There is an abundance of used containers around the world, they are being used to build offices, cabins, studios, and homes. These giant blocks can produce appealing structures with the right materials and design.
Aside from being a rising trend, container houses are also chosen to save money through modular and prefabricated homes. They provide lower maintenance and construction costs. But the question is, are container homes good choices for you? Below are the pros and cons you need to consider.
Pros of Container Houses
Cons of Container Houses
Let’s start with the good points. Here are some of the benefits of choosing container houses as your choice of home.
A lot of container houses are available as modular house kits which makes the construction time faster. Some builders claim that they can deliver your prefab housing kits in less than 10 weeks. Suppliers also perform building code inspections at their factories so the construction process becomes simpler.
If you are fond of designing and building your modular home yourself, the pre-built structure of shipping containers will make it easier for you. But, we still recommend that you consult professionals on your prefab house design.
Compared to traditionally-built houses, using shipping containers for your home can help you save a lot. You can even build an off-grid rustic cabin using two shipping containers for $35,000 only.
Aside from the affordability of shipping containers, the construction process is also economical because you can save up to 70% building a container house that is the same size as a concrete house. Moreover, you only need to do little structural work which reduces the expenses further.
You can move a container home anywhere easily for as many times as you want. Unlike traditional houses, container homes cannot only be dismantled completely and moved, you can also opt for mobile container houses that come with wheels. This is a great option for people who are looking for something a bit more permanent and bigger than a trailer home but don’t want to commit to traditional concrete houses.
While smaller container homes are more mobile, there are many ways to make shipping homes easy to move as well. One way to do this is to invest in modular structures that use a number of containers connected to each other but are still easily detachable.
Because shipping containers are designed with their endurance in mind, they can survive various elements for many months. Their durability and toughness exceed the minimum specifications for new homes.
But, to keep the strength of shipping containers, you have to minimize the number of cuts you will be doing in the construction process. If you are planning to create significant cuts for room openings, windows, and doors, you have to install additional reinforcements such as steel beams.
You can use shipping containers to build easily-transported emergency shelters or for applications that lack local building expertise. In these settings, the container transport’s versatility is a big advantage. Moreover, you can connect multiple containers if you want a bigger house and create big windows and glass doors to bring in more natural light.
If you want more freedom, you can use high-cube shipping containers for easier insulation and more vertical space. But if these are the least of your concerns, you can just use standard containers. With shipping containers, you can easily express your own style.
Since you are upcycling leftover products in the shipping industry, you are in fact helping the environment. Shipping containers are not being discarded or melted, instead you are using them to promote a greener construction alternative by repurposing them.
When you reuse a 40-feet container, you are upcycling around 3,500 kg of steel. You also prevent the use of cement and bricks. The bricks and cement industry are among the biggest carbon dioxide producers.
Just like any other housing option, container houses also have their set of drawbacks. Here are some of the cons of container homes.
Though shipping containers are very strong, they have a weak roof which means that you will need to install a second layer of roof to protect your house especially from snow. The strength of your container house depends on the corrugated steel walls so you have to install new reinforcements when you cut out large windows or doors.
Moreover, combining multiple containers to create larger homes requires expensive welded reinforcements on spots that are not corners.
Shipping containers have narrow shapes so you need to use thin insulation layers such as spray foams. You can build outward to make your wall thicker so that you can insulate your container home well. It is also best to use a sustainable and eco-friendly insulation material. But what is the use of a steel exterior when you are going to bury it in insulation?
Since the shape and size of shipping containers are limited, the space can easily be occupied by insulation, HVAC, plumbing and others. Containers are manufactured to fit inside a train. This means that they are narrow, making ordinary furniture too big to fit inside. Plus, standard containers only have 8’6” heights so you will not have much headroom once you are done installing wiring and insulation.
You will not be able to know what was once inside use shipping containers – from harmless goods to dangerous industrial materials. The finishes and paints used on shipping containers are also industrial and are only meant for shipping and not for residential houses.
Container homes are still new in some regions so you will not be able to find experienced contractors easily. The majority of contractors are not familiar with cargotecture. This means that they might not know how to properly navigate the terrain during the building process. So, you have to ensure that you find a container home builder who is experienced in working with containers.
You need to check with your local building office first if you can legally build a container house because some municipalities do not have applicable permits and building codes for these types of housing. Make sure that your house complies with all the construction and zoning regulations.
Building a house from shipping containers can be a rewarding experience but first, you need to know if they are really for you. But when it comes to durability, container homes are better than wooden houses. Hopefully, we were able to help you make a good decision on your housing construction.
Do you plan to have your own modular container home? JJC can provide you with affordable and weather-resistant container homes. Sourcing container house suppliers in India and the Philippines would also be a good start.