9 Things to Consider Before Building Shipping Container Homes

Building shipping container homes look simple, but any homeowner will tell you that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Your preparation – from research to budgeting to design – will make the most significant difference in your ability to build the home of your dreams on time and “on budget.

What do shipping container enthusiasts wish they knew before they built their first home? We share things you need to know before you build – so read on.

1. Always Check out the Shipping Container Before Buying

Try before you buy” is a pretty common piece of consumer advice. It is particularly important when you buy shipping containers.

One of the most common regrets mentioned by shipping container homeowners is their failure to look at the containers before buying them.

When you buy shipping containers, you choose between three types: brand new containers, one-trip containers, and used containers.

New containers have never seen an ocean liner. But they are popular because you can build them according to your specs. For example, you can ask for a container that hasn’t been chemically treated.

One-trip containers are almost like-new but come with a slightly higher price tag.

At the same time, containers used and abused on boats are likely to come beaten and battered. You can’t plan for dents you don’t see, so it’s essential to at least see pictures of the containers before purchasing them.

Standard vs. High Cube Containers

Height is another common mistake made by customers who try to source containers on their own.

The standard shipping container is 8 feet, 6-inches tall. High cube containers are 9 feet, 6-inches tall. You typically want the high cube containers, which give you a much needed extra head-space. The high cube containers leave you with an eight-foot ceiling even after installation, which adds comfort and space to your home.

2. Ask About Houston Building Regulations

As with any building project, you will most likely need a permit before you get to break ground on a shipping container house in Houston. Shipping container building codes differ by city and even within zones of each city. Talk to your local planning permission office to learn about what kind of permits you need. Remember, it’s better to ask than pay unnecessary fines. 

3. Learn About Structural Integrity

Shipping containers are a robust base building material. After all, their design allows them to be filled, stacked, and shipped endlessly. However, shipping containers still deal with structural integrity issues and understanding how they work is critical for planning your home.

Consider how much steel you need to cut from your shipping container. As you remove material, you remove strength. You inevitably make the structure less sound. In which case you will need to reinforce it with extra steal beams, to make it habitable. How much is too much? Windows and doors won’t dramatically impact the steel’s performance, but removing an entire wall requires extensive consideration.

4. Minimize Welding When Possible

Working with steel containers involves some amount of welding, but if you can, try to minimize the amount of welding you need during the design phase. Welding is going to ratchet up the cost of your home and tack on more time to your building phase. Skip welding except in the necessary places, to ensure you stick to your budget and timelines. 

5. Think About Insulation

As with any home, your insulation should reflect the climate that you live in. An excellent local contractor can make the right recommendations.

The primary challenge you face in insulating your shipping container is the depth of the walls. The steel provides the durability shipping containers need, but there’s not much in the way of thickness. That means you’ll need to build the walls out to install insulation.

The process is similar to installing insulation in a basement. You have two options: build the walls in and remove square footage or build out and alter the aesthetics of your exterior. The decision is yours to make, but you’ll need to make it early as it will impact your design.

6. Plan for Wind

Shipping containers can withstand harsh conditions thanks to the strength they have in numbers. At the same time, even an unsecured, standalone shipping container can withstand winds of 100 mph. However, their ability to withstand those winds doesn’t mean that you’re not going to hear them.

Planning for wind is particularly crucial for Texas shipping container homes. Thanks to the state’s mostly flat geography.

In addition to planning for your container home’s wind rating, you also need to think about ways to block the wind (and the noise). Including these in your initial design plans will help save you time and headache later.

7. Plan for Rain

The State of Texas is famous for its thunderstorms and hurricanes – which can bring incredible amounts of rain in an instance, followed by flooding. 

When you plan your exterior, prepare for rain, particularly with your paint choices. Houston Shipping Containers would need a robust type of paint to withstand heavy rainfall. Ideally, you should choose a marine-grade direct-to-metal paint (DTM) for the job. Both Valspar and Sherwin Williams offer suitable products.

8. Understand That Aggravation Is Part of the Process

Many like the idea of building shipping container homes because it looks and sounds more relaxed than traditional construction.

However, the aggravation you’ll experience with a traditional home build can follow you into your shipping container building plans as well. So be aware of this before you start building. It’s important to recognize this early on, so, you are emotionally prepared to overcome the challenges which will come later. 

