7 Must-Have Container Home Design Tips

Shipping containers are great for many things – like transporting large objects and long-term storage, but also for constructing beautiful buildings! This use of shipping containers used to be their lesser-known function, but in recent years, more and more shipping containers have been turned into bars, office spaces, and even homes. 

It’s an ingenious design style that’s catching the eye of minimalist homeowners and large families alike. Shipping container homes make the perfect first house, downsizer, or upgrade. Fundamentally, they’re like any house: what you make of it. 

If you’ve got your eyes set on an unique property that could use shipping containers, but you’re not really sure how to make it your own – use these shipping container home guidelines to turn any empty space into your own private oasis.

1. Let Light In 

One of the cornerstones of beautiful interior design is to make use of natural light. With shipping container homes, though, more light is not just something pretty but very essential. 

Natural light in such a setting opens up the limited space afforded by a boxy container. It will tend to make each room look and feel a bit bigger than it actually is, and also help tie all the different rooms (or, containers) together. 

2. Create an Open Floor Plan 

Speaking of bringing all the pieces of your home together, how much thought have you given to the actual floor plan? The layout you’re looking for plays a significant difference in how many shipping containers you’ll need, not to mention how big and sturdy each one should be. 

An open floor plan will help you combine all the containers together as your home comes to life. It makes it easier to determine how each one will fit with another. Just be sure you’ve got plenty of load-bearing walls supporting your open spaces. You may need to invest in a few supporting steel beams as you cut down on the amount of closed areas in your home. 

3. Focus on Form and Function 

As you’re designing your shipping container house, you have to think just as much about function as you do about form. The size of your space and the walls that will support it are just one of the many things to consider. 

Additional factors include:

  • insulation 
  • ceiling height 
  • strong winds and any other intense weather

Heating and cooling in a shipping container home don’t really work the same as they do in standard homes. Make sure you have an insulation plan for the floors and keep in mind that this could take up to a foot off the total height of your indoor area. If you’re a fan of high ceilings, invest in taller containers to begin with. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

No matter the height, though, if you live in an area with strong winds, your shipping container home will be prone to noise as winds hit the exterior walls. This is manageable with some sort of exterior windbreaker or smart positioning. 

4. Utilize Natural Elements 

Once you’ve decided what to do about natural elements like strong winds or extreme temperatures, shift your focus to the natural touches you’d like to bring inside the house. 

Indoor plants can make your space feel much cozier and welcoming. Large plants are great for open areas or to make use of an empty corner, while small plants are nice accents on shelves and countertops. Either way, make sure you place a few around the house; it’s such an easy way to brighten your space!

5. Play with Texture and Dimension 

One of the fun parts about buying plants is figuring out what kind of pot to place them in. You can go with the classic terra cotta, a sleek and simple modern pot, or something handmade with a boho-chic feel.

Or, try mixing and matching a few different designs to come up with something entirely your own. In fact, apply this principle throughout your shipping container home’s design!

Part of making a house a home is putting your personality in every room. This isn’t something that can be easily expressed, so your home shouldn’t feel cookie-cutter or too simple. Have fun with the design process. Take chances on a few pieces that you wouldn’t normally buy and blend those with your favorite go-to’s – you’ll be surprised how breathtaking the end result can be. 

6. Know Your Go-to Design Style 

While it is fun to mix and match when designing a home, it’s also good to have one theme that centers every room. Your go-to design style shouldn’t define every little thing that goes into your shipping container home, but it should keep you from creating an over-the-top design. 

Pick out colors and materials that match your style – like iron and navy for a modern home or exposed brick and copper for an industrial one. Whatever your main design style is, represent that in each room then mix it up with influences from other approaches to design.

7. Invest in Statement Pieces 

Just as you see the design of your shipping container home coming together, take a step back and look around. What stands out to you when you walk in? What grabs your attention when you go from room to room? 

If you’re having trouble finding those focal points, you’re lacking statement pieces. These are the things that really make a home unique, and they’re often the most timeless pieces, too. So if you find an accent chair you love or a mirror you need to have, make the investment and then find the perfect place to put it in your home.

