How to Build a Cheap Shipping Container Home? (PDF)

How to build a cheap shipping container home? If you’re not a homeowner or builder building houses can be a daunting task. Even a tiny one. There are many items, components, and tasks to complete. But, what containers are perfect for allowing you to accomplish to simplify the whole procedure?

Most people who reside in shipping containers construct them themselves, at most in part. If you’re planning to build your own container house but don’t have a huge budget ensure you go through our guide on how to build the home of a shipping container with the budget of a smaller one.

Imagine a typical 1000-square-foot home. Work out in your mind the total length of the timber needed for framing, the square footage of sheathing, amount of floor joists needed as well as ceiling rafters. Can’t do it.

There aren’t many who could. Consider a 1,000-square-foot home made of shipping containers. It’s three forty-foot containers. When you break the house down into three basic components (modules) it’s simpler to comprehend, design, and construct.

It’s a brand new way of living!

Container houses are among the fastest-growing kind of housing across the globe. Construction of homes, shelters, and survival bunkers using recycling shipping containers can be a cost-effective and efficient method and a quick, green, and sustainable way of creating your dream home.

Homebuyers today are faced with a variety of options in terms of designs for their homes: ranch homes, Cape Cod and bungalows, and colonial are only the tip of the Iceberg. A lot of people want a house that is functional in its requirements as well as its style and budget.

While the majority of buyers choose an established or more traditional design, some are willing to stand out by choosing design concepts that are unique or contemporary.

One trend that is gaining traction is the idea of converting the shipping container into a home.

According to research conducted by Allied Market Research the world shipping container housing market is predicted to reach $73,070.5 million in 2025, a rise from $44,768.6 million in 2017.

Best DIY Container Home Kit (PDF): Step-By-Step Comprehensive Guide Professional Set

Can I Build My Own Shipping Container Home?

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If you begin creating your very own container house, you’ll realize the value of this container is hundreds or even hundreds of thousands.

The construction of housing containers differs from the traditional structure in a variety of ways.

This blog will go over some of the advantages and benefits of building homes in shipping containers and give a step-by-step guide to make it happen. Here are a few advantages of the construction of a shipping container house:

Benefits of Shipping Container Homes

What is the best way to construct a house in a shipping container? Apart from having a style of home nobody else can match, building a ship container home can provide a number of practical advantages and benefits.

This includes:

