Author Topic: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.  (Read 35035 times)

Offline CandyBabyE

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2014, 07:57:06 AM »
Was trying to find your photo bucket to see more pics since a bunch seem to have been taken off this thread.  What I could see looks really cool though. 

How do we get to see the stuff on photobucket?

Offline archer

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2014, 08:51:23 AM »
nice job! looking forward to future posts.

Offline Uzi4U2

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2014, 03:49:39 PM »
CCC - Part 5 - insulation, wrap, and ceilings

With framing and electrical in, it was time for insulation.  I used paper-faced batt fiberglass that fit nicely between the 2X4 framing.  The paper faced into the room and it was relatively easy to staple it to the 2X4’s.  Of course, slits had to be made to work around the wiring, and notches cut out for the electrical boxes.  One thing that’s an oddity about container construction is the use of a vapor barrier.  Being wind and weather tight naturally, there was no need for it on the “outside” part of the framing.   No leaky drafts here!  However, there would be humidity in the air inside the cabin.  With the paper facing in to the cabin, there is some barrier, but quite enough.  If the warm interior air were to penetrate the finished wall and insulation, it would hit the cool steel and condense.  No good comes out of water running down a steel wall in an enclosed space.  To add another barrier layer, we stapled large sheets of 6mm plastic over the paper.  We over lapped the edges and used home wrap tape to seal it all up. 







Once insulation and wrap were in place, it was time to put up the finished ceiling.  We used ½” plywood sheets that I pre-stained.  I was really wasn’t looking forward to all the overhead work, and though long and hard about how to save my back.  I ended up buying a used, but practically new, hand-cranked drywall panel lift for $100 off of Craigslist.  I also used the lift to help put in the top bunk of the bunk beds.  I generally worked by myself, and by loading, raising and locking the panels to the ceiling, the lift was a godsend!  The plan was to sell the lift after this project was over, but I think we’ll keep it

A quick note on work conditions.  This project has taken about 2 years to complete.  Its not uncommon to get 104deg with 100% humidity in the summer and subfreezing temps and snow/sleet/ice in the winter in the Ozarks.  Our 17yo daughter and I moved the containers in during the hottest part of July.  Being an Eagle Scout and Marine, I’m accustomed to working outdoors in poor conditions.  However, I’d been out of the Marines for 10 years and age, conditioning and concern for my daughter dictated that we  pace ourselves and took  lots of breaks to hydrate.  We were camping on the property, but by the end of the day we were generally so exhausted (and desperately wanting some air conditioning) that we’d just go into town (20 min drive) for dinner.  Having a fire, let alone cooking over it, was way down on our list of things to do.  In the winter, I’d generally go alone.  I enjoy the solitary time with a project and radio.  Not so much my family.  When the weather got cold, I pitched a small free-standing tent in the cabin, stuffed in an air mattress and rolled out my sleeping bag.  When it got really cold, I moved a small electric heater into the tent.   With only me in a 3-person tent, there was plenty of room to safely operate the heater.  Slept like a baby every time.  The only problem is that there was so little light in the cabin, it was easy to sleep in.

Im not done writing this up, but I should give credit to the folks that helped out.  Besides our daughter, my wife also has helped.  She’s the one working in the grinder picture before.    Our 12yo son helps out where he can, mostly collecting firewood, building and tending fires, and driving the occasional screw (he helped build the bunk beds).  I also had a couple of friends come down to help pier and level the containers, prep and epoxy the floor, and put in the finish wall.  Just to show its not all work, I've added some pics below.  Many thanks to everybody, and I’ll write more tomorrow.








Offline Uzi4U2

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2014, 08:10:19 PM »
Sorry for the delay, overcome with events.  Back to build...

CCC Part 6 Interior wall finishes, flooring, stove stuff, and cabinets

With the framing, insulation, electrical rough-in, and ceilings up, it was time to finish the walls.  Just like other's on the forum, there was to be no dry wall in the cabin (lookin at your statesofmind!).  Instead we decided to go with 8" tongue & groove (T&G) knotty pine boards.  With the height we had to work with,  13 rows fit perfectly.  The small gap at the top is covered by 1X4 pine trim.  We put the T&G boards in the cabin a week before our planned install to give them time to adjust to the local humidity.  With a buddy and a couple of heavy brad nailers, we got it them installed in a day.  The next day we polyurathaned the walls.  Trim was going to have to wait until we cabinets, bunk beds, and the closet were put in. 

