Frequently Asked Questions about Shipping Container Homes Blog Cover

Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Container Homes

Posted By: March 7, 2016 In Guides

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It’s been several years since we first published an article on Container Home Plans. 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 everything you’d need to know about shipping container homes.

Q: What Are Shipping Container Homes?

First things first, what exactly are shipping container homes?

Shipping container homes are homes which 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 are used to build the home.

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

Q: How Expensive Are Shipping Container Homes?

One of the main reasons why people build shipping container homes 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. Within this article all five homes were built for less than $60,000 and the cheapest home was built for $20,000.

If you want to know 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 I’d 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 building 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 get the insulation wrong, then your container home is going to be pretty unbearable- it will be freezing 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- spray foam, panels, ceramic paint- the list goes on.

Make sure you read 5 methods to insulate your shipping containers.

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!

In total we have made 20 shipping container home plans and we are expecting to add to this number later on this year.

We have plans for small one bedroomed container homes; all the way through to large four bedroomed family homes- check them out yourself.

Q: How Long Will My Shipping Container Home Last For?

You should expect your containers to last for at least 25 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, so you need to make sure you have applied an external protective layer of paint and treat any rust as and when it occurs.

Q: Which Climates Can I Build A Shipping Container Home In?

Another popular question we receive is: “which climates can I build a container home in?”.

We have already seen them built 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- then you can build your container home in most climates.

Q: Where Can I Buy Shipping Containers From?

Surprisingly, one of the most common questions we get is: “where can I find shipping containers?”.

Unfortunately a national database of dealers doesn’t exist, however it’s still a relatively straightforward task.

Your first step should always be to get in touch with your 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.

Q: Are Shipping Container Homes Dangerous To Live In?

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, as the majority of people who are looking to build a container home will have children, so it certainly cannot be dangerous for them.

We won’t go into the ins and outs here (you’ll need to read our previous article if you’re looking for that), however rest assured knowing that if you take all the appropriate steps, then without a doubt container homes are perfectly safe to live in.

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.

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

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

You might be able to convenience them to build your container home or failing that, 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 To Build With?

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

Sometimes, the huge 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 regular 20 foot shipping container and the high cubed 40 foot shipping container.

Where possible, I would always recommend that you choose a high cube container because they provide an addition 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?

Earlier on last year we published the results to a survey of more than 700 people to find out exactly why people want to live in a shipping container home.

The two most popular responses by far were:

  1. The cost savings
  2. Because it’s eco-friendly

If you’re interested in viewing all the results- please take a look here.


We hope this article has managed to answer all the questions you have about shipping container homes. We also hope you can also see how passionate we are about shipping container homes here and how we believe they can meet a growing demand in the housing market.

If you’re read this entire article you will now know more that 95% of people about shipping container homes-and you’re well on the way to planning and building your own.

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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  1. Suzanne Lee

    where do I find the first 2 free chapters of your book?

    • Tom

      Hi Suzanne,

      If you join our newsletter I will send you a copy to your email address.

      Many Thanks,