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Shipping Container Homes: Pros and Cons Explained

Learn exactly how shipping containers can be used to create container homes.


A shipping container home is a house that is constructed from one or more cut-down shipping containers, which can be stacked on top of one another to form a multi-level home.

You can do this yourself or order a turnkey home kit: these will contain the plans, the foundation, insulation, and the plumbing, but you will need to purchase the electrical, windows, and doors.

The most important point to make with getting the right containers, you need to make sure that you seal the containers properly. You can do this by welding any visible seams, and then coating them in a special resin like epoxy.

You don’t have to start from scratch: many projects have DIY information posted online, including how-to videos.

Without further ado, let’s explore different pros and cons of building a shipping container home.

shipping container homes pros and cons

Pro: Speed and ease of construction

To put together your own small house takes only three weeks in a factory. It’s often possible to finish modifications off-site making on-site assembly a quick process. It is also true that building using container construction is more possible than traditional building for a DIYer.

However many people hire design contractors or people who have previous experience in the shipping container building industry. You should keep in mind that the requirements for permits for building in your area must exist. It could also take longer than an actual install, so start sooner. Make sure that you get in the right place to get the right permissions earlier to avoid delays. See the website for further information.

shipping container homes on water

Con: Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Most container sites are left empty or virtually unfinished around the world. Their concentration is hundreds of thousands. Recycling them and converting them into the house is more sustainable and eco-friendly than building with traditional materials.

Using shipping containers (whether they are used shipping containers or brand new containers) to build a container home can be extremely cost-effective and is environmentally friendly.

Building with a shipping container can produce a large amount of waste before it can be used as a house. Each piece should be thoroughly sandblasted and the replacement of carpeting is advised to help remove harmful chemicals which can cause illnesses. The fossil fuels required during the operation adds to the ecological footprint. Wood floors are also loaded with hazardous pesticides to keep out pests.

The pros and cons of shipping container homes

Metal is somewhat harder to control temperature or condensation. Metal skin acts as a heat sink pulling in the heat in winter and the heat coming into summer. Metal is also noisy in windy weather. A shipping container property should be viewed as a more permanent construction (although she can be moved to a new location) work with a contractor or someone with prior container home building experience.

Local building codes have often been unfamiliar with shipping container homes making it difficult to get the proper permits. It is cheap and extremely resistant. It is easily customizable.

container homes

Pros and cons of building with shipping containers

Many cargo containers are discarded by one-way shipments in ports across the world. This reuse of a 40′ container uses up to 3500kg of steel. A kWh savings could be made by simply melting it down. Building a housing structure out of a shipping container takes approximately 2- 4 weeks in contrast with a brick and mortar structure taking up to 4- 5 months in a brick-and-mortar building.

It can carry large loads and withstand rough sea environments. The containers can also be easily stacked one on top of the other to create multi-story residences. Additionally, the structural work is minimal, greatly decreasing the cost.

Pro: Creative Freedom

The containers that carry the container in a variety of different sizes giving you the freedom to create as big or as small as you want in your home. So to achieve the most freedom try to stick to a high cube container taller than 10 feet. With large windows, one can open all the space and bring in light.

Or you have the choice of installing wide glass doors you open for the outside. Using containers helps to express a personal style and make a personal style of home.

Cons of using shipping containers for shipping container homes

There’s a bit of bias in the online world where shipping container homes are sold but many of these concerns are not mentioned. This section contains several common opinions regarding using containers for construction.

One main concern is the insulation of the shipping container home. You can use used shipping containers to create a home, but the structural integrity may not be the best compared to traditional construction materials.

We are not here to deceive you and we want everybody to make this big decision with their eyes open. If you like the benefits we have discussed on this page, it can help you overcome many of the challenges.

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