Shipping Container Home Design Made Simple

At the end of the day, shipping container home design is just like the way any other home comes together. It all happens one room at a time, and the best way to figure it all out is to put your heart into it. Only go with a design that feels right to you, regardless of what’s trendy or what the “rules” of a certain style are. 

The only rule that matters is that you feel at home whenever you walk in the door of your home. Things like natural light, the right floorplan, and unique statement pieces just help make that happen. 

For more tips and tricks to turn a shipping container into your own space, click here.

How to Prepare for Your Frieght Container Delivery

Shipping containers have soared in popularity for various reasons, among them is their versatility and relatively low cost when a sturdy structure is required. 

They are used for housing, office spaces, and so many other uses today.

But whether your interest in a shipping container is for storage purposes or construction, there are things that must be done in advance of your container delivery in order to ensure the longevity of the container.

Here, learn about those requirements for shipping containers. Also, find out what you need to do to make sure your spot is ready for your shipping container delivery.

Shipping Container Delivery: Things To Do

An obvious first step when preparing to receive a shipping container is figuring out where you’re gonna put it

This may seem like an innocent enough thing to figure out, but there are actually a few factors involved.

Whether or not you intend to use it for storage or for living obviously matters, as well as where you are and how soft the ground is.

Make Sure Delivery Area Is Clean

When the truck comes to deliver your storage container, they are probably not going to have patience for any obstructions you forgot to mention.

You absolutely must make sure that the truck will have plenty of room to maneuver and get the shipping container to your desired delivery spot. This includes more than just getting to your home or wherever you desire. You need to ensure that the entire route that the container delivery will take is adequate. You must think of things such as power lines, bridges, and overpasses.

Make Sure The Ground Is Sufficient

This may be self-evident, but shipping containers weigh a great amount because they are literally made of metal. Shipping containers literally can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, so the stability of the ground you put it on actually matters a great deal.

Much like we put foundations on houses to make sure they don’t sink or tilt, something similar is required for a shipping container. You must make sure you are not putting it on wet, muddy, or uneven terrain unless you want to see it sink into the ground.

What you need for your container is dry and level ground. Some people go as far as to pour foundations specifically for their containers, which is never a bad idea.

Make Sure Your Container Is Up To Standards 

Once your container is delivered to your desired spot, you need to check over everything to make sure it’s all working. That includes making sure the doors open and close properly, making sure there are no defects or structural issues with the container.

Should you find any such defects, be sure to take them up with either the shipping container seller or the shipping company in order to figure out what to do next.

Shipping Containers, Modifications & More

You may intend for your container delivery to be seamless, but the truth is, you are the only one responsible for preparing and making the arrangements ahead of time, to make a flawless delivery. 

If you are interested in shipping containers or even container modifications, contact us today.

Houston Shipping Containers Ready to Be Transported to Their Rightful Owners

Storage Containers for Sale: 4 Transportation Methods for Moving a Shipping Container

Moving a shipping container requires efforts from several different parties in order for everything to go smoothly. Lots of goods and cargo are stored in these containers, so efficiency, safety, and logistical parameters always must be taken into account.

So if you’re looking for transportation methods for container transport, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll look at 4 methods you can use to make sure your experience goes as smoothly as possible.

1. By Truck

For shorter distances, you can totally move a shipping container by truck. They’re relatively easy to load onto a truck because they tilt at an angle, in-order to load and offload them. 

From a logistical standpoint, make sure to take into consideration the space neeeded to deliver your container to the end destination. Container delivery by truck is a cost-effective method, but may not be as efficient if you’re traveling long distances or delivering within close quarters.

2. By Train

This is a method that can work for your freight containers if both ends (start and finish) are near rail lines. Otherwise, it’ll probably cost too much and take too many logistical accommodations to make feasible.

When shipping by train you must always consider the type of cargo that is being sent. You will be required to have certain permits for each, and also may have to pay extra for a very heavy conex box.

3. By Boat

Shipping overseas? Need to move cargo long distances and have access to water? Then going by boat might be your best option. However, there are a handful of considerations unique to this option, too.

