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 walls 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.

Category: Container Building,