Shipping container homes allow you to repurpose shipping containers. You can build a new home without significantly contributing to climate change. Yet, living in a container home may not be the ideal solution for everyone.
Use the following guide to explore the pros and cons of shipping container homes.
Advantages of a Shipping Container Home
Shipping container homes are built using multiple used shipping containers. The containers are cleaned, reinforced, and connected to create a frame for your new house. Container homes are fitted with plumbing, electrical wiring, and all the features of a modern home.
So, why choose a container home over a standard home? Here are a few of the advantages:
- Faster to build
- Energy efficient
Many of these advantages occur during the construction process. Yet, container homes can also offer decades of comfort while helping to lower your carbon footprint.
Cheaper to Construct
Constructing a shipping container home should save money. It costs less to construct, due to the smaller size of the typical shipping container home and the use of recycled materials. You can find premade shipping container homes for around $10,000. A luxurious yet small container home may cost as much as $35,000. Larger options may cost up to $185,000.
The average cost of construction for a standard residential home in the United States is just under $300,000. Even with a high-end container home, you are likely to spend less on construction. The lower costs of building a container home may make it more attainable for those with less income or limited savings for a down payment.
Construction Takes Less Time
Building a shipping container home is faster than building a regular home. The average timeframe for new home construction is about seven months. However, after accounting for the time needed to secure a loan and start construction, you may end up waiting close to a year to move into your new home.
Some builders can construct a shipping container home in less than a month. Your new home can be move-in ready quickly, which may make it easier to schedule construction around your needs.
Building a shipping container home has less of an impact on the environment compared to building a standard home. The frame of the home is made from recycled shipping containers, which keeps large chunks of metal from getting tossed in landfills.
The typical residential home is constructed with a wood stud frame. Cutting timber, manufacturing wood studs, and transporting the materials to your building site has more of a negative environmental impact.
Shipping containers are highly durable. Homes built from containers also provide increased durability compared to traditional houses.
A well-built container home may even survive a hurricane or tornado. An F2 tornado produces winds with speeds between 113 and 157 mph. The metal frame is often reinforced with additional steel beams, allowing container homes to withstand winds up to 170 mph.
Highly Customizable Designs
Shipping container homes are easy to modify. You can choose from a wide range of floor plans and layouts or work with a builder for a custom build.
These homes are modular. Builders can arrange containers in endless configurations. Containers can be stacked to create multiple floors and connected in a variety of ways to create different layouts.
With the right design choices, a shipping container home can become much more energy-efficient compared to a standard home. These homes are smaller, which makes them easier to heat and cool.
You can also add energy-efficient features, such as:
- Spray foam insulation
- Green roofing
- Efficient appliances
- Solar panel systems
Take the time to compare your building options and the selection of appliances for your new home. Proper insulation, roofing, and efficient appliances can dramatically reduce your energy consumption after moving into a container home.
Disadvantages of a Shipping Container Home
Some of the issues that you need to deal with when building a shipping container home include:
- Finding the right location
- Keeping construction eco-friendly
- Replacing containers after several decades
- Building a home with enough living space
Hiring an experienced builder may limit the severity of these drawbacks. A contractor that has built other shipping container homes may help you choose a suitable location and select containers that can hold for decades.
Finding the Right Location Is Often Difficult
Shipping container homes are becoming more popular, but you are unlikely to find many pre-existing container homes for sale. In most cases, you will need to build a container home, which involves finding a plot of land.
Finding the right location for a home requires you to consider the distance from work, school, family, friends, and amenities. Local building restrictions increase the challenges of finding the right location for a container home. Not all areas allow you to build a container home.
Container Homes Are Not Always Eco-Friendly
Creating less of an impact on the environment is one of the advantages of building a shipping container home. Unfortunately, not all container homes are eco-friendly. Some containers may come with significant damage. The interior of the container may also contain volatile chemicals. Removing volatile chemicals and repairing damage decreases the environmental benefits of building a container home.
Purchasing slightly used containers that are still in good condition requires less work. However, you also need to ensure that the home contains optimal insulation and energy-efficient appliances to cut down on your carbon footprint.
Shipping Container Homes Offer a Shorter Lifespan
The average life for a shipping container home is about 30 years. You can extend its life by reinforcing portions of the containers and dealing with repairs swiftly. However, a standard home is likely to stand the test of time better.
The typical residential home is designed to last a lifetime. Many people live in homes that are over 100 years old. Yet, the lower costs of construction still make shipping container homes more cost-effective.
You May Gain Less Living Space in a Container Home
The typical shipping container home offers less living space compared to the typical residential property. Most container homes are built with 20-foot or 40-foot containers. A 20-foot container has about 160 square feet of living space. A 40-foot container offers 320 square feet. Even with multiple containers, container homes are often smaller than the average home.
Keep in mind that you can build a container home of any size. If you connect 10 40-foot containers, you gain about 3200 square feet of living space. Larger container homes are rare but still an option.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Shipping Container Homes
Is a Shipping Container Home Worth it? Shipping container homes are a popular housing trend, thanks to their eco-friendly features. However, with the pros and cons of shipping container homes, these homes are not for everyone. Finding the right location, dealing with building codes, and potentially needing to replace containers in a few decades are a few of the challenges of building a shipping container home.
Yet, shipping container homes are also much more affordable compared to standard homes. You can build a container home for a fraction of the price while using fewer materials. With the right design options, your new container home should also provide years of energy-efficient living. In the end, shipping container homes are best suited for homeowners looking for affordable, eco-friendly housing.