Shipping containers have gained popularity as a unique and cost-effective way to build a home. These sturdy, prefabricated structures can be easily transported and assembled on-site, making them a fast and efficient option for alternative housing. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to using shipping containers as a home. We will explore the pros and cons of using shipping containers as a home to help you decide if it is the right option.
- Cost: Shipping containers are often cheaper than traditional building materials, especially if you can find a used one. A new shipping container can range from around $1,500 to $4,500, depending on the size and features. This is significantly cheaper than building a traditional home, which can quickly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Durability: Shipping containers are designed to withstand rough handling and transportation, so they are durable and can last a long time. They are made of corrugated steel and are built to withstand extreme weather conditions and heavy loads. This makes them a good choice for a home that needs to be sturdy and long-lasting.
- Sustainability: Using a shipping container as a home can be a sustainable option because it repurposes an existing structure and reduces the demand for new materials. Instead of using new resources to build a home, you are using an existing structure that would otherwise go to waste. This can help reduce the environmental impact of building a home.
- Speed of construction: Because shipping containers are prefabricated, it can be faster to build a home using them than it would be to build a home from scratch. The containers can be delivered to the site and assembled quickly, saving time and money on construction.
- Design flexibility: Because you can stack shipping containers, you can create unique and creative home designs. Even with a rectangular box, you no longer need to stick to a rectangular-looking house. Stacking evenly, perpendicularly, or even at an angle can give your house a unique look and style all its own. We have a list of shipping container home ideas below.
- Limited space: Shipping containers are not very large, so creating a spacious home with them can be challenging. A typical shipping container measures about 8 feet wide by 8.5 feet tall and can be up to 40 feet long, so like any tiny home, you have 160–320 sq. ft of living space if you have one container. This can make it challenging to create a home with multiple rooms or a lot of storage space. You can buy more, but that will increase your costs.
- Insulation: Shipping containers are made of metal, making them difficult to heat and cool efficiently. Properly insulating a shipping container can add to the cost and complexity of using them to build a home. If you are installing your home in an area with weather extremes, you’ll have to insulate well to keep the cool air in the summer and heat in the winter.
- Extra construction costs- You must prepare a foundation with water, sewer, and electrical hookups. Like a traditional home, you may need extra reinforcement if you’re going to stack containers. This is an extra cost you’ll need to account for.
- Limited design options: Because shipping containers are a standard size and shape, creating a home with a unique or custom design can be challenging. You are limited to the dimensions of the container and may need to get creative to make the most of the space.
- Zoning and building code restrictions: Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on using shipping containers as a home. Local building codes may require you to obtain special permits if they allow you to build within the city limits. You must check with your local zoning and building codes to ensure it is allowed. Some areas may not allow shipping containers to be used as homes, or there may be specific regulations you need to follow to use them.
10 container home design ideas
These container homes have been built with one or many containers and in many different styles. The only constraints you have when building a container home is your local building codes, budget, and the size of the land on which you’re building.
You can start with these ideas for inspiration and then build one yourself with these step-by-step plans.
- Small yet eco-friendly.
2) Colorful and unique
3) Modern container home
4) Small and comfortable
5) Containers with a pool-side view
6) Small and modern container house
7) Container home with many views
8) Container house of many colors
9) Shipping container oasis
10) Go bold or go home container house