Shipping Container Homes Guide for 2022

Shipping Container Homes

Some people finds themselves looking at shipping container homes options to get their home buying cost lowered.

Still others see it as a first step to living off-grid.

In our shipping container homes guide, we’ll walk you through your options and give you the resources you need to make a smart and informed decision.

We’ll also cover our compelling arguments for why you should dive into this super eco-friendly living trend.


What Is A Shipping Container Home?

Shipping Container House Black

It is quite literally homemade from one (or sometimes two shipping containers or more) recycled shipping containers. We’ve seen people use four recycled shipping containers in a single project too.

Separate shipping containers (as standard) come in two sizes you can get a 20’ x 8’ or a 40’ x 8’ variant.

You can also get repurposed shipping containers in varying heights (8’ 6” minimum or 9 ‘ 6”) which gives you plenty of clearance to walk around in.


What Are The Benefits Of A Home Made Of Old Shipping Containers?

  • Save Money
    You can build a house really cheaply on the frames that the shipping containers provide. They still offer all the living space that you need.
  • Eco-Friendly
    You’re reusing an old shipping container, nothing’s greener than recycling, right? This is easy alternative living. You can also integrate solar panels easily as you can with any tiny house
  • Reduce Waste
    Shipping containers that aren’t sold off are often dumped and left to rot.
  • Super Durable
    Shipping containers are designed to withstand the rough weather on the high seas, and they are meant to stack, so if you want multi-layer living, it’s not a problem.
  • Super Strong
    Once you weld the elements in place in the used container, the shipping container home can shrug off anything from storms to earthquakes. They can easily comply with local building codes.
  • Fast Construction
    As you’re really only making some minor structural modifications to the containers, they are super quick to build too. Or you can use a company like Backcountry Containers (this company specializes in building these homes) to build yours for you.

Are There Any Downsides Of Living In A Shipping Container Home?

shipping container luxury
  • They get hot – make your home out of metal and you’ll find summers can get very warm, you need to take this into account in your design process so you can control the temperature
  • Rust can be a problem – you need to seal the walls effectively once the containers are on site to prevent rusting
  • Paint fumes – you need to make sure there are no contaminants and particularly chemical paints that you can breathe in left inside the container before you use it
  • Planning permission – you may struggle to get planning permission for a steel home in many residential zones, so make sure to find out before you buy
  • Need room during construction – moving containers about requires a lot of room, you need to make sure the site will accommodate the moving equipment

What Do Shipping Container Homes Cost?

It really depends on how you approach this, but they can cost anything from $1,500 for a bare container (then you supply the materials, labor, etc. for conversion) to $250,000 for a luxury prefabricated home.

In general, you should expect a shipping container home to cost roughly half what it costs for an ordinary home except when you are buying one that is already established and in place – then you may pay as much as an ordinary home.


Shipping Container Homes For Sale | How To Buy A Shipping Container Home

There is, of course, a market for secondhand shipping container homes and you can buy them ready to move in from previous owners.

alternative living

There are some nice examples of what you can find in this market on Curbed.com.

They highlight 5 shipping container homes you could buy and move into today.

To find homes in your desired area, you’ll need to do a Google search or talk to local real estate agents.


container homes

Prefab Shipping Container Homes

There are dozens of potential sources for prefabricated shipping container homes and many companies on the market offering these homes for sale.

If you want some great ideas on what’s available then you can check this Pinterest board out.

If you’re ready to start shopping but want to go with a shopping channel you know you can trust this article has some great ideas for where to buy these homes online!


Shipping Container Home Plans: How To Build A Shipping Container Home

Your final option, of course, is to build your own.

For that, you will need some land to put the container on and a shipping container (or as many containers as your plans call for). 82% of the world’s containers are made by one company – CIMC from China.

Shipping

A good supplier for containers is Container Discounts.

Then really, it’s down to your building skills (or your contractor’s building skills) and your imagination as to what you can achieve.

For some inspiration take a look at these amazing shipping container homes in House Beautiful magazine.


Last Word on Shipping Container Homes

Before you buy yourself a shipping container home, you might want to check out our guide to living off-grid because you can definitely combine the two into a more self-sufficient living experience.

We’d also recommend you check out our guide to the best A-frame kit houses because you might be able to keep your costs down with that kind of structure too.

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