How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Go Off the Grid?

So you want to go solar…

But can’t decide how many panels to get, right?

We’re going to teach you a simple little formula to calculate that in seconds..

More on that in a sec..

But first:

Your biggest worries will be how many solar panels do I need to go off the grid.

In this article, we will answer this question and provide you more insight into off-grid solar systems.

What Is An “Off-Grid Solar Energy System” Anyway?

To live off the grid completely, you’ll need to create your own electricity since you won’t be on the central power line. Well, you can solve these situations with an off-grid solar energy system. This system acts as a power provider that will help keep your entire electrical appliance running.

The larger electric grid supplies power to most homes and business centers all over the nation. But to go with the off-grid solar system, you will need quite a number of solar panels to generate enough energy to power your home. This is the main reason many stick to the city grid.

Also, in a region where there are lengthy cloudy climates, you will have to get a powerful on-site battery to store power from the sun. This way, you create, store, and use energy when you wish.

Going off the grid with solar systems might be expensive from the beginning, but it will save you more money in the long run.

Can I Go Off The Grid With Solar Panels?

Yes, you can. Solar panels can provide you sufficient electricity for off-grid living. However, there are essential things to look out for and steps to take before installing a solar panel. These considerations will help you know how many solar panels you need to go off the grid.

  • Evaluate the amount of power you consume
  • Check the number of batteries you need

What Amount of Power do You Consume?

This question is among the firsts that come up when you want to go off the grid. You should consider this before you start thinking of how many solar panels do I need to go off the grid?

Your energy consumption rate helps you to deduce how many of them you would install and the batteries required to store and supply enough power in your home. It’s quite essential to know your daily power usage or total electric load.

To calculate your daily power consumption, you should adopt any of the two primary methods. The simplest way is to get the electricity used for the month. The consumed power amount is indicated in Kilowatt-hours, kWh.

When you have the monthly rate, divide the total amount by the number of days in the month. Run this method on three and for months and take the average, that’s it.

The next method for evaluating the daily power use is by an approach called bottom-up strategy. With this method, you will get the wattage of your appliances and the hours they use.

This above strategy may not give an exact amount, but you can find out from labels attached to some of your devices. Split the number among the 365 days in a year, and the answer is your daily power use.

What Battery Capacity Do I Need? 

For you to enjoy sufficient power supply when living off the grid, you need to have solar batteries to store up the power from the sun. These batteries provide electricity even after sunset. But you should know that not every battery has the capacity to power up the entire electrical appliances in your home all day like the central grid.

Sufficient off-grid power supply will require a type of battery that recharges its cells by forming its grid. This way, the slightest energy from the sun can boost the cells.

You also need to know how many batteries are enough to power your home all day. One way to get this is by calculating your daily consumption and then comparing it with the usable energy on the battery.

The usable energy is the number of energy stored in the battery, stated in kWh. This energy is the amount of energy it can release after losing some to charges and battery sustenance.

Once you have gotten the two parameters above, you can easily calculate the number of batteries you will need. That means if your house uses about 40kWh, you need a battery that has at least a 42kWh capacity. The average American uses 30kWh, but you need an efficient one with more power to run your house for a day or more.

Considering these calculations, if you intend to power your appliances for days without a ray of the sun, you should get more batteries. That’s the only way you’ll be comfortable living off the grid-tied electrical system.

How Many 100W Solar Panels Do I Need to Go Off the Grid?

Here comes the answer you have been waiting for. You should base on the information you have gathered above so you can set up an adequate solar system. In other words, once you know the number of batteries and the power you consume, you can determine the number of solar panels needed.

The off-grid solar system should be big enough to store power that will run for the entire day. You should know that the energy stored from the panel is proportional to the intensity and period of sunlight a day.

Read more: The Pros and Cons of Going Off Grid

According to research done in the US, there are 5-hours of high-intensity sun rays every day on average. And, the amount that hits the panel depends on the angle you place it.

To get the accurate number of panels needed to charge your battery fully every day, you should use this formula. The quantity of energy consumed every day divided by the hours of the highest sun intensity (which is mostly 5 hours).

That means if your home uses 32kWh a day, you should divide it by 5 hours: 32kWh/5-This gives you 6.4 kWh. Hence, to fully charge a battery of 32kWh capacity needed to power up your home all day, you will need solar panel arrays of 6.4 KWh.

Use that simple equation to figure out how many KW of solar panels you need.

Can I Use Only Solar Panels to Power My Home?

Yes, solar panels can provide enough electricity that will power up your home. It can also do this without depending on another source of energy.

However, it is mainly suitable for rural homes that use a small amount of electric power, especially during the day. If you want to use solar energy for a modern styled building, consider finding the best option for storing the energy. That way, when the sun sets, you can use the power to keep your household electrical appliance running.

Also, before you take this energy option, prepare to make significant changes to your electrical appliances and your usage. You will also have to consider the following factors, particularly if you want to rely entirely on solar power units.

Your Location

Before you depend on sun energy totally, you should consider the location of your home. For people that stay in Nevada, solar energy comes as one of the best options. The reason is that you can expect sunshine almost every day in this state.

Asides having a steady supply of natural light, avoid placing the panels on shady areas. The reason is that these shades tend to block sunshine from reaching the system. This blockage could be as a result to nearby trees and structures.

If your location has enough sunshine and minimal shade, check if the roofing can carry the number of panels required. So when you are looking for answers on how many solar panels do I need to go off the grid, also consider if the roof is strong enough to carry them. 

Amount of Energy Needed

How much energy does your home consume daily? If you turn on an air conditioner or dishwasher, then you spend massive amounts of electricity. Besides, using TVs or computers can also drain your power source.

Also, if you want to go off-grid, reduce your consumption rate. Start by replacing your old electrical appliances with hi-efficiency models like your stoves, heaters, air conditioners, and other devices. Ensure to make the changes early enough before getting the solar power unit.

Important Components Needed for an Off-Grid Solar System

The off-grid solar system consists of many things. But the main components you will need include the following:

  • Solar modules
  • Charge controller(s)
  • Battery(s)
  • Inverter(s)
  • DC Disconnect Switch
  • Backup Generator (Optional)

Now, let’s tell you more about these components mentioned above.

Solar Modules

This component, commonly known as solar panels, uses solar energy to create electricity. When sunlight hits them, they produce an electrical charge to power up the batteries for your home use.

Battery Banks

This item has several batteries wired to each other to store energy from the sun. Thanks to the battery bank, the off-grid solar system can power up your electronics for hours.

Solar Charge Controller

It is commonly called the charge or battery regulator. The name of the device perfectly defines its function. This component controls the current that enters the battery bank, and it prevents overcharging.

If you want the battery bank to last longer, you need to get the best solar charge controller. However, if you are using a battery-based inverter, you don’t need to get a charge controller. The reason is that it features an integrated controller.

Off-Grid Inverter

The inverter converts DC to AC, particularly in appliances that run on electricity. Unlike inverters that use the grid, the off-grid models do not need to match phase with the utility sine wave. Instead, it converts the current from the solar panels into DC. But before this process, the current will pass through the controller and battery bank.

DC Disconnect Switch

Every solar system should have AC and DC safety disconnects. But for the off-grid system, you will need to get an extra DC disconnect installed between the off-grid inverter and battery bank. The DC Disconnect Switch helps to cut off the current flow between these components, thus preventing damages or fire outbreaks.

Solar Panel Modules
Solar Modules Installation

Can I Get Solar Panels and Install Them by Myself?

Yes, you can purchase, install, and maintain your off-grid solar system without any assistance. But it will be advisable you seek guidance from an expert. The reason is that setting up solar panels requires more skill than changing a light bulb.

Creating a homemade solar system might look extra hard. But people claim that this DIY project is quite easy. Luckily, anyone can get tips from YouTube videos or online tutorials.

When you fix a solar panel by yourself, you cut costs and learn how to fix things. But to avoid any problems, skip the DIY idea and look for a professional.

So why should you ignore the self-build option and choose an experienced hand? First, poorly installed panels can make you spend excess cash. Besides, there are local laws that you must adhere to before setting it up, and you also need to know the perfect angle to position it. Also, you will need an expert to determine if the roof can hold the weight of the panels.

Some brands provide solar components that have easy-to-use features. For instance, these models might have cables that you connect to a compatible port. Since they come in the same package, finding the dedicated slot for each cable won’t be difficult.

Moreover, every item has labels, thereby making it easy for first-timers. To set up this type of system, you need to know how to carry out the following steps:

  • Securing bolts and screws with a screwdriver and wrench
  • Carry the item weighing up to 75 pounds. If they feel heavy, get an extra hand from a friend.
  • Make holes and add concrete that’s if you’re constructing ground mounts
  • Connect the system to your electrical service panel
  • Set up and connect the solar inverter

And that wraps it up!