9. Choose Experts When Possible

Get in touch with expert designers, structural engineers, and professional drawing services from the beginning, particularly if you want a custom container home.

As strange as it sounds, choosing experienced contractors will save you money in the long run, even if their services cost more up front.

Building Shipping Container Homes Starts With the Container

Building shipping container homes is an exciting challenge for contractors and homeowners alike. As with traditional construction, getting prepared before you break ground will save you time and money throughout your build.

Everything you do, starts with selecting the right shipping container(s) first. To learn more about finding the perfect container blocks for your home, contact our container professionals.

Container Home Texas

4 Shipping Container House Plans that Just Work

Shipping Container Houses are like the modern version of the Sears mail-order house. From 1908 through 1940, you could choose from 370 different models. Sears would then ship you everything needed to build your home. 

Today people are taking a more custom approach to this pre-fab method, by using shipping containers. With creative shipping container house plans, you can create a living space that perfectly fits your needs. 

Keep reading for four floor-plan ideas you can use for your new container house, in the Houston or Dallas Texas region. 

1. Keep It Simple 

If simplicity is your goal or you’re on a tight budget, then keep your home smaller. One or two containers are enough to create a small living space. 

If you choose only to use one container, you’ll want to maximize space by creating convertible use areas. For instance, create a bed that folds away during the day. 

If you want to double your space and create separate living areas, then use two containers next to each other. You could create a single level by putting them next to each other. Or you could create a two-story unit by placing one on top of the other. 

Removing the floor/ceiling between the two containers allows you to create high ceilings and a loft area. This increases the overall spaciousness inside of the container home. 

2. Embrace Large Windows 

If you plan to build your shipping container home somewhere with a great view, such as out out in the vast Texas hill country. Consider adding floor to ceiling windows. This will enable you to enjoy all that gorgeous scenery from the comfort of your home. 

It also removes the closed-in feeling that can happen when building with containers. By having large windows, you trick the eye into thinking the living space is much larger than it actually is. 

3. Modular Mobility 

One thing that is common when building with containers is a rectangular, boxy look to the home. You can combat this by arranging the containers slightly misaligned. Keep the containers parallel to each other, but shift them so that you have one overhanging the other. 

Doing this breaks up the home visually and gives it balance to make it more appealing. It also naturally creates patios and overhangs. Now you have outdoor living spaces or a covered entryway

4. Frame the Space with Containers 

For some, the width of the containers is too limiting. But this doesn’t have to stop you from using containers altogether. It just means you need to use them in conjunction with other building methods. 

A popular choice is to use them on either side of the main living area. Use two shipping containers that are parallel to each other, but have space between them. Each container provides private living areas. 

Then the space between gets closed in with walls and a ceiling to create the main living area of the home. 

Try These Shipping Container House Plans

If these ideas for your shipping container house plans have you itching to get started, then we can help. Your first step is to speak with an architect who can design your home in a structurally sound manner. 

We can help you get started sourcing the perfect containers for your project. Once you have your plans approved, we can modify and prepare your containers, so they’re ready for building upon delivery. 

Contact our team today and let us help you get started on your dream container home. 

Why Shipping Container Modification Is the Future of Versatile Housing

Homeownership rates have increased to nearly 65% in the US. But even with ownership on the rise, buying a home has remained as expensive as ever. This is why shipping container homes are becoming an innovative solution to the struggles of home-ownership. 

Do you want to design your dream home but can’t afford the cost? Building with used shipping containers can save you money while guaranteeing the perfect space to live in. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of today’s shipping container housing trend. 

Seven Benefits of building Homes with Shipping Container

Most home projects that involve starting from the ground up can become complicated. However, shipping container construction offers many benefits that make the process easier. 

If you’ve been looking for alternative housing solutions in the Houston area, we’re here to guide you through the process. Here are seven major benefits to building with shipping containers. 

1. Customizable

A major plus to shipping container construction is that the sky is the limit in terms of customization. You can position them in various ways and reconstruct from the inside out until it feels like the perfect space.

