Dig This: How to Build an Underground Home Using a Shipping Container

Between energy concerns and overcrowding fears, the idea of living underground is currently gaining some popularity. Articles by industrial and construction companies muse about the possibilities, but rarely (and perhaps, ironically) go in-depth on the how and what of creating an underground home.

This undercurrent of interest now meets the booming interest of converting shipping containers into homes. Taking these units down, and using them to form a pre-packaged underground home has a lot of merits. However, its also not as simple as digging a hole and dropping in a box.

Read on to learn about the whys, the hows, and the costs of crafting your own underground container domicile.

Why an Underground House?

The two major reasons for building a house underground are to capitalize on space and to reap energy savings.

A hefty percentage of a home’s energy expenditures are wrapped up in heating and cooling the structure. These costs stabilize, year-round, given the 50-60 degree baseline temperature once you get 20-30 feet underground. The soil is dense and not subject to the wild fluctuations of wind and solar albedo.

The space-saving is less clear cut. The value of underground real estate has been ticking up as power and utility companies have increasingly learned to bury their lines. The earth is more stable in terms of natural disasters and safer for workers to perform repairs than forty-plus feet in the air.

Also, a house underground cuts down on overcrowding of streets and sightlines, allowing a more natural environment to stay in place.

Container Dimensions

Containers come in different dimensions of height, width, and length. Typically, a plan for an underground home will use four or more containers. To maintain structural fidelity, it’s best to work in pairs and secure the containers together before making doorways and other pass-throughs.

Installation FAQ

An underground house isn’t necessarily completely underground. Different plans call for the house to be linked in a spoked-fashion around a central atrium that acts as an entrance for people and light.

Another option is to build the container home into a cave or hill. Building an underground house into the side of a hill or mountain provides three-fourths coverage while still benefiting from coverage of earth.

Air ventilation needs to increase as more of the Container structure is put underground. Light refraction also becomes important, humans do better with natural light that is readily available, instead of continues artificial light. Also, running the lights 24/7 cuts into the energy savings of the home design.

The soil conditions of the area needs to be understood, and, if needed, shored up. Soil needs to have proper drainage to avoid sedimentation or erosion. You don’t want the walls to push in over time or the floor to give way.

Securing permits is key. Even if you own the property, you are unlikely to have an alodial title. The ground you are digging in may be part of the public space. Whatever the case, you will need a permit in many areas to perform large-scale excavation.

Shipping and Beyond

The strength and versatility of shipping containers make them a popular option for building an underground home or shelter. The containers are built to be stacked and withstand pressures from all sides. This means they require minimal modification to withstand the pressures of being buried.

Shipping containers are also plentiful and easy to find. Contact us to learn more about new, used, and pre-modified shipping containers for sale.

Everything You Need to Know About Designing the Perfect Shipping Container Office Space in Houston

You’ve seen all of the amazing ways you can use a shipping container as a home. But did you know that you can also create beautiful shipping container offices that are highly functional?

Not only can it be a trendy way to attract top talent, but it can also be cost-efficient whether you’re operating single or multiple units. You can equip the shipping container office exactly the way you need it.

Read on to learn more about how to build a shipping container office.

Determine Your Space Needs

You should choose the most suitable shipping container design depending on how many staff members are using the space at once to perform their job duties. One of the advantages of a shipping container is its cubic design—you can use a single container or stack them to create an entire building if required.

While you can run an entire operation out of a shipping container, you can also use them as add-ons to an existing commercial building. For example, you can use a shipping container as a training room or storage facility, or for any other purpose that you might need with some modifications.

Include All The Office Comforts

Using a shipping container as an office doesn’t mean you’re giving up any comforts of a traditional office. With some custom modifications, you can add features that will help keep employees cool such as air conditioning.

Letting natural light into any space has been shown to boost mood as well as having other benefits, so that is another consideration when designing your shipping container office. You can also inquire about adding bathroom facilities and septic tanks (once the container is in place) so people don’t have to go off-site.

One of the challenges of a shipping container as a workspace is limited indoor floor space. However, with a bit of pre-planning, you can ensure staff has room to move around unobstructed with all of the key elements in place. You can even set up the roof as additional space for staff to meet or have breaks.