  • They are less expensive than. traditional homes. The majority of shipping container homes are constructed using 40-foot containers. There is the option to buy one of these pre-owned shipping containers at around $2,500 or you can purchase a new one for about $5,000. They’re usually less expensive than traditional housing since they require fewer building materials and labor to construct.
  • Energy-efficient Container homes are highly energy efficient in virtually every setting, with an innovative and cost-effective design. The metal is so strong with these ceramic paints for insulation, that containers are ranked number one on the list of energy-efficient homes.
  • DON’T BE SLAVES TO BANKS AND RENT! When compared to all other kinds of housing shipping container homes are the most affordable and the cheapest. If you truly need a house and are looking to eliminate the burden of the cost of rent each month, but aren’t able to purchase a brand-new concrete home or prefabricated container, then shipping containers could be the perfect option for you. There’s no need to be a slave for rent anymore! Also, you don’t need to become a slave to mortgage as well!
  • They’re quick to build. If you’re a skilled contractor (or already know one) you can construct an apartment in just a couple of months. From the moment you place an order for containers that are raw until the moment it’s fully functional could be as short as a month. Shipping containers can be used for the construction of full- and part-time homes for single families and more. In their simplest design recycling shipping containers provide the quickest and most affordable solution to the need for emergency housing and when they are stacked up high they can be used to create fascinating complexes for dormitories.
  • They’re modular houses. Container homes made of shipping containers are simple to alter. The home of a shipping container can be built using an assortment of twenty-foot or 40-foot containers. It’s also simple to mix different shipping containers to make an even larger house with additional bedrooms, a 2nd floor, or even a guest home.
  • They’re strong, durable high-maintenance, low-maintenance, natural-proof, and safe. Another great reason for making your home out of shipping containers is strength. It will also be built of steel! Containers are built to withstand the rigors of heavy loads and use and wear. If properly designed an apartment in a container can be seismically proof, tornado-proof and termite-proof, and fire-proof. It is also waterproof against floods in addition to being “nature-proof”. Containers for shipping are constructed out of Corten steel which shields cargo from damage during shipping across the globe. Shipping container homes made of weathering steel are able to withstand harsh weather conditions better than conventional homes. They are made more secure by installing the doors to patios, windows, as well as other equipment.
  • They are also able to be moved. If you require relocation due to any reason. If that’s the scenario, you can make your home in a shipping container moveable by hiring a shipping transport service to relocate your home in a single container wherever you want to.
  • Green Architecture. They’re environmentally friendly. Making use of one or more shipping containers to construct using is an effective method of recycling. It’s inexpensive, effective, and environmentally friendly. If you transform an old shipping container into an apartment and contribute to the improvement all over the globe. Steel is among the most recycled substances on Earth and up to 90% of its contents are recyclable. And, even better, if structures are made of ships containers, they can be 100% upcycled, without the need to break and melt the steel.
  • Limitless DESIGN It is possible to make them extremely stylish, and you can alter the way you join them, which is difficult using traditional building materials. They can be built in any style from small and cheap to huge and lavish! The buildings are as distinctive as the people who build them. They don’t appear the same, however, the savings in cost and strength are the norm in every shipping container structure.
  • Exterior view: The majority of the houses that are made of shipping containers don’t look like shipping containers in any way. A bit of imagination or paneling, flooring, and siding, and you’ll never be able to tell the structure is made of metal modular containers. The boxes can be coated with any type of surface including stucco, wood vinyl siding, or whatever. There are many illustrations in our publications. Additionally, the look of a cargo container is becoming increasingly trendy, and some people prefer the whole or a portion of their home to be natural. You can choose any style you desire when you are done.
  • Tiny homes or luxurious mansions Shipping containers: With them, they can be used to build any size home regardless of whether you wish for a compact home or a lavish mansion no matter what. It’s all about your imagination! The thing that is the most thrilling about homes built from shipping containers is that with a small amount of imagination, shipping containers can turn into affordable, solid construction blocks which could be utilized to create elegant little getaway homes as well as castles of splendor!
  • Upgrading with container homes: you can easily upgrade your existing house by adding additional 40′ containers that give you 320 square feet of living area.
  • Alternatives and creativity Container construction for shipping is the latest trend in contemporary architecture. In the majority of designs, you do not require detailed plans for architecture. It’s as much fun as building with Legos. The best part is that with imagination and imagination, the result could be as amazing as if it’s crafted from a complex architectural concept.

How to Build a Cheap Shipping Container Home a Step-By-Step Process

You’ve decided that a home built from a shipping container is the way you’d like to pursue, how do you build homes for cargo containers? Making your dream home to reality requires time, planning, and investments.

Built your own shipping container home

10 Steps to Building a Shipping Container Home:

Step 1: Permits and Planning

Although it is possible to save some money on the construction portion of the work, however, you must follow the rules when it comes time to get the first paperwork needed to take your shipping container home.

Before you purchase a shipping container, you must make sure that you have the necessary building codes permits, and planning approval from local authorities. Make sure you’re permitted to construct an actual home and that your shipping container house is in compliance with state and local regulations.

Get an architect and structural engineer to make sure the floor plans you’ve got to think of for the container house are built to last.

It’s best to seek out architects who have experience working with shipping containers since building with them is a completely different process from traditional wooden, steel, or brick construction.

Remember that everything you could put into a custom-designed home can be put into a container house.

Step 2: Purchase a Container

Then, you’re able to construct your own ship container house. Great. You’ll then need a shipping container. The size of the plans you’ve made will determine the size, shape, and quality of the shipping container you purchase.

The most sought-after size for shipping containers used for homes is one that’s a 40-foot high-cube container that offers approximately 325 sq ft of space for living. It’s enough to fit a bedroom, and a bathroom, as well as a decent-sized kitchen/living area.

