How To Build A House With Shipping Containers

Shipping container houses are a revelation for modern architects. With their sharp-edged designs, this funky housing option has everyone hooked.

But how do you go about building a house out of shipping containers?

With well thought out planning and a fairly small budget, you can make this dream into a reality. 

A “shipping container home” is quite simply a place of residence made out of the industrial cargo containers. 

They can be stacked and welded to create larger properties or just one as a tiny home. Some countries have even used containers to create housing for students and other heavily populated areas.

So are you interested in discovering more about these eco-friendly home options? Continue reading to find out more about building a house with shipping containers.

What states allow building with shipping containers?

In America, building with shipping containers is becoming increasingly popular. The question of “am I allowed to build with containers in my area” is common among property enthusiasts. 

The short answer, most states in America do allow it. Oregon is even pushing to decrease the size of housing plots to allow for more homes for the massive population.

But what is further than the state, you should be looking into if your specific city allows container homes. As well as seeking building permission, you will also need to abide by other regulations such as utilities and plumbing, setbacks, and more. 

For more information on the finer details, head over to for in-depth knowledge of shipping container homes. 

Do you need a foundation?

To have a successful build, it is crucial that you set a solid foundation along with utility plumbing and good insulation.

For any construction, you should always consider the foundation. This is because the ground is always moving. Whether it is rising, sinking, or sliding, a fractional change could have drastic effects on the leveling of your container.

The ground where you chose to set up your container home may be a combination of hard rock and soft clay. A good foundation will give your container home stability against any ground movement in these conditions.

The different types of foundations include:

  • Pier foundation
  • Pile foundation
  • Slab foundation
  • Strip foundation

For further information about the varying foundations, check out Discover Containers comprehensive guide here.

It is important to make a note, by having a foundation does not mean your container home will be permanently placed there. If you want to keep the container as mobile as possible, then you can install railroad ties which can make the moving process easier.

Durability, environment, and safety

When building a house from shipping containers there are factors you need to consider. From durability and the environment to your safety making it your home.

How long does it last for?

A shipping container home is for a long haul. As long as you keep on top of maintenance and rust, you should be looking at having an easy twenty-five years without any major work needing to be done. 

Containers in general are highly durable. They are built to withstand extreme weather conditions while traveling on cargo ships, trains, and trucks. This gives you a good idea of how long your container home should last for.

The mobility that naturally comes with the containers also means the home can last you a time span over different locations. You are tied down geographical because, in theory, you can take the home with you.

Is it worth it?

There are a lot of factors to weigh in when considering are shipping container homes worth it. Converting them into homes is not a cheap process. You need to think about insulation, utilities, welding requirements, doors, windows, ventilation, and so on.

Are you getting a used container? You will need to ensure it is cleaned thoroughly before beginning to think about living in it. But with re-using these containers, your ecological impact is minimized and significantly friendlier than a traditional building.

Are they bulletproof?

Ok, this is a bit of a silly one. But it proves the safety and highlights the durability of shipping container homes.

Depending on the bullets, obviously, but mostly yes. Most of the time, shipping containers are bulletproof. Youtube channel Civil Advantage tested out a variety of firearms to give surprising results.

Hopefully, you would never be in a position where you would need to see this in your own home! However, it is a neat fact to know.

Along with the tough exterior, is the water-tight quality that most homeowners are after. Containers are often seen traveling across the globe on ships going through some pretty hardcore weather conditions. 

Their water-tight characteristic is crucial to ensure the goods and contents make the trip without getting wet. This is a fantastic feature that will be passed onto your home when making a house out of shipping containers.

The reinforced stell is designed to keep thieves out, and the contents safe. It is also an incredibly good material that is fire resistant.

Bulletproof, water and fire resistant. What more do you need? Shipping containers are super safe and can give peace of mind when making a house. 

Final thoughts

Shipping containers can be used as a tiny all-in-one home or can be stacked and interlinked to create a family home or even an apartment block. This quirky architecture is only getting more and more popular across America. 

With careful planning, you can turn a shipping container dream into a reality. Properly assess your location, the permits required for the local area, what foundations you need, and are you going to want to relocate in the future. 

So what do you think of shipping container homes? Would you choose to go minimal and tiny? Or are you keen to build an industrial mansion? Let us know in the comments below what you think about building a house with shipping containers.

Written by David Lee

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