onehundredoctane New Reader
1/29/14 1:35 p.m.

Newly married, my wife and I have been house hunting for the past few months. Not satisfied with what I've been seeing in the housing market, most houses seem to have either a great garage and small house, or large house and small garage. Being the type of person to have multiple projects going on at once a small garage won't suffice. I spoke with a friend who has a 1,500 sq. ft. shop with 20 ft ceilings to clear his lifts and with concrete, pre-fabbed metal building he assembled and wired himself, he still managed to spend over $25,000

Determined to maximize my dollar per sq ft, I've decided to start planning out my garage so that when my wife and I finally acquire some property I will already have the planning out of the way and all that will need to be done is to start putting together the garage.

I've seen some cool things done with shipping containers, yes the 40 ft shipping containers you see on freight ships.

While cruising the internet I've found tons of ideas for creating a garage out of shipping container. In fact, it's almost like a Goldilocks and the three bears story. Too small. . .

Too damn big and impractical (for the kind of land we're looking at). . .

But then I started stumbling upon better looking more practical ideas.

Then I had a thought, haven't I seen a shipping container garage a while back? It wasn't in person, but on tv or somewhere. . . Oh yeah, Tron Legacy! That's more like it! and while this rendering and the movie made it seem like the ground level was 20 ft containers with 40 ft containers up top, I would be more interested in a 40x40 if possible. This would maximize sq ft and create area for more than working on cars, after all a garage really is a man cave!

Hey, now we're talking! Maybe not so much on the sliding glass doors and such, but getting closer!

Since we are still in search of a house at this point I obviously haven't started on building this thing, BUT I have started to lay out floor plans with ideas and pricing out containers, etc. The more planning I do now, the less will have to be done when we finally find a house!

Updates to come, comment away with your thoughts!

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/29/14 2:00 p.m.

It's not that cheap, containers need insulation or they get insanely hot inside. I think a "quonset" style hut would be cheaper and easier...or if the garage doesn't need its own security and doesn't have to face harsh weather, a tent-style one could do.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
1/29/14 2:06 p.m.

There's a small shipping container garage used by some dude for his Miata floating around the forums... i'll try to find it. Very cool.

The garage/home/awesomeness from Tron haunts my dreams.

Lof8 GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/29/14 2:11 p.m.

This looks very cool. I'm in for more updates. However, with some of those examples you posted, I bet the price tags are approaching, if not over your friend's $25k cost.

onehundredoctane New Reader
1/29/14 3:55 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH:

No doubt, I can imagine it would be hard to breathe inside one of those on a very hot day. HVAC and insulation are a must in any situation tho.

In reply to Lof8:

The one thing I'm banking on is being able to buy multiple containers at a better price than what they normally go for each. Normal going rate for a 40 ft is $3,000 easy, but I've stumbled upon a few places that have them "scratched and dented" if you will, for under $2,800. Considering I'll be cutting at least 1 if not 2 sides out of a couple of these, the exterior condition doesn't matter as much to me as the structural integrity.

I should also mention that my father has been in commercial construction for 30+ years, and my father in law has been in residential construction for just as long. Framing out the inside would be cost effective in the sense I won't have to pay someone else to do it. I also have access to a plasma cutter, torches and welders so knocking out walls, making doorways and window openings on the containers will only cost my labor.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/29/14 4:00 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: It's not that cheap, containers need insulation or they get insanely hot inside. I think a "quonset" style hut would be cheaper and easier...or if the garage doesn't need its own security and doesn't have to face harsh weather, a tent-style one could do.

Bury it.

onehundredoctane New Reader
1/29/14 4:11 p.m.

I drew these up this past weekend.

Windows upstairs aren't a must, but I thought it was a cool idea, free up some day light.

bluej GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/29/14 4:11 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
GameboyRMH wrote: It's not that cheap, containers need insulation or they get insanely hot inside. I think a "quonset" style hut would be cheaper and easier...or if the garage doesn't need its own security and doesn't have to face harsh weather, a tent-style one could do.
Bury it.

Hmmmmm.... Buried container also as foundation for a stick framed room above. Intriguing.

onehundredoctane New Reader
1/29/14 4:34 p.m.

^Using containers as a basement / foundation would be awesome. Not possible on my budget lol, but these containers will hold a ton of weight!

I've given extensive thought to the fact that there would be 1,600 sq ft upstairs, and a great place to store cars that I'm not currently able to work on. As mentioned earlier, my friends 1,500 sq ft shop was around $25,000 that's before he installed his dyno, 4 post lift, and 2 post lift. A lift wouldn't be an immediate need, and could be added to my garage after a while. I've already searched for a 4 post lift that would go high enough to put a car on the second floor.

This option maxes at 12 feet, and max capacity of 7,000 lbs. However I haven't been able to find a price online for this one yet.

Another option would be this, also designed to park RVs under, this one priced around $5,000 also has a capacity of 7,000 lbs.

jgrewe New Reader
1/29/14 7:15 p.m.

Keep concrete to a minimum and you can do it cheap. You can easily have as much in concrete as the rest of the building when doing a metal building. I used to have 4 40' containers that I used for storage. Get the 9' tall ones if you can, that extra foot comes in handy. I usually paid around $1500 for the containers but that was 10 years ago. Once they get rust holes in them, they pull them out of service.

kevlarcorolla HalfDork
1/29/14 7:17 p.m.

