Shipping Containers A Retreat on the Cheap
I would like
to shed light on the convenience, structural soundness, and affordability
shipping containers [commonly calles CONEXes]
as potential add-ons, storage, or primary structure for your retreat
or year-round compound. As an individual of efficiency, I am writing
this article with the intent of casting out some research I have
done on these containers; what they are capable of in a capacity
form, and their versatility as a livable space. I hope many find
this informative in its purist sense.
Due to the nature of our global economy, especially in reference
to the U.S. and its desire to import more than it exports to the
Asia Pacific, domestic shipping yards are in excess supply of such
containers. Because shipping containers are simply boxes, when empty
they exercise little function and merely take up space. Shipping
containers, especially when being shipped from China, are more expensive
to return empty then if they were to be recycled on domestic soil
or reused in other applications. But before scrapping them, many
companies attempt to sell them in their intended form to the public.
In a sense, these containers are like a pound puppy that needs to
and should be. A quick search via the Internet will
show you large numbers of containers in various conditions from
here and there but because the shipping industry does not stop at
sea ports, any major city even inland will have a healthy supply
to choose from. For a ratty container (20) expect to pay between
$800 and $1,200. This would be in less than ideal condition but
still a good option for say material storage on your retreat property.
Typically this means that the cube may no longer be perfectly cube-like
say a slight dent or impression on one or more corner or has more
than just surface rust on its exterior. Always check the double
doors and see how well they close, whether with ease or with some
finesse adjust your offer accordingly. The next level of quality
will come in at a price of around $1,400-$1,800, again for a typical
20 standard container. This is the price range that should
exemplify a structural soundness that will be suitable to live in
with certain modifications. The seaworthy paint should still cover
95+% of the container and it should be structurally true. Remember
what these containers where built for. They hauled 50,000 pounds
of goods through open-ocean, many times during storms. They should
be watertight. Ask all of these questions to the seller at the very
minimum so that they know you know what you are looking for. Hard
for one to prove water tightness but you can go based on the sellers
reaction and your best judgment from this article and further research.
Be a smart shopper now, this may become your last line of defense.
Finally, you can buy a brand new shipping container from companies
that specialize in building them. Here youll find different
sizes with different options like the garage style door or pre-insulated
units for refrigeration. Expect to pay around +-$5,000 for a new
Two or three major size potions will be found most commonly although
other odd sizes due exist. These all have corrugated sidewalls.
standard shipping containers
(Interior dimensions) 19 4 long, 78 wide,
Tare Weight 4.900 lbs
Total cargo capacity 45,000 pounds
standard shipping container
(Interior dimensions) 395 long, 78 wide,
Tare weight 8.100 pounds
Cargo capacity 59,000 pounds
High cube standard shipping container
(Interior dimensions) 395 long, 78 wide
Tare weight 8.700 pounds
Max cargo capacity 58,000 pounds
info that applies to all standard containers.
steel alloy with saltwater and air resistant exterior paint.
- Class D
rating for storage of explosives (with this rating a high tolerance
- Pest resistant
(many have a wooden floor that has been treated for pest resistance.
This should be removed and disposed of properly.)
- Water tight
but not water proof.
to 7 high at full load (yes one will hold upwards of 200,000 pounds
stacked on top). Note that cutting into the corrugated sides will
lessen the overall strength. Reinforcing whenever taking away
steel is common sense Id hope.
units do exist although interior dimensions will likely be even
tighter. R-value 15-20?
Containers made of low carbon Cor-Ten
steel (aka "weathering" steel) usually bring a premium.
They have the longest life. Be sure to inspect wood floors for any
signs that toxic chemicals might have spilled from cargo. But keep
in mind that the wood used in the floors of almost all CONEXes
are deep-treated with some nasty insecticides and fungicides.]
Started: My suggestion with using shipping containers as habitable
structures starts with completely ruling out the use of the 40
containers. This prevents one from absolutely paying a delivery
fee and/or a crane rental to remove it from a semi trailer. That
said I have put all of my focus into utilizing the 20 containers
(Finding a 20 insulated container would be most ideal). Heres
why. First, if you own a full size truck, you can haul one of these
things empty on your own, either with a trailer you have or from
a friend. A twenty-foot flatbed, or car hauler with a winch is not
too hard to come by. It will likely be loaded on your trailer at
the yard if you buy directly from a shipping company so all you
have to think about is sliding it off your trailer in place. My
theory has always been to own the trailer I go to pick it up with
and leave it on in my drive way until I build out the interior at
my leisure. Then itll be ready to haul to sight. Depending
on your neighborhood or city ordinances this may or may not be an
option but Ive always felt that if people have a 35 foot camper
trailer parked on the street in front of their house why not a 20
shipping container for a few months? Either way, look up this info
before hand as well as your states DOT regulations. Second main
reason I like the 20 size is its weight. At just shy of 5,000
pounds add a 3,000-pound trailer, an 8000-pound haul for most diesel
pick-ups aint no thing. Lastly, due to the 20 container
weight and size, it is much easier to maneuver in mountain terrain
by trailer as well as when off the trailer on site. If you start
with an empty container on site, a clever hoist system, a winch,
and a block and tackle set up opens up the door to many possibilities.
Ive read about a couple that actually hoisted a container
on top of another in a piggy-back fashion with two tree trunks joined
and reinforced in an a-frame configuration and a 12,000-pound winch
and pulley. They hauled theirs by trailer to site with a Toyota
T-100. (An early Tundra.) Be creative with this. Egyptians built
the pyramids thousands of years ago! Enough said.
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