Your Next Step…

Now you’ve seen how you can use solar to reduce your bills significantly.

But here’s the thing.

Trial and error, and going at this alone is going to cost you.

A lot.

Want to avoid that?

Then I recommend you get a copy of Smart Solar Box.

Smart Solar Box

It’s easy, quick, and best of all shows you exactly how to create the home solar system you dream of…

And make it a reality.

Read my review here.

The Unusual Pros and Cons of Living Off the Grid In 2020

So you’re looking to get off grid, right?

There are obviously pros and cons to making the shift.

Some unusual ones too.

Ready for them?

Let’s jump right in!

Pros and Cons of Living Off the Grid

Pros of Living Off the Grid in 2020

Everyone Wants It, Few Actually Do It. Here’s Why

Living off the grid may cost you close to a decent house budget, but it is cost-effective in the long run.

However, the concept requires adequate planning, knowledge, and technical skills. It takes a lot of research too, which is why this article is necessary for you. 

Many still don’t know what it’s like to live off the grid, but I will explain it well here. I’ll also outline its advantages, disadvantages, and the important things you need to know about living off the grid.  

What Does It Really Mean to Live Off the Grid?

I will start from scratch to give you a great insight into this unique way of living. The first thing you should know is what it is and how do you live off the grid? 

Well, to make it simple, as long as you get your electricity from the central power station, then you’re still in the grid. But living off the grid is entirely the opposite, which means that you’re not on the city’s network at all. Hence, you will need to generate your own electrical energy and have a distinct water supply away from the central flow that comes from the city. 

What’s more, most people go a long way to produce and process their food to ensure a complete ‘off-grid’ lifestyle. 

Above all, it requires much commitment. So are you still willing to go off the grid completely? Then you need to know the upside and downsides of living off the grid. 

What Are The Pros and Cons of Living off the Grid?;

You should know that living off the grid has its fair share of challenges as well as advantages. Hence, you should evaluate these factors and reasons before making this life-changing decision. Here are some of the pros and cons of living off the grid. 

The Pros of Living Off The Grid

Eco-friendly Lifestyle

The effect of our everyday living on the ecosystem has become more harmful than beneficial. Also, the increasing need for non-renewable energy raises the release of greenhouse gases. These gases put the earth and its existence in jeopardy. 

So, by staying away from the usual way of life and using good energy forms like the sun and wind, you’re helping the environment. 

The use of renewable forms of energy is the best eco-friendly practice you can ever indulge in as it reduces the carbon footprint in the atmosphere. Also, investing in recyclable material with improved durability can lessen the quantity of waste on the environment. 

Budget-Friendly Living

At first, it may seem like an expensive form of living, but in the long run, you’d see it is cost-effective. Building a home that relies on solar energy for electricity and natural water bodies for supply will surely cost a fortune. 

However, as time passes, you will save thousands of dollars on water and electricity bills. You can also save money on groceries and veggies by setting up a small farm with less hassle. 

Makes One Self-Sufficient

One of the advantages of staying away from the societal grid is that it builds you to be self-sufficient. Imagine that you’re not relying on the farmers market for your veggies and salads, you’ll have no choice but to grow yours. This practice enhances your ability to produce the needed energy from the natural resources that surround you. 

Natural Proximity

One other benefit of living away from the bustling and jostling of the city is your ability to enjoy nature. With the appropriate climate, you can sit out and take a long view into the environment amidst the stroking of the cool breeze. 

Nature becomes your companion, and you benefit more from it. You can plant, harvest your food, and control the number of harmful preservatives found in your environment. 

The Cons of Living Off Grid

Living off the grid also has its downsides which are: 

First Time Costs

Although it seems to be cost-effective in the long run, the initial cost of living off the grid is somewhat scary. You may need a fortune to set up a complete off-grid house with the necessary fittings to match the city’s lifestyle. The reason is that constructing a potable water system and power supply sufficient for a comfortable lifestyle will cost you quite a huge amount of money. 

Periodic Loneliness

If you decide to stay away from the main town where the majority of the populace resides, you also have to prepare to be alone. To live off the grid completely, you should brace the idea of staying secluded for quite some days. 

Inconvenience

You need to make numerous adjustments when you decide to live off the grid. Since you won’t be close to equipment supplies and grocery stores, you should prepare to live on occasional chops. 

Likewise, you also have limited access to essential services like auto-repairs, plumbing, and home fixings. So you have to hope your car or shower fitting doesn’t get faulty since you’re in the middle of nowhere. 

Cons of Living Off The Grid

Cons of Living Off-Grid

How Much Does It Cost To Live Off The Grid?

When you want to move to the middle of nowhere, ensure that you have enough money to cater for potential expenses. The reason is that you might need to purchase materials for your new home.

To cut down your spending, look for land that contains a pre-existing house and well. With the remaining cash, you can cover other expenses. Here is what it will cost to go off the grid below.  

Living Space

Rural land comes as the perfect spot for living off the grid. Since you plan on living comfortably, you could look for an area with a stream or river passing through it. If your land does not have any natural water body, you could consider creating a well or rain catchment.

When it comes to basic accommodation, a cabin with simple features fits outdoor life. Typically, a combination of land and the building itself should cost at least $100,000. But if you plan to add off-grid upgrades, prepare to spend an extra $70,000.

Living off the grid costs less than staying in an urban area. The reason is that you won’t have to worry about paying the regular utility bills.

Source of Electricity

After setting up your home, you will need electricity to keep some essential electrical appliances running. For people living off the grid, solar panels serve as the most affordable choice for producing energy. If you prefer other options, you could consider a wind turbine or hydroelectric power generator that will be great.

See more: How Many Solar Panels For Off Grid Living

Solar Panels

The cost of these panels depends on your location, and some states provide tax credits. For instance, you could spend between $2.71 and $3.57 per watt to set up a solar panel. Before the tax credits, the average gross cost is $18,840. But depending on the building size and tax credits, getting the required solar panel could cost you $11,380 to $14,990.

Hydro Powered Electricity

Do you have a stream running where you plan to go off the grid? If yes, you can use a hydroelectric power generator. This form of energy will cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000. 

A full Installation could cost you $20,000 to $100,000. However, this figure depends on the source of the water supply and the energy requirement of the building. The distance between the home and water also determines the cost.

Wind Turbines

Before choosing this form of energy, ensure you have a vast area that offers plenty of wind. For your electronics to run smoothly, you have to consider a $30,000 wind turbine. 

 But if you don’t use much energy, go for a smaller sized model that goes for $4,000. At this price, this item costs less than using solar power.

Food

Starting a garden requires up to $200 to $500. But you will surely have access to a steady supply of healthy food.

You can also raise poultry or cattle for your protein needs. However, the initial investment depends on the type of animals you want to rear and your household size.

Plumbing 

You can provide water to your off-grid home by creating a well. To drill a water well, this costs anywhere from $1,500 to $12,000. Usually, the price to get this done depends on the depth of the hole.

After drilling the well, you will have to set up the pipes and an electric pump. To get this done, you will need an additional $2,000 – $3,000 for installation. With this in mind, the average price to get the water running in your off-the-grid home falls within $3,500 to $20,000.

If you decide to have three-bedrooms, consider a 1,000-gallon septic tank. Creating this tank will cost you at least $600. But if you plan to buy building replacement materials for future purposes, this requires extra cash. 

You can cut the expenses by using a water catchment tank to help gather rainwater.

How Legal Is It to Live Off the Grid in the US? 

In all the states in US, there are no strict laws against living off the grid. You are free to stay off the grid as long as it is not an essential infrastructure. For instance, you cannot decide to operate a hospital off the grid, at least not without notice. 

You are free to cultivate plants for food using natural water supplies. Also, you can provide power for your farms as long as you do not interfere with the electricity layout of the state. 

But mind you, any unlawful interference on the city infrastructure can lead to fines or jail terms from the state. However, laws that guide off the grid living vary extensively, not just among states but countries as well. Furthermore, the biggest challenge with setting up an off-grid home is passing the state septic tank regulation. 

Variation of Off-Grid Living Within States

Under this section, the laws guiding off-grid living vary in some states. Depending on the restrictions placed by local laws, you might discover large or small differences in each category.

  • Smaller urban communities have also set up regulations that guide basic off-grid projects like cutting off from the central electrical power or sewer systems.
  • Suburban areas with wealthy residents also feature laws that discourage off-grid living.
  • Towns and cities always have the strictest rules that concern off-grid living.