If you want to create your shipping container home the best that it could be, you’ll need to conduct your research before purchasing shipping container from any vendor. Consider the cost and delivery options, the reputation of the seller and the condition of the container, warranties, and reviews from previous customers.

Find out more about purchasing the right container for shipping to the home you live in here.

Step 3: Prepare Your Land

You’ve purchased the shipping container you want, now your next task is to choose the location where you’ll build your house and then prepare the site. This means considering the soil and the kind of foundation you’ll need to construct your home on to ensure it is higher off the ground. It will be protected from water, which could alter the contents or cause corrosion.

The foundation may be constructed using either wooden or concrete foundations on the ground for one shipping container, or a full basement that can accommodate multiple shipping containers.

It is important to be based on the structural aspects needed and your own individual preferences. If you choose to build foundations made of concrete and you plan to embed steel plates in the concrete on which the corner blocks for your container will rest.

This will enable shipping container containers to be attached directly to the foundation.

Although it’s recommended to consult with an expert, especially when you’re planning to use several container storages, you’ll need to look at options like concrete slabs concrete piers, steel plates, and concrete strips. It is also important to ensure that you have a clear route for your container to be transported.

Step 4: Set the Containers in the Right Order.

The most efficient method of placing containers for shipping on the foundation is using the help of a crane or a delivery truck. There is nothing like the convenience of use, speed, and security of the crane.

If you don’t own one, you’ll likely require the help of an expert local builder or lease rough-terrain forklifts to use for a couple of hours.

After your container is placed onto the base, it’s simple to make any last adjustments using a large crowbar.

Step 5: Cut Your Openings

The removal of the steel from containers for shipping is required to create doors and windows on the walls of the container.

There are a variety of methods to cut through the steel of shipping containers using a plasma cutter or grinding torch or cutting torch or even using a Jigsaw (for small gaps). If you want to remove an entire wall using a cutting torch or plasma cutter is the most effective.

Prior to starting to cut holes, make sure that you’ve discussed the idea with your structural professional. The removal of the structural elements of the shipping container could cause danger If not done properly.

Assuming that you’re all set begin cutting holes for doors, windows skylights, and windows, along with other accessories to begin making your container look as if it’s a home. If you’re not sure how it may be a good idea to employ someone to help you with this.

If through cutting into the openings you have made, you make gaps, these will require sealing to shield the interior of your home from elements from the outside.

Step 6: Install Windows, Doors, and Framing

It’s time to install the doors, windows, and flooring. You can be as basic or extravagant as you’d like for sliding, regular or French doors, as well as cranking or standard windows. The style you choose is likely to perform.

To maximize the inside space as possible you can use 1 1/2-inch steel studs to create a frame for the container’s interior. They are pretty secure to the wall and are strong enough for spray-on insulation.

In the areas where foam insulation did not join the wall to the studs steel studs may be required. A further layer of drywall or a narrower spacing between the studs could help.

Whatever method you decide to use make sure you include a thermal gap between the studs as well as the shipping container’s steel walls. This is particularly important for steel studs since they effectively transfer heat from the inside of the.

Step 7: Connect Electric and Plumbing

Even if you’re not certain of the amount of electrical wiring you’ll require it’s much easier and less expensive to connect the majority of it in the present.

One issue that could arise when making wires is to get it through some of the debris on the walls of the container. One solution is to run the wire through the steel and then create an individual nail protector It’s a simple and inexpensive solution.

If you’re thinking about electric plumbing and wiring take into consideration whether you’ll be installing the HVAC system or an outdoor AC unit. Consider solar panels for power.

If you install solar them on the roof as well as include an entryway made of glass and windows, you’ll be able to draw more of the natural sunlight and the energy it generates.

Step 8: The Process Involves Insulation and Temperature Control

It is necessary to insulate the walls to keep the temperature inside the shipping container home. Be aware that you’ll lose an amount of living space when you are able to insulate your interior.

It is possible to insulate the exterior of the container in case that’s an issue. Vinyl, cedar, and even log siding are all able to be put on top of a container’s insulation exterior. The insulation on the outside also lets you make use of all the space in the shipping containers as long as you are satisfied with the appearance of corrugated steel walls within your home.

