Hello again blogging world!
Brook has decided to hand over the reigns once a week or a couple of times a month for me to blog a feature “Dude Post”. This will allow the more detail oriented construction block-heads (such as myself) to get a fix every now and then. It will also allow Brook to take a night off from posting. She is one hell of a hard-working mother and needs a night off every once in a while!
Tonight I will be going over a few key points that a previous shipping container home builder relayed to me. We discussed mine and Brook’s plans over breakfast and coffee the other day and he hit on some things that he wished he had known before he started building. THESE are the kind of facts I have been digging for… and I am happy to release them to you all.
First off, BRACE. Apparently when you cut a shipping container in half it does NOT stay square but it is very very important for it to be square in order to use it correctly as a frame for your home. To fix this issue you need to weld a piece of angle iron from the top to the bottom and from the left side to the right side on all four sides (basically making a square frame where you will be cutting) for BOTH halves of the container. This way when you cut the shipping container in half, both 20ft. sections will stay square after the cut it made. Here is an example of what the inside of a random shipping container looks like once cut apart (though they are all a bit different) :
Point #2 – GET THE SAME TYPE OF CONTAINERS.
Apparently all shipping container’s framing connectors (the horizontal and vertical steel bars that connect the corners together and make the rectangular frame) are different in each container. Some are L brackets, some are I beams, some are C channels, etc. and thus in order to make sure you can connect them correctly you should leave the connection details generic until you actually purchase the containers. We will be making sure that both of the containers we will be purchasing will be the exact same type of container before we buy so that we know they will be the same exact size and have the same framing connectors.
Third Word: BRACE
Once again keeping square is ESSENTIAL to measuring correctly and fitting your frames correctly into the holes you will be cutting out of your container. We are not talking about wood here where you can guess, get close, and shave off a few inches… were talking about 14 gauge steel walls here and angle iron frames. Best to tack in angle iron (or simply rebar) to your container wall from the ceiling to the floor, and then tack in a piece from one of the vertical braces to the other (and to the shipping container wall between the two) in order to make an internal frame for where you will be cutting out the holes for your windows and doors to go. This will keep your container walls square once you cut the holes, enabling the frames (best welded by a fabricator off-site in a shop) for the windows and doors to be perfectly sized and fit precisely into place once on site.
Fourth thing I am glad I know now… cut LOTS of steel L braces (1″x1″) with a hole in one of the sides to hold 2×4’s in place for internal walls. All you have to do is tack in the solid side of the L brace to your corrugated ceiling and/or floor, and then you can screw your 2×4 straight to it through the hole on the other side of the L brace. Simple and effective way to attach your 2×4’s for walls to the top and bottom of your containers.
Last thing for the night… THREADED RODS
Weld threaded rods (threaded so that you can bolt to it) every foot on the external frame of the container. You can always cut them off if needed, but these threaded rods will allow you to bolt a deck, external stairs, and any other type of wood you might need to the outside of the containers. Apparently very very useful as well.
Finally this advisor recommended that we specify plumbing and electrical materials before building so that the electrician and plumber can not interpret on the job site. This will save a lot of money as the interpretations always seem to be for the most expensive materials available. Also a NORMAL electrical box set up for a normal job site will NOT be enough for the plasma-cutter that the welder/fabricator is going to use to cut out the window and door holes in the corrugated walls of the container. Make sure you have a very high powered electrical box ready for the welder.
As I can hear snoring from the other room… its time for me to head that direction as well. I hope this has been pretty informative for you and let me know if you have any further “I WISH I HAD KNOWN THIS BEFORE I STARTED” advice for us! One last awesome shipping container picture for your viewing pleasure: Thanks for reading and see you all again soon! Goodnight from the Dude Poster for now.