In the countryside, you can set up your home without any troubles. But that’s if the laws in such areas support people that love staying far away from public services. Apart from constructing septic tanks, rural counties do not offer any zoning regulations.

Many North American states do not permit people to live off the grid. However, some areas offer you the chance to try out this unique way of life.

What States Allow Living Off The Grid In US?

For this reason, it is advisable to research the state law that guides living off the grid. Since local authorities create new regulations, look out for the current ones. By taking this step, you can avoid paying a fine or ending up in jail.

Luckily, some states allow people to live off-grid while others have laws that forbid this idea. Overall, places with a vast expanse of remote land tend to support private individuals living off the grid.

But no state promises the best conditions for off-grid living. The reason is that some places might frustrate you with taxes, while others provide an environment that supports your decision.

States that allow off-grid living includes:  

  • Alaska
  • Arizona 
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Missouri 
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Ohio 
  • Oregon 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas
  • Washington 
  • Wyoming

However, when choosing a spot for your off-grid living, consider the source of water in the area. You should also check out the distance from your water supply to the building and then find the best way to bring the water to your home.

Food comes as another essential thing to take into account. If you want to live alone, you can handle this part with ease. But if you want to raise a family in an off-grid home, you will have to spend more time and cash providing enough farm produce.

Your Next Step.. 

You’re still reading, so I’m going to guess you want to take this 1 more step.

So here’s the deal.

Electricity is the #1 thing that bottle necks living off the grid:

There are a lot of pitfalls that can cost you a lot of money…

And ways to do it very quickly.

Do you want that?

Yeah?

Then check out our review of The Smart Solar Box

Smart Solar Box
For Quick, Easy Off Grid Power Generation

It’s a very small investment… and it’ll pay off for you ten fold.

Just follow it step by step and you’ll have abundant power generation for years to come.

Talk to you soon.

Ryan Tanner’s Smart Solar Box Review: Does It Really Work?

Wouldn’t it be nice to generate a good portion of your electricity right from home?

The bills add up, right?

Well, the good news is it’s possible to reduce them significantly, maybe even entirely.

It takes experience.. a lot of work…

OR you can get right to the good stuff with Smart Solar Box.

Smart Solar Box is a program that contains detailed videos and instructional guides on how you can build a solar power system. With the instructional guide in the program, you can easily construct a solar power plant all by yourself. 

You can get there quicker, easier, and more inexpensively than trying to go it alone.

How Does the Smart Solar Box Work? 

Smart Solar Box
Click Here to Get Smart Solar Box To Start Generating Electricity Off Grid

The Smart Solar Box uses an old theory that has existed over the years, which shows you how to convert solar energy to electrical power. Both the panels and the smart solar box work the same way.

In Smart Solar Box, the batteries in the device store the energy collected from the sun, thereby providing electrical power. These batteries are not in any way connected to the city grid but they supply power from a renewable source, which is sunlight.

All you need to enjoy this device is to install the device in your home and connect your appliances to its terminals. With the smart solar box, you can save over 70% on your electricity bills. 

Why Get The Book and Program? 

If you want to cut down the cost of your electricity bills, then consider getting the Smart Solar Box. This program makes it easy to set up your own solar plant, thus helping you save more money.

The Smart Solar Box device allows you to enjoy an uninterrupted power supply at an affordable rate. Another good thing about it is that it offers a safe source of power and it is easy to maintain. 

Features of the Smart Solar Box 

As said earlier, the Smart Solar Box is a digital instructional package that gives you the knowledge required to construct a small solar power plant. The features in the smart solar box include:

  • A 41-page Guide: This manual is the main component of a smart solar box, and it contains the steps and instructions. These guides also have drawings to illustrate the construction process of the solar plant. 
  • Video Tutorial: Aside from the teachings and drawings on paper, it also has an attached video tutorial to enhance your understanding of the principles further. 
  • Bonus: It assists you to construct solar panels that can provide adequate electrical power for all your appliances. 

Smart Solar Box Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Affordable: It’s not expensive to install. Also, it saves you so much money in power charges. 
  • Straightforward guide: to construct the smart solar box is simple, thanks to the direct video guide. 
  • Very portable: Lightweight and sizeable, the smart solar box is very portable 
  • Renewable source of Power: The sun is the primary source of energy for the smart solar box, and it is a renewable power source. 
  • Full money back guarantee: No one would turn down an opportunity for a money-back guarantee. It assures you of the product quality. 
  • Easy to maintain: You only need to clean the solar panels once in a long while so you can easily maintain it. 

Cons

  •  Completely digital: The guide is only available in the digital format and without access to the internet, you can’t use it. In other words, it doesn’t have a hard copy material. 
  • Additional effort is needed: Apart from buying it with your money, you also need to go through the hassles to construct the solar box. 

Amazing Testimonies by Users 

The Smart Solar Box has gotten numerous good feedbacks from customers who have used the product. Here are some of them:

  • It is eco-friendly
  • Smart solar box stores power even on a cloudy day, and it is very effective
  • A single charge on the battery can power all the electrical appliances in my house for about 20 hours 

Final Word on the Smart Solar Box Review

Is it a scam or real? It’s legit but you will have to train and build it on your own.

Worth it?

The real question is “How much would it be worth to you if it were able to reduce your power bills significantly… or possibly entirely?”

If that makes sense to you… then click the button below:

 

Easy DIY Chicken Coop: What You Need to Know Before You Start

Wouldn’t it be nice to have direct access to healthy, nutritious eggs whenever you want?

Of course! 

Having your own chickens is the way to go.

Keeping chickens, though, means you’ll have to think about a coop to house them in. Coops can be bought ready to use, or you can build your own from scratch. Building a chicken coop can be a very rewarding experience, but there are many things you’ll need to take into consideration first.

Why Are Coops Important?

Not everyone who has chickens has a coop. Chickens can sleep in trees or shrubs and spend the day roaming around, scratching and pecking wherever they see fit. There are two very important reasons to have a coop, however:

  1. Hen safety
  2. Finding eggs

Chickens are vulnerable to predators day and night, from the sky and the ground (Thesing, 2017). Hawks and owls can swoop down and attack chickens without notice. Foxes, dogs, and especially raccoons love to feast on chickens too.

Predators are a big threat to chickens’ safety and the main reason to house them in a coop. Coops also help keep chickens safe from other dangers, like cars. Plus, living in a coop can keep chickens from accidentally eating something poisonous or tiny pieces of glass that could cut them on the inside.

Another reason to keep your chickens in a coop is so you know where to find the eggs! Save the egg hunt for Easter and check a nesting box instead of your entire property each morning. This also means you can prevent other animals from finding the eggs before you do.

Zoning Laws

Zoning laws are regulations that limit how the land can be used in certain areas. You’ll need to look into your local laws about chickens and chicken coops (Guardino, 2019). Some cities ban chickens in residential neighborhoods altogether, while others limit how many chickens you can have or require you to get a special permit.

Other zoning laws apply specifically to coops. Even if you’d rather not keep your chickens in a coop, you might be required to. You’ll also have to keep your local laws in mind when deciding on the size of the coop and where you want to put it. In some places, chicken coops have to be a certain distance from your neighbors’ property.

What Do Chickens Need in a Coop?

There are lots of factors that make up a great coop. Certain design features can maximize the safety, health, and comfort of your chickens. There’s a different coop model for every taste and budget.

Coop Structure

There are two main parts of a chicken coop, and indoor area and an outdoor area (called a “run”). Inside, chickens need individual-sized nesting boxes with cushy paddings, like pine shavings or hay. This is where they’ll lay their eggs. You only really need one nesting box for every three hens (Loe, 2013).

Chickens have an instinct to sleep on tree branches, so you’ll need to create a “roost” up high for them to spend the night on. This can be made of a simple wooden board, at least 8 inches long for each chicken (Barth, 2016). Just make sure it’s up higher than the nesting boxes, or else your birds might want to sleep in there instead—and that means LOTS of cleaning those boxes!

Flooring

Not all coops have floors. Without floors, though, pests and predators can dig under your coop’s walls and attack your flock. This is especially dangerous at night when you and your chickens are both sleeping soundly.

Some flooring materials are hard to clean and can even rot, like wood. Concrete is a very sturdy and easy-to-clean option, but it can be really expensive, and of course, you can’t move it if you want to change where your coop is located.

One affordable and secure option is to have a floor made of strong wire. This will keep predators out, but you’ll need to have a thick layer of bedding (like wood shavings) on top so the chickens don’t catch their claws on the wire.

