The Containers Arrive

Container being lifted onto foundation

Container being lifted onto foundation

The containers arrived on December 7th 2009.  It was a bit later than I wanted, but my contractor said they wanted the ground to be frozen before they brought in their crane.  I also think they wanted to wait until after deer season was over.  They felt the containers were light enough for just nylon straps, although I would have been a bit more comfortable with chains myself.

Just a quick comment on shipping.  It was closing in on December, and I was getting a bit worried whether or not I would actually get the containers delivered before the snow really started to fall.  The Chicago based shipping company that I was referred to by my container dealer was afraid to deliver to my rural property with even a light covering of snow on the ground.  I could store the containers in Chicago over the winter for a dollar per day per container – not a bad price, but I did want to start work on the cabin as soon as possible.  Fortunately, I ended up calling a local trucking company that had lots of experience in the area.  They said they actually preferred driving on the fields that time of year since the ground was hard and relatively dry, and their trucks would not get stuck.

With a crane and a few people, the initial placement of the containers is pretty easy.

For final adjustments, large crowbars were used.  It was amazing how easy it was for a single person to precisely move these with just a crowbar.  The smooth metal plates that the corner blocks rested on probably helped a lot in this respect.

Come-alongs were used on the top and the bottom to tighten the containers together before welding them in place.

More pictures:

9 thoughts on “The Containers Arrive

  1. Derin Williams

    Wondering how much it cost to have a crane, per hour, by the day..?

    I have spent my mornings with my son this holiday weekend reading and dreaming through your blog. Thanks for putting your project out there for everyone to learn from.

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi Derin:

      I don’t exactly know what the hourly rate of the crane was. The total cost to have the crane and all the workers there that day was about $700. While hiring the crane was easy and convenient for me, there are definitely cheaper ways to do it. One option would have been to rent a rough terrain forklift for the day.

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying my blog.

      Steve

      Reply
  2. JP

    This is a great blog! Thanks for taking the time to chronicle and post this information.
    I have read many e-books and site on container houses but the one thing that seems rather crucial and is not covered very well is the treatment of the joint between the joined containers. You talked about the animal wire on the floor joint, which I think is great, but how is the joining sealed? Elastomeric caulk? Expanding foam? Did you tie the containes together or just weld them onto the plates? Did you do anything to the joint between the containers on the exterior?

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi JP:

      All of my joints are sealed with expanding foam (Great Stuff), although there are differences in how they were done. The roof was the easiest since there were already two beams welded on top between the seams for support. All I had to do for those was to just fill in the cracks with some expanding foam. There’s also an additional 2″ of spray foam that was applied on top of the roof by the contractor I hired. The floor was also taken care of by the contractor who sprayed about 3-4″ of foam between the I beams underneath containers.

      The walls joints are still a work in progress as I have only really filled them from the inside. I stuffed some foam backer rod from the inside a couple of inches between the containers to help support the expanding foam I then sprayed into the cracks. My insulation contractor then applied another 2″ of foam on top of that when he insulated the whole cabin. I still have to fill in the joints from the outside with a bit more foam though. I will then finish off the outside with a final course of foam backer rod inserted near the surface of the joint, and then top it off with some durable caulk such as OSI Quad on top. The caulk should allow me to sculpt a smooth, weatherproof, and attractive surface between the containers.

      I have seen where people have welded steel to the outside of the containers to accomplish the same thing, and in all honesty that would probably be the sturdiest option. I am not a welder however, and I’m trying not to hire anything else out, so I’m hoping this works out. I definitely will let everyone know when I do it.

      In regards to the containers being welded, they were brought together with come-alongs, welded to each other at every corner block, and then welded to each of the foundation plates.

      Hope this helps.

      Steve

      Reply
  3. Jose

    Steve:
    what is in the picture ( 7th row down, right)/. I just can’t figure it out. Something brown, either dirty or rusted.

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      I forgot I had that picture there. The smaller truck that was carrying a single container hit a deer on the way to my property – you can see the deer’s hair on the corner. It was a nice sized buck that hobbled away and a few of the guys went back with a muzzleloader (it was muzzleloader only season) to try and track it, but they never did find it.

      Steve

      Reply
  4. Nancy R

    Your web site is amazing. exactly what i have been looking for.
    Can you tell me, with your cement footings that the containers sit on, how deep into the ground do they go and are you containers 20 ft or 40 ft long. I,m going to be using 2 x 40ft one’s and also a 20ft one but in the shape of a Zed, so to speak. like so ______
    ]
    Nancy ]______

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Nancy:

      The depth of my footers is 6 feet, but that was mostly determined by the frost depth in my area. You footer depth should be determined by the frost depth in your area. I recommend that you consult someone who builds foundations in your area to come up with a suitable solution.

      Regards.

      Steve

      Reply

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