With the walls up, it was time for flooring.  Another buddy and put down a snap-lock laminate floor that mimics scrapped hardwood.  Again we put them in the cabin a week ahead of the install.  Yet another buddy helped me put the flooring down in a day.  The laminate looks good and should be durable for a good long time. 



For a wood stove, we bought the smallest model available from Northern Tool.  Normally, I wouldn't advocate this model as its small and somewhat inefficient.  However, for the sqft we needed to heat, the insulation and airtight space, small footprint, and infrequent use it would get, it fit the bill.  Even though the stove's footprint was small, it sticks out into the room a good 4 feet.  To safely reduce the distance to between the wall and back of the stove, we needed to create a non-flammable barrier with a minimum 1-inch air gap to another non-flammable wall covering.  We screwed cement board to the framing, then screwed a second layer of  cement board to it using 1" sections of pipe (cut-off's we bought cheap from the local metal shop) to create the necessary air gap.  Over this we put on tile that looked like a stone wall.  To protect the floor from errant sparks, we put down tile (over more cement board) that closely matches the laminate. 



We had previously left a gap in the ceiling framing, insulation and plywood covering to fit a ceiling support for the stove chimney.  Word of advice, buy ALL your chimney components at the same time from the same store.  Even if you have to take things back later and get a refund, it will be worth it.  Not all components will fit from different manufacturers and you'll save yourself considerable time and headaches getting it all at once.  Ask me how I know.... >:(

Having cut out an appropriate sized hole in the roof, we slipped the ceiling support in and screwed it in place.  From the top of the stove to the top of the chimney is 10ft straight up.  First we placed the interior single-wall pipe into place and secured each section with three self-tapping screws at each joint.  Next we moved up to the roof to put in the exterior double-wall pipe.  This pipe is stainless steel, has insulation between the walls, and twist locks into the ceiling support.  Needless to say, its fairly expensive so were glad we only needed one section.  On top of the pipe goes a spark arrester / rain cap.  There are two rings that need to go around the exterior chimney.  The first ring is about 8" tall and goes around the base and acts like flashing to the roof.  Since the roof is made of corregated steel, we had to use a pair of tin snips to match the profile.  We then used high-temp caulk to seal the gaps.  The second ring is about 3" tall and clamped a couple of inches above the top of the  first ring and gets more of the high-temp caulk as well.  This acts like an umbrella for the first rings seal to the chimney.  We probably could have gotten away without this second ring, but its cheap insurance against a leaky roof. 

One thing we had to accomadate for was the flex in the corragated roof.  As we moved around the chimney, we noticed the roof kept pulling away from the flashing. To minimize the flex caulked what we could reached from a ladder and did the rest at arms length while laying down on the roof.  By laying down we distributed our weight out like they tell you to do on thin ice.  We got it all sealed up but it's something we have to be aware of whenever we go up on the roof. 

Firing up a brand new stove can be an exciting and stinky time.  The oils from manufacturing and paint need to burn off/in.  I was very grateful to get some advice to do the first burn outside, clean it out, then take it in for permanent placement. 



Part 7 will be cabinets, beds, and other furnishings.


endurance

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2014, 05:37:52 AM »
Another great post.  Thanks for the detailed descriptions.

Offline EricM313

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2014, 09:12:50 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to detail this build!  I have always been fascinated by shipping container houses.  Now that it is done, are you glad you did this vs. a traditional stick-built house?  In my naivety I sort of assumed you just plopped a shipping container down and moved on in.  But obviously it is still a TON of work to make it a nice living space.  $500 for two shipping containers seems like an extremely good deal, I thought they were thousands.  Do you know if that is a fairly normal price, or did you work a huge deal?  I could see some great use for two of those just for storing stuff!