Light and Ventilation

Windows are a very important part of your coop design! They let in sunlight and ventilate the coop. Chickens poop a ton, which can quickly pose risks to their health (not to mention, risks to your nose) if the coop isn’t ventilated properly. Airflow is also really important to keep your birds from overheating during really hot summers.

You can improve ventilation by having windows located up high. Cover them with a strong wire so predators can’t climb in, and add shutters you can close when it’s raining or on extremely cold nights.

Hot air and ammonia, a gas released by chicken feces, both rise, so windows closer to the ceiling will let them out (Hyman, 2017). Making sure your windows are well above the roost will help keep the coop from getting cold and drafty in the winter too.

Heat

Some chicken owners put a heater in their coop during the winter. This may surprise you, but chickens can survive and thrive in very cold temperatures without one. Their feathers keep their bodies nice and warm, and the combined body heat of the flock keeps the inside of the coop warmer than the outside (Hyman, 2017).

Plus, heaters can easily lead to tragic coop fires. Better ways to keep the coop warm are:

  1. Get insulation for the walls, which will also help keep the coop cool in summer.
  2. Put down a thick layer of warm bedding on the ground.
  3. Patch any small holes you find on the lower level of the coop.

If you’re still worried about your chickens being too cold, you can raise the coop’s temperature a few degrees with a low-watt light bulb. This is also convenient for those early-morning feedings, but it means you’ll have to run electricity to your coop.

Chickens in a Coop

Chickens in a Coop

Food and Water

Unlike a dog or cat, it’s not wise to put your chickens’ food and water directly on the ground. Chickens naturally scratch while they eat, so they can waste a lot of feed on the floor. Scratching also drags bedding into food and water, and worst of all, they can contaminate the supply by pooping in it.

There are two better options (Garman, 2019). One is to hang food and water containers from the ceiling, right at the beak-level. The second is to raise the containers up on cinderblocks or another platform. Having multiple food containers can really help prevent mealtime aggression as chickens fight with each other for better access to the food.

Be sure to store the feed in metal containers with a tight lid. Otherwise, you might end up sharing with a family of mice. Not only does this waste your chicken’s food, but mice droppings can cause disease. Better safe than sorry!

Combine your chicken coup with an at home vegetable garden and you can practically live off-grid. 

The Rundown on the Run

The purpose of an outdoor run is to give the chickens access to sunlight, fresh air, and more space for their natural scratching behavior (Smith, 2019). Like people, chickens need Vitamin D from the sun. They also need shade for hot days, though—a benefit of planting some shrubs or trees nearby.

Shrubs, flowers, or herbs can also attract nutritious insects (yum!), and some even have nutritional benefits themselves (Smith, 2019). Garlic helps keep fungus at bay, basil is antibacterial, and thyme helps fight parasites.

Choosing a Coop Model

The possibilities of coop design are endless. There are many different sizes, shapes, and material compositions, and some are even portable!

Size

The first thing you’ll want to think about is how much space you need in the coop. If you might want more chickens in the future, make room for them, because cramped chickens are unhealthy, unhappy, and often bullied by other chickens.

How much space each chicken needs depends on whether you let them out to roam during the day or keep them in the coop 24/7 (Loe, 2013).

  • Chickens who go outside need 3 or 4 fteach.
  • Chickens who stay in need more like 10 ft2 each.

Mobile Coops

For people with just a few birds, chicken tractors are a great option (Barth, 2016). No, this doesn’t mean chickens dressed in overalls and a straw hat driving a tractor over your lawn. “Chicken tractor” is another name for portable coops.

In a mobile coop, the run has no floor. As you move the coop to a new spot each day, the chickens will have fresh grass, bugs, worms, and seeds to munch on, and their feces will fertilize your lawn. Having a new source of food every day makes your chickens healthier, and you’ll have less cleaning to do.

Mobile coops are the best of both worlds—your chickens will get fresh grass like their free-range sisters, but they’ll be safe from predators both day and night. You won’t have to choose a place for a permanent coop, and if you happen to move to a new house, you can take a mobile coop with you.

Mobile coops are best for a smaller number of chickens because large coops are unwieldy and hard to move around. Putting wheels on one end of the chicken tractor can make it easier to move from place to place.

The Plans for an Easy DIY Small Chicken Coop and Run

Since there is so much variety in chicken coop style, there are many different materials and price ranges possible. It’s a good idea to research blueprints for a few styles to get ideas.

Materials

There are some basic materials you will likely use (Brock et al., n.d.):

  • Lumber to build the frame
  • Plywood or particle board for the walls, roof, and possibly floor
  • Shingles or metal roofing panels
  • Hardware cloth (also called wire mesh) for the run and possibly floor
  • U-shaped nails to staple down the hardware cloth
  • Hinges for the door and possibly window shutters
  • Nails and screws
  • Wheels, if building a mobile coop
  • Paint

Lots of people use kitty litter boxes or something similar for nesting boxes, but you can also build your own.

Tools

If you don’t do much construction, you might want to get familiar with your toolkit before starting to build. You’ll need the following (Brock et al., n.d.):

  • Safety gear (goggles, gloves, and a hearing protection device)
  • Electric saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Wire cutters
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Paintbrush

Cost

Due to the wide variation in coop designs, DIY chicken coops can cost anywhere from under $100 to several thousands of dollars (White, 2013). Very small, basic coops can be fairly cheap to build, especially if you already have some of the supplies or can be creative with wooden pallets and other inexpensive materials. Most people, though, will spend at least $300 to build a quality coop. If you have lots of chickens and need a big coop, the cost of materials can quickly creep up.

The cost of tools can also add up if you don’t already have them. If you don’t have the tools yourself, though, you might know someone who could lend or rent them to you.

Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a Coop?

Premade chicken coops tend to “run” (get it?) about $500 -$600. There are small models available in the $200-$300 range, but these coops generally use poor quality materials and don’t last nearly as long as you’d like. There are also large, deluxe coops available for $2,000-$5,000, geared towards people with expansive flocks.

So while it’s possible to buy a relatively inexpensive coop, you can save a lot of money by building it yourself. That way you can also customize it to your own needs. Most importantly, you know the quality of the materials and construction, so a homemade coop will last much longer and probably keep your chickens safer. When you consider these advantages, building your own coop is even more worth it.

Build or Buy a Coop

Chicken Coop

The Bottom Line

Building a coop takes time and effort, and you have to plan carefully to avoid any costly mistakes. There are a lot of factors that go into creating a coop you can be proud to call your own.

Chances are, though, that if you’re raising chickens, you have the kind of can-do, DIY attitude that’s perfect for a project like this. By taking advantage of the guidance and expertise of those who have built before you, you’ll be able to construct a coop and that will keep your chickens safe, healthy, and happy.

Ready For the Next Step?

Yeah? That’s great.

We have no doubt you can use the above plans to build your chicken coop.

But would you like it in more detail? 

Check out Building a Chicken Coup book here.

Building a DIY Chicken Coup

It’ll show you how to build a beautiful chicken coup on such a way that you’ll save a lot of time, money, and most importantly energy. 

It’s worth the very small investment because what you pay in money you’ll make up in having something you truly desire. 

Click here for our review.

How to Make a Vegetable Garden at Home (That Your Neighbors Envy)

So you want to start a vegetable garden?

Good for you.

Today we’re going to cover exactly what you need to know to plant your home garden that your neighbors will envy you for.

Despite the shallow reasons above, a home garden is very beneficial..

Despite all these benefits, a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of getting started with a home garden. With a little guidance and planning, though, you’ll be on your way to growing your own vegetables in no time!

First Steps to Garden Vegetables at Home

The very first thing to think about is your garden bed. Do you already have a patch of good dirt at your home, or a space in a community garden, ready to use? Or do you need to make one from scratch?

Making a Garden Bed

If you don’t already have a place for a garden, you’ll need to make your own. There are a few ways to get a chunk of your lawn ready for veggies (Beaulieu, 2020).

  • Good old-fashioned labor. The day before, soak the patch of grass that will become your garden with water to help loosen the grass roots. Then, day-of, grab a shovel and chop the top layer of earth into pieces about 1 ft2 big. Scoop up the pieces with your shovel until you’ve gotten rid of all the grass. Sweet and simple.
  • Use the power of the sun. You’ll need a clear plastic tarp and about a month for this one. First, mow the patch of grass as short as you can. Then soak it with water and cover it with the clear tarp. Over the next 4 weeks or so, the sun will burn the grass through the tarp, and then you’ll be ready to plan

You’ve made your bed, now lie in it! Just kidding, but really, take a moment to admire your work. You took a piece of boring lawn and transformed it into something that will soon feed you and your family. Go you!

