Shipping Containers: How to Modify It The Right Way

Nick Karvounis |

Modified shipping containers offer a cost-effective, flexible alternative to building traditional office buildings and other structures. They are also durable and easy to transport. However, they require special care to maintain their structural integrity. It is particularly important if the container will be used for housing or other living purposes.

Choosing the Right Location

Shipping containers are made to endure severe weather and safeguard their contents while being transported by land and water. These same sturdy qualities make them ideal for use as building materials for commercial or residential structures. Whether you’re looking to add a backyard bar and grill for entertaining, a workshop where you can work on woodworking projects, or a man cave or she-shed where you can relax and enjoy a hobby, modified shipping containers are a cost-effective and reliable solution. However, there are some things you should keep in mind when choosing and caring for your container-based structure.

Your modified shipping container’s location is critical to its long-term stability and maintenance. Ideally, it would help if you place your container on a solid surface, such as asphalt or concrete. A flat foundation will help prevent the container from sinking and ensure moisture doesn’t seep through the bottom. If you plan to add plumbing to your modified shipping container, it’s important to have a professional install it. It is because the process involves cutting into the walls of the container, which requires the expertise of a qualified engineer to ensure safety and integrity.

Adding Ventilation

When modifying a shipping container, you must add ventilation. It can prevent musty odors and promote air circulation. It is especially important if you are storing items for an extended period. In addition, ventilation is necessary if you use the container as a living space. Ventilation is crucial for health reasons and for preventing condensation and rust. There are various ways to add ventilation to a modified shipping container. One way is to install a window or man door on the side of the container. 

Ventilation is also important if you use the shipping container as storage space for sensitive items or equipment. For example, lawn or athletic equipment are not typically susceptible to temperature changes but require adequate ventilation. Ventilation is also a necessity for containers that contain flammable substances or chemicals. Without proper ventilation, these items can create poisonous fumes that are difficult to remove once formed. In addition to adding ventilation, consider installing insulation to reduce heat transfer and noise.

Adding Insulation

The structure must be insulated if you’re looking to turn a shipping container into a home. It is essential to keep the temperature stable, reduce energy costs, and ensure a comfortable living environment. Insulation can be added in various ways, including laying down roll insulation, ply-lining or spray foam. The best option depends on the climate of your container house and what it will be used for. For example, a storage container will need different insulation than a workplace or living space. When adding insulation, you should take the time to plan out how the structure will be constructed. For example, if you’re using one or more shipping containers to create a single-container home, you should use a wall and ceiling insulation method that doesn’tdoesn’t require framing. It will make the process faster and simpler. Spray foam insulation is a wonderful option since it is simple to use and can be trimmed to match any size wall or ceiling in your container home. It also provides a tight seal that prevents air leakage and helps keep your home cooler and quieter. In addition, it’s a great option for protecting your container from harsh weather elements. 

Adding Structural Reinforcement

Modified shipping containers are used for various purposes, from housing to office spaces, warehouses, etc. While these structures are incredibly versatile, it’s important to make sure that any modifications done don’t compromise the container’scontainer’s strength. To ensure this, working with an expert manufacturer with the skills and experience needed to reinforce a shipping container after making any changes is a good idea. When a shipping container is modified for use as a home, the addition of windows and doors may require framing with steel bars. These bars need to be welded securely to the container’s walls and extend from the bottom of the window or door to the upper rail of the container. It will prevent the walls from sagging or collapsing in the future.

In addition, if a container is being buried underground for use as a bunker or storm shelter, it must be reinforced from the inside out. While shipping containers are designed to hold a great deal of weight and are built to be stacked, they are not designed to withstand significant pressure from the side and top. Without proper reinforcement, the thin walls of the shipping container will cave under pressure and risk crushing anyone or anything underneath it. To reinforce a shipping container for burial, weld vertical steel beams across the entire interior. These steel posts should be spaced two to three feet apart and extend from the container’s floor to the upper rail.

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