Shipping Container Homes: Advantages and Disadvantages

Colorful container stacked

A container shipping house at first glimpse may appear like an unsuitable option for dwelling. However, it is a cost-effective housing option that is growing in popularity. Who would have thought that this one steel container can be transformed into a living space? Now, most people do.

Although a container home is an eco-friendly and economical choice for home building, it is not ideal for everyone. This article will briefly discuss the benefits together with the downsides of getting a shipping container home for your family. Check them out below.

Advantages of Container Shipping Homes

Shipping container homes are sustainable, durable, cost-effective, customizable, and fast to construct.


New or used shipping containers can be purchased for as little as a few hundred to thousand dollars. They are very cost-effective compared to the traditional house constructions that amount to more than $300,000. This reason alone makes shipping container homes an affordable selection, mainly if you prefer a tiny or small house living. You can also find a tiny house insurance policy at a great rate.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly

The return rate of an empty container after shipment exceeds the value of creating a new one for most companies. And this leads to a million piles of old steel boxes stuck in harbors. Fortunately, a group of ingenious people thought of repurposing containers into houses instead of discarding them into ports.

Building container homes is the perfect way to reduce waste, reuse upcycled shipping steel boxes, and recycle them into a new livable space. More than that, they serve as a sustainable alternative for home construction since they prevent the usage of cement and bricks. Note that the cement industry is among the biggest producers of carbon footprint.

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Durable, Stable, and Safe

Shipping containers are virtually designed to withstand severe climatic conditions, multi-stack efficiently, and bear heavy loads. Their durability and stability are enough to create homes that are very hard to break in and are naturally disaster-proof. Thus, making them a safe structure for dwelling.

Quick to Construct

A container home is much easier to build than a traditional house. That is because they already have a ceiling, walls, and flooring. All you have to do is place insulations and decorate. Since most of this housing structure is built offsite, it will only take 2-3 weeks to build an entire habitual space. Unlike a brick and mortar structure that takes 4-6 months to finish. 


Shipping container home structures are easy to modify based on your needs. Thanks to home designers that specialize in container home construction, homeowners can now choose a wide selection of innovative architectural designs. 

You can add your personalized preferences, such as adding full window walls, full sliding glass doors, use of other sustainably sourced materials, and installation of solar panels for green power generation.

Disadvantages of Container Shipping Homes

Apart from the things you can gain from getting a container home, there are some negative factors you have to consider as well. 

Land Costs

You have a significant advantage if you already possess a piece of land. But if not, then you need to get one first before you can purchase a prebuilt home.

Finding the right location to build is not that easy because you have to see if the place can easily hook up for electricity and water connection and so on. Besides, even if you found an accessible place, you have to check its zoning laws and building codes to avoid any issues in the future.

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Limited Space

Custom container lifestyle embraces the concept of living small since most steel boxes are measured 320 square feet or even less. Although you can create a larger space by combining or stacking multiple containers, it will only add up your expenditures.


Shipping containers are massive steel boxes, which means they transmit and absorb heat and cold easily. This can lead to temperature management problems, but you do not have to worry since it can be solved through proper insulation and paint. However, insulation can further lessen the limited interior space of the container. This is why most homeowners avail multiple joint structures to increase their living area.

Surrounding Hazards

Shipping boxes are not intended for human habitation, which means they are made with non-human friendly elements, such as phosphorous, chromate, arsenic, and lead. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that your contractor is dealing with these hazards before construction.

Before a container can be habitable, sandblast the whole box, replace the entire flooring, and cut all the openings with a torch. Although these steps are essential, they result in additional carbon emissions to the environment.


Building a customized container house is already a growing trend. Getting a suitable shipping container, proper land, and ideal house design can produce a durable and tasteful home that anyone would want. Moreover, this can be a large-scale solution for the current worldwide housing crisis.

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