Soil Quality

Whether you already had a place to plant or you made your own bed from scratch, the next thing you’ll need to think about is the dirt itself.

Good growing dirt is not too rocky, has a dark brown color, and crumbles when you rub it between your fingers. If the soil is sandy or has too much clay in it, your plants won’t be able to get the right nutrients or enough water. Don’t despair, though, there are ways to improve soil by mixing in compost. A good compost can add important nutrients to even the best topsoil.

Compost

Compost is a kind of dirt made from organic material, like banana peels and eggshells. It’s a natural fertilizer.

You can buy bags of compost or make your own. There are 3 important things to think about if you go the DIY route (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, n.d.). Plus, you’ll need to check for any local rules about outdoor compost bins.

  1. Making or buying a compost bin. You can compost inside with a covered pail or outside in a covered bin. (You can also make a fenced-in pile outside, but without a lid, compost can smell or attract rodents.)
  2. The greens and the browns. Good compost is a mix of fruit and veggie scraps, called “greens,” and yard waste like fallen leaves, called “browns.” Both are important!
  3. Watering and mixing. Sprinkle on some water to keep your compost moist while it’s decomposing. Once a week or so, mix it up with a shovel or rake to make sure air can get below the top layer.

Your scraps will go from trash to treasure in a matter of weeks or months! Less waste in landfills and bigger, better vegetables in your garden—what’s not to love?

Tip: Coffee grounds make great compost! Just another reason to enjoy a morning cup of joe.

Soil Quality

Compost

Planning Your Garden

Planning the garden is half the fun. While you may be eager to get your hands dirty and start planting, planning ahead will set you up for success.

Climate

The most fun part of brainstorming is dreaming about your favorite vegetables and what fabulous dishes you’ll cook with them. The first thing you have to keep in mind, though, is the climate where you live. The United States Department of Agriculture has a map of the different growing climates in the U.S., and you can look up your zone to see which plants thrive there.

When to Plant?

There are two main things to think about in regard to timing. First, some plants can’t survive a frost. Look up the estimated dates of the last spring frost in your particular region before planting, because there’s nothing sadder than waking up in the morning and seeing that Robert Frost has given your seedlings the kiss of death.

The second thing to consider is that some vegetables like cooler spring weather and others like hot summer weather (Boeckmann, 2020). Lettuce, peas, carrots, and spinach are examples of cool-season veggies that can be in the first batch of the year. You’ll need to wait longer to plant warm-season favorites like tomatoes, peppers, and green beans.

The Easiest Veggie to Grow

Trivia time! The most popular vegetable in home gardens is… drumroll, please… the tomato! It’s no wonder—tomatoes are perfect for salads, sandwiches, sauces, and everything in between, and they’re easy to grow.

Tomatoes should be planted 2-3 feet apart. Putting round wire cages around each plant can help them grow big and strong without toppling over. Water your tomatoes every day, or twice a day if the weather is really hot and dry.

As mentioned, tomatoes do well in warmer summer soil. There’s a “handy” rule of “thumb”you can use to tell if the ground is ready: stick a finger in the dirt, and if you can comfortably keep it buried for a whole minute, the ground is warm enough (Rhoades, 2018). A less “hands-on” way to tell if it’s tomato-planting time is when every night is 50°F (10°C) or warmer. (OK, enough puns for now.)

Other Winners for Beginners

In addition to tomatoes, other easy vegetables to grow are lettuce, cucumbers, and green beans. Root vegetables like turnips, carrots, radishes, and potatoes are also a good option for first-time gardeners. You can even grow potato plants from potatoes you have in your kitchen! Just let some potatoes sit in indirect sunlight until they start to sprout. Cut off a chunk that has a sprout and bury it in your garden.

Some plants are hard to grow because they need very specific weather conditions or nutrients in the soil. These include cauliflower, watermelon, celery, and asparagus. Fun fact—asparagus is one of the few veggies that’s a perennial, meaning it comes back each year on its own. But only if you can successfully get it started!

What to Plant Next to Each Other

Plants can help or hurt the growth of neighboring plants. This can be due to a couple different factors, including soil input and output, height, pests, and disease. You can design your garden to maximize mutually beneficial relationships.

Some best friends that do well next to each other include (Kanuckel, 2018):

  1. Basil with tomatoes and peppers. Basil repels pests and can make peppers taste even better.
  2. Green beans with sweet corn. Beans help corn get the nitrogen it needs from the soil, and corn stalks are perfect for beans to wrap around as they grow upwards.
  3. Onions with carrots and parsnips. Onions keep pesky flies away from carrots and parsnips.
  4. Lettuce with chives or mint. These herbs can chase the slugs from lettuce.
  5. Carrots with tomatoes. Tomatoes provide carrots with needed shade and repel pests that prey on them, and carrots help more water and air get to the roots of tomato plants.

What Plants to Keep Apart

Those are five great partnerships, but some plants will keep each other from living their best life. Plant these ones well apart:

  1. Tomatoes and sweet corn. They suffer from the same damaging worms, so if one crop gets infested, it can spread.
  2. Onions and green beans. Beans won’t grow well if they’re near onions.
  3. Summer squash and potatoes. Disease can spread between these two.

If you want to plant anything really tall, like corn, be sure it won’t block the sun from the rest of your garden.

See more: DIY Make Your Own Chicken Coup to go with your home garden!

The Steps: How to Start a Vegetable Garden at Home

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: getting the plants in the ground!

Buying the Plants

If you choose to start from seeds, you can find instructions for each plant on the packet. Cool-season plants can often be grown from seeds because you can plant them earlier. If you want to grow warm-season plants from seeds, though, you might have to start growing them inside while it’s still cold out. Otherwise they might not have time to actually produce vegetables before the season ends.

You can buy trays, called flats, of young plants that can go directly into the ground. Some large grocery stores sell vegetables for gardening. At a greenhouse, though, you can get customized tips for each plant when you buy it. Staff can remind you how much sunlight and water each vegetable plant needs, how far apart to space them, and how long until you’ll be able to eat your harvest for dinner.

Planting

Be gentle when you take the seedling out of the tray. First, dig a hole in your garden for each plant. Pinch the bottom of the tray with one hand, and with the other hand, grab the base of the stem and gently wiggle it free. All of the dirt should come out in one piece, or else the roots could break.

Put the plant baby in the hole and fill in the space around it with dirt. It’s extra good if you have some fresh compost to mix in. Pat the dirt around the stem gently to help the plant stand upright, and give it a good drink of water.

Tip: Label each row with a popsicle stick so you can remember what’s planted where!

How to Start a Vegetable Garden at Home

Home Vegetable Garden

Gardening Tools

There’s no need to buy every tool in the hardware for your first home garden. Having a few, though, will make your life easier.

  1. Garden gloves. If you don’t mind having a constant layer of dirt under your nails, feel free to skip the gloves. For the rest of us, though, gloves will save a lot of scrubbing.
  2. Hand trowel. This mini-shovel is great for planting, moving plants, and even digging up stubborn weeds.
  3. Watering can or wand. Spraying the hose directly on young plants will be too harsh. You can mimic a gentle rain with a wand that fits on the end of your hose or with a watering can. Just be prepared, full watering cans are pretty heavy!
  4. Spade or hoe. A spade will help you dig larger holes and mix compost or fertilizer in with the dirt. Similarly, a hoe helps you move dirt around and attack taller weeds.
  5. Wheelbarrow. If you plan to move heavy things around, like bags of compost, a wheelbarrow can prevent a lot of back pain. If you don’t have one, though, you can just transport things in smaller trips.

Maintaining Your Garden

It’s important to stay on top of watering and weeding. You might want to set aside a certain time each day to garden, especially in the morning or evening when it’s not too hot. If you leave for a few days, don’t forget to ask someone to water your garden for you! You can thank them with fresh veggies later.

You’ll have to decide whether you want to use fertilizers and pesticides or go completely natural. Aphids and other pests, rabbits, and deer can all be a real problem for vegetable plants, and weeds can quickly take over.

One of the best (and most beautiful) natural remedies is to plant marigolds in your vegetable garden (Waddington, 2020). They repel microscopic, root-destroying worms called nematodes, appeal to insects like ladybugs that eat aphids and other pests without hurting vegetable plants, and attract bees that can pollinate the garden. It’s a win-win-win.

Building structures can help keep animals out. You can cover your lettuce with a wire mesh top to frustrate rabbits, and if you notice a lot of unwelcome deer visitors, a all fence is always an option.

One budget- and environmentally-friendly option for keeping weeds at bay is to cover exposed dirt with shredded leaves or grass clippings (Grant, 2020b). A thin layer can stifle weeds while also keeping more moisture in the soil and even adding more nutrients. A quarter inch is enough, though—thicker than that and it could start to rot.