Offline gopack84

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2014, 11:25:46 AM »
I've also really enjoyed the detailed postings in this thread. Lots of good information to digest and think about and nice that it's all first hand instead of the "I heard XXX works great, you should do that." Thanks for taking the time to document this as it looks like you had plenty of work just doing it without the added bit of showing all of us how it was coming along. Looks awesome. 8)

Offline statesofmind

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2014, 12:17:56 PM »
Statesofmind, I read your bus and cabin threads last night.  Way cool!  You make more progress on your project than I can even imagine.  And the quality is over the top.  Somehow you've found the right balance of working on the structures and working on the land.  My tiny little plot (2.5 acres) is miniscule comparitively and I struggle with balancing the need for the two.  Also gotta find time for the wife, 19yo and 12yo to have fun.  Unfortunately, none of them find "working" on the cabin or land fun like I do.

That is a big compliment!  Thanks so much.  As far as the time and productivity... I'm just blowing off my regular job more and more. ;)  Eventually, I'm going to move to this cabin permanently and then the real fun will begin.  Still a year or two away!  I am looking hard for a used container right now because I will use it as a storage barn/shop.  I have a perfect spot for one and I LOVE what you have accomplished here!   More pics please!

Offline Uzi4U2

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2014, 07:49:51 PM »
Sorry for the delay, life stuff holding up progress as usual. 

I do need to add a correction to something I said earlier.  The delivery charge was $500 for both containers, not the price of the containers.  The containers were $2400 ea.  Total cost of ownership to get them to my lot was $5300.  Sorry for the confusion.

I managed to get back to the cabin right after Christmas and installed the closet (1ft deep by 5ft long, did I mention its a SMALL cabin?   :) ), then finished up the ceiling and baseboard trim.  I poly'ed the 1X4 8" trim at home just took my miter saw, pancake compressor, and brad nailer with maximize my onsite time.  The only thing left is a few shelves in the closet , and some outside outlets that will wait until spring.  Below is the picture I took with it all done. 



One other thing I added to the cabin was an improvised antenna.  Its just a piece of wire with an alligator clip on one end for the radio and a snap swivel on the other end for the mast.  The mast is a telescopic pole for flying banners.  I use some welding magnets with a hole in the middle to hold the mast up against the container.  When I'm ready to stow the antenna, I just collapse it, pull the magnets off, secure it to the inside part of the container, and shut the door.  I fished the wire between the containers by poking it through the seal I made earlier.  The wire stays attached to the mast when collapsed and feeds under the rubber gasket on the door.  Takes longer to tell you about it than to to deploy or stow it.  Here's a cruddy pic of it in action in the little bit of snow we got.



This is really just Phase 1 of a larger project.  Phase 1.5 will be a shed/temporary outdoor shower this summer. Phase 2 will be two more containers for a bunk house and permanent proper bathroom (toilet w/septic system, indoor shower, and sink) and storage. Phase 2.5 will be a deck for the aforementioned containers w/permanent outdoor shower (temp shower hardware will get re-purposed here and shed turned into a proper shed/ generator shack). Phase 3 will see a metal roof / carport placed over all 4 containers for sun shade and additional protection from the wet. Phase 4 is a 20X24 concrete pad with an up-slope retaining wall between the two sets of containers. being between the container sets, it will also be under the roof/carport. We'll use this covered space for a picnic table and outdoor kitchen. We probably wont have all this finished until 2017, time and funding driving the schedule.

I'll be submitting a show suggestion to Jack.  Maybe we'll hear me on a podcast one of these days. 

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2014, 08:05:35 PM »
I'll be submitting a show suggestion to Jack.  Maybe we'll hear me on a podcast one of these days.
And it'll be a good show!  I'm looking forward to it already.  Thanks for posting everything so far, and keep'em coming.  It's really inspiring to see a success like this, especially for those of us who are still saving and dreaming toward our own BOLs. 

Offline Bubafat

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2014, 09:09:51 PM »
Amazing build but what keeps some sicko from locking you IN your house by closing/locking the container doors?

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #41 on: December 30, 2014, 08:41:54 AM »
Amazing build but what keeps some sicko from locking you IN your house by closing/locking the container doors?

Oh Crap, I didn't think of that.  Just the thought of something like that happening would be enough to keep my wife from staying in it.

