Can Container Homes have Basements?

In recent years, people are turning shipping containers into container homes.  What’s all the buzz around a container home and what makes it so appealing?  If someone wanted to have a basement, or also known as a man cave would it be possible?

Why a Container as a Home?

People have been turning to container homes for several reasons:

  1.  It’s cheaper to make than a conventional house
  2.  A container home is Eco friendly
  3.  People like how container homes look
  4.  People want to live off the grid
  5.  Fast building times
Himalayas Container Home

As listed, a shipping container can be had for a nice price of 20 thousand dollars.  This would consist of a 20-foot container,  just about a studio size for one person who is single.  

Up scaling to larger containers will cost more but just one container can offer a good amount of space.  

There are people who have spent upward of 100 hundred thousand dollars to have their container home custom made into a 6 thousand plus square foot living space that cost four hundred ninety thousand dollars. 

The final product was a three-story container home.  It contained four bedrooms, a double garage, gym, art studio and a swimming pool.  

So with a price range like that, it’s most definitely possible to build a container home with a basement.  

Eco Friendly

Every time a container is converted into a home, it’s helping save 7 thousand pounds of steel.  This also helps to save money on materials such as bricks or the use of wood.  


Many people find container homes to be pleasing to the eyes.  They’re also very modular and can be made into whatever you dream of.   A container can even be turned into a swimming pool if you’d like. 

Live off the grid

One possibility that people like with container homes is that they can live off the grid.  Just think of it like a cabin without having to build the cabin.  

Shipping containers can be purchased and delivered. Once it’s delivered to the preferred location, it can be worked on as a DIY project. 

Or you can hire a contractor to transform your container into an Off the Grid living container home meeting all regulations and requirements.  

Fast Building Times

Building times are much shorter than a conventional home.  Here’s an example, 73 shipping containers were used to build a block of offices.  This took them only 8 days to install.  Using traditional block of concrete would take much longer. 

What About a Basement?

The short answer to this is yes!  Why can’t it be made possible?  Containers are already compartmentalized into a room, so using one of them under the ground surface is most definitely possible.   What does someone need to do to accomplish this? 

Steps to Have a Basement Container

First step is to decide what size container is preferable.  Then, decide on where you want your basement to be.  You will need to dig a hole large enough to place the container in.  

The landowner can do the digging themselves, helping to save approximately 12 thousand dollars to compared to hiring a contractor to do the labor.  

The owner can also rent the proper tools to dig the hole.  This might bug the neighbors but at least you’re saving money.  

After digging the hole, make sure to level the bottom to keep the container from sinking.  Adding peat and gravel will help with this.  

A basement doesn't have to always be underground. You can always build upward, with the basement being the bottom floor and stairs leading up to the main floor.  

This would involve stacking of containers, and different foundations.

Foundation Types

One option to use is concrete piers.  This is the cheapest option of building a foundation and it slightly elevates the container to keep moisture from building up underneath the container.  

Another foundation available but more costly than concrete piers,  is making a concrete slab to put the container on.  This option would be used on softer foundation soil.  It provides no hollow spaces in the foundation and is less vulnerable to termite infestation.

Pile foundation is used when the soil is too weak to support a concrete base.  Piles are cylindrical steel tubes. These are hammered into the ground until they reach a more suitable ground that can support a heavy load. After all the piles are in place, concrete caps are secured on the piles creating a grid system .  

Piles are not recommended as a DIY project.  Hiring a contractor would be recommended, as they need to install the pile, and special equipment is needed to fulfill these requirements.  The down side to this method and materials, is that it is the least cost friendly way to go.  

How to Get The Container in The Hole?

There are different methods an owner can use to have their container transported to them.  One such method is to hire a septic tank company to haul the container.

Keep in mind,  this is just a 20-foot container that I’m referring to.  A larger container might need other methods of hauling. 

There are also hauling services that can help with this. Search around in your city for these options and price ranges.  

How to Get Into The Basement?

After the container has been set, stairs can be made leading to the front of the container.  Steel beams can be set from the top of the container to the beginning of the stairs.  Then cement walls can be made to create a hall path to the door of the container  basement.  

If you want the access point to be within the container home that will be built over the container, you'll need to create the access point through the top of the container leading into the container above.  They can use a ladder to go in and out, or create a staircase; it’s ultimately up to the owner.  

Yes, a Container Home Can Have a Basement!

There’s always a way to create something if someone looks for a way to accomplish it.   A container used as a basement is no different.  It just takes some time and planning to execute this.  Whether it’s a DIY project or you have help from a contractor, it’s very possible to make a container into a basement for your container home!