What is a Container Home?

What is a Container Home?

What is a container home?  A container home is a structure made up of one or multiple shipping or cargo containers. They can be assembled to make a permanent or mobile living space that can resemble a traditional house or a more modern structure.

Why Turn a Shipping Container Into a Home?  

Turning a shipping container into a home has become popular over the past several years.  The integrity of a container is very high as they can withstand harsh weather conditions.  

Shipping containers are built very sturdy.  Its frame is made of steel welded together with corrugated Corten steel.

This provides the exterior with enough strength that it can withstand a stack of nine other steel containers on top of it.  

Qualified professionals such as engineers, metallurgists and technicians build the shipping containers.  There are very little variations of the metal strength due to stringent procedures, methods and materials used.  

The steel is welded together rather than nailed allowing a much stronger and sustainable connection than nail to wood.  

Containers are now being used at residential homes, office buildings, malls, schools, apartment complexes and much more.  

Why wouldn’t anyone want to use something so sturdy for his or her home?


Some of the advantages of using a container is that the shape and material is easy to manipulate to fit more than one purpose.  One example is that there are certain measurement standards to building a container.  This can make it easier if someone would like to use 3 containers side by side and cut out the walls touching to join and make a larger room.  

It’s also possible to use two 40-foot containers by stacking one on the other to create a two-story story home.  At one end, they can also have a staircase built into the container to go to the top floor.  

Another advantage is it’s a lot cheaper to build a container home than a conventional home.  Since containers are being used already with companies to ship, many of these companies are willing to sell their containers used or new.  

Another advantage is that containers already fit shipping standards and don’t need modifications to ship.  So transportation by ship, truck and rail the prefabricated measurements makes it easier to determine the size needed to transport.  


There are a few disadvantages to using a container as a home.  One is that steel is a conduit of heat so if not insulated properly, the container can turn into an oven.  

Containers come in various sizes from 20 feet to 50 feet.  While, anything from 20 feet to 40 feet is manageable to navigate, a 50-foot container isn’t the easiest and may pose difficulty transporting into or through residential areas. 

Containers can also build up humidity and have condensation leading to rust.  If not treated or insulated this will turn into a problem.  

Since containers are so heavy, it could pose a problem to move them.  A crane or a top loader forklift is just a couple of options to aid with this. 

While these are usually present at a dock, hiring someone who is licensed to work with these heavy machinery may cost a little.  

If someone decides to buy a used container, there is a concern about what types of spillage has happened in the container.  

To avoid this, it can be requested that the container be stripped of all it’s wood interior floors and the metal abrasive blasted (sanded down) and repainted.  

What Ways Can I Modulate my Container Home?

A shipping container is modular and it can be manipulated to add pretty much anything a conventional home has into a container home.   

Just like a conventional home, a container home can have windows placed onto it.  Not only that, but you can have large glass sliding doors to let light or a cool breeze in.  You can also have a split system to help with temperature regulation.  

Some people may opt to have the top of the container removed so that they can have wood roofing since metal conducts heat.  Removing the metal top and replacing it with wood will help to keep room temperatures down and livable.  

A bathroom can also be added into a container home.  Whether you’d like to have a connection to a septic tank or have it hooked up to county plumbing, all of this can be done through proper planning by following the county’s rules and regulations.  

Is it possible to turn a shipping container into a pool?  Sure!  Seek a structural engineer to help you plan how to turn a container into a pool.  They will handle all the nuances such as the proper materials and specific regulations needed to make a container into a pool.  

There are many ways you can use a shipping container.  It just depends on what you’d like to make.  Seek the right professionals and anything is possible.  

Is it Worth it?

Is making a shipping container into a home worth it?  Many people will say yes.  They feel it’s allowed them to build something they wished for without breaking the bank.  Who doesn’t want to save money?  

All in all, most people want to live comfortably and just like a conventional home, a container home offers the same comfortability, at an affordable price.  

Granted maintenance will be required.  However, it is easier with a container home than a conventional home.

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