The Pros Cons of Shipping Container Homes

Despite shipping containers only becoming used for alternative and creative purposes within recent years, it is difficult to remember when they weren’t constantly being modified into uses other than for the transportation of goods.

It is almost as if buying a shipping container to repurpose it has become the norm. We constantly see homes, accommodation, offices, storage, kitchens, bars, and more built within these sturdy metal boxes.

Shipping container homes are rapidly rising in popularity as potential homeowners seek housing alternatives different from the traditional multi-bedroom home sold on the market. This trend is becoming so popular that the market size for global container homes is expected to reach $73,070.5 million by 2025, which will be a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2018.

The use of shipping containers as bases for homes is clearly popular for a reason. However, we could also say the same about building a house with traditional infrastructures. So, what is it about shipping container homes that have people so intrigued, and what are the potential cons or considerations you should consider before ditching the traditional home and purchasing a container?

Shipping Container Homes: The Basics

While the name essentially speaks for itself, what exactly are shipping container homes?

Are they sustainable?

When looking for a home to buy, you probably want to feel comfortable knowing it will last you a long time. So, how long do shipping container homes last?

When maintained correctly, shipping containers can last for 25 to 30 years. Proper maintenance includes not placing any weight on the middle of its roof, keeping the container on level ground, using sufficient insulation materials and ensuring that dust and rust are thoroughly cleaned.

Do they depreciate like traditional homes?

Considering shipping container homes and traditional homes are situated very differently economically speaking, we can not compare depreciation at face value. While putting a specific resale value on shipping container homes is tough, this doesn’t mean they don’t hold value.

There are ultimately many factors that can affect the resale value and depreciation of a shipping container home, including:

  • The initial cost of the shipping container,
  • The location the property is built on,
  • The initial quality of the construction, and;
  • The state of wear and tear.

How much do they cost?

Buying a home is often one of the biggest expenses people ever make. So understandably, shipping container homes aren’t necessarily cheap either but can become much more affordable with the proper knowledge.

Considering they can be built on land that isn’t always suitable for typical construction without much site work, they are generally cheaper than traditional homes. Perhaps you want to build on a rocky or steep area; container homes can simply be elevated using sturdy pilings rather than excavating and preparing the site for a hefty fee.

In addition, purchasing the container as the base for construction is cheaper than buying traditional scaffolding and labourers.

How are they structured?

How are they structured

Ultimately, this factor is predominantly up to the homeowner. The flexibility of shipping containers allows you to get creative with your project and modify the traditional concept into your own structural vision.

Your house can be uniquely designed based on the site, floor plan requirements and your budget. You can also invest in modular, ready-made container homes that you simply need to transport to your desired location.

Pros of Shipping Container Homes

While we briefly touched on the affordability and structural perks of shipping container homes, the list of benefits doesn’t end there.

One of the most tedious aspects of building a traditional home can be the highly lengthy process and the often unreliability of contractors. Contrarily, shipping container homes are rapidly constructed, as you already have the base, where some contractors can build a container home in under a month. However, if you’re looking to avoid construction costs altogether, you can purchase a prefabricated container home that is nearly ready for you to move straight into.

Architecturally speaking, shipping container homes are highly durable, which is one of the main reasons why people began repurposing containers into homes in the first place. Containers are typically built out of corten steel, which is self-healing and can handle intense weathering better than traditional housing.

This next pro will be appealing for all the nomads out there. Increasingly in today’s society, people are becoming more hesitant to settle down in one place; however, they don’t necessarily want to compromise on having a place to call their home. Shipping container homes somewhat solve this problem, as they are mobile and can be relocated if you so desire with the help of a dedicated shipping transportation service.

Lastly, shipping container homes aid creativity. While you can certainly decorate your traditional home any way you desire, building a home out of nothing but a container is extremely exciting. Shipping containers provide you with more potential and opportunities to display your personality and creativity in every aspect of your home.

Cons of Shipping Container Homes

As much as container homes can undoubtedly be sustainable, they were not originally intended as inhabitable spaces, so they aren’t always eco-friendly. While purchasing a used container does make your container home a lot more environmentally friendly than buying a new container, they don’t always make ideal homes, thanks to previous wear and tear.

Like anything modified for its unintended use, there will be minor inconveniences. Specifically, it can be challenging to operate some modern appliances in your container home, especially if you plan to live off-grid. While it certainly is possible, you will have to find:

  • A reliable, licensed electrician who happens to be familiar with shipping container architecture to install custom electrical setups in your home and;
  • A plumber to install customised plumping work.

While containers are made of durable steel, making them an excellent material for a home, they still often require additional reinforcements. This means you will likely have to pay for modifications such as:

  • Cutting holes for doors and windows,
  • Load-bearing walls and a sloped rooftop, and;
  • Insulation.

Cons of Shipping Container Homes

Are Shipping Container Homes Worth It?

If you’re looking for a creative, innovative and sustainable new home, shipping containers can undoubtedly be worth the time and investment. While there is certainly an extensive list of both pros and cons, their durability, low cost and flexibility make them much more appealing than pricey traditional homes that require a lot of time, resources, labour, and effort to construct.

Lending themselves to complete customisation from the inside and out, you may end up with a new home and a reignition of your creative flare after constructing your container home. While we’re all for creativity in shipping containers, we understand that it can be a big decision and investment to make.

If you’re interested in learning more about how shipping containers can be the perfect base for your next project, contact the team at Tiger Containers today. We spend our time understanding the ins and outs of shipping containers, so you don’t have to, dedicating our time to helping you find the perfect container for your use.