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The connection between both containers - Tiny Shipping Container House - Episode 003

It was the beginning of the building of the shipping container. From now on we needed to learn how to build things, how to use the equipments, how to film (how to use the camera gears, what you need to film for every video, how to edit videos, how to explain every single step of the building, how to organize our schedule to be possible to post a video every single Monday, how to organize our daily life (the everyday food, how to have time for family and friends…), and so on… we were starting a new life and we were really excited about that!!

Before start talking about the building of the shipping container let me explain another reason for us to have chosen a shipping container. Well, we were worried on building something from the scratch under the rain. And as we didn’t have a warehouse to build our house underneath and rains a lot in our city we decided to go with a shipping container because we thought it would be watertight since the beginning. But we were wrong.

Before I explain you why we were wrong that me explain one more thing. Remember that we said we bought one 40 feet shipping container and divided them into 2 parts? Well, to make it easier to explain things we decided to call them as shipping containers, in plural, as if they were two 20 feet shipping containers. So, we call one east container and the other one west.

Back to the reason why we were wrong. When the shipping containers arrived they were positioned on the footing we built and there was a void between them and the rain used to accumulate there. So, in order to solve this problem we needed to open a wall on the east shipping container to have access to the west container. With this part open it was easier to analyse and think about a solution for the connection between both containers. But, until we found a solution for the connection the shipping container got rain inside since day 1. After some days we started cutting the openings for doors and windows and in reality the shipping containers weren't water tight until 3 months later they arrived. That means that the idea of the shipping container be a watertight structure was not real in our case for a long time.

Back to the building process… The first step we did after cutting the wall was to add a column to support the ceiling. The walls of the shipping containers are structurals, so if you take off a big part of the wall you need to be aware about the stability of the shipping container. This was Duca’s first weld on the whole process of the shipping container building. He was really nervous and excited with this task. He was thinking for months how would be to cut and weld the shipping containers and these tasks were easier than he thought! He was sooo happy for finally start the real building of our house.

For the roof we used some pieces of the wall that we had cut to join both containers. So, we spent a whole day cutting, welding and painting.

To fix the inside parts of the joint between the containers we thought about welding some piece of metal. We could just but some screws, but we don’t want to have any drop of water inside the house we didn’t think it would be the best solution. Then we went to the store to find out what they could have to use there. We found an L shape to weld there. But the L shape needed to have a different dimension for each side, as the format of each side was different. Once again: we cut, welded and painted it.

Now that the inside parts were done, it was time to think about the outside parts. For the southern part we used pieces of the wall we had cut off. And for the northern part we used a piece of one of the L we had bought for the inside part. Now, you already know the process: cut, weld, paint.

We did one mistake. We didn’t know, but we applied polyurethane in some parts to guarantee the weld would be watertight. But when we applied it the weather was really hot, more than 30 degrees Celsius, and we shouldn’t applied it in this weather. In the end we needed to remove all the polyurethane we had applied on the top part of the connection because it was like a wet dough, it didn’t dry.

Other than this little mistake the joint is great. We don’t have any leaking through it. We are glad that we choose this solution for the connection.

Roberta