These containers don't hold much weight if the sides cut outa them so plan accordingly,a half hour north of here(nowhere Ontario)some clown developer built a 3 story 6 plex with them.They were hoisting them up complete and then welders were torching the required doorways etc,as it got taller they decided it would be way easier to cut the holes on the ground 1st.It buckled in half on the way up.

As a carpenter for nearly 3 decades you need to think very carefully about moisture control if your temps go down into the freezing zone at all.Where the insulation is in relation to the steel will minimize the condensation and problems(think keep the steel warm)which means building walls around the exterior to hold the insulation and wall finish to protect said insulation.That means if you want to spruce up the inside with drywall or whatever now or down the road your also building a wall to hold that and to run the wiring.

I fail to see how these can be cheaper/easier to build,ya don't need a crane to stand up a wood wall and you only gotta build one wall to accomplish all goals.

Having said that they are cool if its just for an industrial look fashion statement in a warm climate.

bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/29/14 9:01 p.m.

Not to be a buzz killer but beware of building codes and bylaws. We are no longer allowed shipping containers unless they have a concrete foundation. And if you cut a hole in one you need a structural engineer to sign off on it.

onehundredoctane New Reader
1/29/14 9:20 p.m.

Structural integrity will be taken into place. I've started by working on floor plans for the ground level. With wanting to remove the inside facing walls of the shipping containers on the ground level, the material removed will have to be replaced with supports. These supports will need to be of the same wall thickness and size of the beams that make up the corners of the containers. Concerning cold temps, living in North Carolina the winter temps are usually so so. I think this winter has been the worst I can remember with temps in the last few weeks occasionally getting below 20-30 degrees.

THE BELOW PIC IS NOT A FINISHED DESIGN. I'm constantly adding and moving stuff around on this floor plan.

edwardh80 New Reader
2/1/14 11:43 a.m.

Any limitations to the size block you are considering? I am in a very similar situation to you; newly married, no garage but wanting one, and have contemplated the very same ideas. I only have a 30' wide block. I'm thinking a little over 20 feet would be ideal for me (can't go right to the boundary line), but do sea containers come slightly longer than the standard 20'?

If I may make a suggestion, would you not want the lift to be away from the back wall so you can easily get around the back of the lift, between the back wall and the lift? I realise this is just an early idea, so carry on. Good luck, I will be watching!

Sky_Render Dork
2/1/14 12:07 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: The garage/home/awesomeness from Tron haunts my dreams.

If I was a terminal bachelor, I'm pretty sure I'd be living in a pad exactly like that. But with Mustangs and pickup trucks instead of crotch rockets.

aussiesmg MegaDork
2/1/14 5:13 p.m.

Depending upon location

bmwbav New Reader
2/3/14 12:39 p.m.

If you are going to frame out the inside, I really don't see the benefit of using shipping containers? You still need a concrete foundation, and it's got to be expensive to have these things delivered and placed in precise locations. You have to put some sort of roof over this or you'll be chasing leaks forever. So, you will be essentially building 2/3rds of a standard garage around the containers..

It looks cool, to me and some others, but maybe not to the potential buyer of your house in the future or neighbors.

onehundredoctane New Reader
2/4/14 1:55 p.m.

Again, this is just an idea at this point.

Framing out the inside (wall studs every 16", insulation, etc) isn't a must have. Eventually it may happen, but that is provided this idea becomes more than just that...

Concrete I've already talked about with my uncle who has been doing foundations, slabs, decorative work etc. He can get me a good price on the materials so long as I frame it all up and help him with the pour so he doesn't have to get his employees involved.

Concerning neighbors, etc, maybe I should have mentioned that we aren't looking at 0.5 acre lots. The properties my wife and I are currently interested in are 5-10 acres and thickly wooded. I can't stand city life, nor living on top of other people. If I can see my next door neighbor then we have a problem.

I have spoke with a shipping container supplier that is less than an hour from the area we plan to live in. I'm told that as long as the exterior appearance of the container isn't a big deal he has some that would work perfect for the upstairs portion, and would be cheaper than the better looking ones. He also mentioned that if I would be purchasing more than 5 containers at once that fuel charges for delivery may be able to be waived (which is typicall $275 per container).

wearymicrobe Dork
2/4/14 3:32 p.m.

You also need to worry about reconditioning the floors, when I worked in a warehouse we were always warned that the floors were full of just about every rodent/bug killer known to man.

IE don't burn then old floors that you rip out or live above them.

onehundredoctane New Reader
4/14/14 1:08 p.m.

Well, after all the research and planning, it would seem this idea got as far as I did on prom night. . . no where.

But it's for a good reason, the house my wife and I have found is on 2 acres (which seems to be a lot for the area we're moving to) and already has a 2 car attached garage. With luck I'll add a detached 2 car for my projects within the first 2-3 years.

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
2/9/21 11:02 p.m.

03Panther SuperDork
2/9/21 11:47 p.m.

In reply to jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) :

What, you dont think Viden12 revived a 6 year old thread for his first thread, with something valuable to say? (I'm assuming you recognize sarcasam?) Ok, Ok... I can show myself out...

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
2/10/21 1:07 a.m.

Well, they did say they  "made a simple deposit that came out" so yeah, that's something to get excited about I guess...  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/10/21 9:13 a.m.

I wonder if onehundredoctane ever got his garage....

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