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Old 10-26-2007, 12:00 PM   #1
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sea crate structures, hay bales


I have purchased land in rural Texas, outside of any inspection areas, with the exception of septic tank requirements. I am using 40 foot sea crates for my storages, as I keep an inventory and sell on eBay. I am placing another 40 foot crate as a future office structure and overflow guesthouse. Any insulation ideas fellas? Any great suggestions of books that sort of specialize in this sort of structure? I was thinking I just about had a grip on what I was doing when my daughter phoned and said I am to become a grandmother. Well, this little disabled painter is my very own 34 year old baby girl, so I offered to build a little home on my land for her. She would like sea crates, sunken 3 feet or so, haybaled exterior for insulation, and mounded over with earth. OK, I'm pretty open to alternative methods of building, but we have just dipped into an area where I have more questions than answers. I have concerns about condensation, vapor barriers (what kind and where do I even put such a thing to be most effective?) weight loads (do I need some sort of arching over the top or railroad ties running side to side or . . .?) I'm in a 500 year flood plain, so I'm not particularly concerned about water, but I will have to make some sort of ramping for her 3 wheel low rider bike to get out and then a slight berm to divert rainwater so it won't fill up her entryway. Maybe I should canvas cover it too. Anyway, I know this means the septic system will need to be extra deep. I've got a handle on the plumbing issues. I bought some great hobbity little windows and an oxy acetylene torch to cut holes where I want them in these units, so I guess it's the structural stuff I'm the most concerned with.

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Old 11-06-2007, 10:28 AM   #2
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sea crate structures, hay bales


I have seen this on This Old House, Bob Vila was building a house out of the shipping containers like that. I would probably just berm the whole thing, not dig it in 3 feet. Also, I would get an engineer or architect to verify that the crate will hold that much of an earth load. You don't want to crush the thing with someone inside it. Also, I woudl make REALLY sure I rustproofed it well. If you bury it and it rusts, the thing will collapse under the load when it gets weak enough...bad juju.

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Old 11-06-2007, 03:13 PM   #3
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sea crate structures, hay bales


Considering the loads they can take stacked 20some high in a container ship.....

Insulating them...... why not have the foam insulation sprayed on the outside... then put the waterproofing over that? then "berm" them in maybe build a small roof on top..... the hay bales will decompose if bermed in.....
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:17 PM   #4
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sea crate structures, hay bales


I know they are tough...but they dont' bury them on a ship. Also, they aren't on a ship for 20 years. With the earth berming, you probably don't need insulation, but I woudl probably put some on the inside.
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:13 PM   #5
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sea crate structures, hay bales


I am trying to work my daughter into the idea of not sinking them so deeply, as it would necessitate sinking the septic tank deeper than I want to go. Also, it would complicate the gray water drainage on my flat as a pancake site. Yep, I'll use rolled insulation in the stud walls and I'm sure I need some sort of moisture barrier. At that point, I get REALLY fuzzy. I'll pick 3 or 4 brains at HD and Lowe's and come up with something.
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