Suit Your Brand

When it comes to running an office out of a shipping container, you will want it to reflect your company brand. That can mean using outdoor paint to cover rust and prevent wear, with the company name or logo clearly showing.

If you have clients coming into the container for meetings, then you’ll want to spruce it up a bit. You can consider some low-cost flooring options, and add other features such as a coffee maker or meeting cubicles. You’ll also want to make sure the entrances of the container comply with state accessibility guidelines.

Design The Ideal Shipping Container Office Building

While you might not have considered it yet, shipping container office spaces can be a way to save money on construction as well as becoming a trendy place for people to work.

With the right modifications, you can add all of the features one would expect from an office while showing off your company brand and even welcoming clients.

For more information about how to turn a shipping container into a great workspace, contact us today.

How Much Do Used Shipping Containers Cost? A Steel Containers Guide

Shipping containers are a huge trend. Whether for investing, for storing cargo, or even for establishing a home or a place of business. Demand for purchasing shipping containers has risen. And no doubt, if you’re reading this, you also want to get your hands on one.

You’re looking for a high-quality shipping container. You want to make sure you get the best product available.

Luckily, you don’t need to purchase new shipping containers for any of those needs. Buying used shipping containers can be just as high quality without having to break the bank. 

So the question is: How much do used shipping containers cost?

The price varies based on the product and here’s a quick guide to reference when making your purchase.

How Much Do Used Shipping Containers Cost?

When buying used shipping containers, you must first consider your needs before looking at the cost. 

Make sure you figure out the size of the shipping container before choosing. After you’ve determined the purpose of the container, you’ll have an idea of what the dimensions should be. Most likely, you’re using the container for cargo; the more cargo you possess, the larger dimensions you’ll need.

Once you’ve determined the size, you can now look at the cost.

Prices can always vary, but generally speaking, here are the price ranges to expect for used shipping containers:

  • 20 Feet = $2,100 (estimated) …contact supplier for actual prices based on condition
  • 40 Feet = $2,850 (estimated) …contact supplier for actual prices based on condition 

For particular modifications, the price will naturally vary. But generally speaking, a used shipping container should not exceed $4,000. 

Make sure you don’t go cheap on a used container. It may be tempting to purchase one under $1,000. But if a container is that cheap, it’s probably not of high quality and has hidden faults. 

But Wait! Make Sure You Know This First…

The prices above may seem appealing and cheaper than what you expected. But remember that you want to make sure the used shipping containers are also of high quality. Here’s what you need to look for when buying used shipping containers.

(Possible) Refurbishing

While we want to push you to get a high-quality used shipping container, there may always be the possibility that some sort of refurbishment will be required. This may include repainting the container or making minor repairs.

Weight A Minute!

Regardless of what’ll be stored in your shipping container, you’ll want to make sure the container can carry the weight of your cargo. When purchasing your used shipping container, inquire about the load of cargo that it can hold. You’ll have to calculate the weight of the cargo you plan to store to make sure it’s the right fit.

NOT a Sea Container

You may accidentally be looking at a sea container instead of a shipping container. The former is used for freight and can travel over sea or land. But a shipping container is used primarily for construction and is the better option for storing cargo. 

We’re Here to Help

So now that you know how much used shipping containers should cost and what to look for, you’re ready to look for one.

Equipment Management Services provides some of the best shipping containers for the Houston and Dallas areas. You can contact us to inquire about purchasing your shipping container and/or also get your container modified.

You can also find directions to our Houston office and our Dallas office. We hope to see you soon!

Essential Steps to Follow When Buying Shipping Containers in Dallas

Whether you’re looking to build a shipping container home or need it for another purpose, like carrying cargo, the process of buying shipping containers in Dallas can be intimidating to some.

Fortunately, it’s easier than you may realize to buy a cargo container. There are only five steps, and you could have your shipping container before you know it if you follow them well. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to do if you’d like to purchase a shipping container.

1. Know Its Purpose

The first thing you have to do is determine what you’ll be using your shipping container for. Some people use them for storage whereas others modify them into offices, homes, or barns. By knowing what you want it for, you can move onto the next step.

2. Decide What You Need

With your shipping container purpose in mind, there are three basic things you need to decide on before you make your purchase. By keeping these things in mind as you search for shipping containers in Dallas, you’ll save time and effort.

