What Not to Do When Considering Shipping Containers for Sale as Homes

How Cargo Container Homes Are Reshaping Low Income Housing

Estimates suggest there are between 12 and 15 homeless per 10,000 individuals in Texas. In Houston alone, that number equates to approximately 6,300 homeless individuals. 

Living paycheck to paycheck is also a national reality affecting 78% of the American workforce. These low-income families spent a whopping 1/3 to 1/2 of their income on housing needs.  Cargo container homes provide a unique solution to this housing crisis. 

The Cargo Container Home Solution

Many are looking at a cost-efficient solution to homelessness and increasing housing costs in larger cities like Houston and Dallas. Welcome to the dawn of the Tiny House Movement, where cargo container homes use new or used shipping containers to address today’s current housing issues. 

Whether you are choosing to downsize out of financial necessity, looking for more freedom, or a home with a smaller impact on the environment, cargo containers are a creative solution.  For the homeless, even a small home is superior to life in the elements.

Cargo containers homes also called shipping container homes or tiny houses are not just boxes. They can be beautiful, self-sustaining homes that people are proud to own. 

Curious to learn more? Keep reading to learn about shipping containers and how they can help both low income and homeless families.

What is a Shipping Container Home or Tiny Home?

Tiny houses, by most definitions, are typically between 100 and 400 square feet and provide the same things other dwellings provide. They have beds, showers, kitchens, and eating areas.  There is no rule on what defines a tiny house.  Some homes are as small as 26 square feet and a 1000 square foot house is also considered tiny because it measures less than half the size of the typical American home.

Tiny houses and shipping container homes are unique in their use of space. A bed may pull out from a raised area or drop down from a wall for use.  Many spaces in tiny homes serve dual purposes. A kitchen table, for example, serves as both an eating space and an office or homework space, a common experience in most homes, regardless of size.

Because of size and materials, Tiny Houses are less expensive to build and maintain, making them very affordable housing solutions.

What is the Size of a Shipping Container House?

Cargo container homes typically range from 56 square feet to 320 square feet. Specialty cargo containers also exist, with extra high ceilings. Most new shipping containers come with one main door opening (typically a double door) and a wood panel.

The smaller size allows for less energy and water demands making them easy to convert to off the grid or semi off the grid systems. Lower energy demands also equate to a lower overall cost to maintain.

Why Use a Shipping Crate Home as Opposed to Another Tiny Home Solution?

1.  Used shipping containers are plentiful. Most goods shipped both nationally and internationally are shipped in shipping containers. Shipping containers are moved by railway cars, river barges, and ocean liners.

2.  Used containers are also environmentally friendly.  Converting a shipping container into a dwelling allows you to Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse all in one.

3.  Shipping containers are already built and therefore prefabricated.  Prefabricated homes allow for quicker build times and can also significantly reduce costs.  

4.  Shipping containers are designed to be stacked for transport in harsh environments, so they are sturdy and durable. Depending on your location, additional attachments can make them very wind, storm, and hurricane proof.

5.  Multi-level home or even an apartment building can be made by stacking containers.    

Already many cities like Houston, Orlando, Los Angeles, and San Diego are using shipping container homes and apartments to address the needs of their homeless and low-income residents.

I Don’t Want to Live in a Box

You may be convinced by the price and utility of a cargo container home, but what about the aesthetics? Ultimately, you are only limited by your creativity.  Modifying a storage container is not difficult and you can check out our photo gallery for some inspiration.  

Need more inspiration? Imagine this, a porch can be added off the existing door structure, to allow for you to open up your entire house in temperate climates.  Installing a similar door on the other side allows for cross ventilation if you follow the prevailing wind pattern for the area.  This design allows you to be closer to nature which reduces stress but also decreases cooling costs. Because of shipping container stability, rooftop gardens and seating areas are very easy to create. 

Haven’t you always wanted a home with a view?    Stacking two containers parallel to each other, with a third crossing them, perpendicularly. Now you have created an instant breezeway. This design may be the ideal way to keep the in-laws living space separate from yours.  

Things to Be Aware of Before You Buy a Shipping Container

Cargo containers can be bought new or used. Used shipping containers must be completed cleaned and prepared before use as a new home. The cleaning should be done by a professional to prevent contamination from the previous shipments.

Local laws may dictate where container homes may be placed, so be sure to check all local permitting prior to purchase.

