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Why a Container Home?

Most everyone has heard of the popular shipping container home or container house. But as you seriously consider buying or building one you may wonder what it is about them that makes them so popular. Wonder no more–here are your answers.

A container home is relatively cheap:

In the United States, the median sales price for an existing home is $245,100, according to the National Association of Realtors. Basic container homes can be built for under $20k, especially if you’re building it yourself. Since the load bearing structure, as well as water- and air-tightness are already part of the container, much of the work is already done. As the builder, you are primarily finishing out a premade structure. Of course, you can finish them out as expensively or as cheaply as you’d like. But if you simply cut a few windows and a door in, fir the inside out for insulation, plumbing and electrical and then panel with a cheap paneling, the cost can be very low.

A container home is incredibly tough and durable:

Shipping containers are made to haul 20 to 30 tons and to be stacked 10 or more high and then hauled around the world! These airtight, watertight, metal structures are certainly made to last. Strong steel beams form the frame of the containers and the walls are made out of a heavy gauge corrugated steel. They are basically impervious to hurricanes, earthquakes and even fire. They are water- and air-tight and resistant to rust since they were made to sail for years on the open saltwater ocean. All of this brings an incredibly resilient, long lasting shell for your home to be built into.

They force a minimalist design aesthetic:

Since the shape and size is predetermined (of course you could change that if you wish) it limits your design choices which, paradoxically, frees you to come up with unique design and functional features. The sleek, straight lines of the shipping container lends itself to the popular modern farmhouse look as well as a steampunk or industrial aesthetic.

A container house is super portable:

There is a proven, reliable network of systems and equipment to easily move containers not just around the country, but around the world. Trains, trucks, trailers and ships are designed specifically to haul these sturdy boxes. They can be put in places few other homes could be built since they can be set by crane or special delivery vehicles. Whether you want them on a mountainside or at the bottom of a canyon, it can be done. So it can be ideal for a home in a remote location since it can be built offsite where there’s easy access to materials and contractors and then delivered to its final destination completed. In addition, if you want to move someday, you can take your home with you!

They’re Eco-friendly:

Every time a shipping container is made into a home there is around 8,000 pounds of steel being repurposed (read more here). Each year over half a million shipping containers are abandoned! And there are currently millions of them globally just sitting in shipyards useless. And of course, when you use a shipping container as your structural shell you are eliminating a lot of wood, sheathing and other materials that would have otherwise been used.

And are quick to build:

Since the main frame and shell of the home is complete when you buy the container home, you are basically starting at the point of “dried in” for a conventionally built home. After cutting out your penetrations (windows, doors, etc.) you very rapidly move toward electric, plumbing and finish-out. A 20’ shipping container tiny house can be completed in as little as 2 weeks!

Summary

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons container homes are a popular option for a home. Here at CargoHome, we want to help you find out if a container home is right for you. We love discussing the pros and cons of them for each situation so feel free to connect with us and brainstorm!

4 Responses to Why a Container Home?

  • What is the approximate price of the helm model?

  • Hello CargoHome
    I currently own a home in Travis County on 0.73 acres that has an oversized septic system that will enable me to add additional living space. I am thinking an ADU will enable me to continue to lease out the primary existing home and “live or visit” the ADU. The areas in which the container home could be placed are either steeply sloped or difficult to position the container due to the terrain, (road cut, wet weather creek, septic field, easement, setbacks).
    I have several questions:
    —Can you build a platform on stilts for the home so it can sit over a steeply sloped area?
    —Can the container home be cantilevered? If so, how far?
    —Have you used cranes to place the container home before?
    —Do you do the prep for utilitiy hookups or would that be done by me?
    —Is a site visit included in your pricing?

    • Hi Abbie, thanks for your inquiry! The cargo homes can pretty much be set anywhere including on the side of a hill.

      In answer to your questions:

      1) Yes, putting it on piers would be the typical way to put the container on a hillside.
      2) Yes, they can be cantilevered– 8′ is generally not a problem, but with some engineering it could be further.
      3) Yes, if it’s on a hillside or hard to get to spot, a crane is used to set them.
      4) Typically, you would be responsible to get your utility hookups run to the site and have a local contractor hook everything up. The CargoHome comes ready to hook up with standard connections.
      5) Since you’re not that far away, we could arrange a site visit for free.

      Let us know if you have further questions. I’ll have my business partner, Clayton Nolen, email you to see if there’s a good time to have a phone discussion to further answer your questions and see if we should set up a site visit.

      Thanks again!
      Kenneth

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