Shipping Container Homes: Yay or Nay
Shipping container homes are dwellings that are made using steel shipping containers as their base material. These containers can be stacked and positioned in a variety of ways to create a unique contemporary home. Because these homes can be extremely versatile, some have jumped at the opportunity to build their very own shipping container home. Others tend to be more on the fence when it comes to considering these types of homes. Like any type of traditional home, shipping container homes have positives and negatives that could make them ideal for some but not others.
When shipping containers wear out, they are often left abandoned, stacked in yards where they will sit for years or decades. Giving old shipping containers a new life keeps them out of decaying ship yards while creating a sustainable solution in that other materials are not needed. Further, shipping containers can often be used on lots that cannot support other types of homes and many homeowners build their container homes with the plan to remain off grid.
Con: Old versus New
While some old shipping containers can be used in shipping container home construction, not all can. As shipping container homes become more popular, more and more will be build with new shipping containers. This means that not all shipping container homes are actually built in a sustainable fashion.
Pro: Quick Build
Because shipping containers already contain the walls, the floor and the roof, homes built from them can be constructed very quickly. Depending on the final size and design of the home, some can built within a month. This includes heating, utilities and all of the small details that make a house a home. For the smallest of homes, the build time can be as little as eight days. Larger homes will take more time to build, but build time by size is almost always shorter than the build time for traditional homes of comparative size.
Con: Quality of Building Materials
If older shipping containers are going to be used for construction, they are likely not habitable as-is. Depending on what those shipping containers were used to ship, they may need to be cleaned and reinforced. If they are being used in a large home that will combine multiple shipping containers, the foundation and walls will also likely need to be reinforced with steel. Further, shipping containers can be difficult to insulate properly.
Pro: Flexible Design
While shipping container houses often have a very distinct look to them, the layout can be extremely flexible. Shipping containers are modular by design so that they can stack. The containers can be stacked in a variety of ways to create modern shapes and levels that may be more expensive or more difficult in modern homes. This also allows them to be useful for lots that are particularly difficult to build on. The interiors of these homes can still be styled, from luxurious bathrooms to rustic kitchens and bedrooms.
Con: Building Permits
The biggest con is probably the fact that building permits are still needed to build shipping container homes. Building permits can take some time to obtain, which can mean a new construction home can still take some time to get started on. Further, the shipping container home will also still have to meet local build codes, which can make it difficult to keep a home completely off the grid or reduce the homeowner's impact on the environment.
Shipping Containers as Ideal Homes
Like any other type of home, shipping container homes have both positives and negatives. If the positives of living in a shipping container home outweighs the negatives, it could a very ideal home.