They once travelled the world, carrying freight to some far flung corners. But shipping containers don't travel forever. It's becoming increasingly popular to convert reclaimed shipping containers into stylish living spaces, and there are a number of building contractors who specialise in this type of conversion and installation. The end result can be extremely stylish and can cost far less than traditional building methods. Using reclaimed materials is also environmentally friendly. But what sort of results can be expected from choosing to build a shipping container home?
A Rectangular Home
About the only limit to building a home from reclaimed shipping containers is the end shape. Numerous reclaimed shipping containers will always have a boxy, rectangular look, although this is arguably quite modernist in terms of architecture.
It's not as though you will be limited by the pre-existing internal space of the individual containers either. When numerous reclaimed shipping containers are joined together, the internal walls can be removed to create an open plan living space. In fact, the amount of space is only limited by the number of containers you combine. Remember that these internal walls are load bearing, and so removing them to create a larger living space requires structural compensation, which generally means that the ceiling needs additional strengthening (which will increase your construction costs).
A number of preparations can be performed offsite. Doors and windows can be cut before the reclaimed shipping container is transported to the site and permanently attached to the pre-prepared foundation. The site in question needs to be level, and the installed reclaimed shipping containers are then connected for drainage and general plumbing, as well as electricity. You should find out exactly where drainage on the site will be located. This allows for plumbing chases to be cut out of the floors of the shipping container prior to delivery, which can save a lot of time.
It's always a good idea to inspect the shipping containers in question prior to purchasing them. There can be a lot of variation in quality, largely depending on the age and prior usage of the shipping container. Any degradation to the metal will require additional work before the container can be made into a living space, driving your costs up.
While a shipping container home isn't for everyone, it can make for a unique and stylish living space that is cost effective, eco-friendly and truly your own.