Offline Uzi4U2

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2014, 08:58:16 AM »
Great question!  When we open the cabin we put the locks back on the latches in the 'open' position.  The doors wont latch without all four latches in the  proper position.  Anyone looking to lock us in would have to cut the locks, shut the doors, then add their own locks.  At the same time, they would have to do the same thing at the back of the cabin where the second set of doors and large bay window (ie, secondary fire egress) is located by the master bed.  The wife has mentioned using a chain to lock one the front doors to the porch rail, and we may add that in the spring. 

We had thought to add an escape hatch in the floor that's locked from inside.  However, with the floor supports spaced 1 ft apart, none of us would be able to fit!  In an ideal situation, we would have cut the floor, removed a section from several floor supports, welded in a box frame, and added the hatch.  At the end of the day, we decided with the locks and two points of entry/egress, the hatch wasn't necessary.  A hatch in the roof was deemed too much of a risk to the weather/water tight integrity.

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2014, 09:19:22 AM »
Great question!  When we open the cabin we put the locks back on the latches in the 'open' position.  The doors wont latch without all four latches in the  proper position.  Anyone looking to lock us in would have to cut the locks, shut the doors, then add their own locks.  At the same time, they would have to do the same thing at the back of the cabin where the second set of doors and large bay window (ie, secondary fire egress) is located by the master bed.  The wife has mentioned using a chain to lock one the front doors to the porch rail, and we may add that in the spring. 

We had thought to add an escape hatch in the floor that's locked from inside.  However, with the floor supports spaced 1 ft apart, none of us would be able to fit!  In an ideal situation, we would have cut the floor, removed a section from several floor supports, welded in a box frame, and added the hatch.  At the end of the day, we decided with the locks and two points of entry/egress, the hatch wasn't necessary.  A hatch in the roof was deemed too much of a risk to the weather/water tight integrity.

Good plan, but I would be more comfortable sleeping at night if I had motion detectors that would go off to alert me that someone is in the area. 

Offline mactexas

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2015, 07:45:21 PM »
I linked to this thread because of today's podcast. In your introduction you say you are close to a corps of engineer lake. Would that be Truman Lake? The reason I ask is because my family owned 80 acres of property near Warsaw on the road that went over the dam. I really like that area of the Ozarks. Unfortunately the property was sold in 2000 after owning it for 45 years.

Offline Mike Centex

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2015, 09:53:26 PM »
I really enjoyed your interview with Jack. I learned a lot!  I Have been considering getting a container for storage but I'm in TX so the heat may damage my contents without substantial insulation added.   I can see how much work you've put into the project and it looks great.  It's even better when you can bring the whole family in on the project.   I think you are both correct, burying one is not a great idea.

Best of luck to you and family!

Michael

Offline John Doe

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2015, 10:26:37 PM »
 :popcorn:

nice!

Offline blacktalon606

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2015, 07:22:21 AM »
So, what would you say the total cost of this project was not including land?

Offline Rodent

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2015, 10:39:00 AM »
Enjoyed yesterdays episode. Where did you purchase the tongue and groove knotty pine used on the walls? I am having a tough time finding it locally in Florida.

Offline Carl

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2015, 01:09:57 PM »
I bought some popcorn so I can see more of this. Containers were a common place to live when I lived in New Orleans and I want to keep up with this project.   :popcorn:

Offline suzysurvivor

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2015, 02:17:36 PM »
incredible!

Offline Carl

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #51 on: January 30, 2015, 02:20:51 PM »
incredible!

I like your street clothes....

Offline suzysurvivor

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #52 on: January 30, 2015, 08:29:57 PM »
I like your street clothes....
well, you know..you need a fur coat in Maine. :P

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #53 on: January 31, 2015, 08:15:10 AM »
Uzi, I just finished the episode.  Great job man, and hats off to you and your family.  I learned a lot – probably that I don't want to undertake a container cabin, but if I ever do it's great to have the path blazed.  Thanks.

Offline reconprepper

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #54 on: February 01, 2015, 12:27:02 PM »
uzi just listened to the show and looked up the pics on here.
Question for you........do you have to put those post in the middle to support the roof?
What if I had traditional trusses built and installed outside to sit on top of the shipping containers. Could I get rid of the post you have then?????
I really like the openness but not found of having the post in the middle of a room where the two shipping containers meet.
Thanks so much for being on the show.

