Container homes: How to get started


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Interested in breaking free from the constraints of traditional home engineering and forging a new path? Tired of landlords, rent, and mortgages? Container homes may be the right choice for you. This revolutionary new trend in housing engineering combines the increasingly popular concept of “tiny homes” with the environmentally conscious attributes of recycling. How can you get started? There are a few important things to keep in mind as you get a feel for the container home life.

For one thing, container homes are a lot cheaper than most other housing options – cashing in at only about 5,000 dollars, they are perfect option for people seeking a path to financial and physical independence, including millennial cohorts trying to escape their parents’ basement.

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The biggest decision of all is whether or not you’ll build your container home on your own or hire a company to refit one for you. Both sides have advantages and disadvantages – the former is cheaper, but the latter ensures a professional touch. You’ll have to decide several things as you go – how many containers you want, and how you’ll lay out your future home. Here’s where budgeting comes into effect; you’ll need to plan your future design against your current budget. Take care to factor in a contingency fund of 20% of your income if things go pear-shaped, such as unexpected delays in the construction process. Prioritize important aspects of your container home over other, more trivial, concerns. Rather than fretting about the breakfast nook or the subtle interplay of shadows in the living room, focus on answering some more basic questions: what’s my budget like? Will my home be seasonal or year-round? Will I use it for business purposes, or family enjoyment? And, most importantly, will I live on or off the grid?

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Whatever you do, make sure that you buy the correct type of shipping container, fit for interlocking construction and habitation. Shipping containers take many different shapes and forms; some are so small that you’ll have trouble standing up in them, while others, such as those used to transport vehicles, tend towards the gargantuan. Generally, you’ll be looking for “high cube” containers; containers designed for additional loads that average in an extra foot of height – perfect for that extra headroom if you’re built on Shaq-like proportions. Additionally, make sure to consider insulation before moving in: depending on where you live, a poorly insulated container can swing between frigid and baking. The biggest concern for container homes is condensation; water that coagulates on the metallic surface of your home will soon metamorphose into rust. Your dream home will soon become a tetanus hazard if it’s not headed off immediately.

Ultimately, container homes are, in many ways, almost like playing with Lego for adults. There’s more than one way to turn a disparate collection of shipping crates into a workable home – how exactly you want to go about doing that is, of course, up to you.