If you’re considering adding a container home made from one or more modified shipping containers to your property, you’re in the right place. This list will show you everything you need to know about shipping container homes.
For container homes you will want a container that’s in top condition, also known as a new or “one trip” container. Trying to save money on a used container will backfire because it may need more repairs and preparations (like the removal of rust patches) before the construction can start.
Remember — this will be the base structure of your home. Don’t skimp on the quality in hopes of saving a little bit of money. It won’t be worth it in the long run and could end up actually costing you more money.
Choose the Right Size
Shipping containers come in two standard sizes: 20ft and 40ft. A 20ft container is good for a “tiny” home. If you’re looking for something that’s compact and cozy, this is the size for you. If you want a bit more room than a 20ft container, you can buy a 40ft shipping container to create a larger living space.
Still not enough room? Consider using multiple shipping containers in the construction of your home. You can stack them on top of each other to create a second level or attach them side-by-side to increase the floorspace.
Insulation Is Key
Shipping containers in new or good condition are wind and watertight — this means they have proper seals around the main doors and no holes or tears in the exterior. The container will keep out rain, snow, hail and wind. Unfortunately, your container won’t effectively be able to keep out the cold since most containers do not come with insulated walls.
If you want to create a container home that can handle cold weather, you will need to insulate it. Though space heaters can be effective, they likely won’t be enough. You’ll want a strong barrier against the elements. To do so, you can add insulation along the interior and drywall over it. Make sure to add weatherstripping and caulking around openings like doors, windows and vents to prevent cold air leaks.
Here are some other reasons you should insulate your container home:
- Protect temperature-sensitive belongings such as
- Prevent your plumbing from freezing in the winter.
- Reduce humidity and condensation.
- Reduce outdoor noise.
- Maintain a comfortable, temperate indoor temperature.
Add a Strong Foundation
Your container home will need a cement or asphalt foundation to keep your container level. A soft, uneven surface could lead to tilting and warping, resulting in uneven floors, doors, and windows that don’t open properly. A solid foundation will also minimize the chances of groundwater pooling around the bottom of the container and potentially infiltrating your home and causing rust along the container home’s exterior.
If you live in a state that’s vulnerable to hurricanes, you should take extra precaution to ensure your container home is securely fastened to the foundation and also add anchors. These features will keep your home secure in storms with strong winds.
Check Zoning Laws
It might shock you to find out that container homes are not necessarily allowed everywhere. Before you purchase a container and make construction plans, check your zoning laws to see whether you can legally build a container home on your property. These laws will also let you know about any building permits you’ll need to apply for and what building restrictions you may need to abide by.
This information should help you put your container home plans into motion. You can check your zoning laws to see whether they’ll allow the project to go forward. You can pick the right type of container for construction. You can invest in features like the foundation and insulation to make sure that your home is safe during all types of weather.
You’re ready to build your container home. Get started!