Building Container Homes
Container homes are buildings erected with the use of
steel shipping containers, which do not need any extra
support like pillars, walls or any other architectonical
solutions. These unusual structures are becoming more
popular due to their low cost, high durability, ease of
assembly and no maintenance-related fees.
Newly Built Container Home
Shipping containers are extremely strong, durable and
reliable - their primary purpose is transportation of
goods in harsh conditions. All shipping containers are
made according to the same measurements; this allows them
to be combined, stacked on top of one another, joined,
etc. This is a feature that is of great benefit when thinking
about building a container home - with a bit of skill
and vision one can arrange the containers into various
Stack 'Em ...
Shipping containers can be modified and stacked to make
versatile structures that are cheap and readily accessible.
The only disadvantage is that this usually requires the
use of heavy construction machinery - but this is not
a high price to pay for a cheap and easily made home.
How to build a shipping container home?
1. Researching the market is very important. The average
prices of shipping containers could be in the region of
$2500 - $3000. Sometimes it is possible to get one cheaper
on Internet auction sites (E-bay, etc.). Second-hand containers
that were used to transport cargo could be got even cheaper.
2. Once bought, the shipping container must be transported
to the desired location. It is imperative to clean the
whole container thoroughly (a power hose is recommended).
3. Careful examination of the container should reveal
all potential rusty spots. These must be cleaned out,
sanded and preferably coated with an anti-rust agent.
4. Any holes in the container should also be located and
5. At this point the shipping container would need to
be painted. This is not done only for esthetical reasons
- proper paint (preferably 2 layers) helps maintain the
steel in good condition.
6. Finding a good location and ensuring that proper foundations
are in place is essential. A house built from shipping
containers should be on a flat, study surface. Experts
advise that the container should be located above the
ground level - corrosive effects of moisture can result
in severe damage to the bottom part of the container if
it is exposed to them over the years.
7. The next step is to cut out the doors and windows in
the container's walls. This stage requires some planning
and in a case of combining two or more containers it would
be particularly important to have the layout of the future
home planned ahead.
8. Once the structure is in place, it must be insulated.
Steel has a very good thermal conductivity, but this could
be a disadvantage in the winter, as the shipping container
does not maintain heat. It is paramount to have a good
insulation system and some sources of heating installed
if one wants to live in the container home during wintertime.
Green Architect ...
In order to build a modern shipping container home you
may need a green architect in your corner depending upon
how complex and involved the project is projected to be.
Living in one simple shipping container is a whole different
ballgame than putting several containers together in a
functional yet aesthetically pleasing fashion.
Professional architect Peter DeMaria designed
the container home (right) and is inspecting a different
If you're an architect and a builder yourself, then this
may be the perfect DIY project for you. If not, however,
you may want to leave the building of the shipping container
home to a professional and enjoy the fruits of their labor.