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You have a great idea. You are going to transform a cargo container into your workshop, cabin or home. You can visualize what it will look like. But before you start cutting up a container, here is some information on how containers are made to make sure you are making the most out of your container.
Design - Containers are designed to filled, then stacked on ships, then removed. Containers hold all their weight in the floor of the container and the four corner posts. Those corner posts are what the cranes connect to when moving full containers around. These corner posts are slightly higher than the roof and slightly lower than the floor of the container.
What this means for you – When you stack containers, make sure that you always have corner posts resting on corner posts. If you can’t do this, make sure those corner posts have extra support. Also, do not remove these corner posts unless you have designed to support the container in another way.
Walls and Roofs
Design – Containers are made of corrugated steel. The walls and roofs are made of the same material. The walls support the roof of the container.
What this means for you – You can cut holes for doors and windows in the side of containers. But just make sure you don’t remove the whole side of a container without providing support for the roof. Also, the roof is not strong enough to handle heavy loads. If you are planning on burying the container or making a balcony on top of a container, make sure you create a platform that distributes the weight back to the four corner posts.
Design – Container doors are attached to corner posts.
What this means to you – They work well they way they are designed. If you want a different type of entry, add extra doors on the other 3 sides of the container.
Design – Standard containers are made of corten steel and are not insulated. Refrigerator containers are steel containers with insulation and an interior wall added onto the container. The insulation used is loose between the walls. Also, refrigerated/insulated containers are generally sold with cooling units still included.
What this means to you – If you are looking for a container that is insulated, the first big question to ask yourself is if you are going to modify the container further. If you are, the standard containers will be much easier to work with. Once you cut into an insulated container, you will have a mess on your hands and the insulation will be reduced. Instead, go with a standard container, make your modifications to suit your needs and then frame the container like you would a traditional home. You will lose the same amount of container width as you would with a refrigerated container, but will skip a large headache.
For more questions on do-it-yourself modifications, please call us!