Construction of houses

How to build a house from shipping containers with your own hands

If you want to quickly and at the lowest cost solve the housing issue, we recommend that you think about building a house from shipping containers. A few decades ago, no one could have imagined that a sea container could be used as a temporary or even permanent housing, but technologies do not stand still, and today, in light of the lightning rise in housing prices, the use of a sea container for a house no longer seems unnatural … Despite the fact that in Russia, due to the insufficient distribution of container construction, you will hardly be able to find ready-made projects of houses from containers, the demand for such houses abroad is beyond doubt and is due to the reliability and practicality of buildings. According to experts, the low popularity of container construction in Russia is due to insufficient awareness of the population about the advantages of buildings erected using this technology, as well as insufficient coverage of this issue on the network. To fix this, in this article we will, in a sense, try to contribute to the popularity of houses from sea containers in Russia and consider the issues of their construction and arrangement..

Residential buildings from containers: a new era in construction

Despite the fact that the popularity of container construction in Russia has not yet reached its peak, experts rightfully consider it a technology of the future, which will soon find its loyal fans. This is confirmed by the demand for container construction in European countries, where this technology contributed to the emergence of a new independent and profitable business sector, the basis of which is the design and production of container “semi-finished” houses. A semi-finished product means a base model made in a factory, the structure of which is made up of walls and subfloors. The heating system and electrical wiring have already been installed in it, windows and doors have been inserted. By purchasing the required number of blanks provided by the project, they are delivered to the construction site, where they are combined into a single building. The production of such blanks can significantly reduce the construction time of container houses, which is their most important advantage..

Advantages and disadvantages of shipping container houses

Advantages of shipping container houses:

  • Houses made from sea containers are recognized as one of the most seismically stable structures, and therefore, they are often erected in areas where natural disasters are frequent – earthquakes, hurricanes and others;
  • Container buildings are not much different from capital houses: from the outside they can be finished with clapboard, from the inside – with plasterboard;
  • If you live in a house for the construction of which sea containers were used, you can not be afraid of the penetration of rodents and insects;
  • Houses from sea containers can be built in any climatic conditions, but, despite such versatility, it is important to remember about the need for high-quality thermal insulation;
  • The total cost of construction from sea containers is several times lower than the cost of capital houses;
  • If you decide to build a house from shipping containers, remember that they work well with various building modules, including brick, reinforced concrete, etc.;

  • The construction of a residential building from sea containers takes no more than two to three months, and if you minimize finishing activities and limit yourself to simple finishing, two to three weeks will be enough to complete construction activities;
  • In view of the small load borne by container buildings, they do not need to install a solid foundation and can be installed even on carefully rammed earth;
  • Sea containers can be used not only for the construction of residential buildings, but also for household facilities. In addition, from them, you can equip an outbuilding to an existing building;

  • There is a wide demand for the installation of container buildings on frozen ground, in connection with which, often from sea containers, mainly those intended for sea transportation, they practice the construction of entire housing bases in the far north and Antarctica;
  • If the project of your building does not imply the creation of stained-glass windows on the entire wall, it will protect you as much as possible from outside intrusion;
  • Buildings from shipping containers can be successfully erected in areas with a large slope.

Disadvantages of shipping container houses:

  • Often, special paints and highly toxic compounds are used to treat the walls and floors of sea containers, which protect them from atmospheric influences. In this regard, before using such containers for building a house, take care to remove these compounds;
  • In the summer, the house from the shipping containers heats up a lot, while in the winter it cools down. Considering this, take care of organizing an effective thermal insulation layer;
  • In order to avoid the appearance of rust on the surface of the building, it is necessary to organize careful monitoring and care for it;
  • One of the disadvantages typical of container buildings are low ceilings (if the floor and ceiling are insulated, the height of the latter will be about 2.35 m).

Houses from shipping containers: projects, drawings, construction basics

A house made of shipping containers is a constructive solution that became popular in Europe and America thanks to the famous architect Adam Kalkin. It was he who became the author of the first container house in history, which became his creative experiment. Three sea containers were used for its construction. As it turned out, the purchase of sea containers did not cause difficulties, and the financial side of the issue only pleased the author of this know-how. Over time, buildings made of sea containers began to be used not only as residential buildings, but also hotel complexes, restaurants and retail premises, and their high seismic resistance and mobility made them especially in demand in areas with frequent natural disasters..

