The international “go green” movement has led architects everywhere to abandon traditional building processes in favor of recycling and reusing to create new structures, like storage container homes. Shipping containers are some of the most durable and versatile structures available on the storage market, so yes, it’s totally possible to set up life inside of one and create a house from shipping containers—in fact, architects have even created huge dormitory apartment complexes from stacked shipping containers.

The eco-friendly-minded idea behind using containers for unconventional applications is giving new lives to shipping containers sitting without a purpose in storage yards. Because most containers are made in Asia, thousands of these units come through major ports every day. And since countless containers lay useless after their initial task of shipping overseas, inspiring creative thinkers everywhere to brainstorm different use ideas to put the abandoned boxes to work. You can gets your hands on one of these used containers through Container Alliance.



Despite the impressive strength and resilience of shipping containers for on-site storage, people have began discussing the drawbacks to using these structures that are made for something else. Ultimately, the time and money required to make a suitable home out of the container adds up to a large commitment—but one that, for many people, is worth signing on for.

Why Build a House from Shipping Containers?

Most customers’ primary motivation behind the conversion of shipping containers into homes is the eco-friendliness of the idea. Instead of using up new wood, cement, plaster, etc, these storage container homes take something that already exists and turn it into something new and livable.

The birthright and main purpose of the shipping container presence around the US remains shipping cargo, yet after their initial trip, most containers don’t get back at sea. That’s why containers become abandoned and may sit unused in yards for years. Building a house from shipping containers allows you to recycle in a much larger way than separating papers and aluminum cans from waste.

Building with a container can be much more cost-effective than traditional means. Unless it’s a vintage boutique, buying clothes from a used clothing store is generally worlds cheaper than buying new. Building houses works the same way, as the reusability of shipping containers translates in prices that are generally lower than building via traditional processes.


Containers are about as reliable as storage structures can get. Because their initial job was to transport cargo overseas, shipping containers are made to withstand the worst conditions that Mother Nature will throw at them. While one trip containers are highest quality structures available on the container market, even used containers can have incredible resilience after a few modifications. All of these boxes did last a long trip overseas, after all.

Why is it a Bad Idea?

Spending extended periods of time within a shipping container means potential exposure to dangerous chemicals that the container was either created with or utilized to transfer. This can come from certain paints or contaminated materials stored inside of the box. To avoid this potential predicament, it’s a good idea to order a one trip container or in refurbished condition.

Buildings created for retail use usually fall under the United States’ Uniform Building Code, and so do houses, depending on whether the home was created by a third-party company that converts containers into homes for the customer. However, many do-it-yourself projects may lead to people missing out on certain regulations designed to translate into adequate living conditions.

Shipping containers have interiors, exteriors, and bases made of metal, which means that they are fantastic heat conductors. This quality requires inner regulation via heating and AC systems to avoid hot and cold extremes.


As the quality, and amount of modifications, of the container escalates, so does the price—that said, new and refurbished containers will be a lot more expensive than the “as-is” used containers sitting on lots, but these containers are essentially the only ones that are livable.

The bottom line is the price you will pay for a used shipping container can end up doubling once the necessary adjustments are made. This will usually still add up to less than building a small house via regular means, but will involve a lot more unconventional work, which is especially the case with many state-of-the-art container homes that are gaining recent attention. If your main goals are cost-effectiveness, you may want to consider something that will be less trouble, but in the interest of decreasing waste, shipping container housing is gold.

To speak with one of our sales representatives about purchasing a used container today, call 800-386-2345 or request a quote now.

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