Shipping Container Home

Building a house with shipping containers 2024

A small house is always fashionable and a wise investment. However, building one from the beginning can be very expensive unless you buy a ready-made one from Wayfair or Lowe’s. Instead of just hoping for your small but expensive dreams to come true, think about a shipping container home. These modular containers can be a perfect starting point to create a space you’ll love without spending too much money.

“Containers are popular right now. They’re not just a passing trend or something cool to talk about – they’re a good choice for the environment and your budget, especially with the increasing cost of housing,” says Robin Staten-Lanier, the founder of Tiny Urban Escapes. According to experts, doing it yourself (DIY) with a shipping container home can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, excluding utilities. If you’re buying a ready-made container home, prices range from $25,000 to $250,000.

However, transforming a shipping container into your dream home requires planning, permits, and creativity! Fortunately, we’re here to help with the ultimate guide on how to build a shipping container home.

Why Are Homeowners Choosing Shipping Containers?

Shipping Container Home

Because it takes a while to get pre-made small house kits, people are using shipping containers instead. Architects and designers are coming up with new ideas because shipping containers are easy to find. A study by Allied Market Research says that the worldwide global container homes market size is expected to reach $73,070.5 million by 2025, from $44,768.6 million in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2018 to 2025 . 

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Staten-Lanier says, “More and more people need houses, but there aren’t enough. Using shipping containers is a smart and affordable way to build homes for the future.”

Benefits of Investing in a Shipping Container

Shipping Container Home

Giant Containers says that using shipping containers for homes has three main advantages: it’s fast, strong, and can be moved easily. The construction time is much shorter compared to regular methods, taking half or one-third of the usual time.

The cost of a shipping container home can be as low as $3,000, depending on whether you’re doing it yourself or using a pre-designed plan. These homes are durable and can withstand different weather conditions. If you want to expand your living space, you can easily add more container units.

Using steel for building is environmentally friendly because it can be recycled. Robert Wagoner, the founder of Custom Container Living, mentions that many people buy shipping container homes for their main residence, as a weekend getaway, or for renting on Airbnb.

Steps to Building a Shipping Container Home

Shipping Container Home

Building a shipping container home involves several steps. Here’s a simplified guide:

  1. Research and Planning:
    • Explore local building codes and regulations.
    • Determine the size and design of your container home.
    • Decide whether to hire professionals or go the DIY route.
  2. Site Preparation:
    • Clear the land and ensure it meets zoning requirements.
    • Level the ground for a solid foundation.
    • Install any necessary utilities like water, electricity, and sewage.
  3. Design and Permits:
    • Create detailed plans for your container home.
    • Obtain the required building permits from local authorities.
  4. Acquire Shipping Containers:
    • Purchase suitable containers based on your design.
    • Inspect containers for damage and ensure they meet safety standards.
  5. Foundation Construction:
    • Build the foundation to support the containers.
    • Common foundation types include concrete piers, slabs, or a crawl space.
  6. Container Placement:
    • Place the containers according to your design.
    • Weld the containers together securely, if necessary.
  7. Cut Openings and Reinforce:
    • Cut openings for doors, windows, and other necessary features.
    • Reinforce the container structure to maintain structural integrity.
  8. Insulation and Framing:
    • Install insulation to regulate temperature.
    • Frame interior walls using wood or metal studs.
  9. Utilities Installation:
    • Set up electrical wiring and plumbing.
    • Install HVAC systems for heating and cooling.
  10. Interior Finishing:
    • Finish the interior with flooring, walls, and ceilings.
    • Customize the space according to your preferences.
  11. Exterior Finishing:
    • Add exterior finishes for weather protection.
    • Paint or apply other finishes for aesthetics.
  12. Final Inspections:
    • Schedule inspections to ensure compliance with building codes.
    • Address any issues raised during inspections.
  13. Move-In:
    • Once all inspections are passed, move into your new container home.
    • Set up furniture and enjoy your unique living space.
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Remember, these steps may vary based on local regulations, your specific design, and whether you choose to do the construction yourself or hire professionals. Always consult with local authorities and professionals to ensure a safe and legal construction process.

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