Size

There are several different sizes of shipping containers to choose from. They are either 8.5 or 9.5 feet in height and eight feet wide. The most common lengths are 20 feet and 40 feet, but you can also get them in 8, 10, 30, 48, and 53 feet in length.

Condition

You could purchase a new shipping container for your project, but a used container will work for most projects. Be sure to check its condition so you know it will be as weatherproof and watertight as you need it to be.

Modifications

Many companies, including ours, provide modification services so that your cargo container will be ready to be used as soon as it arrives. This is especially great for those that don’t have the tools and skills to transform their shipping containers themselves.

3. Find Cargo Containers for Sale

Once you know what you need in a shipping container, you can find one that meets your needs. As long as you’re looking for a common size, it should be easy to find one.

4. Get Modifications Made

If you want any modifications made on your shipping container before it’s sent to you, now is the time to do it. Be sure to communicate regularly with the container modification company to make sure everything is the way you want it before the final step of delivery. 

5. Arrange Shipping

Once your shipping container is ready for you, it’s time to make arrangements to have it shipped to you. You may have the means to transport it yourself, however, most people need the help of a professional transportation company.

Be sure to have the location ready so the transportation company can set it exactly where you need it when the containers arrive. Because you’ll likely need a backhoe or other heavy machinery to move your shipping container, it’s best to have it put in its permanent position immediately.

Ready to Buy Shipping Containers in Dallas?

Buying shipping containers in the Dallas Texas region can be a simple but painstaking process. Since it takes time to laboriously go through every step of the process outlined above in-order to prevent problems along the way. 

If you’ve completed the first two steps and are ready to make a look at containers, contact us today. We would be more than happy to guide you through the rest of the process so you can get a cargo container that fits your needs and budget. 

What Are the Different Types of Container Sizes?

The modern shipping container has been around since 1955. Malcolm P. McLean’s company started using the same truck trailers to move goods on both the highway and the sea. 

While the concept hasn’t changed much since then, the design options of the containers have changed. Now, you can find shipping containers in an array of sizes and designs. 

The trouble is, there are so many configurations that it’s tough to know which one is right for your needs. Read on to learn about your options for container sizes as well as the different types of containers.  

Common Shipping Container Sizes

The majority of shipping containers are 8 feet wide, so the height and length is what really separates them. 

The standard height for containers is 8.5 feet. But, high cube containers, which are 9.5 feet tall, are also considered standard.

The most common lengths for shipping containers are 20 and 40 feet long, so these are considered standard sizes. In fact, cargo ships are measured in TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent units. The 20-foot container is so common it’s considered the base unit of measurement.  

You can also get containers in different lengths like 8, 10, 30, 48, and 53 feet. You can also get modified containers built to your specific dimensions, so the possibilities are endless. 

If you plan to use your container for highway transportation, you need to check the laws for your region before you buy a shipping container

There’s actually no federal length limit for truck tractor semi trailers, but there is a minimum length requirement. The minimum length requirement is different in every state, and ranges from 48 to 59 feet.  

Types of Shipping Containers

Standard dry containers are the most common type since they can handle most goods and cargo. 

Insulated and refrigerated containers have insulation in their walls which is why they’re great for produce, dairy, or meat. These two types of containers are both insulated except refrigerated units have a condenser that lets you control the temperature.  

High cubes are great for lightweight cargo because you can store more without adding any length. They’re also great for home or office conversions since there’s more head room for insulation or lighting.

Tunnel and side open containers have different door placements for easier access to the cargo. Tunnel containers have doors at both ends and side open containers have doors on the long side of the trailer. 

Open top containers don’t have a metal top, but you can cover them with a tarp. If you need to store or transport tall items, open top containers can help. 

Purchase Your Shipping Container Today

With such a wide range of container sizes and types, there’s a shipping container for practically every need. 

Whether you need a shipping container to transport your products or you need one for storage, Equipment Management Services can help. We offer new, used, and custom containers to clients near our Houston/Dallas locations and also all across the country, if feasible. 

To learn more about the shipping containers we offer, contact us today. 

The Top Benefits & Uses of Steel Containers for Shipping

Shipping containers are absolutely vital in the transportation of goods around the globe. They can be used to transport almost anything — clothing, cosmetics, furniture, food items, heavy machinery, the list goes on.