You’re Ready to Grow Your Own Vegetables!

You’ve learned how to make a garden bed, improve soil quality, and make your own compost. You know what plants are good options for beginning gardeners and which ones to plant together or keep apart. You’ve discovered how to plant and what tools you need to maintain your garden, and you have strategies for keeping away pests, critters, and weeds. It’s time to start your very own home vegetable garden!

What’s Next?

Ever think about starting your own chicken coup do go along with your home garden?

Just think how nice it would be to have highly nutritious, delicious eggs whenever you wanted.

Here’s what to do.

First, read our review of the “Building Your Own Chicken Coup” book.

Building a DIY Chicken Coup

Then, once you see how practical it can be to have your own chicken coup, follow the easy to follow plans and start building it! 

Click here for the first step.

Bill Keene’s Building A Chicken Coop Review: Is It Worth Buying?

Raising chickens is great—you have a daily supply of fresh eggs, you’re involved firsthand in where your food comes from, and, well, chickens are just fun to have around. Chickens need a coop to live safely, though.

So is it better to build a coop or buy one?

Buying pre-made coops can be extremely expensive, but building one from scratch can be overwhelming and difficult.

Having access to detailed plans and professional guidance, however, makes building your own coop a real possibility.

building a chicken coop ebook
Building A Chicken Coop – The Ultimate Guide

Follow Building Plans From an Expert To Start Quicker and Easier Than Otherwise Going It Alone. 

Building a Chicken Coop is an eBook that gives detailed instructions for how to build several different coop models. It’s designed for people without carpentry experience, so it has very clear step-by-step directions and diagrams.

Building a Chicken Coop describes the advantages of each coop model, what materials you’ll need, and expert tips and tricks. Best of all, it’s designed to keep the building process affordable, saving you up to 50% of the cost of a new coop!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • These detailed, expert plans erase a LOT of the hassle of a building project. No more guesswork about the type and size of materials, what tools are necessary, or how to build a top-quality coop.
  • The plans are designed for people without a construction background, so they’re easy to follow.
  • The author, Bill Keene, has many years of experience in the poultry industry, so he knows his coops.
  • You can save a ton of money by building a long-lasting coop yourself.

Cons

  • As with any project, you might change your mind about it later. If you decide Building a Chicken Coop isn’t for you after all, though, you can get a full refund within the first 60 days!
  • The plans come in the form of an eBook, so if you want a paper copy, you’ll have to print it yourself. On the upside, this means you can print as many copies as you need.

More Advantages

Building a Chicken Coop can save you an unbelievable amount of time, effort, and frustration. You can be confident your coop will be of high quality, because the blueprints are based on years of expertise in the industry, and you can see for yourself exactly what materials are used. You might even be inspired to try a model you’ve never thought of after seeing the many options in the eBook.

There are instructions for coop styles for every budget, and you can add your personal touch to the coop. Even beginners have found that the plans in Building a Chicken Coop are truly doable.

So, Is It Worth It?

Yes, investing in this expert guide is well worth the low price! Even if the mere thought of putting an Ikea chair together makes you nervous, you’ll be able to build your very own chicken coop with the help of these plans—and you can do it at half the price of a pre-made coop. Maybe best of all, you won’t just be buying one plan, you’ll gain access to many different options so you can build the very best home for YOUR chickens!

How to Build a Shipping Container Home Step-By-Step (For Beginners)

So you want to learn how to build a home using shipping containers, right?

Believe it or not..

It’s a very hot trend right now.

The average cost of building a new home is becoming more and more expensive.

Many potential home builders are looking for alternative materials for building a home to benefit from reduced construction costs.

That’s Why Building a Tiny Home Using Shipping Containers is Such an Advantage.

The use of these prefabricated boxes offers an excellent solution for a dream home creation. Just like me and many others, if you have decided to build a house from shipping containers, understand you can benefit in different ways including:

  • They offer speedy construction: While you can choose the DIY container home option, it is recommended that you seek consultation from an engineer or design firm…
  • They are eco-friendly: To build a container home you primarily rely on the existing building material…
  • They are cost-effective: To build a container home is relatively cheaper compared with the process involved in conventional building…
  • Offer creative freedom: Sea containers are available in different sizes for creating a large or small home and you may not have to adhere to the rules and regulations of conventional architecture and construction…
  • They are sturdy and durable: Containers are manufactured to be tough and durable for withstanding adverse ocean shipping elements such as moisture…
  • Allowing mobility: Once constructed, container home can be shifted to the required location as often as you like; unlike conventional homes…

The Process to Build a House from Shipping Containers

For you to build a container home, apart from purchasing the building material, you will need to consider other different tasks such as insulation, plumbing, and foundation.

While this step by step guide on how to construct a DIY container home tries its best to furnish you with the necessary information, you also need to seek the involvement of a professional.

1. Determine Your Budget: Cheap or Luxury?

Once you have decided to have your DIY sea container home, you must sit down and come up with a realistic budget suitable for the construction work. Like I had said before, you will see that the traditional home construction is relatively more expensive.

In setting a budget for you to build a house from sea containers, different factors may affect the total cost like the design, location, and the size of the living space. Also, do not forget to research the expenses exhaustively of:

• The containers and other building materials
• Compliance permits and fees
• Hiring architects and contractors

Equally vital when determining your construction budget is that you have a contingency fund. It should be about 20% of the overall budget of your project. We all know that unexpected expenses can occur even if the building plan is solid, needing the use of the contingency money.

And in the event the contingency funds are not used or exhausted, they can be directed to landscaping, buying high-quality appliances, or undertaking excellent furnishings.

2. Check Your Zoning Issues and Building Permits

Checking your local area zoning issues and acquiring building permits is a time-consuming process especially if your container home design and drawings are intricate. Understand that municipality zoning and building permit issues are beneficial for guaranteeing energy conservation, structural safety, and integrity, etc.

It is possible to avoid all of this process involved in checking building regulations and getting relevant planning permission and building permits. And I’m afraid it is not about avoiding the process. You can use the service of an architect or a structural engineer.

An architect has the prerequisite training and experience on how to build a home out of shipping containers. Thus, he or she understands the process of sorting out the issues of planning permits and building compliance. Also, a professional delivers a structurally-sound building.

When in a local area with a good number of people already with a DIY container home, there is a high chance you may find it much easier getting permits.

Sea Container Into Tiny Home
Sea Container Into Tiny Home

3. Purchase Your Shipping Container

Once your local council approves the plans and designs, go ahead with your project. To build a house from shipping containers, you need to acquire the main building material. For purchasing the container or containers, there are quite a few things you need to understand.

Sizes of Containers

The shipping containers are available in standard sizes and the common sizes for home are 20 FT and 40 FT long with an 8 FT standard width. Other sizes you can choose from including the 8’, 10’, 20’, and up to even 53 lengths.

The compact sizes of the containers make it easier and simple for them to be interlocked. As for the size and amount of shipping containers you need, it will depend on your budget and scale of plans.

Second-hand or New Container?

You may also be torn between choosing a second-hand or new container for building a container home. For you to save some reasonable level of money, make sure the container manufacturer allows the implementation of the modifications you need.

For quality, it must:

  • Be wind and waterproof
  • Have quality hinges, doors, and roof
  • Be rust-free

Another point worth noting here is that procuring a container must be done as soon as possible particularly if the delivery may take longer. As well, before buying your container inspection is necessary for determining its quality and look for things like unpleasant smells and rust.

4. Builders and Contractors Hiring

Choosing a DIY container home option is advantageous because it is a rewarding experience and cost-saving. However, to realize the benefits, you have to have enough time, practical experience, and even a license for building.

Most people who want to build a house from shipping containers tend to prefer the hiring of contractors, electricians, builders, painters, etc. Only choose tradespeople by asking for references from your family, friends, and colleagues. As well, consider their reputation and various quotes for achieving the best deal possible.

5. Preparation Of The Site

From my experience, this step is often overlooked by most people as it does not feel useful and appears like a task that can be done when there is a need. We strongly recommend you avoid falling into this common trap.

The site for you to build a container home needs thorough preparation to make it suitable for home construction. Preparation of the site may involve debris clearance, earthworks, and setting up different amenities like gas lines, septic system electricity, and stormwater drains.

Apart from making the site suitable for appropriate construction, also see to it that it is accessible for delivery of supplies and containers. For permitting easy access to your site, there is a need for dealing with issues like loose soil, steep inclines, and low-hanging tree branches.