Offline raginrick

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #55 on: February 01, 2015, 11:37:17 PM »
Awesome podcast episode and it's great to see the pics. Keep up the good work. Very valuable info given out. Made me second guess a container.

Offline Uzi4U2

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2015, 02:30:32 PM »
Hi guys. Sorry for the delay in answering all your questions.  Work has been busier than ever, a high-class problem for sure.  Thank you all for your kind words.  This has been a project I've looked forward to for years, and God willing, we'll enjoy it for generations.

To answer some questions:

I linked to this thread because of today's podcast. In your introduction you say you are close to a corps of engineer lake. Would that be Truman Lake? The reason I ask is because my family owned 80 acres of property near Warsaw on the road that went over the dam. I really like that area of the Ozarks. Unfortunately the property was sold in 2000 after owning it for 45 years.

Yep, Truman, not too far from Warsaw.  No lake-front property, but the cost is so much less, its truly affordable.  Not to mention family is next door and about 1/2 mile away.

So, what would you say the total cost of this project was not including land?

We have probably $8-10k in it without the land.  Comes out to about $27 - $33 per sqft.  Not bad at all compared to stick built home price, but not great compared to a prefab shed/cabin.  This is one of the reasons that I say I'd have to really think hard about doing a container cabin again.  Also, there's no plumbing, so no kitchen or bath.  Yeah, we have counters and cabinets, a small fridge, microwave, and hot plate.  The next project is two more containers placed 24" feet away.  Not connected, but next two each other on line with the current two.  One will be a bunkhouse (queen bed, bunk beds, small counter/table) and the other will be a bathhouse/storage.  The thought is to then cover all four containers and the 20'X24' space in between with a metal roof. the space in between will become an outdoor kitchen/patio/outdoor den.  The metal roof will shade it all, provide rain catchment, and a place to mount lights and ceiling fans over the patio.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd probably go with 2 40' set next to each other but with a 3' space in between.  Put in a floor between them, and block off one end.  Cut 20' of side wall out of both on the opposite end of the blocked off end.  This would give a 20X20 living room & kitchen w/bar counter on one end.  The flooring that was put between the containers becomes a hallway down the end that still has sidewalls.  Put up stud walls perpendicular to the sidewalls and you could get a decent 3 bedrooms and 1 bath out of  760sqft.  Not huge, but not a step up from what we have now.  Insulate the crud out of the exterior walls, and metal roof over the whole thing.  Something like this



Here's another design I came up with. 5 containers with attached garages designed for sloped property.  First 2 containers (basement) are in a 'T' shape.  20' at the top of the T, 40 on the riser of the T section.  Not buried, but placed in a dug out (ie, soil not touching the container).  Top  3 containers shaped in a 'U'.  Open end of the U over the bottom 20'ft at the top of the T.  Floor joist over the riser of the T for the floor in between the sides of the U.  Main living space and kitchen goes here.  Container area in the sides of the U would be bedrooms, bathroom, storage etc....  Bottom of the U is the main entryway, storage, and stairs to the bottom of the T container.  Top of the 'T is a workshop/garage for ATV/UTV's.  Riser of the T is storage and maybe a strong room.



Last design is if I hit the lottery.   :D




Enjoyed yesterdays episode. Where did you purchase the tongue and groove knotty pine used on the walls? I am having a tough time finding it locally in Florida.

Got it at Home Depot.

uzi just listened to the show and looked up the pics on here.
Question for you........do you have to put those post in the middle to support the roof?
What if I had traditional trusses built and installed outside to sit on top of the shipping containers. Could I get rid of the post you have then?????
I really like the openness but not found of having the post in the middle of a room where the two shipping containers meet.
Thanks so much for being on the show.

Yeah, the posts are to support the roof.  The sidewalls provide rigidity and some support for the box beam above.  Without the sidewalls, the beams sag.  The easy way to fix it is with beams.  The harder (and better IMHO) would be to weld rectangular tube steel on edge the length of container.  Its what they guy at http://www.tincancabin.com/ did and looks really good.

Offline SusanG

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Re: A Shipping Container Cabin That Actually Got Built.
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2015, 02:12:50 PM »
Just stumbled across this and thought I'd post it here, for inspiration:

http://aetherforce.com/10-epic-homes-built-from-2000-shipping-containers/