Over the last decade, more and more people have looked at building their dream home from cargo containers, or shipping containers that can be bought in a used condition relatively cheaply and found everywhere on the planet.
Building a home from shipping containers can have a lot of advantages, not least that it is a cost-effective and environmentally conscious way to build. Their size and internal space make them ideal to make rooms out of, and they can be joined together and stacked on top of one another in lots of different ways.
Here in this quick guide, we are going to look at some of the things you need to know about container homes, and some of the advantages and disadvantages they offer as a building material.
Not All Containers are the Same – Pay Close Attention to Size and Purpose
Building homes from containers is a modern trend that has been developed from a lot of trial and error. One of the most important factors that can make or break a container home development is the condition and size of the containers used.
Many people think that shipping containers are all the same, but there are a few different types that vary slightly in their size and dimensions. If you are building using shipping containers then you are probably best off using all the same size and type of containers to build your project, and you want them all to be in good condition. There should be very little rust or damage, and this should be treated before you start building.
Pay a Close Look at the Local Building Regulations
Homes and offices made from reused shipping containers are very new, and local governments may have specific regulations that govern container homes. Some local authorities may use older regulations related to pre-fabricated housing that may affect your building plans.
Check and liaise with your local government’s planning departments to make sure your build is compliant with all regulations. Building with containers can be incredibly quick, but if you build outside of regulations, you may find yourself having to deconstruct your home and starting again.
Once You Have a Plan – Stick to It
You could be forgiven for thinking that constructing a building out of shipping containers can make it easier to change your designs while you are in the process of building – but this is not the case.
You will need to plan your building’s foundations, which will restrict where you can place your containers, and when you remove panels for windows and doors, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Have your plan set and definitive before you start laying foundations or cutting metal. Make a model from cardboard to help you visualize your home before you settle on plans.
Get the Right Insulation for Your Container Home
Insulation is an important part of any home, but especially in a homemade from shipping containers. Without proper insulation, the containers would become like a refrigerator in the cold and like an oven in the heat.
You will need a high-quality insulation material that will protect against moisture as well as regulate the temperature. For this reason, many shipping container builders use spray-on insulation foam applied to the interior walls, floor, and ceiling as well as to the lower exterior of the containers. When correctly installed, this light-weight, thin foam provides a moisture barrier, as well as insulation.
Spray-on insulation foam can be a little more expensive and is best applied by a paid professional, but this small extra cost is worth it in the long run; protecting you from the cold of winter and saving you money on heating bills.
Shipping containers are a great way to build a home or office quickly and cheaply without having a large impact on the environment. With the savings that can be made using shipping containers for construction, it is easy to see why so many people and property developers are using them.