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My shipping container cabin/shelter

Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Thought I would share my shipping container project. It has come a long way's from just idea in my head. I wanted to build something that could be used as a cabin for family and friends (we live on a lake) but also be used as a shelter in case of a disaster. I thought the heavy and strong sea containers would work well for that purpose. When complete it will be a two bedroom with living area, separate kitchen and dinning, a restroom with shower composting toilet and wash basin, a laundry room and a food storage room. approx 640 SQ. FT. It will use grid electric with solar and battery backup, solar and wood heat, solar water heater with elect backup, water will be provided by a well source and using both electric power and a interior hand pump, a vintage kerosene perfection cook stove and oven, oil lamps and led lighting. Interior will be finished in Knotty pine. If you would like to see more, or follow its progress, you can follow it on my blog at  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.com/















My shipping/sea container cabin/shelter blog
http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.com/
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
pretty cool keep us updated.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Storm V Spooner


Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 144
Very cool! I considered using shipping containers in my underground home, but opted for timber because of its flexibility and cost.. Still, I love the idea of reusing something that is essentially a by product..


To love the world is to want to know it. To know the world we must accept it. To accept it we use reason to understand it. Never should we shun reason or condemn it.
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
soil wrote:
pretty cool keep us updated.
Thank you. I will update from time to time.
Christopher de Vidal


Joined: Nov 17, 2010
Posts: 100
Storm wrote:I considered using shipping containers in my underground home, but opted for timber because of its flexibility and cost..


Not to mention, shipping containers don't have good strength against the flat sides and top. Strength comes from the corner posts, where they can be stacked many units high. As such they tend to be difficult to bury; this was mentioned in the underground house thread.

Not that it can't be done, just seems to be much tricker. Buyer be warned.

Great looking house, Larry! Love the finishing in the front, and re-use of the circular cutout for a porch. If you'd used siding and drywall on I think it'd fool everyone 
Christopher de Vidal


Joined: Nov 17, 2010
Posts: 100
SurvivalBlog had a series recently discussing how to bury a container for living in.
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Update:
Inside framing is done for the most part. I still need to put up one wall in the bathroom once all my plumbing is in, but it is on to electrical now.

Started with 2x4's around the upper perimeter and securing with 2-1/2" self tapping screws. This gave me somthing to secure my walls to.



Bedrooms complete.



Kitchen and dinning on right, restroom on left and pantry behing the restroom done.




                      


Joined: Nov 30, 2010
Posts: 53
as soon as you cut the wall you lose the 'strong' part if you have snow load you will find out . take a measurement and under load check again.
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Oh well 
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Update;
  Walls are up and all my outlets and 110 volt wiring is now complete. Sure is nice to walk in and flip a switch for lights.





Even put me up one of dem Porsche lights 



Getting cold in Oklahoma usa, so started my first fire yesterday. It was in the 20's in the morning and the small wood burner heated the cabin very well.


Cyric Mayweather


Joined: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 78
Hay Larry

Love what your doing there, i was just wondering about some the stuff ive read about the floors in the containers being treated with some very nasty stuff .?
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Cyric30 wrote:
Hay Larry

Love what your doing there, i was just wondering about some the stuff ive read about the floors in the containers being treated with some very nasty stuff .?
Thank you. I know it is treated wood, but not sure how harmful it may be. I will be covering all the flooring with hardwood with a under lay-met, and tile with backing board under it, so I am not to worried about what the sub floor is treated with. Probably not any worse then our house with its chemically treated carpet, paint, wood, furniture, then the glues, varnishes, stains, the plastic's we eat and drink out of, the micro waves we bombard our food with  , I'm thinking the treated wood is probably the least of my worries for now anyway.
But I have read that some folks pull their floors up and replace them. I haven't found a Phillips bit big enough for the screws yet. I have a couple boards I need to pull up for plumbing purposes.
If I was going to carpet the floor I would highly consider replacing the flooring.
Cyric Mayweather


Joined: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 78
Hay Larry

i dont know if they all are treated the same, but i seen somewhere in my reading that SOME (some places over seas if i remember correct) where treated with formaldehyde and arsenic among other thing to really keep the bugs away maybe to play it safe find you a very thick sealer maybe? EDPM pond liner maybe.? something that dosent let vapor through....Just a heads up for you and yours safety
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Thanks cyric30: Not a bad Idea, even a layer of 3-4 mil plastic would probably work.
                        


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
Larry wrote:
Thanks cyric30: Not a bad Idea, even a layer of 3-4 mil plastic would probably work.


FWIW, two coats of latex paint act as an effective vapor barrier.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Curious... 110/120 volt wiring was mentioned. Is that laundry combo unit 110/120 or is it 220/240 or gas fired?


Also is the unit tied down somehow against high winds?

Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
MountainDon wrote:
Curious... 110/120 volt wiring was mentioned. Is that laundry combo unit 110/120 or is it 220/240 or gas fired?


Also is the unit tied down somehow against high winds?


The washer is 110 and the dryer is 220. In a off grid situation, I have a 3000 watt power converter with a 6000 watt surge  that should run the washer and they can be dried the old fashion way (cloths line).
The container is not anchored down. They are welded together giving them a total of over 16,000 lbs + another 5-6,000 in building materials and furniture for over 20,000 lbs, that coupled with the embankments it is set in, I am confident that it is secure. The back and end wall embankment should drive winds up and over the top, and opposite winds should only push against the banks giving the container no where to go. I think it can handle everything except maybe a f4 or f5 direct hit. I hope anyway


EDIT:

I might add that I think anchoring a container down is a good idea, one could use the same anchor system that is used on Mobile homes, but in my situation, I just didn't feel it was necessary. Another helpful factor for me is that the cabin actually sits in somewhat of a bowl where it is well below the surrounding hills or mountains.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
I asked about anchoring because that earth against the wall does exert a sideways force, as well as a downward force. It can either (a) do nothing of consequence, (b) cause a shift in location over time or (c) cause the metal wall to bow inward. 

I know of a container used as a shop and ATV garage, on a concrete slab, that has moved due to vibration through the soil from passing traffic. You don't seem to have that problem, but I mention it as of interest because you wouldn't think a container parked on a pad could move.