For the construction of a residential building, mainly standard 40-foot cargo containers are used, which are characterized by the following internal dimensions:

  • height – about 2.4 m;
  • length – 12 m;
  • width – 2.35 m.

If from one 40-foot container it is possible to build a spacious annex or utility room, as well as equip a storage or workshop, then from two or three building blocks you can build a house, the area of ​​which will be 60-120 sq. meters. For example, two 40-foot containers installed opposite each other can be connected with stained-glass windows and then covered with a common roof.

Important! A distinctive feature of sea containers is their high strength. Initially, sea containers are made in such a way that later they can be installed on the sea deck on top of each other in the amount of 8-10 pieces. Given this feature, it can be assumed that sea containers can be used for the construction of two- and three-storey buildings. However, to improve the reliability of the structure, the containers must be secured by welding..

Important! For the construction of residential buildings, you can use two, three or more sea containers. If more than two containers were used to make a house, the space between the spaced containers, which remains free, must be equipped for an additional room, using the maximum glazing.

The construction of houses from sea containers, the price of which is on average 30% lower than capital buildings, begins with the development of the project and the purchase of building blocks – cargo containers. In the free access on the network, you can find a large number of projects of houses from shipping containers, striking in their diversity. The most common projects involve the use of two containers, which are installed side by side or at an angle to each other in the form of the letter “L” or “T”. It is also allowed to stack containers on top of each other..

By moving the containers in relation to each other, you will complicate the facade of your house, while making it more original. On the contrary, by expanding the containers, you create additional free space that can be used for a spacious living room with maximum glazing..

The next project of a container house, consisting of two blocks, which are united by a pitched roof. In one of the blocks two bedrooms are planned, in the other – a bathroom and a kitchen. In the free space between the blocks, they equip the living room, in the area of ​​which the ceiling height will be greater due to the roof slopes.

Masters with experience in the construction of container houses recommend entrusting specialists with the creation of house projects from shipping containers, in this case there will be no problems with the drawing, since they will work out everything to the smallest detail.

Residential building from shipping containers: stages of construction

If you have decided to build a house from shipping containers yourself, without involving a contractor, keep in mind that construction will take more time, and also will not do without the involvement of special equipment and skills in working with welding. Before starting construction, you need to purchase containers. For the construction of a full-fledged residential building, experts recommend purchasing at least two containers, which on average (including delivery) will cost about 100 thousand rubles.

Important! Once the containers are delivered to the construction site, they need to be checked for radiation. As strange as it may sound, it is in such containers that residual radiation often accumulates. As for the norm for the background radiation, for our latitudes, it is 35 micro-roentgens per hour..

Arrangement of the foundation

The first and one of the most important stages of container construction is the arrangement of the foundation. If you put the house directly on the ground, without a foundation, then the soil under the building will sink, and the building itself will freeze. The choice of the foundation design for a container house is carried out taking into account its size and terrain characteristics. If you are planning to build an ordinary change house for a pastime in the warm season, you can use several foundation blocks as a foundation. However, if we are talking about a two-story residential building created according to the author’s project, it needs preliminary preparation of the foundation. In most cases, it is recommended to give preference to a reinforced strip foundation..

To do this, a pit is pulled out, the dimensions and depth of which correspond to the requirements of the project. This will require the call of specialized equipment – an excavator and trucks for soil removal. As for the most preferred foundation structures, in most cases, experts recommend giving preference to the strip foundation, but sometimes piles cannot be dispensed with. The latter is relevant for regions with weak swampy soil..

Considering the large weight of the container building (especially when it comes to a two-story house made of shipping containers), it is often necessary to prepare a reliable foundation, the function of which can only be performed by a monolithic foundation. To fill it, you will need 400 grade cement, sand and water. To increase its service life, special hardeners and other additives are often added to the solution..

Concrete work, which is an integral stage in the construction of the foundation, can be simplified by ordering a ready-made concrete mixture. In this case, the preparation of the foundation will consist of installing the reinforcement cage in accordance with the drawings, installing the formwork and pouring the mortar. Remember to compact the concrete using special deep vibrating tools.

Constructive stage – installation of containers

You can start it only after the final maturation of the concrete, which will take at least 22 days from the moment the foundation is poured..

Important! During the curing of the concrete, anti-corrosion treatment of the containers. To do this, paint them with iron and then red lead. Only then cover them with paint that is resistant to high temperatures..

