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Home Conversion

Steps to container home conversion and fabrication.


The first step is decide what you’d like your home to be like. Decide which rooms you’d like, how they should connect to each other, how much space you’ll need, and so on. Where will your windows go? How about your kitchen, your bathroom, and your bedroom(s)? Think about logistics too. You might like the look of small porthole windows but large French doors would let more light in. Placing your kitchen opposite your bathroom might look good on paper, but check if  there will be enough room to open your oven door or walk through the gap without bumping into the sides. Draw a floor plan, making sure to stick to the dimensions of standard shipping containers (8 x 20, 8 x 40, etc.). Have fun with this part and do a Google or Pinterest search for inspiration. Your main limitation (besides the dimensions!) is your own imagination. At Containers254 we have provided best researched home floor plans.

Step 2: Talk to Us

If your design will require removing any part of any wall, and particularly any part of the two longer, load-bearing walls, you’ll want to speak to an expert to ensure that your shipping container will remain structurally sound. The last thing you want to do is create a building that’s not safe.

Step 3: Finish Your Design Once you know what is and isn’t going to be possible, finalize your design. Consider the details like insulation, flooring, how you’ll get rid of waste, framing, electricity, and so on. We Containers 254  will help you to weigh up the different options.

Step 4: Prepare Your Land

Assuming you’ve found a land or own one, the next steps are to level it, create a foundation, and decide how or if your container will be elevated from the ground. While it’s best to consult with an expert, particularly if you’ll be using multiple storage containers, you’ll probably consider options like a concrete slab, steel plates, concrete piers, or concrete strips. You should also ensure there’s a clear path for your shipping container to be delivered.

Step 5: Choose and Buy Your Shipping Container

Note: It may be sensible to buy your shipping container earlier in the process; it depends how long it will take it to be delivered. You can choose from used, one-trip, and new shipping containers. Obviously, if you buy a used container, it’s important that it is of a good enough quality to be turned into a house. You should arrange a pre-purchase inspection to look for rust, unpleasant smells, and so on. You might also like to find out what the container has been used for. For more guidance on choosing and sourcing shipping containers, read 

Step 6: Receive Your Container

You will probably need to hire a crane, company, or forklift to move your shipping container for you. Alternatively, your shipping container supplier might be able to handle the delivery and positioning for you, but make sure to ask and arrange this ahead of time. If you do need to arrange this yourself, make sure whatever equipment you book can handle the weight of a container. You should also consider how you will secure your shipping container to the foundation, by welding or hooking them into place, for example. If you bought a used shipping container, now would also be a good time to give it a thorough wash!

Step 7: Connect Your Containers

If your design involves more than one container, this is the point at which you’d hook them up. You could use clamps, welding, or bolts, depending on how permanent you want the connection to be.

Step 8: Add Any Structural Reinforcements

Needed Defer to your engineer on this one but, if you’re removing any part of the container, you should first add reinforcements to prevent any structural issues.

Step 9: Cut Your Openings

Again, assuming you know what you’re doing, you can start cutting out windows, doors, and other parts of the walls to begin to transform your container into a home. Depending on your skills, you might want to hire a full fledge container home conversion company  to do this for you. As you are cutting your container, you might remove some of its anti-corrosive paint, so you may need to re-treat it. If by cutting in your openings, you create any gaps, make sure to seal them to protect the inside of the house from the elements.

Step 10: Remove the Flooring

The floors of most shipping containers have been treated with harsh chemicals. You should make up your own mind as to how you feel about this, but you will probably want to remove the flooring or add a subfloor to protect yourself from these chemicals. If you do, you might like to consider getting a high cube container, which will give you a bit of extra headspace.

Step 11: Frame, Sheath, And Add Insulation and the Floor

Add your framing and insulation and cover with interior ‘walls’. Depending on where you live, you’ll probably want to insulate your shipping container. Which type of insulation you use – spray foam, panels, etc. – will also depend where you live. To maximize your use of the space, you could decide to add the insulation to the outside of the container.

Step 12: Add the Electric

Next it’s time to wire your shipping container  (or to get someone to do it for you). 

Step 13: Decorate and Move in

Now your shipping container  is pretty much ready to go, you can add all the optional extras like a kitchen, a bathroom, perhaps a composting toilet, and so on. You can also decorate and add your own touch to your new home. When you choose containers254, you get interiors work done such as kitchen fittings, bathroom, toilet. e.t.c

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