The kind of insulation you select such as panels, spray foam, or panels. is also contingent on the area you reside in or what you would like to use. The spray foam insulation type is widely utilized, however, it’s the most expensive.

Step 9: Landscaping and Decorating

After your new home inside a shipping container is looking nice, think about the area around the container. Think about adding a deck to expand the living space or the landscape space to ensure your house is in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape.

Start painting the interior of your home, apply it to the floor, and decorate your container house into to feel like a home.

Step 10: Sign Off and Inspection

This is the exam. Your effort is set to be rewarded. The shipping container home is now ready to be inspected to check if it adheres to building codes.

Before you call the inspector, ensure that your structural engineer and other experts have a final look so that you can make any necessary changes to the structure of the shipping container. Keep your fingers crossed.

The construction of a home in a shipping container is a lengthy process of plan and effort, yet it’s worth it. It’s low-cost, mobile, and flexible. Start building your own shipping container by browsing containers that are near you.


How Much Does it Cost to Build a Container Ship House?

Containers that are smaller, less basic homes are priced between $10,000 and $35,000. Large houses that are constructed with numerous shipping containers and other features can cost between $100,000 and $175,000. Container homes built with shipping containers, in a few cases, cost just only half the amount for a square foot of stick-built homes.

Is it Cheaper to Build Container Homes?

Shipping container homes are considerably less expensive to construct than standard houses. They’re very efficient with resources and can be built to look similar to regular homes. You’ll need a building permit to construct or construct a container home as well as an area plan to be granted a building permit.

How Long Do Container Homes Last?

In general, a home constructed using recycled shipping containers will last for about 15 years with any major repairs, while those constructed using new containers are expected to last for about 25 years. With the help of an effective type of exterior cladding, you could extend the lifespan of your home by a few years.

Do You Need a Foundation for a Shipping Container Home?

There will always be the foundation of your home for your shipping container. The reason is that the ground can move a significant amount. The ground may move up, down, or slide. It can happen in sporadic intervals and is usually slow.

How Much Does a 40ft Shipping Container Cost?

A standard 40-foot shipping box, with dimensions of 40 8′ x 40′ x 8.5”, will cost you between $2,600 and $3,300. If you’re looking for a large or unusual-sized container, expect to pay between 20 and 30 percent more than the typical price.

How Much Does a 53 foot Shipping Container Cost?

It is possible to purchase a brand new 53ft one-time shipping container for $22,995. It is more expensive than the standard containers due to the 53ft containers that have special requirements for storage and delivery.

Do Container Homes Get Hot?

Are homes in shipping containers hot? Shipping container homes are prone to becoming very hot in summer if there isn’t enough insulation. The majority of homes made from containers are composed of shipping containers made of steel with roofing and siding made of metal. Metal isn’t great insulation, which allows the heat from the outside to heat the inside.

Can I Live in a Shipping Container On My Own Land?

Yes, you are able to put an empty shipping container in your yard.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Put a Container On Your Land?

Shipping containers are considered temporary structures, so they do not usually require planning permission. But, it’s an excellent idea to inquire with your local authority, as we cannot guarantee that you don’t require permission to plan the shipping container.

Built your own shipping container home


This article “how to build a cheap shipping container home” should help make the decision to build your own shipping container home a small bit easier.

Our suggestion is that whenever feasible, you build the house by yourself. There is something extremely satisfying that comes from watching your hard-earned money be rewarded and then enjoying the outcome every day.


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi (CS, MBA Finance & Accounting) is the founder of He is a Practising Company Secretary and a real estate and stock market investor. He is the owner of CS Bordoloi and Associates. He is a commerce graduate from Darrang College, Tezpur, Assam. Later on, he pursued his higher studies at the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), and completed his MBA (Finance) degree from Guwahati University. With over 16 years of experience in finance and accounting, he teaches personal finance to non-technical common people like you how to do it the right way. He is a proud member of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (North-East India). He is also a successful Investor and Trader in Equities and Real Estate.