After the final curing of the concrete and the anti-corrosion treatment of the containers, proceed to the next step – placing the containers on the foundation. If we are talking about building a house from a 40-foot sea container, you cannot do without the involvement of special equipment, namely a truck crane. After you have installed the modules, they must be tied and welded, fastened to the foundation and to each other. Next, install internal interior partitions. The easiest way is to install plasterboard partitions, the installation of which is easy to carry out with your own hands. However, in practice, they often use a different technique. It involves the removal and cutting of the profiled sheet from which the container walls are made, which will be inside the building and are not provided for by the project. This is done just before they are installed on the foundation. At this stage, it is also necessary to cut through the doors and windows..

Important! If, in addition to 40-foot containers, 20-foot containers are used for the construction of a residential building, it is necessary to take into account the difference in their sizes. Combining containers with different sizes allows you to create a building with an unusual, author’s design.

Roof installation: main stages

Stage 1. For the manufacture of the attic frame, a beam with a section of 10×10 cm can be used.To attach the beams to the container, use self-tapping screws, and to fasten them together – plumbing bolts.

Stage 2. Having prepared the attic frame, install the roof rafters. The dimensions of the boards for the rafters are selected in accordance with the project, so that later you do not have to splic them together. The connection of the rafters is carried out using self-tapping screws.

Stage 3. Having installed the rafters, engage in the installation of the lathing, on top of which it is necessary to lay sheets of galvanized steel. At the same time, it is important not to forget about the arrangement of the vapor barrier, which can be done, guided by two options:

  • You can install a vapor barrier film between the steel sheets and the crate;
  • On the two sides of the house, under the roof itself, you can install three 40 cm pipes with a diameter of 10 cm, which will ensure effective ventilation of the under-roof space. Holes for installing pipes must be made in advance. Given the fact that the operation of the attic takes place mainly in the summer, these pipes will not be closed for the winter..

Obviously, the first method is the simplest..

Important! If you prefer a steel roof, remember that it will make a lot of noise during strong wind and rain. In this regard, despite the fact that the steel roof is an economical option, experts recommend abandoning it and making a choice in favor of soft materials, for example, ondulina.

House insulation from shipping containers

Thermal insulation is an integral stage in the construction of any living space. When building a house from shipping containers, this is especially important, and since the metal from which the containers are made is a good conductor of sounds, it is important to provide not only heat, but also sound insulation. The following materials can be used to insulate a house from shipping containers:

  • Mineral wool;
  • Polyurethane foam;
  • Styrofoam.

The service life of mineral wool does not exceed 10 years, after which it loses its original characteristics. Polyfoam and polyurethane foam, unlike the previous material, due to their dense structure, are mounted very quickly, and their operational life is an order of magnitude higher and is about 20 years. They have not only heat, but also sound insulating functions, which is not characteristic of mineral wool. Fastening of any of the listed materials is carried out using special glue or plastic pins. If you prefer the pins, they must be screwed into the container walls in advance. A plastic wrap is laid on top of the materials.

Interior and exterior decoration of a house from shipping containers

After you have made the insulation, on the surface of the building, install a crate made of wood or metal, on which plywood or OSB sheets will subsequently be mounted for subsequent finishing.

For the exterior decoration of the building, the following materials can be used:

  • Siding;
  • Block house;
  • Decorative plaster;
  • Natural or artificial stone;
  • Plastic.

Plastic, block house and siding are attached to a wooden crate, previously protected with varnish. Decorative and natural stone – on a primed surface using concrete or special adhesives. The plaster is applied on a flat surface using trowels of various sizes..

The interior decoration practically does not differ from the external one – insulation is mounted on the battens of the crate, which is covered with sheets of plywood or OSB. In this case, the space between the plywood sheets should be at least 1.5 cm. Subsequently, they are filled with polyurethane foam, which will prevent dust from entering the house.

Further, double-glazed windows are mounted in the window openings, preferably two-chamber.

When producing interior decoration, plywood and OSB can be replaced with drywall, which can later be revetted with paint, plaster, wallpaper and other available materials..

When decorating the ceiling, it must be remembered that its height does not exceed 2.4 meters, and, as a result, abandon multi-level ceiling structures. Experts recommend staying on a regular ceiling, finished with plasterboard, or install stretch ceilings.