Most of the time, shipping containers are used by large commercial enterprises and import/export businesses. But they can also be used for personal shipping, such as moving your home contents from one country to another.

If you’re based in the Dallas or Houston area and considering the purchase of a steel container, here’s why it won’t let you down…

What are the Key Components of a Steel Container?

A steel shipping container is comprised of a few crucial parts that make it 100% reliable. These parts include steel corrugated walls, cargo doors, cross members, corner castings, twist locks, marine-grade plywood or bamboo flooring, and the CSC plate. 

One of the most formidable parts of a shipping container has to be the steel it’s made from, also known as corrugated steel or weathering steel. The corrugated pattern means that it’s far stronger and more durable than wood or any other type of metal.

Key Benefits of Steel Containers 

Here are just a few of the many benefits of steel shipping containers: 

1. Corrugated Steel 

Corrugated steel can withstand resistance and impact of varying weight loads. This is why steel containers can be stacked on top of one another, without buckling under immense pressure.

The corrugated pattern of the steel walls also acts as a weather shield that bounces weather pressure right off the surface. This means they are also rust-resistant. This is why steel containers are not only ideal for shipping, but as siding, roofing, and other mobile structures. 

2. Long-Lasting Durability 

Overall, the steel shipping container is incredibly durable. Made from one of the strongest metals in the construction business, these containers can handle almost any weight and impact load. This includes huge, open ocean waves, hammering rain, gale-force winds, and tremendous amounts of pressure.    

Steel corrugated metal does not contain any form of organic material. This means that it’s not likely to decay in its entire lifetime. This makes steel containers completely mold and rust-resistant. 

3. Dent and Warp Resistant 

The corrugated design of the steel walls means that a shipping container can withstand a battering from all kinds of elements and objects.

This includes the hail, other steel containers, heavy machinery, etc. The integrity of the structure will remain in-tact, making it almost indestructible and very reliable. 

4. Completely Low-Maintenance 

Steel shipping containers are very low maintenance due to the nature of corrugated steel and its resistance to the elements.  Therefore, there’s very little that needs to be done in order to keep it in good shape, except for the occasional high-pressure wash or dust down. 

5. Marine-Grade Plywood Flooring

The inside of a steel container is just as impressive, equipped with either marine-grade plywood or bamboo flooring. This flooring is generally infused with trace amounts of insecticide. This keeps bugs and other pests at bay during shipping voyages. The insecticide does not dissolve into the air, which means the flooring does not lose its anti-pest qualities over time. 

Looking to Invest in a Shipping Container of Your Own?

At Equipment Management Services (EMS), based in both Houston and Dallas, we offer a variety of new, used or modified steel containers for all your personal or business needs.

Looking to convert a steel container into a mobile office? Perhaps you’re looking for a long-term storage facility? Whatever you need, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us at EMS for all your steel container needs. 

How a Conex Box for Sale can Help Improve Your Business Operations

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Conex Box for Sale in Houston

You’ve seen a Conex box for sale in Houston, and now your interest has piqued.

Maybe you need one of these metal shipping containers to store or ship items across a great distance. Or, perhaps you’re interested in converting one into a home or office, per the newest trends.

Either way, you’ve found one that fits the bill, or so you think.

Before you sign on the dotted line, read on. Today, we’re sharing the top things to know before you make a commitment. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What Is the Size?

First, you need to know the exact dimensions of a Conex box.

Most containers are either 20 feet long or 40 feet long, eight feet wide and either eight or 8.5 feet high. Yet, there are a few specialty sizes also available. In addition, you can also find fully customized and modified shipping containers for sale.

You don’t want to agree to a purchase expecting your box to be one size only to be surprised later when it’s time to buy.

How Much Does It Weigh?

Next, consider the weight of the Conex box in question. 

A 20-foot container will weigh about 5,000 pounds. It can hold around 27 tons. On the other hand, a 40-foot container will weigh around 8,000 pounds and hold around 30 tons.

Depending on the way you plan to use your container, those 3,000 pounds can make a world of difference.

What’s the Condition?

