As housing prices rise and people become more concerned about their environmental footprints, homes are beginning to take a new turn for the greener. Green construction has been gaining popularity, as it combines mainstream features (like modern housing ideas, green roofs) with the use of more unique materials such as wood pallets. Made from the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, shipping containers homes are an innovative and eco-friendly solution for affordable housing. In this article, we’ll take a look at some unique, affordable shipping containers homes and at the pros and cons you should think about before deciding to build your home out of a shipping container. From shipping container homes cost to health and safety issues, find out what you should know when building a shipping container home.[source]
Shipping container homes pros and cons
Shipping container homes have become very popular over the past few years. This trend began after many people became aware of the increasing number of containers left abandoned on ports and started using them for everything – from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways and even restaurants. Cutting-edge designs, creative architecture and high-profile publicity have also fueled the hype as the public continues to search for alternative housing ideas. But what are the realities behind the recent shipping container architecture rise in demand and mass appeal? Let’s see the pros and cons of building with shipping containers.
Shipping container homes cost
For lots of people, shipping container homes can be a cost effective solution for their housing needs. Sold at incredibly low prices (about $2,000 per container) shipping containers can be used to produce not only modern houses and retreats for less, but also used in construction of low-income housing. But it’s important to remember that there are other costs involved when building a container home. You should take in consideration the cost of containers transport, site preparation, plumbing, insulation, doors and windows, etc. So, how much do shipping container homes cost? Well, with proper planning, you can endeavor to design and build a beautiful home for half the price of a “traditional” house. But that’s just a rough estimation.[source]
Sustainability has been of the key reasons for shipping container homes popping up around all over the world. It’s too expensive for a country to ship empty containers back to their point of origin, thus you have many containers are abandoned in ports after having been used just once. Recycling them to get a home is a great sustainable building alternative. Shipping container homes allow resources to be repurposed and spaces to be reimagined in creative, innovative ways.[source]
Durable and structurally sound
Shipping containers are made of durable steel and are designed to be structurally robust, rust-resistant and able to withstand long exposure to extreme weather. Due to their sturdy built, the containers are resistant to any natural disaster available, including tornadoes, earthquakes, and even hurricanes, which makes them extremely safe and perfect for building in natural disaster-prone areas. As a matter of fact, containers are the strongest structure available – stronger than wood, concrete, and even steel buildings.
The flexibility of shipping container homes
With simple design and standardized dimensions, shipping containers are like Legos – excellent for stacking and mobility. They can be stacked upon the other to create a two-storied structure. In addition to stacking them vertically, you can lay them down side by side and build out horizontally too. The internal walls are easy to remove, making it easy to connect multiple containers together. The inherent flexibility of their design can be adapted into a large range of building types, from affordable and practical to luxurious and even dramatic. The web abounds with examples of shipping containers being turned into cafes, offices, libraries homes and sandwich shops. Because they are modular, they are easy to move and thus, can be built off site and then delivered to your land ready to move in to.[source]
Shipping container homes are fashionable
In terms of style and design shipping-container homes have undergone a revival in recent years, with architects pushing the limits of creativity. Apart from being cost effective, sustainable and easy to build, shipping container homes also look amazing. A shipping container is like a blank canvas, allowing you to unleash your creative side.[source]
Health and safety issues
Though we’re big fans of shipping container-based architecture, building shipping container homes does have some drawbacks. For instance, the coatings used to make the containers durable for ocean transport also happen to contain a number of harmful chemicals (which may have left invisible traces). If human carcinogenic elements or harsh chemicals were used in a container, you don’t want to use it. If you purchase your containers second hand you should make sure that this is not the case. This would be a real challenge because tracing the cargos and journeys end-to-end across the full container lifecycle can be very difficult. If you’re buying and building your house with new shipping containers, then you don’t need to worry about these concerns. However, using new shipping containers to build your home increases the cost and also goes against the entire practice of container recycling.
Insulation and heat control
Because they are basically large metal boxes, insulation is a huge factor. The problem can be solved by using the correct type of insulation and paint, but this means additional costs. Also, if you opt for internal insulation you will reduce the already limited space.
Beautiful and affordable shipping container homes
Despite the downfalls, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Shipping container homes definitely represent a good alternative housing option. Turning a container from a salt-stained rust box into a beautiful and cozy home takes time and effort but the results can be spectacular. If you’re exploring the possibilities of building your own, check out these beautiful and affordable shipping container homes for inspiration. Do you think a shipping container home is boxy and unattractive? Think again.
Shipping Container Guest House by Poteet Architects[source][source][source]
Shipping Container Home by Julio Garcia[source][source][source]
Off-grid shipping container cabin by YAMAMAR Design[source][source][source]
Port-a-Bach shipping container home by Atelierworkshop[source][source][source]
C192 Nomad tiny shipping container home by Hybrid Architecture[source][source][source]
Hopefully, these awesome affordable shipping container homes will inspire you confidence to build your own dream house. For another of our favorite shipping-container projects, see this beautiful Starbucks Coffee Shop Made Out of Shipping Crates.