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Learn about Shipping Container Home

Shipping Container Home

A shipping container home is a home made from a metal shipping container. It can be made with a single container or a collection of containers to create a large, multi-story home. The home can be outfitted to be as comfortable as a traditional home with doors, windows, insulation, ventilation, plumbing, and power. It's no surprise that shipping containers are easy to transport making them relatively easy to source and set in place on a prepared foundation.

An attractive element of shipping container homes is that they make use of recycled shipping containers, thus diverting waste from landfills. Many builders use new containers, thereby eliminating any sustainable benefits of this building choice. Shop around for a truly recycled container, and check for signs of rust and structural issues, especially on the roof.

One of the primary challenges with building or buying a shipping container home is insulation, as the depth of the walls is fairly shallow. The four most popular types of insulation for shipping container hopes are spray foam, denim, wool, and cork. Be mindful that while the walls of a shipping container home are extremely strong, the roof is not. Most shipping container builders will either reinforce the roof or install another roof over top.

It's important to ensure that the container is free of hazardous industrial material. While it may not be possible to know what the shipping container was used for in its past life, it's important to ensure it's free of lead, pesticides, or other hazardous contaminants. A simple air quality test can determine if the container is safe for use.

Building a container home is a great way to recycle a shipping container that has out-lived its industrial use, but many shipping containers used for residential purposes are not truly “recycled”. A container home with small square footage allows a homeowner to live with a lower carbon footprint thanks to lower energy bills and lower land requirements.

Over 95% of world-wide cargo is transported by ship within shipping containers. Several cities around the world are looking to shipping containers to solve their housing crisis, providing affordable housing that makes efficient use of urban spaces.