Other Uses for Shipping Containers

Because of their cost, size, and shortened build time, cargo container homes can also serve many other purposes. Looking for the perfect mother-in-law suite to drop into an existing backyard.

Need a private home office away from the traffic of the family? Shipping containers can even be an easy to build a second home on a piece of land you own. Shipping containers can also be rented as a temporary storage unit.

Regardless of your needs shipping containers can be an affordable solution to space, housing, and storage needs.

Time to Purchase?

We are here to help you choose the right cargo container home for your dwelling or storage needs.  We can also assist you with modifications and arrange services to install it on your property. Contact us for all your cargo container home needs.

STEEL CONTAINERS: Modifying Your Sustainable Container Home

You are concerned with the future of climate change just like millions of others. You know you alone aren’t going to change the world. Still, you feel it’s your obligation to reduce your carbon footprint and have as little a negative impact as possible on the environment.  

How can you live in a way that is more sustainable without sacrificing your unique style and comforts?

A growing trend in this direction is building a house out of steel containers.

Cost-Effective and Adaptable

Using steel containers as building materials has a great many benefits. They are customizable and flexible. Considering these containers were initially built for shipping purposes, they are, of course, transportable. 

Building with shipping containers is also one of the most affordable ways to build a new home. In fact, the current national average to build a new home is nearly $300,000–about $150 per square foot. By choosing to build with shipping containers, you can easily cut your construction cost by more than HALF. It’s estimated by designer and cargo container expert, Adam Kalkin, that a container home cost per square foot usually falls in between the $73-$90 range. 

However, one of the things that people find most attractive about this home building option is its eco-friendly nature. It’s this that we are going to focus on here.

Steel Containers: A Sustainable Home Building Solution 

Do you know what the most recycled material in the entire world is? You’ve probably guessed it already–steel

In North America alone, more than 80 million tons of steel is recycled each year. With the average weight of a 40-foot steel container used for shipping is around 8,250 pounds, that 80 million tons of yearly recycled steel would amount to 19,400,000 of such containers. 

Not only are the containers themselves eco-friendly in nature, but the many custom options they allow for you to live more sustainably. One such option is the ability to incorporate sustainable lighting into your shipping container home.  

Let’s consider a few ways you can do this while enhancing–rather than compromising–your unique style.

Modify to Incorporate Natural Lighting

You can choose to have your shipping container home modified to include installation of glass entry doors, windows, and skylights. This can turn what once was a dark block of metal into a bright and spacious living space.  

When it comes to these modifications, we offer a variety of different options. For skylights, you can choose between, domed, vented, and flat. For windows and glass entry doors, you can choose what shapes and sizes fit your preferences.

To make your modification ideas a reality, check out our container modifications page and get in touch with us using the information found there. Knowing each build is different because each person’s needs and preferences are different, we want to hear yours. Then we will work with you to come up with the best solution to make your ideas come to life. This way the function and look of your new container home can be exactly as you’d imagined. 

Also, check out how this shipping container building design has incorporated these modifications to maximize natural light usage for their container home. This will help you have a better idea of what is possible in this regard. 

Eco-Friendly Artificial Light Installation 

By choosing the above modifications to incorporate as much natural light as possible into your home, you won’t need artificial lighting during the day (well, most days). This is truly the best way to achieve sustainable, green lighting for your build. 

But for the artificial lighting you will be using, what is the best choice to keep your build as eco-friendly as possible? And how can you do this while keeping a sharp, modern design?  

When it comes to the right type of lighting to achieve this, LED bulbs will be the best choice. 

LED bulbs themselves, especially those that are Energy Star rated, use 75% less energy than the more traditional incandescent type lighting.

In addition to this more obvious benefit is the benefit of heat emission. LED bulbs emit a very small amount of heat. Incandescent and CFL lighting release about 80-90% of their energy as heat (if you’ve ever tried to unscrew an incandescent bulb shortly after turning the light off, you know this all too well). This also means that the risk of fire is further lowered in your container home.

A Big Step Towards Better, Sustainable Living

Lighting is just one way you can customize your container home to increase its eco-friendliness. There are many other methods you can incorporate into your build to maximize its sustainability and minimize your carbon footprint.

Having a home with a flat roof that is always facing the sky will make a perfect place to install solar panels, for example. Another reason a container home is such a great fit for solar panel installation is its durable design. Where some roofs can’t handle the weight of solar panels, homes built from steel containers will have no problem bearing this weight. 

