How Much Does a 40-Feet Container House Cost?


A lot of people are not aware that shipping containers are not only for transporting goods across the sea. You can also use them to build trendy custom-designed residential homes, coffee shops, schools, office spaces, and emergency shelters among others. They are highly durable and their resistance to natural disasters makes them attractive options for homeowners who are looking for affordable housing.

In this blog, we are going to discuss how much you can save with container homes by discussing the cost estimates in building a 40-feet container house. So if you are interested, keep on reading as we break down the major expenses you will encounter during the process.


1. Cost of a 40-ft Shipping Container

The first thing you need to look into when calculating your container home’s cost is the container itself. How much a container will cost will depend on its condition and size. Of course, newer containers will cost more compared to used ones but they will also last longer. Plus, you will encounter fewer issues with newer containers in the construction process.


Source:How Stuff Works

Below are the cost estimates of new and used 40-feet shipping containers based on the container’s dimensions.

Type of Container


Cost Estimate



Standard Shipping Container

  • Height: 8′ 6″ (2.59m)
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Door Height: 7.5 feet



High Cube Shipping Container

  • Height: 9′ 6″ ( 2.89m)
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Door Height: 8.5 feet



Most people will use four to six shipping containers for their homes to get a lot of space so they won’t feel restricted in their homes. But if you are only planning to construct a small container home, you can use a single container.

2. Foundation Costs

You should also consider the costs of your container home’s foundation. You will have three major choices for the foundation: concrete pier, slab, and trench (strip).


Type of Foundation


Cost Estimate


  • Made of multiple concrete blocks.
  • Cheapest and quickest type of foundation.
  • They don’t require special expertise or equipment.

~$500 to $550

Trench (Strip)

  • Involves placing a strip of concrete around your container’s perimeter.
  • Used for soft grounds as an alternative to pier foundations.

~$5,200 to $5,400


  • Involves placing a concrete slab underneath the whole container.
  • Used for soft grounds that cannot be supported by pier and trench foundations.
  • Most expensive type of foundation.


3. Insulation Costs

Don’t skip the insulation part just for the sake of saving money because you will regret it later. You will be compromising the convenience of your container home during cold winters and hot summer days. The commonly used insulation types are blanket, panel, and spray foam.

If you want to learn more, here is our guide on how to insulate shipping container homes.

Prefab Small House With Spray Foam Interior Insulation

Type of Foundation


Cost Estimate


  • Cheapest option
  • Needs a wooden frame where the insulation will be attached

~0.3 to $0.5 per sq. ft.


  • Easiest to install
  • Ideal for DIY installation
  • Also needs a wooden frame for the insulation

~$0.75 to $1.5 per sq. ft.

Spray Foam

  • Most expensive option
  • Most suggested insulation type
  • Can prevent dampness and mold

~$2 to $3 per sq. ft.

4. External Cladding Cost

There are certain zoning restrictions that require external cladding on shipping containers to make them blend in with the existing structures so we will include them here. There are a lot of cladding options you can choose from for your shipping container’s exterior but timber and stucco are the most common ones.

Affordable Modern Prefab Homes With Timber Cladding

Type of Foundation


Cost Estimate


  • Provides a natural finish
  • You can use recycled timber to save on costs.

~$2 to $3 per sq. ft. depending on the wood type


  • A plaster used for coating external surfaces
  • Commonly used for the majority of traditional homes
  • Protects your home from different weather conditions

~$6 to $10 per sq. ft.

5. Other Costs You Need to Consider

Don’t get too excited and think that you can build your own brand-new home for a price half of that of your car. There are still other costs you need to consider when you are going to build a container house. Below is a breakdown of the estimated costs of the other things we are referring to.

Modern Prefab Homes Cost

Other Things to Consider

Estimated Cost

Site preparation














Shelves & Closets




You also need to take into account the home plan costs for your container house. But, of course, this will depend on whether you are hiring professionals for the installation or if you are doing it on your own. Lastly, there will also be planning, permitting, architectural design, and structural engineering fees.

But if you plan to keep expenses at bay, you can check these prefab home designs that are less than 50k.


Your choices for foundation, insulation, and external cladding will influence the overall cost of your container house along with the other necessary fees you need to consider. We hope that the cost estimates we provided were able to give you an idea of how affordable building a container house is. If you’re looking for a professional container home manufacturer and supplier, check out JJC’s affordable container houses.

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