Are Shipping Containers DANGEROUS To Live In?

Lots of people come to our site and see shipping container homes and fall in love with how incredible they look and how eco-friendly they are. But one question normally lingers in the background of their thoughts, “Is living in a shipping container safe?”

First off, we need to define exactly what kind of fears are lurking in the minds of these potential buyers and then address those issues one by one.

So today, I am going to address some of the most common concerns and how your CargoHome can be the desirable haven it is intended to be.

Question: Do Shipping Container’s Container Harmful Chemicals?

This is the most common question for any potential container home buyer and it mainly stems from the possibility of hazardous chemicals either in the waterproofing of the flooring material or the paint which may contain phosphorous or chromate.

While a simple solution to any of the above-mentioned concerns would be to simply buy a new shipping container directly from a manufacturer, this would also take away your eco-minded dreams.

Some simple solutions are the most practical. Spray foam insulation on all the interior wall panels greatly improves your container’s ability to maximize efficiency and also produces a vapor barrier against any potentially harmful toxins in wall paint.

If you want to be completely safe from possible toxins in your flooring, you could remove the original wooden flooring and replace it with marine plywood from your local hardware store.

In the example below, a simple non-breathable flooring underlayment was laid straight over the original wooden flooring and then the desired finished flooring material could be laid directly on top of the vapor barrier.

Vapor Barrier Installed Above Existing Flooring

Question: Are Shipping Container Homes Hurricane Proof?

These questions are no doubt inspired from the photo’s we’ve seen of hurricane Katrina. In the photos it shows wooden homes which have been completely annihilated by Katrina, however lying on top of the wood are completely intact shipping containers.

Containers Survive Hurricane Conditions

Shipping containers are designed to be stacked up to nine high when fully loaded with over 26 tons of cargo in each container. It’s not surprising these containers stood up to the test of Katrina.

We are now seeing a spate of shipping containers being used as emergency disaster housing- this is because they are so tough. The most well-known occurrence of this being in New York.

In April 2014 New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Program. Guess which prototype won the program?

You guessed it… A Shipping Container Home.

New York aims to use shipping container homes as stackable apartments which can be used as post-disaster housing. The fact that these homes are stackable makes them perfect for densely populated areas such as New York.

You can read more about the post disaster housing program in our recent blog post.


Now you know exactly how safe shipping container homes are to live in, what are you waiting for!? Let us know what you use your shipping container home for in the comments section below!




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