Many used Conex boxes are still in great shape, but you should know what you’re getting. There are four main ways to categorize the condition of a container. From highest to lowest-quality, you can find:

  • New shipping containers for sale
  • Certified containers
  • Wind and watertight containers 
  • As-is containers

You can learn more about the differences between these types here.

Talk to the Houston seller to understand where the container has been. When you find used shipping containers for sale, ask if there are any physical defects or issues that could interfere with operability and function. Take the time to inspect the boxes thoroughly for any signs of dents, holes or other types of damage.

While you’re at it, make sure the doors open and close properly, and inquire about the seal. Regardless of how many trips they make, you want conex boxes that are sturdy and reliable.

How Long Will It Last?

It goes without saying that a Conex box isn’t a small investment. Therefore, you want to make sure you’ll see a solid ROI!

Most containers of this kind have a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years or more. This timeline can vary depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • Climate
  • Environment
  • Type of use
  • Frequency of relocation

Especially if you’re buying an as-is Conex box, be sure to ask how long it’s expected to last and use that information to weigh your buying decision. This is especially important if you plan to make any modifications to your box.

Before you research shipping container modification services and budget around that expense, you want to make sure that your box will last longer than a few years!

Find a Conex Box for Sale in Houston Today

Now that you know what to look for, are you ready to shop for a Conex box for sale in Houston? If so, you came to the right place.

We’re one of the country’s leading providers of shipping containers, offering new, used or modified options to fit your needs. Contact us today and let’s connect!

Container Home Texas

7 Top Designs for Luxury Shipping Container Homes

More and more people are building homes out of shipping containers these days. This exciting new construction is creative, unique and affordable. Used shipping containers are easy to buy and there price ranges around $2,000 to $4,500 per container. Shipping container home design look sleek and modern. However, some people think they look utilitarian and too industrial. They can be very off-putting to some people, depending on their taste. Architects and design firms are doing amazing things with shipping container home design, though. There are many eye-catching and breath-taking homes out there created from these materials. When complete, some don’t even appear to be shipping container homes at all.

Read on to learn about a few luxury shipping container homes from around the world. You will be amazed. Anyone would love a chance to live in one of these unique homes, regardless of their architectural tastes.

Seven Luxury Shipping Container Homes

These seven homes are incredible. In the construction of some, it’s obvious and clear where and how the shipping containers have been used. In others, it is a bit more mysterious. 

Either way, these buildings are exciting, different and one-of-a-kind. They are unforgettable and are very special to the people who call each of them home.

PV14

This home is located in the Old Lake Highlands neighborhood of Dallas. The owners reached out to M Gooden Design to help them create their dream home. One of them is an architect so it is no surprise that they decided to go for this very different design. It was completed in 2014 and was M Gooden Design’s first shipping container project. This home is about 3,700 square feet of space broken into a number of rooms including three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a den, and an entertainment area.

The home also includes a two-car garage and storage area, and a large roof deck with a panoramic view. Designers tried to elevate the living areas as much as possible to improve the view and to shield the family from the street traffic below. This house is spacious and beautiful and really stands out in the neighborhood.

James Whitaker Studio Space

Although this building was designed to be a studio space for architect James Whitaker, however, it could easily be converted into a home. The use of shipping containers in this construction is bold and different.

Whitaker was inspired by the way that crystals grow when conceptualizing this structure, and that is visible in the finished design. Broad windows on the ends of each of the nine shipping containers are used inorder to invite lots of natural light and make the interior seem very open and airy. 

Papuashivili Home

Georgian architect Dachi Papuashvili designed this concept which uses only two perpendicular shipping containers to create a striking structure. The two containers cross each other to provide an elevated home that would fit right in with the surrounding forest. Although this design looks somewhat like a Christian cross, the designer says that was not intentional. Rather, he designed it this way for function rather than form. Four stories would include an entryway on the first floor, a bathroom on the second, and living and storage space above. Decks are present on both the first and fourth floors. The designer’s choice of wood siding and wood interior covers the harsh metal exterior usually visible in shipping container designs.

Manifesto House

This home in Chile takes luxury shipping container homes to a whole new level. It was designed by architects James & Mau and is made of just three used maritime shipping containers. It is two levels and is just 1700 square feet, but it seems much larger both inside and out. The architects chose to raise this design off the ground to allow for a broad open living area on the bottom level. It is covered with sustainable wood and recycled pallets that can open and close to help cool or protect the home depending on different weather conditions.

