Container House vs Wood House: What’s the Difference?

12/03/2020
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Every decision you make in your home construction will always have its own advantages and disadvantages. Are you planning on building your own home but haven’t yet decided whether you will get a container house or a wood house? Then this blog is perfect for you.

 

Here, we will discuss the pros and cons of a container house and a wood house to make the decision process easier for you. Let us start with container houses before we proceed with wooden houses.

modular home house build
Source: Curbed

Contents

Container House

Prefab house kit
Source: Pinterest
Prefab house kit
Source: Pinterest
Prefab house kit
Source: Pinterest

Pros

Speedy Construction

You will find a lot of prefab house kits that use shipping containers so building them is faster. The delivery of your prefab kit can be completed in 10 weeks depending on your location. The majority of the inspections for building codes are done inside the factory so this makes things quicker and simpler.

Cost-Effectiveness

You can save a lot on construction expenses when you use shipping containers for your home. You can build an off-the-grid rustic cabin using just two containers for a price as low as $35,000. Shipping containers can cost you from $1,500 to $5,000 or more.

Mobility

You can move the containers you used in your house to a different location. Setting up a container house in place is simple once the materials reach the construction site. This makes container homes easier to move which you cannot do with traditionally-constructed houses.

Durability & Toughness

A shipping container manufacturer keeps durability and toughness in mind. This is because their main purpose is to withstand various elements in the ocean for long periods of time. They often exceed the minimum requirements for new houses in terms of durability and strength.

Versatility

You will have more freedom in creating a house as small or as large as you want because shipping containers come in various sizes. You can just combine multiple containers if you want more space.

shipping container ski and yoga resort
Source: House Beautiful

Cons

Structural Issues

Though the corners of shipping containers are very strong, their roofs are not the same. So you have to construct another roof, especially if you live in a place where there is snow.

Insulation Issues

Since shipping containers have narrow shapes, it is hard to insulate the exterior wall. So, for you to minimize the used interior space during insulation, you need to use a thin insulation layer like polyurethane spray foams. But, the problem is spray foams use powerful greenhouse gases as blowing agents. To learn more about this topic, you can check out our shipping home insulation guide

Quality Issues

There are many companies that supply shipping containers that have already been in use or are older at cheap prices. But, old shipping containers will usually have damage and wear which makes them not safe for home construction. So you have to be careful while buying the right shipping container.

Compliance to Permits & Building Codes 

Because container houses are still new in the majority of places, many building codes and permits are not applicable to them. Make sure you research well to guarantee that you can legally build your own container home.

Wood House

Log Cabin Photo
Source: Pinterest

Pros

Energy-Efficiency

Wood can naturally isolate heat from cold. Compared to steel structures, wood can increase the structure’s energy efficiency which minimizes your energy consumption.

Greener Solution

You can quickly and easily build wooden houses which can help you save significantly on your expenses. The only question is the availability of high-quality wood. But some developed countries have established wooden homes as the most nature-friendly and economical solutions compared to others.

Resistance to Earthquakes

Wooden structures are resistant to earthquakes. It has been proven that log houses and other wooden structures provide many advantages in seismic activities.

Versatility

You can resize, cut, and model wood on-site easily as compared to other materials. They provide higher workability and you can get a more customized design. Plus, you can rework, transport, and dismantle wood structures effectively though maybe not as effectively as container houses.

Sustainability

Wood materials are the only construction materials that are both sustainable and renewable. They help promote a greener environment by storing and absorbing carbon dioxide.

wood house
Source: House Beautiful

Cons

Prone to Pests

Wood attracts various pests that can destroy the structure. It is almost impossible to identify the majority of these pests and they can be costly to eradicate. They can destroy your house even before you are able to identify the damage.

Prone to Fires

Because wood is prone to fires, you cannot use them for applications that require safety. Some types of treated wood emit poisonous chemicals and gases when burned which is extremely fatal in congested chambers and closed spaces.

Durability Issues

Synthetic materials and metals are chosen instead of wood in the majority of cases because of durability issues. This is because wooden structures are not able to withstand the following:

  • Multiple impacts
  • Extreme temperatures
  • High weight loads

Deterioration

Aside from humidity and temperature than can cause wood to warp, the following can cause wooden resources to deteriorate:

  • Biotic agents (mold and decay fungi, insects, and bacteria)
  • Abiotic factors (fire, sun, water, wind, and chemicals)

Conclusion

Based on the pros and cons we discussed above for both container houses and wooden houses, container houses win when it comes to durability while wooden houses are more superior when it comes to eco-friendliness. Which of the two would you choose? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

By the way, you might want to read about how to design a container house in case you choose to go for container houses. But if you prefer buying a prefabricated container house, JJC can help you with that. Lastly, you can find a more detailed discussion of the pros and cons of container houses here.

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