Is your container watertight? Depending on the shipping container’s make and how long it’s been used, the answer could be no. 

Do you have access to a company to move it in and out of the port? These are often very busy channels and may require extensive planning to initiate. If you need to ship a conex box last minute, the cost may be exorbitant.

Naturally, this option will work best if you’re shipping something halfway across the world. See this complete guide for sea shipping so you can determine if this is the right solution for you.

4. Outsourcing

Shipping a container can be a big hassle. If you’re new to the game or don’t really want to know how to move a shipping container, you may be able to outsource the project entirely. This option will no doubt cost the most — you’re not only paying for shipping, but cargo loading and other forms of manual labor. However, this is a very convenient one-stop solution if you don’t want to be involved first-hand.

Moving A Shipping Container

When moving a shipping container, you have several options. The most popular choices are by train, truck, or boat, and the nature of your situation will help determine which method is best for your needs.

If you want to be completely hands-off, you can outsource your entire project. At that point, you’ll be making your best guess regarding how your outsource team got it to the end destination.

Looking to buy shipping containers? Learn more about how our products can help you today.

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.

Houston Shipping Containers Ready to Be Transported to Their Rightful Owners

Across the Globe: The Evolution of Intermodal Container Transport

In the not to distant past, the movement of even the smallest of goods (like a piece of jewelry or a child’s toy) could take multiple transitions through different shipping containers. These days, however, an inter-modal container can ship a product halfway around the world without ever opening its doors to the light of day.

The evolution of these convenient, adaptable containers is a fascinating one.

Intermodal Container History

The history of intermodal transportation begins before mixed goods containers were considered.

The true intermodal definition includes the transportation of goods across multiple modes of transportation without any handling of the goods themselves. 

To qualify, even roughly, as an intermodal container, a container needs to transport goods and be transported by several means. The modern definition implicitly states that containers handle multiple internal boxes.

The Ancient World

Go back far enough and freight was shipped in whatever happened to hold enough of it to be worth sending off without breaking. Sacks, barrels, and crates all served the purpose of keeping goods together from as far back as 3000 BCE.

Horses carried goods inland to boats and boats sailed short distances across the Mediterranean or other short waterways. The boats were unloaded and the sacks were loaded onto other horses and onward it went.

It isn’t until the 18th century that the idea of stacking containers onto each other created the first need for real intermodal designs.

First Containers

It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that the first containers transported coal. This is a material needed in bulk at the outset of the Industrial Revolution, and it would, by necessity, look for the fastest routes.

Coal shipping boxes started out as wooden structures called tubs. These moved along canals through England in the last part of the 18th century. 

By the mid 19th century, the tubs would be transferred from a barge to a railway. While coal is a single commodity, the same container being used as both a transportation medium and storage made these tubs the first true intermodal containers.

At the dawn of the 20th century, covered containers made their debut. These could be transferred more easily between the now robust rail system and the emerging roadways.

Developing Standardization

As the transportation mediums scaled up in both speed and size, containers needed to standardize. 

This allowed loading equipment for the containers to be designed. This also allowed logistics supervisors to plan for usable space.

Amorphous shapes were harder to space evenly and could cause issues such as drag and sheer at even the low (by today’s standard) speeds of rail and trucks.

Early containers of the 1920s barely measured more than 5 x 10 feet. They were not sturdy enough for stacking and frequently had sloped and curved ceiling joists.

Major advances in containers built for speed and with a high strength to weight ratio came about in World War II. Military supplies needed to move quickly and the containers needed to weigh less than the supplies inside.

Piggyback transport was used by loading trailers onto rail-car flats. This was the fastest way to move cargo without ever touching it and without cranes.

With cranes, large railway companies began moving dedicated containers onto truck beds as early as the 1950s. 

Containerization

Cargo started to move from country to country and across the oceans. The volume of freight demanded that ports and railways be equipped to deal with containers from all over.

This lead to a standardization of sizes and categories of weight across international borders. The designation of containers, or containerization, gives a total set of dimensions and weight.

The European standard came first in 1933. The standardization of containers were introduced across two categories: heavy and light. Each type also allowed for differences in open and closed type containers. Heavy containers were limited at a mass of five tons, paltry by today’s needs. 

