Credit ingenuity and creativity to the incredible transformations accomplished with shipping containers. One of the most ingenious feats involves the conversion of these metal, rectangular cargo movers into fully-functional homes.

Not only do these improvised dwellings allow homeowners to save money, they allow their dwellers to wax creative because of the various design possibilities. That said, if you’re thinking about turning one of these units into your own stylized living quarters, there are some all-too-common mistakes to avoid.

What Not to Do When Considering Shipping Containers for Sale as Homes

Choosing the Wrong Shipping Container

Shipping containers generally look the same at first glance. However, buyers fail to realize the variations in different types of containers. Indeed, not all of them work well as a dwelling. Some may be too large for your property or too small for the size of your family.

Buyers commonly purchase a high cube container because they consider it pretty standard. Although it looks the same as a traditional unit, it’s around a foot taller. The unexpected extra space can in turn cost you more money, both in terms of energy bills and the extra insulation required.

Assuming Used Containers Are in Good Condition

Used shipping containers help you cut costs when buying a home. However, some buyers make the mistake of buying these without even looking at them. Therefore, it is extremely important to see actual pictures of the unit you’re buying and, if possible, to see it in person. You can inspect both the interior and exterior for as long as you want to make sure it will serve your purposes as a home.

You can avoid a lot of headaches by finding a reliable dealer that offers shipping containers for sale near Seattle. Make sure they provide accurate photos and even videos of their inventory to avoid any regrets or disagreements later.

Failing to Research Local Planning Regulations

Imagine ordering a customized shipping container that’s ready to inhabit the moment it hits your driveway. Then, you find out you can’t keep it there because it doesn’t pass local ordinances and zoning laws. Avoid this disaster by researching municipal or county regulations and building codes in advance. They vary by each jurisdictional body, but you can learn more about them by visiting a local public works building in your area.

Provide the jurisdictional agency with the container’s dimensions and let it know where you plan to place the container. The governing body can provide feedback and address any red flags before your order is completed and the container set in place.

There are some ways to minimize regulations, of course. You may want to live in an area that falls out of city zoning, in which case you won’t need permits to customize your unit. Still, just to be safe, learn of any permits required for customizations well in advance of their execution.

Using the Wrong Insulation

When homebuyers order shipping containers, they often fail to account for the local climate. Never overlook your region’s climate trends. An insufficiently constructed container may lead to high energy bills and structural damage from severe weather.

If you live in warmer areas that are dry, such as Texas, you need insulation that helps retain the cool air inside a container. Not only do the walls need insulation, but so do the doors and windows. Generally, for these warmer climates, concrete block insulation serves the purpose. It works superbly for unfinished walls, but does require special skills to install. It’s recommended for moderating indoor temperatures effectively. Concrete block insulation also increases a wall’s R-value, or thermal resistance, for extra energy savings.

Turning a shipping container into a home requires substantial work and research. The more time you spend planning, the fewer complications you are likely to encounter. You can then live happily in your innovative structure for years and years. 

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