An Overview of Shipping Container Homes


An Overview of Shipping Container Homes

shipping container homes

Shipping container homes are simply homes constructed with shipping containers that are used for the shipping of goods over-road, over-rail or over-ocean. In this situation, they are repurposed to become residential houses, where families and individuals live, or as a form of commercial storefront for the storage and dispensation of goods and services.

In the past, it used to be a sort of improvisation, where people who cannot lay their hands on good homes convert these shipping containers into some form of mobile or makeshift homes for their temporary use. But recently, many architects, engineers and house designers adopted the practice of using these cheap and strong boxes as a replacement for house building bricks. Here, they incorporate some amount of comfort for the dwellers with some durable materials.

When you come to the urban areas, there is always the problem of lack of space and lands being too expensive. Where this is the case, the shipping container homes can prove as a wonderful improvisation. This is why the use of these container homes is more prevalent in the cities than in under-developed areas. However, the newest trend in container homes is that huge and more expansive edifices are now developed and constructed with these containers. Instead of serving as makeshift homes placed in areas where the purchase of land is a problem, they are now used to erect very gigantic buildings on verse areas of land.

Considerations before going for shipping container homes

As much as the shipping container homes serve to reduce the problems created by the lack of space or cost of land, there are still some obligations one must keep before he or she is allowed to erect such anywhere. The containers used for these constructions are seemingly always available in a consistent manner when needed. This makes the price to be fairly low, though the price fluctuates sometimes.  The increase and decrease in the price of the shipping containers is determined by the cost of fuel, steel at the moment and the amount of demand of the product in question, especially among shippers. When you want to use the containers for shipping container homes within the city, there are some local zoning and ordinances that are exclusive to each city which must be respected. In some cases, you will be required to present a professional certification of the foundation and a comprehensive architectural design of the construction you intend carrying out. The latter will be enforced more if you are getting a financing of any sort for the project. One good thing about these homes is that they are good in all climates, though your initial plan must include the accessibility of a crane.

Sizes of shipping containers used in constructing the homes

There are four different types of shipping containers used for the construction of shipping container homes. The first one is the 20ft. container, which has a width of 19’10 ft, a height of 8 ft and length of 8’6 ft. There is also a similar container with the same diameters, but with full refrigeration. The next is the 40 ft container, which has a length of 8.5 ft, width of 40 ft and height of 8 ft. The next is the 45 ft container that has a width of 45 ft, height of 8 ft and length of 9.6ft. There are also 20ft, 40ft and 45ft containers with refrigerators.

The purchase and design of shipping container homes

The truth of the matter is that most of the shipping companies have attested to the fact that the cost of transporting the containers back to their original locations sometimes becomes more than the cost of purchasing new ones. This is why it is more profitable for them to sell off these containers after using them to ship goods to some destinations. Because of this, shipping containers are readily available at affordable prices to those who need them.

So, finding the containers will not be much of a problem to any serious person. There are several shipping companies that you can contact online in your area to demand if there are available containers for sale. However, when they are selling containers to you, make sure that you use the containers ID to know the age or manufacturing date of the containers. It is always better for you to buy newer containers. Few thousand dollars will get you good containers.

No matter the type of shipping container homes you want to construct, whether it is a one room apartment, a school, office complex, or even a large apartment, the joining and stacking of these containers to form the various needed configurations is a relatively easy task to do. The bulk of the difficult task lies in installation of the utilities like the plumbing system, electricity etc. But then, with the basic construction knowledge, anybody can handle these. For simple shipping container home constructions, a single shipping container will be enough for you.

Most of the building codes and requirements for different regions are gotten online, so you must do well to look at this before you commence your home construction. However, whenever it comes to the issue of constructing the windows, doors and others, you must use professional arc welders. This is because when you make any mistake in this area, reversing it might not be possible again.

