All in all, most people want to live comfortably and just like a conventional home, a container home offers the same comfortability.  

Granted like everything, there’s always a method of maintenance and a container home will require this.  It isn’t difficult and in the long run, your container home will last longer than a conventional home if taken cared of properly.  

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