6. Sold Foundation Development

To build a house from shipping containers that are structurally sound, there is a need for using a robust foundation. Any structure without reliance on a solid foundation is guaranteed to collapse.

A qualified builder or engineer is in a better position to consider various factors such as container weight and number, soil type, and water level to provide a sturdy foundation.

A popular foundation option is the use of a concrete slab because it is not only relatively affordable but also efficient. A cemented foundation is also moisture accumulation resistant.

You have to undertake attachments of the containers and then apply steel reinforcements for their welding. If the budget allows, having a basement for extra storage is a welcome addition.

For other foundation options, there is also a concrete strips foundation.

Shipping Containers
DIY Shipping Container Home

7. Prepare The Storage Containers

This is another crucial step to build a container home. Shipping containers may come with different structures and modifications for delivering a wholesome strong structure. When front doors, corrugation panels, and other existing structures of a container are left as they are then the build will be more reliable. It can carry more loads than a typical home construction.

On the other hand, if you make modifications like holes cutting or paneling removal there is a chance that the DIY container home structure may be compromised. We recommend that before you make any structural modifications on the container, consult with an architect or structural engineer.

8. Attach Your Containers

You attach the containers not only to the foundation but also to each other. The use of a large crane may come in handy for transporting the containers to the actual site and accordingly positioning them on the created solid foundation.

9. Ventilation, Doors, Roof, Floor, And Windows Installation

Any installation undertaken must serve to safeguard the structural integrity of the containers’ Consequently, here are a few vital points to note.

  • When shipping containers are joined together it may lead to their roofs losing structural integrity. Hence, for enhanced structural integrity and proper drainage, the conventional roofing may be the best option.
  • The main disadvantage when you build a house from sea containers is that they may be susceptible to leaking moisture and becoming hot or cold. For appropriate temperature regulation, employ the use of a layer of closed-cell foam both on the walls inside and outside.
  • Seal any gaps to safeguard your investment from the elements.
  • While plywood flooring is synonymous with most shipping containers, you can still use another flooring option. One reason is that plywood can be harmful to your health as it is usually treated with resilient pesticides.

10. Fixtures and Fittings

For your DIY container home to be functional for your use, you must also undertake electrical wiring, fittings, and any other plumbing needs in different rooms including the kitchen and bathroom. For example, when in a desert environment solar panels can serve as an excellent source of electricity.

11. Proper Finish Application

As you build a container home, making modifications may be necessary but it may also lead to the stripping away of the anti-corrosive paint. The result is your home is left susceptible to the elements which create structural and aesthetic issues.

With proper finish touches, any bare material will be protected against rust and corrosion.

12. Inspection

As one of the last stages, hopefully, by now you have done everything possible to make your DIY container home ready as a proper living space. Thus, you need to contact inspectors to examine your building to establish whether it complies with the local building standards and regulations.

A building inspection may give you a nice opportunity to make any substantial changes to your DIY container home.

13. Landscaping

Landscaping the area you have used to build a house from shipping containers should be done for allowing a warm embrace between the surrounding natural environment and building. The natural surroundings may be a desert, forest, etc. Also, you may find landscape design useful in erosion and flooding prevention, reducing air pollutants and environmental impacts, etc.

Do you know how to do landscaping? No? If not, conversant with landscaping, there are many landscaping companies for choosing as per your preference. The important considerations in choosing a landscaping service may involve equipment, experience, landscaping budget, and many more.

14. Move-In

Once you have successfully built your container home, you can now proceed to use it and enjoy your investment to the fullest.

Read more: Build a shipping container home complete guide.

Your Next Step If You Really Want to Do This…

Now that you’ve seen the general to build DIY container homes, remember that this option of developing a comfortable home is not a new idea.

The use of discarded or new containers to build a container home is being adopted globally quickly. For that reason, you are among many people looking for an appropriate step by step guide of building a container home.

You’ll will benefit having an online expert guide you.

I mean just imagine if you buy the wrong container size, or don’t do the foundation correctly.

This will set you back a lot.

You’ll also have a big mess on your hands.

Doesn’t it make sense to avoid all those pitfalls…

And just get this done right from the start?

If yes, we recommend you invest in the Build a Container Home Program.

Build Container Home Book

You could try and do the DIY project alone, but why?

Why go through all that stress figuring it out yourself?

Read our review here, you’ll see why it’s important.

Build A Container Home Review: Is It REALLY Worth It?

So here’s the deal. 

Having a shipping container home sounds like a great idea..

And it really is.

But there’s a lot of stuff you can mess up.

Things that will set you back a lot of money and a lot of time.

Do you have the following things in order?

Things to Consider Before Building A Container Home:

  • How many people are going to stay in the house? 
  • What kind of look or design do you want your house to portray? 
  • Prepare the budget. 
  • The foundation…
  • Find the right place for your project. 
  • Check the location and the capacity of the soil to sustain it. 
  • Take a look at the building codes. 
  • Determine how you’re going to fund your home. 
  • Estimate the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, and play area. 
  • Find out the square feet you’re going to need.
  • Getting the actual container to you…

If there are any “question marks” in your mind about anything above…

Do Yourself a Huge Service and Invest in Warren Thatcher’s Build a Container Home Program

Build Container Home Book

If learning how to build a beautiful shipping container home is your end goal… 

And you want to do it right so that it lasts…

And you don’t make a ton of very costly mistakes in the process…

Get this program.

This program offers the most detailed DIY home building solution. Warren obtained and compiled information by research, and had it explained. Select one of the model container home designs in the book. Be exceptional and stand out from anyone else in your area.

Click here to get your copy of Build a Container Home

What’s in the product?

A perfect guide for planning is yours as you read the book by Warren Thatcher. The author emphasizes that 9% of all good architectural construction is in the planning stages.

With Build a Container Home, you’ll get ideas on:

  1. How to make good use of a shipping container.
  2. Find out what errors you have to avoid so that your project is safe and robust. 
  3. Learn the right approaches to get the job done and get ready to step in.
  4. How do you save your money and the right place to invest in for the best results?
  5. The least expensive way to build a container home.

Pros:

 ● It contains DIY techniques with which you can build a living space of your preference with the use of shipping containers without professional help.

 ● Find and modify affordable containers based on your living needs by following the guidelines as outlined by the author.

● The product is 100% accurate and if you do not find the approaches helpful, you will get a full refund on your purchase within 60 days.

Cons:

 ● Shipping containers are hard to transport, and you will need a proper building permit before you start your work.

Benefits of owning a container home 

It’s an exciting idea; thousands of people have used shipping containers to build their houses. There are many advantages to shipping containers, several of which are:

 ● Containers are cheap to use. When you equate the price of a shipping container to building materials, you’ll realize that you’re saving quite a bit of money. You may customize shipping containers to create a stylish, classy look that is gaining popularity.

● Most of the job is completed already. You save time, and you just join the containers and attach it to the foundation.

● You can personalize your container basically as you like. 

● Their environmental impacts are a huge benefit. You’re not chopping down trees, because anytime you use old shipping containers, you’re recycling them.

Summary

Build A Container Home by Warren Thatcher is a program & PDF book that includes the most effective ideas and strategies for building a living home using shipping containers. You will learn how to find and redesign containers at the lowest cost using the methods discussed by the author to create a secure and convenient living space.

The Complete Guide: How to Build a Shipping Container Home in 2020

Ah yes, the allure of the shipping container lifestyle.

Minimalist living. Off the grid.,

Nothing’s better, right?

Many agree…

It’s becoming a hot trend, notability in the US.

So are you looking to DIY your own?

Then this article is for you!

The scope of this article is to shed more light on the legality of owning one, and also a guide for building your own shipping container home. 

Before You do Anything, Read This Complete Guide.

How to build a shipping container home the complete guide

House Built Using Shipping Containers

Having a beautiful shipping container home takes more than just buying containers, cutting them, and joining them. There are basic rules to adhere to and guides to be followed carefully.

Below are the things to consider before building your home:

Legality

It is natural to question the legality behind container homes as you begin to get more familiar with the topic. More often than none, people ask the wrong questions. They ask, “Is container home legal in my location?” instead of asking, “Is there any rule that could affect my shipping container home?” Below are some important things that you should know.

Property Zoning

You must understand what zoning is because it will help you make better judgments in deciding where to build your container home.

Most city governments use property zoning to plan the development of a city, and what type of property can be built in a particular area. In a nutshell, the government uses zoning to keep similar types of properties together.

Aside from Houston, Texas, most other cities in the US have zoning laws. So, once you check the zoning law of an area, you’ll know if it’s legal to build your container home there or not.

Building Codes and Permits

Another important regulation that affects building container homes is the building codes and permits. Building codes determine the minimum standard required and how your shipping home should be built.

