Pros and Cons of Shipping Container Homes

Sustainable and efficient living is a growing trend in today’s real estate world.  Shipping containers are increasingly being converted into homes instead of only being used as tools to carry goods on trains and other modes of transportation. 

But what are the pros and cons of shipping container homes?

  • Pros include: low cost, faster time to construct, energy efficiency, and incredible durability.
  • Cons include: potential to rust, small square footage (unless this is a pro to you), and possibility of previous contamination.

We'll discuss these in depth in this post and help you determine whether a shipping container home is right for you!

For some, a small shipping container may serve as a home with as little as 100 square feet of land area as floor space.  Real estate developers and architects will even add multiple containers and create micro-apartments and make a large apartment building.

Gone are the days when you have to build a house from the ground up and take several months to finish it. Now, container homes are what’s in.

The questions that may pop into your mind when you hear about shipping container homes are: 

  • Are they as sturdy as standard residential homes? 
  • Do they allow you to live comfortably? 
  • Are they energy-efficient? 
  • Would it be difficult to live in? 
  • Is container home upkeep and maintenance financially efficient?


Mauna Kea Container Home

Low-Cost Housing

 It usually costs around $245,100 to buy a residential home.  If you wish to buy one and build it from the ground up, the cost for a new home rises up to around $385,200.

These rates are quite high for middle-class families.  It would burden you with debts, loans, and other financial expenses just to build a home the standard way.

If you opt for a container home, you would only need to spend around $1,400 to $4,500, depending on the size.  The expensive ones are those offered by manufacturers who offer prefabricated shipping containers for a rate of $15,000 and up.

There is an obvious and significant difference between buying a residential home and building a container home.  The large price gap means you save more.  In fact, renovating or reinventing your container home also costs significantly less compared to tearing down a home and remodeling it. 

The savings is one of the top benefits for container home living!

Very Mobile and Time-Efficient

One of the greatest things about container homes is how easy it is to order one online and have your very own home delivered right to you.  Your home can be delivered in just 10 weeks. You will still need to follow local building codes, and have the unit inspected. 

This method lets you gain a custom home without spending money on hiring contractors to do the work for you. If you do need to acquire construction services, building a container home would still cost you less time and money than building a standard residential home. 

You can even have your very own pool if you purchase another shipping container for that purpose.  You would not need to buy tons of tiles and cement to have a home with a pool.  You can live the lavish life without shelling out big bucks!

Conserves Energy

Container homes are usually tiny.  They are perfect for minimalist homeowners.  Since they are smaller than most residential homes, it requires less energy in sustaining a home. 

For example, you have a less area to cover when you need to heat or cool your space.  There are also less rooms to power up and are usually built with highly-innovative tools that are environment-friendly. 

Buying real estate is expensive.  Each square foot accounts for several dollars and container homes allow you to save up on lot area without compromising your quality of living. 

Sustainable and Durable

Most container homes are built with a sustainable, Eco-friendly plan.  Container homes allow you to recycle or up-cycle shipping containers making you a significant contributor to the well-being of the planet.  Instead of discarding thousands of these shipping containers and melting down  the amount of steel, which uses a considerable amount of energy, building a home with shipping containers is a more efficient way to go. 

Building container homes also allows people to save on expenses used to buy materials usually purchased for building homes.  These include cement, brick, wood, and other home-building materials that adversely affect the environment. 

Some container homes use roof insulation kits that are Eco-friendly as well.  You may add steel stud reinforcements or waterproof insulation instead of the standard plywood used in residential homes. 

Adding another level of insulation to keep out external water sources also does the trick. Covering the container home with a pond liner protects the insulation and keeps your roof intact when the weather’s rainy out.  That’s better protection than those used in residential houses. 



Most people who are reluctant about container homes because they think that they are not sustainable because of the steel that is easily corroded.  Shipping containers may rust over time, but it is important for you to know that they are designed to endure life at sea. 

This means that the shipping containers are more durable than you think.  In fact, they are made with materials that prevent pests and rodents from entering the shipments.  Therefore, they do not easily rust and even keep the pests away from your home.

It is also wise if you were to purchase one that is in good shape and has no rust or dents.  This way you are sure that your home would be built from top-quality material and reduces the risks of structural issues in the long-run. 

Opting for container homes, therefore, allows you to maintain a clean, pest-free home.  You will  also feel secure that these unwanted guests cannot easily ravage your home and invite diseases indoors. 

May Contain Residues from Shipment Uses

When shipment containers are used for transporting by sea, they usually accumulate toxic substances due to gaseous chemicals exposure.  These toxic substances may pose a health risk, especially if you use these containers as a home.

Luckily, this shipment container defect can easily be cured. 

You can rip out or replace the pesticide-laced flooring and coat it with non-toxic sealing primers.  These block the chemicals from spreading throughout the home thereby making your abode a safer one. 

The Bottom Line

It is never a bad idea to live in container homes over a standard residential home.  It is cost-efficient, Eco-friendly, sustainable, and very mobile.  Although these shipping containers may rust over time, it is quite easy to prevent them from doing so.  All you need to do is add protective painting and it will last you at least 25 years of living in a rust-free home!  No wonder container homes are a growing trend.