Perhaps most impressive, both the interior and the exterior use up to 85% recycled, reused and eco-friendly materials, making this a home built with sustainability in mind.

Casa Incubo

This Costa Rican home designed by architect Maria Jose Trejos is very large for a home made of shipping containers. Clocking in at 4,305 square feet, this design uses shipping containers for exterior walls that are arranged around a central open area. The open area allows for excellent airflow and the entrance of lots of natural light. The shipping containers contain the bedrooms and other interior rooms.

Because shipping container designed homes can get quite warm in the tropical heat, bamboo screens and overhangs help to keep the space cool.

Flying Box Villa

This home was built to make the best use of space in a very small lot, and the architects surely succeeded. It was designed and created in France and looks quite different from the other homes in the neighborhood. it was built rapidly and was completed in only three months. There are three floors. The first floor includes a covered area for parking as well as a sewing studio and a laundry room.

The second and third floors include the main living spaces including bedrooms, a large open living room, and a kitchen. Most impressive is the open, landscaped terrace that runs the length of the building on the third floor. There is only 1300 square feet of indoor living space, but it is placed so perfectly that the residents have plenty of room.

WFH House

The WFH home is located in China but it is quite similar to the Flying Box Villa above. Although it is not elevated, it has the same sloping roof that creates wide-open spaces for living even where shipping containers are not being used in the design. 

This home is slightly larger though and is almost 2,000 square feet inside. The designers incorporated Nordic design principles in the creation of this one by using sustainable materials, open, flexible spaces, and lots of light. It is clean, sleek and geometrically inspired and is a wonderful four-bedroom home for the family that lives in it.

Happy Building

These luxury shipping container homes are amazing and inspiring. Hopefully, they have given you a lot to think about. In this realm, the possibilities are truly endless! 

If you are seeking shipping containers for your new home in Texas, please contact us today. We have the right shipping containers and services for you. 

Should You Buy Steel Containers for Sale? The Benefits of Reusing Containers

Steel shipping containers have many creative uses beyond storing and transporting products and materials. You’ll find modified shipping containers used for everything from pop-up bars to vendor kiosks and unique homes. 

Are they worth the investment? Can you really reuse steel shipping containers in a way that benefits your budget, your business, or your personal taste? If going green is part of your business plan or lifestyle, steel containers for sale are an excellent way to do that. Here are some of the benefits of buying and reusing bulk shipping containers.

Durability Means They Can Go the Distance

If you use steel containers to transport your products or materials, you’ll get plenty of distance from the containers you buy. Steel containers are built to last. They can also withstand the strain of hauling things over land, sea, or by air. 

As long as your containers are structurally sound, shipping container haulers can carry your containers back and forth for many years. When a container is no longer travel-worthy, use it for storage at your business facility. The life of a shipping container goes beyond its serviceable years. 

They’re Better For the Environment 

You can build a brick and mortar warehouse to store your products or raw materials. Or, you could purchase steel storage containers and leave a smaller carbon footprint. 

Using steel containers for storage reduces the need to produce cement or bricks for a storage facility. Plus, reusing a steel container that is no longer in service helps reduce the need for additional steel production. Reduce, reuse, and recycle applies when choosing steel containers as your primary source for shipping and storage. 

Create a Hospitable Environment

Steel container homes aren’t just a fad—they’re affordable, versatile, and can become a hospitable environment for an addition to your home or as your office space. 

You’re not limited to merely stacking or arranging steel boxes to create a few rooms that you can call your office space. Steel containers can create a room for your office inside a warehouse without the need for modifying the warehouse itself. Modifying a steel container is affordable and often takes less time than renovating a space. 

If you’re looking for a creative, long-lasting, and eco-friendly way to add a room or functional workspace to your home, using steel storage containers could be your answer. Paint your steel container to change the look and feel. Add doors, windows, and insulation to create a room that works year-round!

Create the Right Environment with Steel Containers For Sale!

Steel containers for sale can help you create the right environment for your office or home addition. They are an ideal solution for your green home or business, no matter if you need a shipping solution or an eco-friendly way to store products and materials. 

