4 Shipping Containers for Modular Housing

The shipping, commercial, and transportation sectors would hardly function without container units. Shipping containers keep items safe over lengthy hauls. Corten steel is the material of choice for manufacturers when creating shipping containers. This self-healing steel prevents damage to freight while being transported over water. Items of all shapes and sizes that need to be transported safely from one part of the world to another are kept in these shipping containers.

They are reliable enough that you can make a house out of them. They are even better for adverse weather conditions than conventional dwellings as they are made from weathering steel.

Steel shipping containers are reusable intermodal containers. One of the reasons it has evolved into modular construction is its versatility. These containers are versatile enough to serve as a single-story workplace or shelter. They’re nimble and can go just about everywhere. A single-container, off-grid home can be picked up and moved anywhere in the world. It is possible with a shipping company’s dedicated transportation service. Even better, they can be stacked to create a more complex architectural structure that can be your home.

Putting one together doesn’t take long. Some builders can construct a shipping container house in less than a month. Modular housing parts are produced at a factory and sent to the construction site. On-site work, including building the interior and exterior finishing, can be completed more quickly than in traditional construction projects. To put it simply, they are prefabricated dwelling units. As they are constructed from recycled containers, less workforce and supplies are needed. This makes them cheaper to build than traditional homes. They can also last for a long time. And if you want to style it up along the way, container houses are adaptable to new designs with little effort, especially with a simple change in the exterior cladding. So they are more affordable and versatile than the stereotypical two-bedroom ranch house in the suburbs.

So what shipping containers can be used for your modular home?

You probably didn’t think it, but there are many different shipping containers. Each is designed to satisfy the specific needs of transporting a particular type of cargo. It can range in size, composition, materials, construction, and other things. That all depends on the goods being shipped or the specialized services needed. This simplifies the transporting process of cargo from point A to B.

Shipping containers have two standard sizes: 20′ x 8′ and 40′ x 8′. For comparison, a 40-foot container provides 320 square feet of living space, whereas a 20-foot container only provides 160.

Given the variety of shipping containers available, it’s helpful to know which ones suit your design. So have a look at four of the most popular containers and the finest ways to put them to use for your home.

1. Dry storage container

Often called general-purpose containers, they are very popular options for transportation. They have so contributed significantly to the internationalization of trade.

They are often seen fastened to trains and are well-known at docks and storage facilities. The inside of these shipping containers is protected from the elements thanks to the corten steel exterior. They are of sturdy build and are great for standing on their own. The ceiling, walls, and floor are all solid. In fact, you can stack up to nine of them in a row without any problems. Metal plates are welded to the base for further support. Then equipped with rubber door seals, these things are watertight for the long haul. Because of their sturdy build (corten steel), these shipping containers are great for locked storage.

These are for general use, so they can’t be kept at a specific temperature. So these containers weren’t used for perishable goods like food or chemicals.

ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, has established three lengths. You may get them in 20, 40, or 10-foot lengths, which are far less frequent. The 10 ft. container is often used as a shed or storage space rather than for transporting goods.

2. High cube containers

If you find the dry storage containers small, the high cube container can make up for it. These storage units look comparable to standard storage units. They’re mostly the exact dimensions except that their height is increased by 1 foot. This makes them 9 feet, 6 inches tall. They typically range from 40 to 45 feet in length, with the occasional 20-foot HC model.

You can call them Hi-Cube, High-Quality, and High-Cube. These containers got their moniker, “High-cube,” from how, when seen from the front and the rear, the additional height on top makes them seem like cubes. Because of the added height, they can hold more stuff. As they were built with extra space in mind, they are often deemed too tall for inland transit. Thus unsafe to move on or under bridges. But this makes them even more spacious for modular housing.

3. Open side containers

Identical in shape to standard dry containers, they differ in having parts converting to fully opening doors. The walls on these storage containers can be opened, making loading and unloading easier. And even with that, it can still be locked to keep your goods safe inside.

With an open-side container, the whole length of one side may be opened. This unique door design is a huge benefit for bulky items that would otherwise be difficult to bring in via standard doors.

This container will suit you well for houses with side-facing windows and doors. It’s great if you want a part of your house to easily convert to a patio door. This makes it cheaper than ordinary containers, which require removing walls to install new windows and doors. Storage containers like this as homes will have open sides allowing for more light and air. Even better when you add an open porch outside, especially when you have scenery.

4. Tunnel container

This still is similar to the dry storage container. But with two typical double-door sets on each end. Tunnel containers provide convenient access to both ends of the container. They’ll come in handy if you need to quickly load or unload things. This is like the open-side container but at the ends of it.

The fact that tunnel containers have two doors makes it simple to utilize them for more than one purpose. You can modify it in the same manner, you would alter a regular container. For instance, dividing one tunnel container in half with a wall in the middle turns it into two lockable rooms. If converted into an office, one-half of a typical tunnel container may be transformed into the actual office space. Then the other half could be utilized for safe equipment storage.

The construction expenses may be reduced by not having the ends lopped off, as is required for standard dry storage containers. This is also for added safety to keep the container’s cargo doors on the house. Full-height windows at both ends of the house may be accommodated by this design. Seals on this sort of container may keep the elements out.

With the types of containers explained, you already have an idea of the dimensions and strength of your main structure. You learn more building strategies as you start your modular home journey. And know that you can always have extra containers added for more space. Then add more vents to increase airflow. Finally, materials may be added to the external cladding for a sleek look.

Know that it’s only a container box at the start. But how you want your space to function and how you want it to be part of your home are all up to you.

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