Your local Houston-based, shipping container provider can offer their expertise in modifying containers to fit your unique design. You can even buy used shipping containers that have already been modified according to your needs. The team at Equipment Management Services is available to work with you as you dream up and design your perfect container home or office. 

2. Affordable

Buying a home will likely be one of the most expensive things you’ll ever invest in. But here’s why today’s shipping container buildings are rising in popularity–they are much easier on the wallet. 

Used shipping containers are readily available and quite inexpensive. Additionally, constructing a stylish shipping container home can cost you less than buying an upscale home off the market. 

3. Eco-Friendly

If the affordability and flexibility of shipping container construction isn’t enough to sell you, then consider the eco-friendly aspect of using containers to build your home. Instead of expending new resources in building a home, you’re reusing material. For today’s environmentally-conscious homeowners, this is a major plus to building and designing a new home. 

4. Safe and Durable

The safety of your home is always a top priority for any homeowner. For individuals living in busy urban areas like Dallas or Houston, you might have home safety on your mind a lot. 

Recently, steel has been tested for its durability and safety in construction. This is because it not only withstands wear-and-tear with ease, but it has a life expectancy of about 25 years. Shipping containers are built out of heavy-duty, 16-gauge steel that’s extremely hard to break into. 

What does this mean for you? It means you can trust that your shipping container home will remain safe and sturdy throughout the years. 

5. Weather and Rodent Resistant

The original goal for shipping containers is that they protect precious goods from shore to shore. With this in mind, you can trust that your shipping container home will be able to withstand both bad weather and troublesome rodents. They can handle all weather extremes, from icy Northern climates to hot Texas summers. 

6. Speedy Construction

A major bonus to constructing a home with shipping containers is that it’s a faster process than traditional home building. This is because the main frame of your home is already ready to go. 

A shipping container structure involves quick set-up, easy plumbing, and quick electrical work. They also have built-in foundations, which means you don’t have to spend time working on pre-installation. All you have to do is find storage containers for sale and start dreaming! 

7. Ideal Logistics

Shipping containers were originally designed to hold cargo and be easily transported from place to place. This means they’re ideal for moving around. 

Containers are easy to move via train, ship, truck, or airplane. Manufacturers design them with handling points so that they’re easy to move and stack.

Why is this important? Because it makes the process much simpler as you design your home and move containers around. 

Explore These Creative Shipping Container Ideas

Are you sold on building a container home but not sure where to begin? There’s no end to how you can design and reconstruct a shipping container to fit your exact needs. Here are some design ideas to help you out. 

Backyard Studio

If you have the space available, opting for a shipping container studio is a great way to transform your creative space. Shipping containers are easily modified to be open, airy, and perfect for those hours spent on creative projects. 

Breezy Pool House

Living in sunny Texas often means finding ingenious ways to cool down under some shade. A pool house made from a shipping container can be an easy way to boost your pool-side experience while making it more comfortable on sunny days.

Tiny Home

Today’s minimalist lifestyle trend means some homeowners are looking for innovative ways to live in small spaces. Shipping containers are the perfect solution for crafting a tiny home because they are completely customizable. 

Cozy Guest House

You might look at a shipping container and think it’s nothing more than a boring metal box, but think again! Many homeowners have transformed their shipping container spaces into sleek guest houses. 

Modern Office

You can easily convert a shipping container into an office space for your growing team. They can be stacked and customized to create a shipping container office that’s as spacious or compact as you want. There are a wide variety of shipping container designs out there to fit your business needs, whether you’re looking for a two-person work-space or a corporate office. 

Urban Housing With No Design Limits

Shipping container homes are on the rise because they offer many benefits and solutions to traditional housing issues. It’s simple to find these cargo containers for sale and they’re easily transported to you. Even for the most creative home designer, a shipping container can be modified and transformed into any level of luxurious, trendy, or cozy space. 

Are you ready to start building your shipping container dream home? Check out our tips and tricks to buying shipping containers for sale in Houston. And don’t worry–we also ship our containers to any US location. 

Container Home Texas

Top 10 Shipping Container Housing Designs for 2019

The shipping container home movement is on the rise—and for good reason. 

Shipping container housing is inexpensive to build, can be moved from place to place, and is environmentally-friendly. But those are only a few of the many benefits. And unlike most traditional homes, shipping container homes can be completely customized.  That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 13 shipping container home designs, to help you get inspired.  