EMS is your answer for shipping containers in the United States! We can help you find and modify new and used shipping containers to fit your needs. Contact us to get started!

How to Build a Shipping Container Tiny Home: Your Complete Guide

Deciding to build a tiny home is a huge decision, one that will be a lot easier when you use an already existing structure. That’s why so many people have used shipping containers as the basis for their new tiny homes rather than starting from scratch.

If you’ve ever entertained the idea of buying a shipping container for your next building project, from a tiny home to an eco-friendly office building, then this guide is for you. Here’s everything you need to know about how to build a shipping container home or office.

Zoning Requirements: Match Your Dreams to Reality

The minimalism movement claims it can lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle. It also helps reduce your footprint on the world if you’re not contributing to consumer culture. When these are your goals, a shipping container home can help you on your way, much faster than starting from bare bones.

Before you get started with any plans, check zoning to make sure the property you’re going to build on can legally accept a tiny home. Some areas, like lakefront properties, require a certain amount of square footage to meet regulations.

Planning for Your Dream (Tiny) House

Once you have the green light and all the permits you need, decide where to put your container on the property. You can ask the company you buy from to load it in reverse. This will make unloading onto the property much easier. You can also rent a crane for proper placement of the container. 

Determine where the doors and windows will be. Some companies even offer container modifications prior to delivery, making the process go even smoother than you expected. Besides doors and windows, there are plenty of other design aspects to consider for your tiny home.

Lofts are popular for tiny homes, but most shipping containers are only 8-8.5′ high, so you’d need to buy two and create a double-decker tiny home. You can also put a couple containers end to end and weld them together to make a longer home if you don’t think one will have enough space. There are plenty of creative container home designs out there, and some you can even buy online.

If eco-friendly is what you’re trying to achieve, consider a living roof. There is maintenance and upkeep that goes along with this style of roof, but it’s also a greener option (no pun intended) and can help insulate your home better than traditional roofing styles.

Get Started: How to Build a Shipping Container Home

First, you’ll need to lay the foundation. You can use cement blocks or pre-cast piers for the foundation so that you maintain airflow underneath the container. You don’t want the floor to rust away because of wet conditions.

Cut holes for windows and doors if you didn’t have the container modifications done ahead of delivery. Then scrub the floors and treat them with epoxy to cover any pesticides or chemicals they may have used to keep shipments safe. Install a subfloor with plywood over the epoxy.

Then install any walls you plan to add, using the ridges in the walls and ceiling to build the framing. Next, install the windows and doors. Now is also the time to add the roof, whether you go for a live roof or more traditional style.

Hiring Help from the Professionals

If you’re hiring out the roof project, keep in mind a top deck or patio for the container home, when discussing the job with professionals. You’ll also want to hire help to work on the plumbing, electricity, and other internal projects like insulation and drywall, unless you have the experience to do it yourself.

For a green tiny house, look into green insulation options like cellulose from old newspapers that makes up blown-in insulation, or old recycled denim. These choices can help you feel good about your new home.

Green power options can also be part of your tiny home project, from solar power to geothermal heating. Make sure all these options are part of your building project so that your home can be a place you’re proud of.

Finishing Touches

The final step to building your new container home is the interior decor. This involves choosing paint colors or wallpaper, if you go that route. You’ll also want to build or buy furniture that converts for multiple purposes. Like a table that folds into a larger one, a Murphy bed, and a patio or porch that folds up and back into the house.

You also need plenty of storage when you have a smaller space. Drawers underneath benches or beds can help in both bedrooms and kitchen/dining spaces. If you’re lucky enough to find pieces that fit your needs, you’ll save a lot of money.

You may need to have the woodwork custom built to fit your space and your style. Hiring a carpenter who shares your vision for a minimalist lifestyle and environmentally conservative footprint means that your furniture will also need to have these values. Ask him or her what options they have for green building.

Downsizing for Simplicity

A simpler lifestyle and simpler mentality can free you up in so many ways. Your budget may allow you to afford your dream property if you use cheaper building materials like shipping containers. Then you’ll get the best of both worlds, a gorgeous view and a peaceful place to rest your head.

With these steps for how to build a shipping container home, the only thing you need now is the actual container. Contact us to request a quote and get started on your new home today.