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How to make a Floating Shipping Container Home

Three years ago I wrote a post titled How to Buy, Design and Build your own Shipping Container Home.

Shipping containers, for those who are unfamiliar, are large steel containers that are placed on large ships for transoceanic journeys and also on to trains and flatbed trucks, thus allowing companies to ship lots of goods from Point A to Point B to Point C using different methods of transportation, but without having to remove the goods from the shipping container because the container itself is swapped from ship to train to truck.

The containers are also in abundance, making them afordable to buy one and they can be used to make surprisingly affordable homes by stacking them together, welding them together, cutting windows out of them, and so forth. The process of building a shipping container home saves on a lot of the expenses compared to buying a normal home.

Today I am going to do something similar... except we are going to be looking at Floating Homes. Building a houseboat makes some good economical sense as you don't necessarily have to worry about buying land, instead you just need a boat, a place to potentially dock your houseboat, and you need to make sure the thing floats.

So lets start with some images so you know what I am talking about better - so pay attention Do-It-Yourselfers, this is a DIY project worth considering.

A Few Tips for Building your own Shipping Container Houseboat
  • You have to be doubly sure your home will float.
  • You have to design it in a way that it will stay stable - even if it were to suddenly weigh more on one side of the houseboat, you want a system devised so that it stays stable and afloat.
  • The shipping container is not going to float by itself. You need to build a raft capable of supporting it. This raft should be capable of supporting the weight of the shipping container, but a lot more weight just to be certain.
  • Just because the shipping container is one specific shape, doesn't mean the final shape of your houseboat needs to be a giant rectangular box - instead find ways to add triangles and curves to the shape of the architecture. Make it more interesting.
  • Want a bigger home? Just get two shipping containers and make the raft twice the size.
  • Want a really big home? Get four or more shipping containers and add a courtyard to the middle of the square.
  • Try to build it close to where you plan to launch it. Makes it easier to transport to the launch site if it already nearby.
  • Find a lake that is known to be calm - you wouldn't want a place known for its turbulent waves.
  • Remember to figure out how much space you need for your water filtration system, sources of electricity (solar, wind, gas generator, etc), and anything else you need.
  • Include extra space for "unknown" as you might end up needing something else in the future and lack the appropriate storage space for it. If you end up not needing it, good, it is just extra storage space that you can use for whatever.
  • Design it in a manner so that you can possibly expand it in the future.
  • Remember some parts of the structure may require maintenance, and it needs to be designed in a manner that makes it easier to maintain.

Good luck!

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