The cost to build a shipping container home is always in the back of every new home builder. For a DIYer, building a shipping container home is a great idea, since you always want to build your own home with materials that are readily available. This is an eco-friendly approach when it comes to building your own home.
And while it can take a bit of time to construct a container home, there are also clear benefits related to that. However, the question for a lot of people is “how much to build a container home”. In this article we will focus on all of that and so much more.
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Cost to Building a Shipping Container Home?
The thing you need to keep in mind before you learn how to build your container home is the overall cost. Making sure that you understand the cost of shipping containers before you start initiating this type of project.
The price of shipping containers varies more than you might expect, it depends on the condition and size. Normally, the larger the shipping container is, the more it will cost. On top of that, if the shipping container is new and it didn’t see a lot of use, that will raise the cost to build your container home too.
What you will notice that in the US, the price of a used container is $2,000, sometimes even more than that. Some of the 40’ units can be $3,000 or even more than that.
A brand new unit like that can go up to $6,000. In general, most people that want to create their own shipping container home buy anywhere from 4-6 containers.
It does depend on the size of your home and design. In some cases, you might need less than 4. But it’s also possible to require more than that. Working closely with an architect will give you a much better idea of what you need. In doing so, you also have a much better idea of how much the entire process will cost.
Land Costs to Building a Container Home
Needless to say, you need to buy a piece of land where you can start building your shipping container home. With that in mind, these prices can vary quite a lot based on where you live. If you already have a construction site ready, then you don’t have to worry.
But if you don’t own a piece of land, buying one where you can fit your shipping container home is important. It’s a great idea to take your time and find the ideal piece of land for your home.
This varies on your budget, but in general the closer this piece of land is to the city center, the more expensive it is. If you choose to have a shipping container home towards the outskirts of the city, this will usually run you way cheaper.
Location is crucial and it will take a bit of time to identify the ideal place to focus on. Yet this will be worth the effort.
Read More: Can you Finance a Container home?
Foundation of the Container Home
Another important thing to focus on when it comes to the cost to build your shipping container home is the foundation. You want to have a very secure, powerful and strong foundation for your home.
The trench foundation is common since it’s the most affordable. It will cost you around $5,000, sometimes a bit more, and it has brick and block masonry that’s filled with concrete.
Pier foundations are great if the soil is clay based and you have decomposed rocks at the top. Then you have the slab foundation. While this is the most expensive foundation, it does have benefits. It brings steel bars and concrete, and it delivers great advantage for your home.
Insulation Costs of a Shipping Container Home
You can’t build a shipping container home without thinking about insulation. Generally, insulation costs can be around $0.5 to $2 for a square foot. In case you want to lower expenses, you can go the DIY route.
Insulation is easy to do on your own. However, it’s a good idea to hire a professional if possible. These professional insulation services are more dependable and they are bound to provide a much better value for your money!
This is especially true if you’re thinking of using spray foam insulation, which is arguably the best form of insulation, but also the most technical to apply.
There are other installations you have to think about. Things like hardware installations, doors and windows can end up at around $5,000 or $6,000. Then we also have electrical system and plumbing work, which can be $7,000 each.
You also need to add things like roofing and flooring, which can be $3,000 to $4,000. Painting and finishes can also cost $6,000, so there’s definitely quite a lot of extra stuff to pay for as well.
How Much Money Will you Spend to Build a Shipping Container Home?
That all depends on how you want to furnish it, what accessories you want, paint, etc. As we mentioned earlier, even the land costs matter quite a bit to the cost to build a shipping container home.
In general, aside from land costs, a shipping container home can require $35,000 to $100,000, depending on the scope of this project. What we noticed is that the more grandiose and larger the home is, the more it will cost.
However, it’s still way less when compared to a regular home. So, is it cheaper to build a container home? Absolutely, you need less materials for starters. It can also have a custom design that you choose, and you can fully adapt it to your needs.
How hard is it to build a shipping container home? It’s not easy, as you can imagine, but this is definitely not as complex as creating a regular home. There are less work pieces involved, and in the end that’s a major advantage.
Read More: What is Site Inspection?
Should you go for new or old Shipping Containers?
If you care about sustainability and want to focus more on your health, new containers should be the ideal pick. Sure, they are more expensive, sometimes even double the price. This can increase the average cost to build your shipping container house.
If you want to save some money, you can recycle old containers, but that comes at a cost. If the unit is chemically damaged or rusted, that becomes an issue. Which is why it makes a lot more sense to choose new containers.
It mostly depends on the funds you can allocate to the project, since you don’t want to inflate the cost of building your container home. Naturally, if you want a home that lasts in the long run, you must go with the newer containers.
You can also connect with a professional that teaches you how to build your container home. It will take time, but the results you receive here are very good.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that a good grade B shipping container that is seaworthy, and watertight, would still make a good pick.
Read More: Which States Allow Shipping Container Home
What Container Size is Ideal for a Shipping Container Home?
It all comes down to your personal preference. There are some models that seem to be very popular between container home owners, the 20’:8” wide and 8” tall, and then we have the 40’:8” with the same height.
Of course, depending on the floor plan and the site size, you can use these containers for a tiny house or a larger house.
Should you stack containers one on top of the other? Sometimes it makes sense, other times less so. There are different situations that can arise, so you have to pinpoint your needs from the start.
This will offer a good idea on what you can expect, but the benefits can be very impressive. You might adjust the plans as you go, before you start the building process. That’s because some things like materials and costs can affect your initial plans.
Should you go for a Shipping Container Home?
Absolutely, if you want a novel home with a unique design and also want to protect the environment, this is a great way to do it. With that in mind, there are a variety of price points you can encounter.
Some shipping container homes created by architects with a lot of experience can cost around $180,000, but smaller units can end up costing just $50,000.
The fact that the cost to build a shipping container home vary so much comes down to what you want and the benefits you expect. For the most part, you will notice that a good shipping container home doesn’t have to be expensive.
You can make it expensive if you want, depending on your needs. It’s definitely going to shine if you take your time and focus on investing as much as possible.
But shipping container homes are just as good for those with a smaller budget. That alone is something to consider if you want to create a home from shipping containers.
As you can see, building your own shipping container home doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be quite affordable, and it’s up to you to take your time and identify the style of shipping container home you want. While costs can vary when you build such a home, you do get a very good value for your money, and that’s what matters.
We recommend checking it out and seeing how much it will cost you to build the shipping container home of your dreams. Yes, it does take quite a bit of planning and work, but in the end it’s worth it.
The simple idea of bringing that shipping container home you always wanted to life is very exciting. While it can be difficult at times, it’s still going to be worth the effort all the time!
Before we go, here are some free plans for your container home. Enjoy!
And if you want to skip all the hustle of building your container home, you can always purchase a factory-built one like the one below. But do due diligence and make sure that your state and/or local government allows you to have such a building in your land.