Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Container Homes

Design & Build

It’s been several years since we first published an article on constructing with shipping containers. Since then we’ve grown in size and are now fortunate enough to have readers from all around the world.

It’s a rare day now when a reader doesn’t get in touch to ask us a question or just to say hello!

Across all of the emails which we receive, the same questions tend to appear time and time again. So, we’ve decided to write up a frequently asked questions article to cover these things.

Q: What Are Shipping Container Homes?

First things first, what exactly are shipping container homes?

Shipping container homes are homes, offices or other buildings that have been built out of shipping containers. It doesn’t matter if the containers are new or used.  All that matters is that shipping containers were used to construct the building.

If you want to know more about where to begin, please read our getting started article.

Q: How Expensive Are Shipping Container Homes?

One of the main reasons why people build with shipping containers is because of their affordability.

A typical container home can cost less than $80,000.

We have previously written about affordable container homes and covered the cheapest 5 shipping container homes ever built. Read about how these homes were built from $20,000 to a maximum of $60,000.

If you want to know even more, please read our full-length article called How Much Do Shipping Container Homes Cost?

Q: How Do I Build My Own Shipping Container Home?

It’s fantastic that you want to build your own container home!

Building any type of new home can be challenging and container homes are no exception to this. But providing you are determined enough and patient enough, you will be fine.

If you are serious about building your own container home, we recommend looking at our guide. We wrote the guide to act as a one-stop-shop for everything you’d need to know. It’s perfect for DIY enthusiasts to learn all they need to know about constructing their own container home.

You can find out more here: How To Build A Shipping Container Home: The Complete Guide.

Q: How Do I Insulate My Shipping Containers?

Without a doubt, insulating your containers is one of the most important aspects of the build.

If you don’t insulate, or if you get the insulation wrong, then your container home is going to be pretty unbearable.  It will be cold during the winter and too hot during the summer.

It can be confusing how to insulate your containers as there are so many different options available.  Read 5 methods to insulate your shipping containers for more information.

Q: Where Can I Find Shipping Container Home Plans?

It seems that one of the most popular things people email us for is to ask where they can find shipping container home floor plans.

In fact, we received so many emails about this that we decided to make our own!

We have plans for small one bedroom container homes all the way through to large five bedroom family homes. Check out our floor plans package.

Q: How Long Will My Shipping Container Home Last?

You should expect your containers to last for at least twenty-five years without any problems.

If you maintain the containers and keep on top of any rust then you can expect your containers to last longer. In addition to this, if you clad your containers with an external layer, such as wood, then you can expect your containers to last even longer.

The main thing that will reduce your container’s lifespan is rust. It is important to regularly inspect your building for any signs of rust. Treat any rust spots as soon as possible.

Q: In Which Climates Can I Construct A Container Home?

We have already seen container homes constructed in a variety of climates, ranging from the heat of Panama to the plummeting coldness of Ontario.

The reality is, providing you take the necessary steps and ensure that your containers are appropriately ventilated and insulated, you can build your container home in most climates.

Q: Where Can I Buy Shipping Containers?

Unfortunately, a national database of shipping container dealers doesn’t exist.  Still, it is a relatively straightforward task.

Your first step should always be to get in touch with your most local port and see if they sell directly to the public. Chances are they won’t, however, they will definitely be able to put you in touch with reputable dealers in the area.

If this approach doesn’t work, read our in-depth article about how and where to buy shipping containers.

Q: Is It Dangerous To Live In A Shipping Container Home?

As soon as people find out about container homes, one of their first thoughts tends to be, well, are these things safe?

This is a perfectly valid question.  The majority of people who are looking to build a container home have children.  It is especially important for the container to be safe when children and the elderly are present.

We won’t go into the details here, but read our article about the safety of shipping containers if you’re looking for that.  However, rest assured that if you take all the proper precautions and appropriate steps, then, without a doubt, container homes are perfectly safe.

Q: Where Can I Find Contractors To Build My Container Home?

The majority of people who want to live in a container home build them on their own, or with the help of friends and family.

Some people either don’t have the DIY experience or simply don’t have enough time to build their own container home, though, so they use a contractor.

The best way to find a contractor is to get in touch with other local container homeowners and speak directly to them.

You might be able to convince them to construct your container home.  If not, they will certainly be well connected within the local area and will be able to put you in touch with the right people.

Q: Which Type Of Shipping Containers Can I Use?

If you’ve read our article on shipping container dimensions, you will know that there are different types of shipping containers.

Sometimes, the variety of containers can confuse and overwhelm people when they are deciding which containers to build with.

By far, the two most popular choices are the standard 20-foot shipping container and the high cubed 40-foot shipping container.

Whenever possible, choose a high cube container, because they provide an additional foot of height.

Q: Why Do People Live In Shipping Container Homes?

Still not convinced about living in a container home and wondering what all the fuss is about?

When most people are asked why they are attracted to container homes, the most popular responses by far are the cost savings and the eco-friendliness.

To get more detail on these and other advantages, read our article about the reasons why a container home might be right for you!


We hope this article has managed to answer some of the questions you have about shipping container homes. We also hope you can also see how passionate we are about constructing with shipping containers.

If you’ve read this entire article, you will now know more than 95% of people.  You soon will have enough information and the confidence to plan, design, and construct your own shipping container home.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any more questions and we will do our best to answer them!

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