Does living more sustainably appeal to you? Does cutting down on energy costs while still being able to have a more stylish home appeal to you? If so, feel free to get in contact with us. Even if you aren’t sure, please don’t hesitate to direct your questions our way.

As mentioned above, we know your preferences are unique and we want to hear your ideas. From there we can work on a plan to create solutions towards making your eco-friendly container home a bright, stylish, affordable reality. 

7 Ideas for Converting Bulk Containers Into Awesome Buildings

Remember when you were a kid playing with Legos, creating all sorts of strange buildings that you may have hoped to live in one day? 

Great news for childhood you–since the trend of turning bulk containers into shipping container homes started a few years ago, your Lego inventions of your early years no longer need to be strictly left to the imagination. Neither is it only homes that these awesome building materials can be used for.

In this post we are going to cover several different possibilities for buildings made from shipping containers as well as some of the advantages that come with using these as building materials. 

1. Homes Built From Bulk Containers 

Let’s start with the buildings that really got the trend rolling–homes. Other than making your childhood self proud, what are some of the advantages that come from having a cargo container home? 

They’re tough as nails. Being stacked on top of one another and then bearing the weather of the open sea–sometimes for even a month, they have to built durably.

Being made from the world’s most recycled material, they’re incredibly eco-friendly (this is why we offer used cargo containers as well!).

They’re extremely affordable. With the average reported cost of building a new house in America right now nearing $300,000, a container home can easily save you more than half of that money, depending on modifications and specific needs.

They’re completely customizable, allowing you to, just like in your Lego-playing days, design and build the house of your dreams.

2. Offices 

Whether you have an established business or are an entrepreneur, you are no doubt always looking for ways to cut down on overhead. Likely, one of your biggest operating costs is the expense that comes with buying or leasing an office space.

Well, we already considered that using bulk containers as your building material can be incredibly cost-effective. But what are some of the other benefits associated with making these shipping containers a part of your business?

It inspires creativity. To be able to work in an office space that is itself built with creativity will inspire you and your employees’ own creativity.

People will remember you. Especially if your business is one that requires customers to visit your office, a bulk container office will help you to stand out as unique. Plus, working out of an eco-friendly office will attract more people. This will already give you a one-up on your competition. 

Container offices allow you to be incredibly flexible, no matter the type of business you run. Many businesses, such as pop-up stores and large construction teams, need to be able to move their shops and offices from site to site. This is why we offer such a variety of mobile container offices

3. Restaurants

Just like with a business needing an office, if you are planning to start running a restaurant, you need to stand out amidst the many options.  The same principles behind having a shipping container office come to play with having a restaurant built with shipping containers. 

For example, there is potential that shipping container’s will cut down on your start up and operating costs, helping your business turn a quicker profit. 

Also, you will quickly be able to catch people’s attention. If you can make people stop and take notice before they even take a single bite of your food, you’ve already taken a big leap towards restaurant branding success. 

4. Mobile Food Vendors

We’ve all seen shipping containers on the back of tractor-trailers being hauled to or from a shipping port, ready to make their next delivery. But what about at street food markets?

Being durable and portable, shipping containers are a perfect fit for mobile food stands and food trucks. Just ask street food powerhouse Copenhagen, Denmark. They’ve created an outdoor food market mecca, called Reffen. Their vendors’ building material of choice? You guessed it–shipping containers.

5. Pools 

What else can a sealed 8ft wide, 8.5 ft high (or deep), 20-40 ft long container be used for? 

Remove the top, fill it with water, and you have the hippest way to stay cool in the summer heat. With a bulk container pool, your house will instantly become the go-to hang out spot in the summertime.

What if you move? Well, unlike a poured concrete below ground pool, we are talking about a product that was built to be moved. It’s as easy as having the container pool picked up and brought to your new residence. 

With the summer of 2019 coming in hot (pun intended), why not check out this post for further details on if a shipping container pool might be the right fit for your family and friends?

6. Home Gyms

What else comes with the approach of summertime? The desire for that summer body.

We all want it, but paying $60-$150/month to have to travel to a local gym and get our sweat on in front of people may not be our thing. Or it could be that your house doesn’t have a basement, garage, space in general, or a place you could safely stack hundreds of pounds worth of gym equipment. 

This is where a hardy, open and spacious shipping container could be the perfect fit for your next home gym.  

And with just how affordable a used shipping container can be, it could easily be one of the cheaper parts of your home gym investment.