Advantages of shipping container homes

The shipping container homes have a lot of benefits that makes it sometimes better than the normal and conventional homes. While some try to get these homes because of most of these benefits, many other people just go for it for the fun. And the question then is, if it is more fun, is it not another advantage? With this, we go into the advantages.


Of course, all we have been saying about the shipping container homes lie in the fact that they are very cheap. Getting the containers might be the cheapest concrete investment you have ever embarked on. When you compare the cost of getting a used shipping container and converting it into a home, you will immediately realize that it is far cheaper than getting a home even in the remotest part of the city.

Ease of construction

The truth is that many people who do not have prior professional training in building construction can easily convert shipping containers into shipping container homes. The rigors and construction complications involved in the other homes are avoided here. Just add your door, windows, utilities and even staircases if that is the case (Of course you can construct wonderful story buildings). Even when you want to use the services of experts, the job is still easier.

Saves time

This is perhaps the biggest advantage of shipping container homes. Yes, you can get a container home up and running within a week. This includes the time you make the order from the shipping firm, their transportation of the container and the construction. It saves a whole lot of time. If you ever need a home as soon as possible, this is the best for you. Of course, you don’t need the foundation to dry before you continue laying the bricks and you do not need one set of brick to dry before you lay the other. It is really fast.

A million designs

Because of the fact that you are making use of a shipping container, which you can toss and reconstruct as you wish, you have the leverage of satisfying your imaginations with as many designs as possible. Those funny and exciting designs you cannot get in a house can be incorporated in this. Read more on designs on 23 Surprisingly Gorgeous Homes Made From Shipping Containers


Of course, all of us are trying to help our environment and the best way you can do it is through the shipping container homes. It is actually a lot of recycling, as the steel which its destruction would have harmed the environment is avoided. You save a lot of energy when you use and reuse the shipping containers.

Disadvantages of shipping container homes


This is the most outstanding downside of this. Because of the aluminum or corten steel used in making these shipping containers, your shipping container home will always be prone to extreme heat when there is rise in temperature and extreme cold when there is a dip in temperature. Because of this, you must always look for a temperature control mechanism.


As much as these containers are made with rust resistant paints, many things might bring about rust in the long run, and if your shipping container home is made with a recycled container, you might be experiencing rust in the nearest future.

Harmful minerals

The much I know is that these containers were not originally meant for use as homes. Because of this, there are some safety measures that were not considered during their considerations. For example, some of the solvents and paints might be harmful to human health when the vapors coming from them are inhaled by inhabitants. Again, the type of goods they were used to transport might be the toxic ones. They might contaminate the containers and pose some health risk in the shipping container homes.

Another thing here is that if you are constructing a shipping container home, you need a lot of space. This is not only the space where you will place the container, but a surrounding space for the construction. This might not be easy to have.

There is also this issue of a lot of rules and regulations mapped out by different districts, areas and counties, as it concerns the use of such homes. This might hamper your shipping container home construction.

Examples of shipping container homes

There are numerous types of shipping container homes. But the fact is that there are no mapped out styles and types. Everything still rests in the imagination, creativity and aesthetic value of the developer, coupled with what he or she is comfortable with and the materials that are available to him or her. However, there are some popular shipping containers homes which you might want to have a look at.

The mobile unit

While many shipping container homes involves the stacking and linking of many containers to form a living home, many people always prefer the single decker method. This simply involves the implementation of the needed elements without any extra designs. It has the bathroom, reading area, bed, desk, kitchen, the sofa and then the storage area.

shipping container homes mobile home

The Ecopod

The Ecopod is simply a shipping container home designed to serve as a rustic summer cabin. It can also be an element of fun and not just for laying your head at night. That’s the message. It is constructed as an off the grid home. With floor made from recycled rubber, it is very rugged and mobile.

shipping container homes ecopods

Cordell house

shipping container homes Cordell house

Here, the developers tried to show that we can have a shipping container home that will not just stand as a green house, but which will have all the kid-friendly features that makes it look more like a real home rather than something of makeshift nature.

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