1. Stacked Home Design

Tiny homes are more popular now than they have ever been. If you’re ready to make the living adjustment to a much smaller space, you can create your own tiny home out of just one or two shipping container units.

Need more space then that? A stacked home is a great option for properties that don’t have a lot of square footage. You can build up instead of out. This is also a good style home if you live by something scenic, like a forest or an ocean, and want a good view. 

2. Modern Wood Cabin Design

Have you always dreamed of living in a cabin? By using shipping containers, you can build a modern cabin for a fraction of the cost. And don’t let the metal material of shipping containers get in the way of your inspiration. You can line the inside and outside with woodsy materials, like real wood or faux wood, to create a more traditional cabin feel. 

3. Simple Single Story Home Design

Despite the previous mentions on this list, your shipping container home doesn’t have to look different from the other houses in your neighborhood. You can simply create a modern, single story home for you and your family if that’s what you prefer. You could save a lot of money by using shipping containers as your base material. Not only that, you would be helping the environment by using 

4. Two-Story Modern Home Design 

Of course, if you want a bigger home, you can build a sleek, modern, two-story home with shipping containers, too. But let yourself get creative with the design. Maybe the second story hangs over the driveway. Maybe the second story doesn’t extend over the entire home. Maybe the second story functions more like a loft. You can even use shipping containers to build an attic space above your home if you want extra storage. 

5. Ranch-Style Home Design

The terms “ranch-style home” and “shipping containers” might not seem to mix, but you can build a 1280 square foot ranch-style home much cheaper when using shipping containers rather then traditional materials. All you need is two shipping containers. Set them 16 feet apart to form a large entryway and living space/dining area between them. The containers themselves house the bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. And there’s still plenty of room left over for a kitchen. 

6. Castle Home Design

Okay, so this home isn’t really a castle, but it can resemble one. You can build a two-story, three-story, or even a massive four-story square with shipping containers, leaving an empty space on the inside, like a courtyard. You can even stack more shipping containers vertically at the corners to make towers. 

7. Vacation Home Design

A shipping container vacation home lets you enjoy your summer or winter break without emptying your bank account. You can make the vacation home small for a quiet getaway or connect several shipping containers together so the entire family can join you. 

Staying near the ocean? Fill in the walls with large windows. Want to include the outdoors? Turn the top of the shipping crates into spacious balconies where you can lay in the sun or stare at the stars all night. 

8. Split/Bridge Home Design

A split or bridge home consists of two units linked together with a bridge.

This bridge can be on the second story and “float” over an outdoor living space or a garden. You can also leave the “bridge” at ground level and fill it with large and beautiful windows. A split home gives you the option to create two separate living spaces that are joined together. This makes it a good choice for people who live with a grown child or an older parent. 

Everyone gets to live together and still keep their privacy. 

9. Guest House Design

Do you have a lot of guests staying with you? You can give them their own space, by building a guest house from shipping containers. You would only need a couple of shipping containers to make a small guest house. That means you won’t have to spend a lot of money for something that looks great and is functional. 

10. Work Studio Design

If you need extra space to create art, you can always use shipping containers to create a functional work studio. You can connect this to your home if you want, or you can make it a separate unit on your property. Forming a large, empty space is a fast and inexpensive job with containers. You can also add a sink, power outlets, tables, storage, and anything else you need. 

Get Inspired By the Top 10 Shipping Container Housing Designs Ideas

Are you interested in building your own shipping container living space? Use these top 10 styles as your inspiration and starting point. And let yourself get creative. There are next to no limits when you’re building with shipping containers. 

Not sure where to find the containers themselves?

Make sure you click here to take a look at some of our shipping container options! 

7 Key Factors in the Cost of Shipping Container Homes

Shipping container homes are growing in popularity, enough so that by 2025, Allied Market Research estimates that the global market for shipping container homes will reach $73.07 billion.

Using these containers for your home can be a great choice. They’re very durable, and they can be less expensive than a traditional home.

Even so, before deciding on this option, it’s important to understand the cost of shipping container home building. Here are 7 factors that impact the price. 

