Shipping Container House

Watch this video from Kirsten Dirksen about a Shipping Container “cabin” in the redwoods


If you’ve ever considered building a shipping container house, then here are some pros, cons, and some resources that you might want to use.

First for the Pros:

  • Abundance.  There is a huge surplus of shipping containers that pile up at ports in most western nations.  This is primarily due to the trade imbalances with Asia. Also, because of the high cost of transportation to ship empty containers back to their origin, it is often cheaper just to purchase new containers.
  • Price.  Because of the huge supply and low demand, most shipping containers can be purchased for less than $2,000, some even as low as $900.  They can make a great alternative for anyone wanting to save on the cost of building materials. But because of the explosive growth in the shipping container house movement don’t expect these prices to remain low for long.
  • Stackable  They are designed to be stacked.  This makes them great for building multiple levels if you wanted a 2, 3, or 4 story home.
  • Easy to customize.  With the right ingenuity, tools, and welding equipment, a shipping container house can easily be customized to your preference.
  • Expandable.  If you want to add more rooms, just add more containers!

Now for the cons

  • Transportation.  The cost of transporting your shipping containers to your location can get quite hefty depending on how far you have to transport them.  Depending on size, you’re only going to be able to fit 1 or two of them on a flatbed truck
  •  Harmful  Chemicals.  The paint and coatings on shipping containers are going to contain harmful chemicals such as lead, phosphorus, and chromate.  Pesticides are also used in the wood flooring of most containers.
  • Prep work.  With the additional prep work needed to make your shipping container house safe and habitable, you might not find the cost savings that you had previously expected.

You can read more here about the pros and cons of a shipping container house.

shipping container houseHow to build your own shipping container house

Some ideas for your first shipping container house

Where to get shipping containers

  • Check with your nearest shipping ports
  • Local equipment storage facilities
  • Equipment auction and salvage yards
  • Check your local classifieds and nickle ads.  Often times individuals will have one that they’d like to sell.
  • Ebay
  • Craigslist
  • Search Engines.  You can find many dealers just by searching online