Using a shipping container for your home, office, shop or storage is a smart move. Shipping containers are cheap, tough, big and simple. By using shipping containers instead of traditional building you’ll be saving time and money and a bunch of other head-aches.
Shipping containers come in a bunch of sizes, from 10 to 40 foot in length and can be purchased from just a couple thousand dollars. There’s no shortage of them either, there are more than 20 Million shipping containers out there!
Shipping containers are built tough, designed to withstand the rough weather out at sea, high winds and endless water. They are also designed to stack high and that means they’re strong. Shipping containers also make an ideal Faraday’s cage protecting the contents and occupants from lightning bolts.
Disadvantages of Living in a Shipping Container
It’s not all good tho, steel is a conductor so don’t expect to be insulated from heat or cold too well in your shipping container home. Poor insulation then attracts moisture inside the container to condense on the thin metal walls, and that means rust.
To meet Australian government quarantine requirements, most container floors when manufactured are treated with insecticides containing copper (23–25%), chromium (38–45%) and arsenic (30–37%). Before human habitation, floors should be removed and safely disposed. – Wikipedia
Shipping containers are not built intended for human habitation, so toxic paints, solvents and even chemical cargo spills must be dealt with.
Preparing Shipping Containers for Human Habitation
Before buying the shipping container, ask to go inside it in broad daylight and have them shut the door. Don’t get scared, it’s not for long. Wait a minute or two for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and then look around for any light peeking through a hole. No light means no leaks, yay. Try and get on top of the container and check the roof, the side walls are tough, but the roof is not. There could be a lot of rust on the roof due to sitting water, so you have to check it out.
In order to make your shipping container a safe and harmless place to live, you need to invest a little. The first thing you want to do is remove the floor, it’s deadly. Then give the whole thing a really really good clean.
Now you are ready to add the secret ingredient to your shipping container home. Durabak.
Durabak’ing Your Shipping Container
We mentioned the chemicals, the rust, the moisture, the insulation and not even the ugly color – but it all gets taken care of. Durabak is a unique and easy to use paint that is perfect for shipping containers. It’s one part, so you’ll save loads of time, and it’s tough. Durabak, as used by the US Navy, will form a polyurethane membrane around the container steel. The membrane will insulate the occupants from sound and heat, protect the steel from water, acid, chemicals and UV. Durabak is also a fire retardant and environmentally friendly.
You can chose from 16 stock colors and even mix them together for a unique tint. We recommend using White Smooth Durabak 18 paint on the roof of the container, it should reflect the Sun nicely. It should also fill any small welding gaps and hairline cracks for added water resistance. You can see how to apply Durabak onto Steel here.
We hope you’ll get to enjoy your shipping container home, office, gym or whatever for many years to come with Durabak protection.