  1. Condition of Container

The first consideration in the shipping container home builders’ cost is the condition of the container.

For a home, a new shipping container is the safest option. With a new container, you won’t have to worry about structural integrity or damages. These will also be weatherproof and free from contamination.

As with most things, buying a new container will cost more, around $3,000-$5,000. Getting one can also take longer, since you may need to wait for it to be built and shipped to you.

Depending on your comfort level, you could also choose a high-quality used shipping container. A used container might be half the price of a new one.

If you opt for a used container, find out as much as you can about it. Some things to consider are:

  • How it’s been used
  • What’s been kept in it
  • What climates has it been exposed to
  • If it has any damages or rust

If possible, inspect a used container before purchasing it to make sure you know what you’re getting.

  1. Size of Container

Size is another key factor in the cost breakdown of shipping container home building.

Shipping containers have three standard lengths, but the most popular for homes are 20 feet and 40 feet. Most are 8.5 feet tall, although you can also go for a high cube, which is 9.5 feet tall. As you would expect, the larger containers cost more. For the standard height, you could get a new 20-foot container for about $3,000, while a 40-foot container would cost around $5,600 more.

Also remember that for a home, you might want multiple containers. You could choose a larger option for the main living space, and smaller containers for an office or bedroom.

  1. Prefabricated Homes

The next question is whether you want to get a pre-fabricated, or prefab, home, or if you want to modify one yourself.

The cost of prefab shipping container homes varies widely. You can get fairly basic ones from Amazon for around $40,000 and up. On the other hand, you can get much more elaborate prefab homes for $150,000 or up. It depends on how much space you need, and how many amenities you’re looking for.

  1. Modifications

If you’re not getting a prefab home, you need to consider the cost to convert a shipping container into a home.

Some of the things you’ll need to consider are:

  • How many entrances you want
  • Number and location of windows
  • Plumbing
  • Electricity
  • Heating and cooling

All of these modifications add up, so you’ll want to compare the costs against getting a prefabricated home to see which is the most cost-effective.

  1. Insulation

Insulation is another important part of your shipping container home. Without this, you won’t have any protection from heat or cold.

You have three main choices for insulation: spray foam, blanket, or panel.

Spray foam insulation costs the most, from around $2-$3 per square foot. This is still worth considering because it provides a vapor barrier, something the other options don’t have. Spray foam is also very thin, at just 2 inches thick, and it’s easy to install. For either of the other options, you’ll first need to attach a wooden frame to the inside of the container. That takes up additional space.

Panel insulation is the easiest to install, and it’s less expensive, at around $0.75 and $1.45 per square foot. It’s also 3 inches thick, which is a bit thicker than the spray foam.

Blanket insulation is the most budget-friendly choice, about $0.30 per square foot. It’s not difficult to install, but if you choose fiberglass insulation, you’ll need to wear gloves when installing it.

  1. Foundation

As with any home, having the proper foundation is important. Even if you get a prefabricated home, you might need to think about a foundation, unless the prefab comes with a foundation.

As with insulation, you have three foundation options to consider: pier, strip (or trench), and slab.

The least expensive choice is a pier foundation, which is around $550 for a single 40-foot container. It’s also the quickest option, and a great choice if you’re working on the home yourself since it doesn’t require special equipment. For a pier foundation, you need a cement block under each corner of the container and potentially blocks to support the middle for larger containers.

A strip foundation, also called a trench, is useful if the ground is too soft to support a pier foundation. With this approach, you put a strip of concrete around the container’s perimeter. This requires excavation, since the trench is typically four feet deep, although it might be more depending on your freeze depth.

The additional effort of a strip foundation drives up the cost. For a 40-foot container, the cost estimate is around $5,400.

The most expensive option is a slab foundation, which involves putting a slab of concrete under the whole container. This requires excavating the ground under the entire container, which means this could cost around $6,000 or more for a 40-foot container. You would typically choose this option if the ground won’t support pier or strip foundations.

  1. Location and Shipping Fees

The final factor in the estimated cost of a shipping container home, is how far the container is from your building site.

You might think you need to order a container from a far off location, but it’s worth looking for local dealers in the Texas region first. If you buy from someone nearby, you’ll avoid the extravagant shipping costs, and you can inspect the unit before you buy it.

