Are Shipping Container Homes Cheaper?

I keep discovering new container homes around my city. This got me thinking about the cost of a home, and I started wondering if container homes are cheaper than stick-built houses. After many hours of research, this is what I discovered…

So are shipping container homes cheaper? I have come to the conclusion that container homes are in most cases more affordable to build than stick-built homes. With a solid plan and a relatively straight forward design, you can quickly create a container home for a fraction of what you would pay for a stick-built home.

Shipping containers are costly to ship. So if you have to transport your containers over great distances a container home may not be your best option. In some cases, it may be cheaper to build a traditional stick-built home instead.

Shipping container homes vs traditional stick-built homes

Shipping container homes are excellent alternatives to traditional homes. With a container home, you can have most of the house built in a few short days. This is especially true if you have your container home manufactured off-site.

Stick Built Home
A traditional stick-built house

With a container home, you can spend a day preparing the foundation for your home and then have the container delivered and placed on the foundation.

If you decide to buy a prefabricated container home, you can usually move in less then a week. You can build a container home very quickly.

The foundation you go with will depend on the design of your home and any local bylaws that may exist. An architect in your area will be able to help you with this.

You should always speak with a city official before you spend to much time and money on your project. Your city may have bylaws that don’t allow containers on residential properties.

You can also hire a contractor to do most of the work for you. If you decide to go this route, it will still be much faster than building a stick-built home.

It’s always a good idea to have the contractor speak with the architect during the design phase of your home. This will ensure that your project stays on budget.

The architect and contractor will work together to create a budget-friendly home for you.

It’s a good practice to have a plan and schedule in place before you start your project. This will help avoid unnecessary headaches and expenses.

How long does a shipping container home last?

A properly built shipping container home can easily last 30 plus years. Purchasing one-trip containers for your home is an easy way to extend the life of your home.

One trip containers have only made one trip across the ocean. The older cargo-worthy containers, on the other hand, have been on multiple trips.

The cargo-worthy containers usually have multiple dents. The dents often form microscopic cracks that can eventually end up producing a hole in the container.

A hole that forms in the container can allow water inside your home which can cause all kinds of trouble. If a hole forms in your container you want to fix it asap to prevent mould from forming.

One-trip containers have few dents, so the containers are less likely to develop leaks early on as a result.

You can extend the life of your one-trip sea containers further by installing cladding on the exterior walls. Before you do this, you may want to treat any rust spots, and you may also consider painting the container.

You can do the same with the cargo-worthy containers, but they will require a little more work before you install the cladding.

All containers sold by a supplier will be a guaranteed waterproof. The supplier may have discounted containers that are not waterproof, I would personally stay away from these containers.

Most containers usually come with a warranty. Typically a 1 year for a cargo-worthy and 5 years for a one-trip container.

Before you purchase your container, you should see what the warranty covers. You may end up voiding your warranty if you alter the container.

Are shipping container homes safe?

Shipping container homes are usually safe if designed and built correctly. This is why it’s essential to work with professionals that have experience building container homes.

Working with a professional will ensure that your home is structurally sound and safe to live in.

The containers you use may also be hazardous to your health. The walls and flooring of the container may contain toxic chemicals.

Inside A Shipping Container
The inside of a container may be toxic

Container manufacturers usually spray the container floor with an insecticide. This prevents pests from entering the container through the floor.

The paint used on the container may also contain chemicals that may be harmful to humans. The paint protects the container from the seawater. Without this protective coating, the container would rot very quickly.

You can avoid these toxic chemicals by ordering a new container that doesn’t use them. This option will be a little more expensive.

You can also replace the original flooring or seal it with an epoxy finish. Installing new flooring is usually pretty easy to do and should only take a few hours.

You can try to remove the toxic paint or cover it up with less poisonous paint. It would probably be safer and a lot easier to paint over the existing paint. It’s best to speak with a local paint expert to determine the best solution for this problem.

Are shipping container homes really environmentally friendly?

Shipping container homes are eco-friendly if you reuse second-hand cargo-worthy containers. The use of new shipping containers will make your home less eco-friendly.

A container home requires less building materials than a stick-built home. So this makes a container home more eco-friendly than a traditional house.

Can you put a shipping container on your property?

This will depend on where you live. It’s best to contact a city official to see if you can place a container on your property.

Your city will probably classify containers as non-permanent structures, so they will not usually require any permits to have them on your property. If you use the container as a home, a permit may be necessary.

How much is a used shipping container?

The price you pay for a container will depend on the condition, size, and availability of containers in your area.

A used 40-foot container will cost you between 2000 – $4000. If you live close to a port, you can usually get cheaper containers.

When you purchase a container, you also got to take into consideration the cost to deliver the container. It’s always a good idea to buy containers that are close to your property.

Containers are costly to ship so buying one that is close to you will help you avoid high delivery fees. Most suppliers usually offer a cheaper delivery service.

In conclusion

I hope this post has helped you determine if a container home is cheaper than a stick-built home.

Shipping container homes are excellent alternatives to traditional stick built houses. With a solid plan, you can create a container home for a fraction of what you would pay for a stick-built home.

Do you think you will build a shipping container home? Please let me know in the comments section below…

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