Building a home out of a shipping container may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about having a new house. However, you may wish to learn why shipping container homes have become a popular choice among people who want to be homeowners. At the end of the day, shipping container homes also represent a lifestyle change. You may wonder what makes this change preferable.

Pros of Shipping Container Homes

Before delving into the advantages and disadvantages of shipping container homes, let us first explain what a shipping container home is. Previously, shipping containers were only used to ship goods globally. Instead of storing them when they become out of use, these shipping containers are reutilized as customizable homes. These containers are generally preferred as tiny houses and offices; however, they can also be used to create massive buildings. The popularity of these huge metal boxes depends on their cost-effectiveness and customizability. But, there are more things to say about shipping container homes that lead you to consider whether they are the ones that appeal to you. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of ship container homes to decide whether it is the best option for you.

Pros of Shipping Container Homes

  1. More Cost-Effective

Compared with conventional housing, shipping container homes are more cost-effective because their construction cost is lower. The price will include many building materials and labor for traditional housing options. In contrast, you already have the basic structural framework with container homes. Accordingly, the overall cost reduces thanks to eliminating structural building expenses instantly. Moreover, if you are a DIY-lover, you can also lower the construction costs by using your craftsmanship skills.

  1. Durable

Since being primarily designed to be used for shipping different kinds of goods internationally, shipping containers are made from materials that withstand heavy climate conditions. Even they can resist hurricanes and earthquakes. In light of these, you can ensure that your container home will last for a long time without any permanent damage.

  1. Mobile

Who does not like the idea of having a mobile home? One of the best advantages of shipping container homes is relocating your home to the desired place with a container transportation service. Since they have already been constructed by following shipping regulations, you can quickly move your container home if you wish to sell or relocate it.

Cons of Shipping Container Homes

  1. Fast to Build

Since you already have the structural building, you will not spend your time with the basic construction by purchasing a prefabricated container home. Even if you wish to make contractors build a brand-new container home, it will probably take less time than expected. However, know that this option may be more pricey. Instead of dealing with the construction of your home's flooring, walls, and roof, you will spend your time with the enjoyable designing and decoration process.

  1. Easy to Find

You do not have to worry about not being able to find a suitable container house because of its rising popularity. Since shipping containers continue to be out of use, there will always be used containers ready to be recycled as homes.

  1. Modular Units

Since shipping containers have standard dimensions, you can use them as Lego pieces to create a bigger, more functional home. You can have a larger home that may include extra bedrooms for guests, a living room, and a dining room by combining multiple containers of different sizes, such as 20-with 40-foot containers. Accordingly, you can design your dream home by using two or more shipping containers as modular units. That means shipping containers provide freedom to users by letting them express their creativity and design styles while building their houses.

  1. Energy-Efficiency

An adequately designed shipping container home will be more energy-efficient than conventional housing. You can increase energy efficiency with appliances like green roofing and solar panel system.

shipping container homes

Cons of Shipping Container Homes

  1. Building Permit and Codes

The lack of proper permits and building codes is the most significant disadvantage of container homes. Since container homes are relatively new, there are not yet adequate regulations in many regions. However, several places have proper rules, such as some regions of the United States (including California, Oregon, Colorado, and Texas) and countries like New Zealand and Costa Rica. Still, you should check the permit requirements by consulting local authorities before locating your container home.

  1. Not Always Eco-Friendly

Although turning already-used shipping containers into homes is an efficient recycling method, not all container homes are built with old containers. Especially if these old containers are damaged for some reason or used to transport chemicals, it would not be healthy to turn them into container homes. In these cases, buyers prefer to have new containers.

  1. Need Reinforcements

Although shipping containers are made from solid steel, the roof is not durable enough, especially for periods of heavy snowfall. In this sense, you will need to make reinforcements to prolong the life of your container home. However, such modifications necessitate a highly qualified contractor, sturdy materials, and adequate equipment.

  1. Health Hazards

As the primary purpose of shipping containers is to transport goods, the materials used for their production, such as industrial paints and finishes, may not be suitable for human habitation. These materials should be removed after taking due precautions if there is such a case. Then, the container is to be repainted or repaired with non-toxic products. Additionally, these shipping containers could have been used to transport hazardous industrial materials. Professionals should clean these containers from toxic compounds to prevent health hazards caused by such reasons.

  1. Need for a Special Insulation

These metal containers can make the internal temperature unbearable without proper insulation. It would help if you considered the climate in the area where you place your container home. So, you can decide how the insulation should work: whether it is to make the indoor environment colder or hotter. Besides, you should also bear in mind that the insulation may use up the interior space if you do not carefully pick the right one suitable for your container home.

  1. Challenge to Find Experienced Contractors

To have a well-functioning container home that lasts for a long time, you will need a specialist to work with. However, since shipping container homes are a new concept, you may face difficulties finding an experienced and qualified contractor. Accordingly, you should be willing to do some research to hire a specialist that can help you realize your project.  


We have detailed the pros and cons of shipping container homes so that you can decide whether it is the right option for you. You may hesitate to have a container home when you think about its downfalls; however, you better believe that its advantages can outweigh the disadvantages. Besides, you can resolve most of the cons only by working with an experienced and credible shipping container home contractor. In that case, you will spend your time in your container home with joy and peace for a very long time.

If you need more information about shipping container homes before your final decision, you may also read the following blog posts:

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