If you don’t have a local dealer, shop around to see if you can find the closest one, or one that offers any price breaks for shipping the container to the building site. Otherwise, transportation costs can add significantly to the price of your home. 

Decide the Cost of Shipping Container Home Building

The cost of shipping container home building is partly in your control once you understand all your choices. Make sure to evaluate all your options and then find the best fit for your new house.

Are you ready to bring your shipping container home dream to life? Contact us today, and our container professionals will help you get started.

Designing A Masterpiece: 15 Essential Shipping Container Designs For Modern Homes

The idea of living in a shipping container may sound bizarre at first. However, the national median cost of rent for a 1 BR apartment in the U.S. is $955. Depending on where you live, that could mean a place with less than 400 sq. feet. 

To the uninitiated, shipping container builds are more than sustainable living. These tiny homes are evolving into architectural marvels. We’re talking multi-story homes with outdoor patios made out of shipping containers.

Designs have gotten so impressive over the years that sometimes you can’t even tell where the shipping container ends and begins. If your curiosity is piqued, then check out these 15 shipping container design ideas.

Top 15 Shipping Container Designs

These designs are merely suggestions. Your preferences may vary based on the property size, elevation, and pricing.

15. The “Standard” Tiny Home

The shipping container movement essentially kicked off with the tiny home craze. You take a single shipping container and pack it with every living feature that you would need. A shipping container is 8ft x 8.5ft x 20ft or 40ft. 

You can find some that fall outside these standard definitions, but they’ll cost more. These can easily fit a very small kitchen, bedroom, and lounge area. 

14. Double-Wide Container

Placing two containers parallel with each other is a natural progression. You not only double the amount of floor space, but you also add more privacy. You can create separate spaces, where a thin wall separates the living room from kitchen/bathroom. Attaching the two containers can get a bit tricky but this is easily doable with the right container modification experts

13. The Courtyard 

Rather than placing containers next to each other, you can set them with a space in the middle. This space acts as a patio, which you can leave open or enclose. This increases the amount of living space and offers the potential for larger event gatherings. 

12. Multi-Level Complex

The more shipping containers involved, the more difficult it is to execute. That’s why, although multi-container stacks are impressive, we placed it further down our list. In this category, we include any home designs with more than four containers.

After you start reaching over a thousand square feet, you’re spending a lot on materials and labor. This doesn’t make it a bad decision. However the complexity of this build will require a lot of modifications and  the help of experienced designers. 

11. Penthouse Suite

The idea behind this build is to create a large living spaces on the second floor to host parties. A large kitchen and bathroom on the bottom will take up most of the first floor. The second floor includes big sliding glass doors that open up to a balcony.

The key is being able to transform your bedroom into a living space without much effort. A Murphy bed is a must. Extra points for making a DIY Murphy bed setup.

10. L-Shaped Home

We can’t say for certain why we love this L-shaped design, but it works. With this design, it allows for a nice little nook at the corner. This is a great place to set up a small reading corner or card table etc.

For those who don’t like how bathrooms are often placed near the kitchen, you can get away with one on each corner. L-shaped shipping container homes also work vertically, too. For an ambitious project, you could build out the spaces above and below each container.

9. Hollowed Out Design

You don’t have to work within the confines of the four walls of a shipping container. Knocking out two ends can open up a ton of breathing room. Replace those walls with either large shutters or large glass panes. A mix of the two would be best, allowing you to move furniture outside. 

8. Garage Flat 

Elevate two shipping containers on steel beams. Use all the additional space below to park your vehicles. An additional perk to this design is that you’ll never need to worry about getting flooded inside your home. This build is practical in the sense that you can build out the interiors first, then set them on top of the foundation. 

7. Criss-Cross Floors

There are a few different variations to this design, but we’ll start with the simplest. This requires four shipping containers as follows:

  1. Two shipping containers parallel on the bottom.
  2. Two containers parallel on top.
  3. Bottom containers spread out by the width of each top end.

What you’ll get is roughly a box-shaped system, with two upper floors. This is a really fun design and really shows the creativity of shipping container homes.