Meanwhile, building permits allow you to apply and prove that you’re complying with the building code so that you can get the approval for your building construction.

In the US, most of the building codes are based on the Internation Residential use (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC) from the International Code Council (ICC).

Also, most states have their specific building code as well. With a little research, you’ll be able to find your state’s specific building code.

After knowing the building code restriction of your state, then it is time to take another step towards having your own well-designed shipping container home.

Shipping Container Home Building Permits

Shipping Container Home Building Permits

Choosing a Foundation For Your Sea Container Home

Just as you need a strong foundation for the traditional buildings, it is equally important for your shipping container home. This is because the condition of the ground you are placing the container will determine how long your container home will last.

That is why it is important to choose a solid foundation in order to have stability and avoid your containers from separating or collapse.

There are three main types of foundation that you can choose from when setting up a foundation for your sea container building project.

3 Types Of Foundation

  • Slab foundation: This is considered as the most common foundation when dealing with soft ground. However, it has proven to be time-consuming and quite expensive to build. So if your ground is soft, then you should be ready to dig through hell, just kidding! But you are sure to dig a lot.
  • Pier foundation: This is an escape plan if one is not ready to go through the troubles of choosing a slab foundation. It is what most home builders use because they are not expensive compared to the slab foundation, and what makes it more popular is because it is easy to construct.
  • Pile foundations: This foundation is the best when the ground of your choice is weak to accept concrete. This type of foundation requires hammering plies into the soft ground until it reaches the hard part. Due to its technicality, it is recommended to hire contractors to ensure that it is well done. Well, one shouldn’t ignore the fact that it is also very expensive, unlike the other types of foundation.

Hiring Professional For More Technical Cases (If Needed)

Hiring a contractor to oversee some technical aspects when building a shipping container home is very important. This is similar to cases where there’s no other choice than to use a pile foundation method; you will surely need an expert in that area because of the necessary equipment needed to execute the task.

Aside from that, it is not logical to dive into something you have no experience with, so hiring a professional to do the job is the best decision you can make. If you feel you don’t have to do anything, then you can hire more than one contractor to help you with everything needed to complete your DIY home.

But the best way to save time and money is by hiring just a contractor who is experienced in everything that has to do with building a home from shipping containers.

Roofing and insulation

Roofing your container might not be necessary because some believe it saves money. But the truth is, it is wise to spend the money on roofing rather than spending more in the future in the process of covering energy bills.

When deciding to have a roof, you must consider insulating the inside of the roof to maintain a stable temperature inside your home.

Customizing your roof with an overhang is also beneficial because it prevents rain from running down your window.

As mentioned above, roofing your container home goes hand-in-hand with insulation. For you to have the proper insulation you must make sure the walls are built to allow enough depth for the installation of any insulation type.

However, it might require consuming some square inches inside your container.

When deciding on which insulation material you’re to use for your container home, the first thing that should come to your mind is the way you want your walls to be built out. Then you can choose from the different ways of insulating your container home.

Ways You Can Insulate Your Container Home

Cotton insulation

Cotton has been a relevant material used for insulating container homes. Most companies have been offering natural cotton for container insulation; these kinds of cotton are made out of recycled clothing products such as denim, jeans, and so on.

What could make cotton insulation frustrating is that it requires a vapor barrier, and the chances of it losing its insulation properties are high. This is because it could get wet anytime, and more to its disadvantages, it takes a while to dry.

Cork insulation

Cork insulation is also another choice to consider when looking for a way to insulate your container home. It is harvested mostly from the bark of a tree, which makes it a renewable and biodegradable resource.

One intriguing benefit of cork is the acoustic property it has, which makes it suitable for insulating container homes, therefore creating an acoustic buffer for your container home and also the metal walls in the container.

Wool insulation

The source of this insulation method is sheep wool. It shares the same R-Value of 3.5 per inch, the same as the cotton or some other types of fibrous insulation. The wool is not required to undergo any special treatment with different chemical solutions because the ship wool contains lanolin making it naturally retardant to a flame.

Spray foam insulation

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to insulate your container home, this is the best option to consider. What makes it easier is that you can spray it directly on both the exterior and interior parts of the walls of the shipping container. Most walls are coated with highly toxic paints, due to their life on the sea. However, the use of spray foam insulation method will make sure that the VOCs that could off-gas into your room is trapped.

Insulate Your New Home

The goal of insulating a container home is to prevent heat from extending from the warmer side to the cooler part of the container. Unlike the other types of residential constructions, sea containers have an exterior made of steel, and this makes insulation important.

Insulating your container home is important, but one shouldn’t just decide to do that without considering another factor, which is climate. The climate of your environment will also play an important role in determining how to insulate your container.

If your environment is cold, then you might not need to insulate the container home because it could save you from spending on a heater. But generally, professionals do advise container homeowners to insulate their container to avoid spending more in the future.

Plumbing and electricity

This is an important stage when building your new home. Plumbing pipes and electrical wires should be planned ahead before the completion of interior decoration; this is mostly the part you’re going to need a contractor to help you with. Failure to plan may lead to unnecessary rearrangements

Flooring

Shipping container floor comes with a typically 1-1/8” thick marine plywood. Some prefer to leave it the way it is, but others might want to customize it to their own style. If you fall under the latter category then, I will be discussing three types of flooring materials you can use in flooring your container home.

  • Commercial carpet tile: This material is suitable and sincerely worth it, should you decide to go for it. It has a soft texture and a sleek look. The interesting aspect is that it comes in different colors, so you have a wide range of options to choose from.
  • Steel overlay: One popular way of flooring a container home is installing a steel sheet on top of the plywood that originally came with the container.
  • Vinyl floor covering: This is the best option when looking for all packages in one. It is easy to clean, solid, oil-resistant, and fire retardant.

Security

The security of your home is very important, whether it is a shipping container home or not. You want to make sure that only authorized people can gain access to your home. Aside from that, you also have some personal belongings that you want to keep safe from burglars. Below are some of the ways in which you can keep your home safe.

Deterrence strategy

Deterrence strategy wades off intruders from your home. It tells them that the chances of breaking into your home are slim.

Generally speaking, this strategy keeps burglars from making any attempt at all. There are various ways in which you can execute this strategy.

Some people will park a vehicle in front of their home to prove that there is someone inside. With this, one wouldn’t be so foolish to attack under such circumstances.

Prevention strategy

The idea behind this strategy is to make sure that any intruder or attacker trying to break into your container home is delayed enough for you to catch them. There is no sure way to stop intruders from breaking into your home, most notably when it is a determined intruder. The only way to at least have a chance of catching the culprit is by executing this security strategy.

Detection strategy

This strategy aims to detect when an intruder is about to break into your home. The strategy gives you a chance to respond swiftly to unauthorized activity.

Read our other step by step container home tutorial here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below are the top common questions mostly asked by people enquiring about building a home from shipping containers.

What are the benefits of living in a shipping container?

Compared to the traditional building constructions, living in one saves you a lot of money and time when building it. Apart from that, it’s easy to use and construct.

Are they safe to live in?

Shipping container homes are believed to be safe due to their ability to endure dangerous environmental conditions. Though people might say it is not because of the chemicals the container contains, you can choose a container that is free of poisonous chemicals.

Where can I get the best container?

There are various places one can get a good shipping container. What matters most is, you have to see what you are buying before purchasing it.

How long does it take to build a shipping container home?

Ideally, it takes between 4-10 weeks to build a container home, depending on the construction material, and design. Also, the time it takes to place order and delivery depends on how many units you’re ordering.

How much does it cost to build a container home?

Generally speaking, building one will cost anything between $1,400 and $4,000, depending on the age, size, and condition of the container. Also, the more add-ons and extra features you add, the more the price you pay. Besides, a large container home will cost between $150,000 – $175,000. That’s about half the price per square foot of a regular home.

How long will my home last?

Ideally, your container home should last a minimum of 25 years, and with proper maintenance, it will last even longer. Besides, with external covering like wood, you can expect it to last even longer.

Do shipping containers homes rust?

Yes. The main thing that can shorten the lifespan of your container is rust. So you must always inspect your home regularly to check for any fault and have it fixed as soon as possible.

Build Cheap, Enjoy Big! Now What?

So you now have a breakdown of how to get your new minimalistic lifestyle into action…

But wouldn’t it be great to have a full guide to walk you through the exciting process of creating your first home?

If yes, we pointedly recommend the Build a Container Home Book.

Build Container Home Book

You can DIY this alone if you want…

But do you agree that having an expert guide you through every is significantly better?

If so, read our review of the BCH program here.