To date, our most viewed Youtube video is “Thinglish Shipping Container Home Tour” with over a quarter of a million views.

The video generates a lot of interest and comments and we do our best to reply to them all. There are however, 3 burning questions that get asked more than any others. So, we will take this opportunity to answer them here and on our new follow up video “2 Years Living in a Shipping Container Home – Q&A”.

  1. How many shipping containers did you use for your build?
  2. How much did you shipping container home cost to build?
  3. Do shipping containers homes get hot inside?

 

Let’s take these questions one at a time:

  1. How Many Shipping Containers Did You Use for Your Build?

We used 4 shipping containers in our house design. View our short video below.

 

  1. How Much Did Your Shipping Container Home Cost to Build?

We have one 20ft shipping container on our 2 rai (approximately 1 acre) property separate to the house and we use it for secure storage. That cost us 38k Baht ($1100 or 900UKP)

For the house we purchased three 40ft containers that were modified to our spec and we got a little change from 200k Baht each. Modifications included windows and doors cut away and prepared for installing, well… windows and doors. One container has the entire wall cut away (I think they should have given me that shipping container half price). They were also spray-painted orange on all the exterior walls and roof.

We also have a 20ft shipping container that rests at a right angel to the others, that was also modified, and we use it as the kitchen. The cost… 130k Baht.

The total cost for the four shipping containers we used for the house came in at 723k Baht ($23k USD = 17k UKP)

The Short Answer to How Much to Buy a Shipping Container?

  • 20 ft as is – 38K
  • 40 ft modified – 200k
  • 20ft modified – 130k
  • All prices in Thai Baht.

 

Transporting shipping containers

Transport from Bangkok to Trat cost us a total of 40k Baht for 4 trucks. The two 20 footers came together!

The rest of the costs are in line with any conventional construction. We didn’t have a budget, so we don’t have a final figure. You can kit a shipping container home out to your tastes and budget. Obviously doing things in Thailand are considerably cheaper than in the US, UK or Australia.

We have the house resting on around 20 piers and to have them built cost in the region of 150k Baht.

We had extensive metalwork to bridge the gap between two 40 footers to create more space and a deck built on the back of the house. The roof deck also had extensive metalwork supporting a concrete roof.

All floors were laid and tiled, ceilings and walls were insulated with fire retardant foam spray, all the interior was painted throughout. Electric wiring was installed behind the walls, plumbing runs underneath the house. We had a fitted kitchen installed and tiled the walls. We designed an en-suite bathroom complete with tub, shower, toilet and washbasin all from Morgan. Our second toilet is also from Morgan and had a built-in wash basin. All windows and doors were custom made.

Other costs incurred were for a security system and light fixture and fittings etc.

Outside we also have 2 septic tanks, one for each toilet, a grey water system and two water storage tanks and a pump. We also had additional roofs above the containers to shade the house below and save the rain fall. Across two 40ft containers we constructed a deck.

All the landscaping after construction I did myself. I’m useless at DIY but enjoy getting my hands dirty in the garden.

Recently we have added a roof and staircase to the decked area and an additional cost of around 150k Baht. It was a great space to stargaze at night but in the day, it was simply to hot up there. Now the stairs provide easy access and the roof has created a beautiful space to chill in a hammock or on our oversize bean bags. We also have some furniture for working or dining on and a short golf green to practice my putting.

We also had a new custom made aluminium back door and windows built and installed as we just didn’t like the original ones we had. The cost was 115k Baht.

So along with all the usual costs of construction came labor, an ‘engineer’, a crane to lift and site the containers into position and another piece of heavy plant to pull the crane out of the mud.

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  1. Do Shipping Containers Homes Get Hot Inside?

Before we started living in a shipping container or even started to implement project, we asked the same question. So, we designed the house with the temperature in Thailand in mind.

We built the house about half a meter above ground. This allows for good airflow beneath the house. The tiled floors inside and always cool and our dog, Taxi loves this… Woof!

We had all the walls and ceiling insulated with a foam spray. We did that when the shipping containers were all open to the elements but even so, we noticed the drop in temperature immediately.

We purposely had lots of doors and big windows and many of them are open throughout the day. This creates a good airflow around the house, keeping the interior cool.

The atrium has no windows, just a series of screens. This allows the rising heat to easily escape.

Outside the house we planted many trees with a view of shading the house as they grew to maturity. Now, over two years later and the plants are providing lots of shade, a very pleasant atmosphere and beautiful green spaces to enjoy.

The recent addition of the new roof above the deck, keeps the house in more shade as does the original roofs above other parts of the house.

Another thing you may want to consider for keep a shipping container house from getting to hot (or cold in different climates) is exterior cladding. However, we like the aesthetic of the shipping containers so didn’t go down this route.

We also have air conditioning in the office and bedroom which we’ve only used when temperatures start hovering around 40 degrees Celsius during the hot season.

So, in conclusion if you design and build with some forth sight, there is no real reason to live in an oven and I’m pleased to say our grand experiment payed off for us.

We answer more of your questions and queries in our latest video. Click below to view. It includes:

  • Any plans for putting solar panels on the roof for electricity?
  • Do shipping container homes need a foundation?
  • Do shipping container homes need a roof?
  • Do shipping container homes need planning permission?
  • How to insulate a shipping container home?
  • How to heat and cool a shipping container home?
  • What would we do differently?

 

Have you built or are you planning to build a shipping container home? Let us know in the comments below.

Your Questions about Living in a Shipping Container Home

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