6. Zig-Zag Floors

This is the off-shoot for crisscrossing floors. The concept remains the same, except we’re going to open up more of the top floor by placing them diagonally. The build will require a decent amount of fabrication to get a good seal, but the end result is extremely unique. With this design, you lose some top floor real estate, but you can get creative with movable wood planks.

5. Tri-Stacked Containers

Take three shipping containers, stack the first two on top of each other. On one end of the containers, install the third container alongside them vertically. What looks like a private elevator alongside your home is actually a great hybrid solution. It allows you to extend the length of your core two stories while adding more rooms above. You can add an office, a loft, a meditation room, and more without dipping into your main living space.

4. Fold-Away Designs

This isn’t a specific type of home, but an emphasis on the power of fold-out walls. Shipping containers allow for a unique take on hybrid homes. It is so much easier to hide additional overhangs for outdoor spaces. 

Lift open your awnings and create a great space for a mini-bar. The potential is endless.

3. Double-Decker

The classic two-story shipping container design is easy and allows for the most comfortable living space for 1-2 people. Doubling this space makes it a realistic solution for a family of four. The design is eco-friendly and lets you decide how big you want each room to be. 

2. Sloped Roof Design

Ceiling height is often seen as a major con to living in a shipping container home. The best way to remedy this is with a raised roof. Going with a sloped room removes the boxiness of a container home.

You can choose to go with a traditional roof made of wood or opt for bamboo material for better durability and insulation.

1. Garden-Roof Design

By far, our favorite shipping container designs are ones with garden terraces. Plants are an important companion for boxy shipping container homes. By placing your garden on the roof, you get access to a large space of beautiful plants.

Grow your own food and live off the grid, it’s your own world.

More Inspiration to Build

We hope this list has opened your eyes up to the possibilities of shipping container design. You don’t have to think inside the box to build your own container home. Overall, you will have a lot more room in your budget if you decide to build one with multiple containers.

Make sure you get professional help to stay within building codes. Contact us for a free consultation on how to get started.

11 Tips to Consider Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Designing and living in your own shipping container home is a growing trend, and because of the many benefits these homes provide, the trend is here to stay

But building a shipping container home takes more work than buying a few containers and placing them next to each other. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you learn what you need to know before you start building. 

So let’s get started. 

1. See the Containers Before You Buy Them

Shipping containers have survived a lifetime of traveling back and forth across the open ocean. Because of this, the shipping containers you buy might have dents, structural problems, or a lot of rust. 

That’s why you should ALWAYS see the containers before you buy them. If the containers are on the other side of the world when you buy them, ask the seller for pictures of both the inside and the outside. 

If you don’t want to risk ending up with a damaged used shipping container, you can also buy one-trip containers. These are a bit more expensive than normal used shipping containers, but they will be in much better condition. 

2. Understand Your Building Code Restrictions

Every town has its own building restrictions when it comes to shipping container homes. Make sure you know and understand the codes in your area before you invest thousands of dollars into your design. 

Otherwise, you might have to change your design, which might mean you’ll have to spend more money or lose some of the money you already spent. 

3. Find a Contractor That Can Do It All

When you’re ready to start building your shipping container home, make sure you find a contractor that can do everything you need. If you don’t, you’ll have to find one contractor to place your containers, another contractor to modify your containers, and more contractors to do the interior work. 

Hiring one contractor that is experienced at building shipping container homes will save you both time and money. 

4. Don’t Forget to Insulate 

The walls of a shipping container aren’t like the walls of a traditional house. Without insulation, the inside of your shipping container home will be smoldering during the summer and freezing during the winter. 

So make sure you have a plan for insulation before you start building. 

There are several different insulation options you can choose from when designing your container home. Ask your contractor about things like blanket-style insulation, foam insulation, sheep wool, or a green roof. 

Because—don’t forget—you’ll need to insulate the roof as well as the walls. 

5. Keep Cutting to a Minimum 

Shipping containers are build out of solid steel, which makes them incredibly strong. The walls can easily be used as load-bearing walls for a second, third, or even fourth story. 

But the more you cut your shipping containers, the weaker they get. 

This means you’ll need to spend more money on some type of reinforcement. Be careful where you put windows and doors. 

6. Think About Any Potential Chemicals 

Remember, shipping containers had to survive a lifetime at sea. Because of this, many shipping containers are full of chemicals that can be harmful to live with. 

