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Container Homes


Advantages & Disadvantages
Costs and Prices

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Container Home Costs & Prices

Container homes cost less than many people think. Used storage containers are available for low prices, and they make excellent structures for homes. The prices of these containers vary whether they are new or used, and how many years they were used.

Estimating Container House Costs

You will also generally have to pay to ship the container to a location near your construction site and this can cost between $80 and $500, depending on weight of the container and how far it is shipped.

New 20-foot storage containers are priced usually between $1000 and $4000, and some are higher in price. If you are buying more than one, your seller may give you a better deal, and a deal on shipping, as well. If you want a lot of customizing done, this can cost between $50 and $150 an hour.

New 40-foot cubes and containers don't cost a lot more than the 20-foot models. New containers may sell for $1400-$4000, or $1400-$5800 for cubes.

The Cycle of Recycling ...

Used storage containers can be bought from retailers who will clean them up before they are sold. They look just like new when they are finished with them. Used containers often run between $1500 and $4000. The cheapest containers are not warrantied against fire or water damage.

Labor costs are low for storage container homes, with the exception of the heavy cranes needed to lift and move the containers into place, especially if you are shooting for more than one story.

Special cutting and welding can also add to the construction price overall. Since they need to be moved by special equipment, the you'll have to pick a suitable building site first before beginning your construction project.

Steel is not readily used for home building in most areas, so you'll have to see if the site you want requires a special permit for the use of steel (in most locations no special permit is needed). In addition, the wood floors of container units are usually heavily treated with insecticides, and the floors may need to be scrubbed and regular flooring put in before one can inhabit a storage container home.

You can also opt to buy a finished structural system for your storage container home. These are called SG Blocks. They retail for about $9000-$11,000 for each unit. The total cost for a large house to be built from containers is between $150,000 and $175,000, after any options or add-ons are completed. This is still less than half the price per square foot of a conventional home.

Cost in Costa ...

If you're interested in purchasing a storage container home that has already been built, you'll need to check into areas where these are built on land and then sold with a site. In Costa Rica, where use is more widespread, a 20-foot container home will give you about 160 square feet of living space, and the cost is $12,500. This does not include any glass doors you'd like to have added.

A home made with two 20-foot containers has 320 square feet of living space, and costs $26,000, also not including any glass doors you may wish to add. These prices include the container(s), finished walls that are insulated, basic electrical and plumbing features, two lights and four wall outlets per container and built-in shelves in the living area and kitchen.

You can build much bigger container homes as well, for less than the cost of large, conventional homes. And recycling, as you already know, helps the environment. Neil Young sings in his song "My, My, Hey, Hey" that "It's better to burn out / than it is to rust." So go do something unconventional today like build a shipping container home and make your life and the world a better place for it.

Page updated December 09, 2014

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