Since 1984, modern intermodal equipment providers have been using containers capable of double-stack transport. 

This technique allows rail cars to carry two containers at once with appropriate safety. Ships can stack containers higher as they have less overall inertia per container. 

Modern Day

Currently, intermodal transportation standards are set by the ISO. These lay out three common sizes based on the 20-foot length increments of ships and rail flats. Though standards exist, they are upper limits, not exact.

An intermodal container might be 20 feet in length but then have an irregular height and width. The height and width doesn’t cause problems when shifting from one transportation modality to another.

The designation of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) makes shipping records quick and easy to approximate. The three common sizes breakdown as follows:

  • high-cube: 40 x 8 x 9 and 6 inches
  • two TEU: 40 x 8 x 8 and 6 inches
  • one TEU: 20 x 8 x 8 and 6 inches

Variations on the height are most common with 4 and 3 inches appearing as a minimum range.

Internal equipment variations also exist. Most notably tankers, which have a standardized size in the outer shell but a rounded liquid container inside. Reefers, or refrigerated units, exist with the refrigeration units inside the container structure.

Finally, swap body containers are intended for free-standing offloads. These aren’t suitable to stack but have folding legs that make them usable without a crane.

Get Equipped

The history of intermodal container types isn’t as long as some technology. With only two hundred and fifty years beneath its belt, this tech has still manage to make major strides in capacity and speed.

If you need intermodal bulk containers for your freight needs, contact us for details on our stock and offerings

A New Way to “Do Drinks”: The Rise of Shipping Container Pop Up Bars

It’s been nearly 10 years since the pop-up craze began to take over the US bar scene. It’s difficult to find a Top 50 bar that isn’t opening up a limited-time pop-up to bring in some buzz. 

And what’s the structure everyone’s scrambling to use in their pop-up bar design? Shipping containers.

Shipping containers are cost-effective and simplistic. If you’re considering opening up your own pop-up bar this year, a shipping container is your best option.

Ready to discover why? Keep reading to learn all about the craze over shipping container pop-up bars. 

Why Everyone Loves Pop-Up Bars

Pop bars first emerged as a way for celebrity bartenders to show off their skills and sell their award-winning drinks to their fans. Instead of making guest appearances at local bars, pops ups offered the opportunity to be creative and get closer to customers.

Now, pop-ups are well-loved by both the people who host them and the customers who attend them. 

Bar-owners love hosting limited-time pop-ups to create a bit of buzz about their brand. It serves as another revenue stream. And for internationally-focused bars, it gets their name out to countries or populations that may not have heard of their brand. 

But customers love pop-up bars, too. It gives them an excuse to change things up for a night and gather with friends in a new and noteworthy locale. The limited-time nature of many pop-ups is exciting for customers, too, and gives just one more thing to boast about in the office on Monday.

A pop-up bar can be a great way to bring new fans to your brand. It can help you celebrate an exciting event (i.e. the Super Bowl) or generate hype around a new cocktail recipe you’re trying out. So, should you start your own pop-up bar?

Should You Start Your Own Shipping Container Pop-Up Bar?

If you’re interested in opening up your own pop-up bar, a shipping container is a surprising yet inevitable choice for your pop-up structure. Shipping containers are cost-effective and trustworthy. They’ve also been used by some of the most famous pop-up bars so you know they’re tried and true. 

Still on the fence about getting in on this evergreen trend? Here are our top two reasons you should start your own pop-up bar using a shipping container.

Shipping Container Pop-Up Bars are Cost-Effective

You don’t have to sign a lease or build something from scratch. Instead, just throw in a standalone sink, a few shelves for your liquor, and you’ll be ready to serve!

Shipping Container Pop-Up Bars are Buzz-Worthy

In today’s competitive age, you can’t afford to lose hype about your brand. That’s why top bars across the country are using pop-ups to keep their business relevant for years to come.

Start Your Shipping Container Pop-Up Bar Today!

