Building Your Shipping Container Home: An Overview For 2020

If you’re interested in a container home, we don’t blame you! They are increasingly popular for many reasons. Cargo container homes are affordable, convenient, and environmentally-friendly. Container homes can be delightful “tiny” homes or multiple-containers stacked on top of one another, creating a home big enough for you and your family.

No matter the size of the home, they’re particularly appealing for their simplicity. It is still a niche area of construction, but thankfully, the simplicity of its design makes the time between design and construction extremely short compared to stick build homes.

Storage container homes are a neat, eco-friendly alternative to traditional homes. Since containers are created in a factory-powered environment, they’re convenient for a number of reasons: they’re heavy-duty, consistent, and easy to move to another location. And when you hire a crew to build your home, you’ll save a lot of time and money in the long run. Let’s break down the cost of building a storage container home.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Shipping Container Home?

Things like the condition and age of containers, as well as their size, will determine the price of your storage unit. Generally, they cost anywhere between $1,400 and $4,000. Similar to a conventional home, you’re going to pay more for add-ons and other customized aspects of your home. Features like flooring, windows, plumbing, and electricity will cost around $50 to $150 per hour in contractor fees (but this isn’t any different from a traditional home).

There are four additional elements that can affect the cost of your container home:

  • Availability: A huge majority of containers are shipped from China. The number of available containers can significantly affect pricing.
  • Site Prep: Shipping containers should be placed on flat, cleaned-up land. It’s crucial that the foundation of your property is prepared accordingly for the arrival of your container.
  • Delivery: Delivery prices are based on the number of containers you order, as well as the distance they travel.
  • Permits: This is going to depend on your local and state regulations, but the type of permit you need to place your container home is going to affect your total price.

A large home made from multiple cargo containers can cost anywhere between $150,000 to $175,000, but a smaller home can cost as low as $10,000. If you’re a handy person, you can even build a container house for as low as $4,000! But this doesn’t include any add-ons, just a simple, cleaned-up home.

Building Your Shipping Container Home

What’s great about this type of home is how quick and easy it is to order, build, and install. Container homes that are prefabricated are built around 30% faster than a traditional build. The construction process for container homes is relatively straightforward, so we’re going to go over the 5 steps toward making your dream container home a reality.

Create Your Plan

Your home plan should consist of your home’s location, design, and budget. As stated earlier, be sure to check your local laws and regulations before preparing land for your container.

Purchase Your Container

If you live near a port, you can inquire about any spare containers for your future home. Additionally, you can purchase one online or through a local market. If you’re going to purchase a container from China, keep in mind that they take around 3 to 4 months to ship.

Find An Engineer

It is critical to contact an engineer to determine the structural components of your shipping container. Structural integrity is a key part of a safe container home, so this should be one of the most important investments you make.

Start The Shipping Container Home Build

When you work alongside your engineer, you’re first going to establish the foundation of your container home. The main types of foundations for your home are (from least expensive to most expensive) concrete piers, Slab on Grad, and Pile Foundation. The type of foundation you use is going to depend on the land you’re placing your container on.

Aside from foundations, you’re going to connect your containers with welding. However, if you’re going to transport your container again, you may want to connect the containers with bolts and clamps. After your containers are securely connected, you’ll reinforce them, then cut rafters in the roof. (We highly recommend hiring a professional to take care of all of this for you.)

Once the roof is taken care of, you’re going to turn your attend downwards towards the floor. Container floors should be removed and replaced or encapsulated with epoxy before replacing them. Since they’re treated with pesticides to prevent insects during sea travel, they have no business being in your home. When you’re done taking care of the floor, you can add windows and doors to your home. This process is very similar to traditional homebuilding, so whether or not you want to do this on your own is up to you.

Power It Up

After the construction process is completed, the last thing you want to do is build your home’s power system. We recommend taking care of this as early as possible. This way, your home is ready to furnish ASAP.

Once you’ve established power in your home, the rest is history. Enjoy the benefits of your awesomely-affordable container home! Good luck with your homebuilding journey!