7. Home or Work Storage Sheds 

If you’re a tradesman or tradeswoman, homeowner, or simply someone who enjoys being handy, you may run into the same problem as someone who wants to build a home gym–a lack of space or safe place to store heavy, metal equipment. 

The benefits of considering a bulk container for use as a storage shed are immediately seen. Being spacious and open, you can store all sorts of tools and machinery, such as lawnmowers, plows, and other heavy-duty equipment in one.

Since they are durable and fireproof, you can store heavy, sharp, electrical, and gas-filled equipment with peace of mind, not worrying about fire or wear and tear.

Built of steel and capable of being locked tight, you can put your mind to ease knowing that potentially tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment is safe in your cargo container storage shed. 

Durable, Portable, Affordable, Eco-Friendly, and Super Cool…But Right for Me?

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, store or restaurant owner, environmental advocate, or simply someone who wants a cooler, more hip way to live and work, make sure to seriously consider some of the shipping container ideas discussed above. 

Love the idea of building a shipping container home or office but need a little bit more information? Check out our blog for more inspiration in bringing your ideas to life!

If you have already decided that cargo containers might be the right fit for your needs, get in touch with us today? We can price out single or bulk quantities of new or used containers for you.

Environmentally Conscious Homeowners Choose Used Shipping Containers

5 Ways Shipping Container Homes Are Changing Our World (for the better!)

Way back in 1937, Malcolm McLean finally lost it with the slow pace of loading cargo onto ships and began experimenting with ways to streamline this task.

After 20 years of trial and error, he patented the first shipping container in 1956. In the same year, the first 60 containers left Newark, N.J. bound for Houston.

Today, almost every country in the world has a container shipping port. Read about how these not-so-little boxes continue to shape the world in the form of shipping container homes.

1. Shipping Container Homes are Green

While you can buy new shipping containers to build storage container homes, used containers are a good option for this kind of dwelling.  This ticks several boxes for eco-conscious homeowners who like the idea of re-using something that may have ended up in a landfill. Building these houses also uses fewer resources in the form of bricks and mortar than traditional methods do. Many homes made from containers have off-grid capabilities, such as solar power. This means they use less of the Earth’s resources too.

2. Less Cost Involved

The older the container you choose, the cheaper it’s going to be to buy and the more it’s going to cost to refurbish it. However, this should still be less than building or buying a conventional home. These lower building costs open up the world of home ownership to many more people than before.

3. Quick Construction

Construction delays can be frustrating and costly when building a brick and mortar home. This is never the case with container homes. Many storage container homes fall into the realm of prefabricated housing. This means that there is little to do when your new home reaches your site. It’s almost a drop-and-go situation, with only a little work required to hook up your utilities.  One of the best parts about building one of these dwellings is that first-time homeowners can start off with tiny homes and expand as they go along.

4. Mobility

Cargo containers are specially designed to travel all over the world on ships, trucks, and trains. Thanks to this, they are super easy to relocate as needed. If you plan your home design carefully, you could move it from place to place as you choose. Should you get a new job in another city, you can take your tiny abode along with you.

The convenience, cost-benefits and minimalistic comfort of shipping containers is hard to beat.

5. Versatility and Scalability

These cheap homes are infinitely scalable. You can keep adding containers as you go along. Take a look at these examples of homeowners who thought out of the box with their home designs. They are also extremely flexible with many uses including as premises for clinics, offices, mobile site buildings, pop-up shops and much more. One of the most important uses for shipping containers is as temporary housing or shelters during times of disaster.

Into the Future with Cargo Containers

As more people realize the benefits of shipping container homes, we’re entering a time where less is definitely more with regard to housing.

Smaller spaces to live in means people can accumulate fewer things and focus more on what’s important.

They can move around more easily to broaden their horizons and own their own dwelling without a crippling mortgage to worry about.

Get in touch if you’d like to get on board with the bright new future of container home living.

Shipping Container Homes & Offices: Making the Most of Your Space

You’ve got on board with the shipping container movement and now it’s on its way, ready to become your new home or office. Clearly, space needs to be well utilized to get the very best out of the space. The key – shipping container home plans that actually work! It’s amazing what you can do with a small space. Read on for our handy guide.

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5 Inspirational Designs for Your Shipping Container Home

The shipping container home movement is huge right now. These days, more and more people are using used shipping containers to build environmentally-friendly and affordable housing. Read on to see some of the most creative designs out there for shipping container homes.

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