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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!