Love pop-up bars and want to start your own this year? Then you need to check out Equipment Management Services’ wide array of shipping containers. Browse our shipping container gallery and start creating your very own pop-up bar today!

Shipping Container Modification: The Double Lives of Shipping Containers

Recently a man made headlines in Houston for creating a three-story home out of 11 shipping containers. While this home is the most extensive container home we’ve seen, it isn’t the most creative use. 

Shipping containers can be used for so much more. How about heading out to Round Top Texas for a few nights in a container hotel? Or check out the hottest pop-up bar, located in a container. 

Check out all of these creative uses for shipping containers. 

Flophouse Hotel 

This hotel features six containers that you can book for your stay. Outside of each “houze” are a hammock, fire pit, and comfy chairs to relax and enjoy your time in Round Top. 

Each container features recycled and salvaged building materials from across the country. The decor is artfully created with vintage fabrics, art, and carefully sourced fixtures. 

If there’s a piece of decor you love in your container, make an offer! Everything is available for purchase at the right price. 

Swimming Pool 

Instead of building a traditional in-ground pool, you can use a shipping container. You can place it below ground level, leave it above ground, or a combination of both. 

For the most affordable option, you can leave the container close to the original setup. However you can give your container pool some style by adding a window. This gives your pool a more modern look. 

Pop up Shop 

By now, you’ve probably heard about a pop-up retail shop or bar coming to your city. These temporary shops have grown in popularity as more businesses become averse to committing to long term expensive leases. 

You, too, can use a shipping container to create a temporary retail space. You can use this opportunity to generate buzz and increase your exposure and reach. 

It also allows you to stay mobile with your brand as you can move the container from one city to another. This will enable you to maximize your investment. You can also use it to test new markets for the possibility of a permanent store. 

Offices 

You can create an entire office from shipping containers. You could have everything contained in one unit to keep things mobile. Or you could make the structure permanent. 

Having prefabricated containers will reduce your construction costs. Modify your containers so that they have windows and doors. You can even have air conditioning installed. 

Spa or Sauna

Wouldn’t it be great if you could head to your private spa after a tough day at work or the gym? With a few modifications, you can create your own mini spa space.  

Get Creative with Your Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are for so much more than ocean freight shipping. These days, you can use a shipping container in several building projects. 

You could follow the conventional route and build a home with them. But wouldn’t it be even better with a container pool attached to it?  Or you could create a pop-up shop or office for your brick and mortar business. 

Contact our team today and let us help you modify a shipping container for your next project. 

7 of the Coolest Shipping Container Housing Designs of 2019

Shipping containers are being used more and more in construction. The trend is picking up speed in Houston as people are looking for sustainable living on a smaller budget. 

Shipping containers are a great option since they are repurposed and typically run around $1,400 – $4,500. Since they are gaining popularity there are plenty of different shipping container housing designs.

Here’s a list of 7 different designs that a contractor could help you make into your dream home in Houston. 

1. A Dazzling Guest House 

You don’t have to have a cargo container house to have a shipping container guesthouse. The containers can be modified to fit almost any need you have. It’s a great way to stay in budget while bringing up your property value. 

2. House on the Water

Who hasn’t dreamed about having a house on the water? Freight containers can help make it happen for a fraction of the price. 

You will just need to make sure that the shoreline can support the construction. In most cases, this will also require a special type of permit. 

3. A House Split in Two

In this case, the sea containers are built to be two separated buildings with a courtyard in the middle. This is a beautiful design that is bound to turn some heads. 

Having the center courtyard is great for a family that has kids or pets. Since both buildings look out over the courtyard, the kids and pets will be easy to see where ever you are in the house. It would also work well if a couple wanted to be close to the family but still live in a separate dwelling. 

4. Cross-Shaped Home

This is exactly what it sounds like, one container vertical and one horizontal. It can be beautifully designed to give good use of the vertical space. 

However, it can be controversial if you don’t live in an area that is predominantly Christian.

5. Two Story House

Simple and sweet, a two-story home is a great option for any type of family. It can be small or large and lavish depending on how many containers you want to re-purpose.  

6. Front Porch Living

This type of design has a second story that extends from the top of the home. This design leaves you with more space on the inside while giving you a nice shaded area for your purse. 