Secondly I know someone whose neighbor purchased a property at a delinquent tax sale. A buried container was found. (buried with a concrete slab poured on top so it had more weight pressing on the sides than yours. Used as a meth lab) Those walls were badly bowed inwards. He sold off the property rather than deal with it.

~~~~~~

A question regarding the spray foam. Is it UV resistant? Some foams may be and others may not. If not UV resistant it will begin to break down, develop cracks and get "chunky". If it cracks and water gets in and freezes that will accelerate the problem. If you do not know for certain about that I'd suggest checking with the manufacturer.

Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Nice job so far, Larry.  Certainly wouldn't mind living in it myself.

The spray foam can be painted to keep the UV off of it and I assume you are coating the exterior anyway.  One question which you may have thought of already is that if you seal the ends and top with foam, did you seal the bottom as well?  I would be concerned about moisture and condensation building up between the slight air gap in the adjoining walls from the soil below and causing rust, mold and rot.  Kind of like leaving a car parked for extended periods on dirt.  My thinking would be to put a small weather resistant vent on the roof at the ends and middle to allow for some air circulation and evaporation.  Just a suggestion.

Good luck.  Can't wait to see the cabin when finished and furnished.
Ed Waters


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 101
Larry, love what you are doing.  Following is a structure being constructed out of containers (23 so far).  Perhaps you can find something in the pictures that might be useful.  Beyond that I don't think any of the regular visitors here will find much positive to say about this.

http://www.glennonseacanhome.ca/monthly_progress.html#november_2009

Ed
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Ed wrote:
Larry, love what you are doing.  Following is a structure being constructed out of containers (23 so far).  Perhaps you can find something in the pictures that might be useful.  Beyond that I don't think any of the regular visitors here will find much positive to say about this.

http://www.glennonseacanhome.ca/monthly_progress.html#november_2009

Ed

Thanks Ed, I will check it out. And I hear what you are saying as I have actually decided to quit posting about it on this forum because of all the negative comments . I have done alot since my last post, but don't care to post and hear how it is all going to fall apart and get pushed into the sea
Cyric Mayweather


Joined: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 78
Larry
Please dont stop posting
while i voiced my concerned about the floor, they where meant as something you needed to consider, not as wanting you to stop. i Really want to see how you are doing all this i would like to buy a container in the future and turn it into a shop building and seeing how you handle heating and electrical and all is very useful to me and im sure many others, dont let a few sour grapes keep you from making a good beer.....or somedthing like that 
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1279
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
Ed wrote:
Larry, love what you are doing.  Following is a structure being constructed out of containers (23 so far).  Perhaps you can find something in the pictures that might be useful.  Beyond that I don't think any of the regular visitors here will find much positive to say about this.

http://www.glennonseacanhome.ca/monthly_progress.html#november_2009

Ed

I had never thought of using them on end like that.... I can think of some other things to do like that.
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1279
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
Larry wrote:
Thanks Ed, I will check it out. And I hear what you are saying as I have actually decided to quit posting about it on this forum because of all the negative comments . I have done alot since my last post, but don't care to post and hear how it is all going to fall apart and get pushed into the sea

Sorry to hear that. I haven't had much to comment on, but have really enjoyed just following your progress. Some of us are just too wordy for our own good.... I'm one sometimes.
                        


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
Larry wrote:
Thanks Ed, I will check it out. And I hear what you are saying as I have actually decided to quit posting about it on this forum because of all the negative comments . I have done alot since my last post, but don't care to post and hear how it is all going to fall apart and get pushed into the sea


No, it won't get pushed into the sea.

Fall into a giant crevice from an earthquake, yes, but not getting pushed into the sea. 
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Muzhik wrote:
No, it won't get pushed into the sea.

Fall into a giant crevice from an earthquake, yes, but not getting pushed into the sea. 
Least that would not be a direct result from something I did or didn't do
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Cyric30 wrote:
Larry
Please dont stop posting
while i voiced my concerned about the floor, they where meant as something you needed to consider, not as wanting you to stop. i Really want to see how you are doing all this i would like to buy a container in the future and turn it into a shop building and seeing how you handle heating and electrical and all is very useful to me and I'm sure many others, don't let a few sour grapes keep you from making a good beer.....or something like that 
I appreciate your input, as I have never converted one of these before. I will say that I don't believe the roof is going to fall in because I cut a wall out, or that the walls are going to cave in because of the little dirt I put on the back or end, nor do I think it will push the two 16,000 lb containers out to the road . As far as the UV resistant spray foam insulation, it is not, and I do plan on painting the remainder of it, but I had to get going on to many other aspects of it and it may be spring before I can cover it now. I have all my 12 volt wiring in place and insulation and now putting up walls. I will post on it in a few days. Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Larry
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
One room finished, four more to go . This will be the master bedroom, all 7'4"X 11'4"
It came out pretty nice. One thing I decided to do was to leave an open space at the top of the front wall to the bedroom so heat can drift through the opening with the door shut, no forced air just a wood burner and solar heat is the plan. I also put mesh screen that I painted green in the opening to give it a finished look.
 










My blog has been updated as  well. http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.com/

                      


Joined: Nov 30, 2010
Posts: 53
aye  too am sorry it wasnt meant as negitive mearly a warning. as i have seen shipping containers cut up before and they are engineered as a whole unit the stud walls, i didnt know you were doing, may carry the load.  i was thinking weld a piece of 1/4 x4 steel along the joint area after pushing the roof up with temp walls and joinint the bottom of the arches somehow.

all and all its looking pretty good. atleast unlike the gigantic shipping container arrangement atleast its greenish. not building a area like 10 times bigger than you need
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1279
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
Larry wrote:
One room finished, four more to go . This will be the master bedroom, all 7'4"X 11'4"
It came out pretty nice. One thing I decided to do was to leave an open space at the top of the front wall to the bedroom so heat can drift through the opening with the door shut, no forced air just a wood burner and solar heat is the plan. I also put mesh screen that I painted green in the opening to give it a finished look.

Wow. Looks really good. I guess For me, I am good at the rough work, but I find the finishing a pain   I would be the kind of person to enjoy the painted metal finish...but what you have done looks nice, my Yf would even approve.
Cyric Mayweather


Joined: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 78
Hay Larry
what kind of wood siding/paneling is that your using in the rooms.?? 
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
It is 6" T&G knotty pine. I found it on craigs list for 35 cents a foot.
Cyric Mayweather


Joined: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 78
Thank You 
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Finally got the living room and second bedroom done in the shipping container, sure  glad thats over with.


jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
Now I have to go clean the fruit juice off my laptop!!!
Larry Schlicker


Joined: Sep 19, 2010
Posts: 79
Thinking about putting in a bowling alley in the east wing now
Warren David


Joined: Nov 18, 2010
Posts: 186
Shawn Bell


Joined: Dec 06, 2010
Posts: 156
I laughed so loud and hard my wife was concerned!  Thanks Larry I needed that.  I must confess that I like the pine walls better.
                          


Joined: May 12, 2010
Posts: 52
Nice job.

I am doing this but with 2 x  20's in a train style.
They are separate with enough space for 1 set of cargo doors to be open.

How well is the composting toilet working?
Is it getting enough warmth and is it adding too much humidity to the room?
I am putting mine in the back corner sitting atop a box made of 2 pallets filled with insulation.
(I am without electricity also.)

Your wood interiors are so beautiful. I just love them. I will just use sheet rock.

I am using shellac to keep the toxic floors from off gassing into my breathing space.
I guess if you didn't notice it when the container was fresh, you won't have a problem now.
I need to shellac my floors before I even add the insulation.
Latex paint might work as someone suggested, but shellac definitely will work, and the pretty floors will be visible.

Thanks for posting your progress. I had given up looking for this kind of info on containers a while back and stopped by today on a whim.
I am insulating next week, and I am wondering if you have any moisture difficulties?

I love how solid the container feels.

You did a really nice job.

thanks,

jeanna
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
Delayed spew warning there!

That was hysterical. Thanks for the big smile.

What a terrific project. Hat's off to you and thank you so much for sharing!
 
 
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