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Everything You Need To Know About Container Homes

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Everything You Need To Know About Container Homes

From container homes to swimming pools, unused shipping containers give us various ways to repurpose them. Intermodal containers are used for small houses or massive modular palaces to reduce our carbon footprint and break away from traditional architecture.

Read on to learn what container homes are, their benefits, safety, how to choose the best ones, and whether they’re worth the investment.

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What Is A Container Home?

We’ve all seen shipping containers at one point, whether they’re layered on top of one-another like LEGOs in ports, riding on the backs of trucks, and even repurposed as businesses.

Container homes, on the other hand, are shipping containers converted into living spaces. A lot of the time, owners combine multiple containers to create gigantic modular dwelling masterpieces. Shipping container homes give owners more flexibility and creativity over how their homes appear without breaking the bank.

The Advantages Of Living In A Container Home

When it comes to using shipping containers to craft a home, if you use their durability and modular capabilities to your advantage, you can build a beautiful home for far less than a traditional house.

For one, most containers are made of Corten steel, otherwise known as weathering steel. This type of metal is low-maintenance, slows corrosion, and is more fire-resistant than most building materials.

The massive steel doors will likely make thieves who want to plunder your home think twice about trying to break in.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Living In A Container Home?

Nothing’s perfect, and neither is a shipping container home. If you’re not used to living in cramped quarters, an intermodal container home isn’t the best fit for you unless you are ready to invest more than initially intended. Most containers are only, at max, 8 feet wide—built for products, not people—making it difficult to move around unless you combine multiple containers.

This modification adds more to the cost because once you cut a container open, it loses structural integrity, which means the building requires additional steel reinforcement to remain durable. Another small disadvantage comes from the difficulty of installing insulation--essential for a container home—due to the stud-less steel walls.

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How Do I Select The Right Shipping Container For My Home?

When selecting a shipping container for your new home, you have two options: new or used. With new shipping boxes, you’ll pay the most and get the best quality. With used, it’s a great way to save money. However, used usually carries a negative stigma, but it doesn’t have to.

Some of the best shipping containers you can find are One-Trip containers. These are generally manufactured overseas, shipped to the United States, unloaded, and sold. Their one-time-use gives them their name, which means you’ll get the best bang for your buck without worrying about issues that would cost you more in the long run.

If you’re unable to find One-Trip containers, carefully inspect and avoid second-hand shipping containers that:

  • Have doors that won’t seal.
  • Have noticeable holes throughout its structure.
  • Were used to transport dangerous substances such as chemicals.
  • Don’t have certification labeling containers as, for example, watertight. This factor also goes for selecting new and One-Trip containers.

Don’t make costly mistakes when selecting your design. With My Site Plan’s site plans, we offer custom quotes to give you exactly what you need.

Are Container Homes Safe?

Unless you purchase a new shipping container, there are plenty of risks that come with investing in a second-hand one. For example, since various parties previously used them for shipping who-knows-what, there could be residue from toxins such as pesticides or industrial materials. The coating used to protect the containers from the elements was intended for industrial use and may contain lead substances.

On the other hand, their durability may outweigh the dangers associated with these massive metal boxes. Due to their materials and build quality, container homes have the potential to withstand wind speeds up to 175 mph when attached to a strong foundation.

Are Container Homes Cheaper Than Traditional Homes?

Traditional homes vs. container homes

The answer depends on how elaborate you want to get with your creation. While more complicated designs—with many shipping containers—have a price tag higher than $100,000, their smaller counterparts cost a lot less. If you look hard enough, you can find them under $40,000.

If you opt for purchasing pre-made homes, the price gap between traditional and container homes shrinks significantly. However, with how durable shipping container homes are, they require less maintenance and can withstand more weather conditions.

If you’re building a container home, factors that can raise the cost include:

  • Deep-cleaning services from buying used containers.
  • Mandatory insulation installation.
  • Maintaining structural integrity if you cut it open.
  • Electrical and plumbing installation.
  • Transporting the box once you buy it.
  • What property you invest in.

Are Container Homes a Great investment?

If you use our tips to pick the right shipping container, avoid cutting corners, and assemble it the right way, you’ll have an attractive yet functional living space that makes a worthy investment. Not only will this prevent damages from disasters such as typhoons or hurricanes, but it also reduces needed maintenance.

Shipping container homes, with their durability and appeal, can also be a great money-maker. Firstly, make sure you invest in land in an attractive area. Afterward, you can rent it out as a short-term rental in marketplaces such as HomeAway or Airbnb. On top of that, most of your maintenance would come only from cleaning up after former renters.

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What Permits Do I Need To Build A Container Home?

 A person writing: Permits for container homes

While there are no specific permits needed at the moment to build a shipping container home, it’s still highly recommended to consult lawyers or research local laws and regulations before proceeding. You should also ensure your container house’s construction meets existing building codes and doesn’t violate any zoning regulations.

If you need site plans for these permits or help with general planning, My Site Plans is here for you! We’ll help you realize your property’s full potential and can provide 3-D rendered designs, floor plans, and other planning services. Learn more today.

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  • Ryan Crownholm