This is perfect for homeowners that want an outside living area to enjoy the beautiful Houston nights. 

7. Sloped Roof

If you aren’t into the flat roofs that traditionally come with storage container homes, you can opt-in for the sloped roof. A sloped roof is perfect if you are living in an area with a lot of rain, it will help prevent roof damage. 

Just keep in mind that since you are turning storage containers into homes, they do have to follow the same building codes as a regular house would. 

Choosing Between Shipping Container Housing Designs

There are so many shipping container housing designs that you can choose from. They are a growing fad for many reasons they are typically less expensive, safer in earthquakes and they are eco-friendly.

It’s important to remember what you are looking for and find a design that works for you. If you are interested in buying and modifying shipping containers, contact us

9 Things to Consider Before Building Shipping Container Homes

Building shipping container homes look simple, but any homeowner will tell you that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Your preparation – from research to budgeting to design – will make the most significant difference in your ability to build the home of your dreams on time and “on budget.

What do shipping container enthusiasts wish they knew before they built their first home? We share things you need to know before you build – so read on.

1. Always Check out the Shipping Container Before Buying

Try before you buy” is a pretty common piece of consumer advice. It is particularly important when you buy shipping containers.

One of the most common regrets mentioned by shipping container homeowners is their failure to look at the containers before buying them.

When you buy shipping containers, you choose between three types: brand new containers, one-trip containers, and used containers.

New containers have never seen an ocean liner. But they are popular because you can build them according to your specs. For example, you can ask for a container that hasn’t been chemically treated.

One-trip containers are almost like-new but come with a slightly higher price tag.

At the same time, containers used and abused on boats are likely to come beaten and battered. You can’t plan for dents you don’t see, so it’s essential to at least see pictures of the containers before purchasing them.

Standard vs. High Cube Containers

Height is another common mistake made by customers who try to source containers on their own.

The standard shipping container is 8 feet, 6-inches tall. High cube containers are 9 feet, 6-inches tall. You typically want the high cube containers, which give you a much needed extra head-space. The high cube containers leave you with an eight-foot ceiling even after installation, which adds comfort and space to your home.

2. Ask About Houston Building Regulations

As with any building project, you will most likely need a permit before you get to break ground on a shipping container house in Houston. Shipping container building codes differ by city and even within zones of each city. Talk to your local planning permission office to learn about what kind of permits you need. Remember, it’s better to ask than pay unnecessary fines. 

3. Learn About Structural Integrity

Shipping containers are a robust base building material. After all, their design allows them to be filled, stacked, and shipped endlessly. However, shipping containers still deal with structural integrity issues and understanding how they work is critical for planning your home.

Consider how much steel you need to cut from your shipping container. As you remove material, you remove strength. You inevitably make the structure less sound. In which case you will need to reinforce it with extra steal beams, to make it habitable. How much is too much? Windows and doors won’t dramatically impact the steel’s performance, but removing an entire wall requires extensive consideration.

4. Minimize Welding When Possible

Working with steel containers involves some amount of welding, but if you can, try to minimize the amount of welding you need during the design phase. Welding is going to ratchet up the cost of your home and tack on more time to your building phase. Skip welding except in the necessary places, to ensure you stick to your budget and timelines. 

5. Think About Insulation

As with any home, your insulation should reflect the climate that you live in. An excellent local contractor can make the right recommendations.

The primary challenge you face in insulating your shipping container is the depth of the walls. The steel provides the durability shipping containers need, but there’s not much in the way of thickness. That means you’ll need to build the walls out to install insulation.

The process is similar to installing insulation in a basement. You have two options: build the walls in and remove square footage or build out and alter the aesthetics of your exterior. The decision is yours to make, but you’ll need to make it early as it will impact your design.

6. Plan for Wind

Shipping containers can withstand harsh conditions thanks to the strength they have in numbers. At the same time, even an unsecured, standalone shipping container can withstand winds of 100 mph. However, their ability to withstand those winds doesn’t mean that you’re not going to hear them.

Planning for wind is particularly crucial for Texas shipping container homes. Thanks to the state’s mostly flat geography.

