The Complete Guide to Shipping Container Homes


One of the latest innovations in housing is shipping container homes, which are exactly what you’d expect: homes made out of shipping containers you’d typically see storing and transporting belongings. While making a home from shipping containers might sound unfamiliar and complicated, this living solution is an excellent option for many people, and you can put together several shipping containers to make a multi-story home that accommodates all your living needs.

But with shipping container homes on the rise, you might wonder whether this option is worth it, the costs of building a shipping container home, and the safety of this option. This article will help you get started by exploring the world of shipping container homes, their pros and cons, and anything else to know about this emerging trend. Let’s get started!

How Common Is it to Use Shipping Containers as Housing?

While it’s not incredibly common to use shipping containers as housing, this solution is a growing trend that will likely increase in upcoming years. The container homes market in 2022 was worth an estimated $59.27 billion, a number that’s expected to increase to $87.11 billion by 2029. As traditional housing becomes more expensive, many people turn to a trusted shipping container supplier for their housing needs.

The Pros of Shipping Container Homes

So, is it worth it to build a shipping container home? For many people, the answer is yes! Below are a few advantages of shipping container homes contributing to their rise in popularity.

Shipping Container Homes are Cost-Effective

One of the primary advantages of container homes is that they’re more cost-effective than traditional housing. These homes are available at fixed prices because the work to build these homes is all completed on the factory floor. A standard shipping container home can be purchased for as little as $10,000, and because these homes require less manual labor to build, you’ll save significant costs compared to traditional homes.

Shipping Container Homes are Easy to Transport

Standard homes are only available in one stationary location, but shipping container homes are easy to transport, so you can experiment more with where you live. If you’re a wanderer who likes to move around frequently, a shipping container home gives you more flexibility than a traditional house. And once you land on a prepared foundation, these homes are easy to customize to your liking, so you can love where you live no matter where that is.

Shipping Container Homes are Easy to Construct

A standard home is difficult to construct and takes months, if not years, to build. A shipping container home is much easier to construct, and many people can have their home completed and prepared to move into within a month – especially when they choose a trusted shipping container supplier.

Additionally, many of these homes are available as prefabricated models, making the construction process even easier. Rather than worrying about the construction of your home, you can choose a pre-modeled shipping container home and have it ready in no time!

The Cons of Shipping Container Homes

So, is building a storage container house a good idea? For some people, the answer is yes – but there are a few downsides to consider before moving forward with this option. Here are a few notable cons to remember before deciding on your next home.

Shipping Container Homes Might Not be Eco-Friendly

If you’re invested in environmentally friendly living, a shipping container home isn’t always the best option. While you can consider a used shipping container for your housing needs, these containers might not be the safest or most practical option, and most homeowners living in shipping containers buy new models.

These containers are usually built for a single use and aren’t the most realistic option for recycling purposes. Additionally, you’ll use more resources like steel than you would with a traditional home, which can be wasteful in the long run.

Shipping Container Homes Aren’t Always the Sturdiest

You want your home to be structurally sound – but this isn’t always as feasible with a shipping container home as with traditional homes. Though the container’s steel is durable, most people who choose shipping container homes must invest in other reinforcements, such as sturdier roofs.

Additionally, these homes require significant modifications that can damage their structural integrity. Alterations like creating doors and windows mean you’ll need additional reinforcements to keep the home steady, and the price for these modifications can add up quickly.

Is it Legal to Live in a Shipping Container?

Yes, it is legal to live in a shipping container! Always consult your local zoning laws to ensure that you build your shipping container home according to regulations and that you can use the container as your main property. Depending on your state, you might need certain permits to guarantee the building process adheres to local laws, so make sure you do your research before you start moving!

How to Build a Shipping Container Home With No Experience

Designing a shipping container home is possible no matter how familiar you are with these structures. Here are a few things to remember if you want to build one of these homes without experience.

  1. Do your research. You’ll need to consider the regulations and permits required for your area before beginning construction. Also, research the cost of shipping containers near you – while some are available for as little as $10,000, this cost can vary depending on the supplier and how many containers you need for your home.
  2. Prepare the site. You’ll need a solid foundation and should consult professionals to ensure the location is structurally sound. Plan for utilities like water, electricity, and sewage to adhere to local regulations and make your home livable. Hire professionals to install utilities.
  3. Choose containers in good condition. Consider any structural modifications necessary before selecting a container, and ensure your containers can be placed together to create your desired living space.
  4. Consult professional services for modifications. Your container home will require cutting and welding for structural modifications, and a professional can do this without risking your home’s safety.
  5. Consider the interior and exterior finishing, including flooring, walls and ceilings, and exterior painting. You want to love your home!
  6. Schedule a final inspection. Local authorities can ensure your home meets building codes and is safe.

Start Your Shipping Container Home With Norcal Containers

Shipping containers are excellent options for affordable homes – but you’ll need a trusted shipping container supplier to make your new home possible. Norcal Containers provides 20- and 40-foot containers to design your new home like a pro. Explore our high-quality shipping containers today!

CALL (530) 601-1432