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Interior Work on the epic Creative Co-Op - Removing the Common Walls

January 2, 2011 - With the containers set in place, we turned our attention to working on the interiors - specifically, removing the common walls. Our building design includes the removal of 8 common walls, for a total of over 480 linear feet of steel to be cut.  The walls of the container are very heavy, and we cut them into 3' wide by 9' tall sections, for another 720 feet of cutting.  We really put our Hobart plasma cutter to the test.  With 80% of the walls removed at the time of this writing, we have only gone through a couple of cutting tips (they are about $18/tip). 

In addition to removing the walls, the floors needed some TLC as well.  First, we patched the holes cut in the bottom of the containers by using some of the scrap wood left over from the foundation footings.  Next, we power washed the units where we cut the walls out to remove all the slag and dirt tracked in during construction.  After the floors dried out for a couple of days, we sealed them using a variety of oil based paints (since color did not matter, we used "Oops" paint purchased from Home Depot and Loews.  "Oops" paint is paint that has been returned by customers.  Since it was custom mixed, it cannot be restocked and is sold at a deep discount.  Since the floors will be covered later in construction, color was not important. There are some other money saving things we did which I will share with you after the jump.

After the wall were removed a ragged edge remains that needs to be ground down. We used a 4" hand grinder to remove the high points in the corrugations, and the metal rings that are used to secure cargo inside the container.  This is a slow and laborious task, but is critical for a good floor finish later in the construction process.

We opted to store the cut wall sections outside the containers, and are not sure exactly what they will be used for at this time.  We might be able to use them for the ADA ramp.  They can always be sold for scrap, but we are hoping to find a better use for them.

When I go to a big box store, I am always on the lookout for yellow or red tags.  At Home Depot, a yellow tag means the item is being sold at a discount, and it is usually worth a closer look.  During my trip to buy paint, I noticed a yellow tag on a stack of metal studs.  Turns out, Home Depot was discontinuing their 3-5/8" x 12' metal studs, and had dropped the price from $8.34 to $2.23!  This store had 225 in the bin, so I found the manager and asked him for a reduced price if I bought all of his inventory.  He gave me a discount, and I asked him to check the other stores for remaining inventory. One nearby store had 350 in stock and that manager gave me a discount for buying their entire inventory as well.  I just so happened to have two discount cards from Loews ($25 off a $250 purchase and 10% off any purchase up to $500) which further reduced the price (Home Depot accepts the cards and coupons from competitors). 

Buying recycled, discontinued, or deeply discounted products is an important part of this project, and will allow us to remain within the budget we established at the outset.

Posted by on January 02, 2011

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Jeff LiCausi Hi Vic, I just ran across your YouTube video and then read through your entire BLOG. I also live here in Houston, TX - about 10 miles east of downtown. It is exciting to see someone local that is building an actual structure near me. Over the Christmas holidays I built out my final shipping container home design in Sketchup and then animated the entire build from ground up to show the different portions being constructed from foundation to the roofing. You can check it out on the homepage of my site: http://www.isbudepot.com Let me know what you think of the video, I spent days figuring out how to setup the section cut animations just right. Your BLOG has already proven super useful in helping me understand the complexity of undertaking this sort of project. I am going to start getting estimates for the different phases this month. I can't wait to follow your progress to completion. Thanks again for sharing your journey... -Jeff
2011 01 04

TC I love your blog. I have a quick question. I heard that the wood in the ISBU uses industrial strength pesticides and should be removed. Do you all feel that the floors will be safe after covering the floors with more flooring material? Keep up with the great posts
2011 01 07

Jesse Smith Your blog is very informative. We are in the planning stage for 6 SC homes for our homeless charity.
2011 01 09

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The cuts made in the floors of the containers for the plumbing pipes were patched using wood from the foundation footings.

The first sections of the common walls in containers 1&2 are removed - the open space is amazing!

The wall sections are cut into 3' wide by 9' tall pieces.

The floors of the units are power washed for the second time.

Some of the Oops paint from Home Depot - $5/gal.

The floors of all the units are painted.

After the walls are removed, the high points of the corrugations are ground down.

We were able to purchase the metal studs for the walls at Home Depot at a deep discount.

When you go to a big box store - look for the yellow tags!

The job site on January 1, 2011.