In addition to planning for your container home’s wind rating, you also need to think about ways to block the wind (and the noise). Including these in your initial design plans will help save you time and headache later.

7. Plan for Rain

The State of Texas is famous for its thunderstorms and hurricanes – which can bring incredible amounts of rain in an instance, followed by flooding. 

When you plan your exterior, prepare for rain, particularly with your paint choices. Houston Shipping Containers would need a robust type of paint to withstand heavy rainfall. Ideally, you should choose a marine-grade direct-to-metal paint (DTM) for the job. Both Valspar and Sherwin Williams offer suitable products.

8. Understand That Aggravation Is Part of the Process

Many like the idea of building shipping container homes because it looks and sounds more relaxed than traditional construction.

However, the aggravation you’ll experience with a traditional home build can follow you into your shipping container building plans as well. So be aware of this before you start building. It’s important to recognize this early on, so, you are emotionally prepared to overcome the challenges which will come later. 

9. Choose Experts When Possible

Get in touch with expert designers, structural engineers, and professional drawing services from the beginning, particularly if you want a custom container home.

As strange as it sounds, choosing experienced contractors will save you money in the long run, even if their services cost more up front.

Building Shipping Container Homes Starts With the Container

Building shipping container homes is an exciting challenge for contractors and homeowners alike. As with traditional construction, getting prepared before you break ground will save you time and money throughout your build.

Everything you do, starts with selecting the right shipping container(s) first. To learn more about finding the perfect container blocks for your home, contact our container professionals.

Container Home Texas

4 Shipping Container House Plans that Just Work

Shipping Container Houses are like the modern version of the Sears mail-order house. From 1908 through 1940, you could choose from 370 different models. Sears would then ship you everything needed to build your home. 

Today people are taking a more custom approach to this pre-fab method, by using shipping containers. With creative shipping container house plans, you can create a living space that perfectly fits your needs. 

Keep reading for four floor-plan ideas you can use for your new container house, in the Houston or Dallas Texas region. 

1. Keep It Simple 

If simplicity is your goal or you’re on a tight budget, then keep your home smaller. One or two containers are enough to create a small living space. 

If you choose only to use one container, you’ll want to maximize space by creating convertible use areas. For instance, create a bed that folds away during the day. 

If you want to double your space and create separate living areas, then use two containers next to each other. You could create a single level by putting them next to each other. Or you could create a two-story unit by placing one on top of the other. 

Removing the floor/ceiling between the two containers allows you to create high ceilings and a loft area. This increases the overall spaciousness inside of the container home. 

2. Embrace Large Windows 

If you plan to build your shipping container home somewhere with a great view, such as out out in the vast Texas hill country. Consider adding floor to ceiling windows. This will enable you to enjoy all that gorgeous scenery from the comfort of your home. 

It also removes the closed-in feeling that can happen when building with containers. By having large windows, you trick the eye into thinking the living space is much larger than it actually is. 

3. Modular Mobility 

One thing that is common when building with containers is a rectangular, boxy look to the home. You can combat this by arranging the containers slightly misaligned. Keep the containers parallel to each other, but shift them so that you have one overhanging the other. 

Doing this breaks up the home visually and gives it balance to make it more appealing. It also naturally creates patios and overhangs. Now you have outdoor living spaces or a covered entryway

4. Frame the Space with Containers 

For some, the width of the containers is too limiting. But this doesn’t have to stop you from using containers altogether. It just means you need to use them in conjunction with other building methods. 

A popular choice is to use them on either side of the main living area. Use two shipping containers that are parallel to each other, but have space between them. Each container provides private living areas. 

Then the space between gets closed in with walls and a ceiling to create the main living area of the home. 

Try These Shipping Container House Plans

If these ideas for your shipping container house plans have you itching to get started, then we can help. Your first step is to speak with an architect who can design your home in a structurally sound manner. 

We can help you get started sourcing the perfect containers for your project. Once you have your plans approved, we can modify and prepare your containers, so they’re ready for building upon delivery. 

Contact our team today and let us help you get started on your dream container home.