For example, the wood flooring of the container might have pesticides to keep rats away. The exterior paint on the container might also be full of chemicals to protect them from the ocean salt. 

Be prepared to rip out the flooring of your shipping containers and replace it with something new. You might also want to remove the harmful paint and repaint it with a safe alternative. 

If you don’t want to deal with any chemicals, you can also buy new shipping containers (although they’ll be more expensive). 

7. Know the Differences Between Container Types 

Not all shipping containers are the same size. 

Traditional shipping containers are only eight feet tall. But that doesn’t mean you have to live in a somewhat smashed house. You can find other shipping containers—like high cube containers—that are much taller. 

8. Plan Your Plumbing and Electrical in Advance 

You should plan where your plumbing and electrical pipes and wires will be before you start finishing the interior. If possible, ask your contractor to carve the appropriate holes in the right places so you don’t forget anything. 

Otherwise, you may have to rearrange your entire kitchen because you forgot to add plumbing for the dishwasher. 

9. Avoid Welding as Much as Possible 

Since shipping containers are made of metal, you have to weld separate containers together to keep them airtight and structurally stable. But welding is expensive. 

Do your best to design a home that requires as little welding as possible. This will help you save money that you can invest in other important design elements. 

10. Be Prepared for Wind 

Shipping crates are anything but aerodynamic. If you build your shipping container home in a windy area, be prepared for a lot of noise. 

To avoid this problem, you should consider putting your home behind some type of windbreak. If you don’t’ like the look of a windbreak, find a natural location that’s protected from the wind instead.  

11. Know When to Save and When to Spend 

One of the biggest draws of shipping container homes is their cheap price point. But finishing a shipping container home inside and out can get expensive. 

Know when to save and when to spend the extra dollar. Although shipping container homes are meant to be cheap, there are many times when spending that extra money to build-out the perfect container home is well worth it.  

What You Need to Know Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Before you start building a shipping container home, spend some time researching the building codes in your area and what type(s) of container you’ll need to buy. 

Remember, don’t buy anything without seeing it first. Otherwise, you could end up with something dented, damaged, and rusty. 

Not sure where to buy shipping containers?

Make sure you click here to take a look at some of our options! 

Container Home Texas

What Are Some Exciting Trends in Shipping Container Homes?

Traditional ideas of living situations are quickly changing in a world full of customizable options. One such option is the shipping container home, which is quickly becoming an option for those who are looking for an affordable, personalized place to live. 

We’re going to cover some of the interesting trends happening in the world of shipping container homes and how you could use them to create your own pad. Keep an open mind and start considering the possibility of implementing some of these trends into your container home design. 

Trends in Shipping Container Homes

Because these homes are so customizable, there’s a lot of variation in what you can do. The trends below will vary in cost and style, but it’s likely that at least one will strike your fancy. 

1. High-End Homes

The first thought that comes to mind when you think of container homes is that they are small and made for those who are on a tight budget. This isn’t always the case, though, and there are a lot of homes being built that are actually quite lavish. 

A huge piece of this equation is the land that you could potentially use to build your container home. Transporting a container to a remote area to serve as a cabin or remote home is far easier than setting up a traditional home.

2. Add-ons and Multiple Containers

A huge trend is using one container as your center point and building from there. The options are really endless, as you can cut out pieces of the steel to make hallways, extensions, and different points of entry. 

Additionally, you can continuously add to your design if you leave room for it while planning. If you were to start a design with the idea that you were going to add sequential containers later, you could easily expand your home. 

In the same vein, multiple containers that are set up next to each other are frequently being used to create multi-family housing. Even if you wanted to do something similar on a smaller scale, containers are excellent options for uniting a community of friends or family in a comfortable environment. 

3. Container Businesses

A shipping container is a perfect size for a business that’s just starting up. Especially since startups need to free up all off the money they can to cover expenses.

Often times, the building that a company is located in can suck up a large part of that company’s budget. So, testing out a new business in the space that a shipping container provides can spare some of the risks of buying or renting out a building to do the same thing. 

While you may be imagining a large and modern environment for your business, try to brainstorm ways in which you could turn a container into a viable space for your business instead. You might be surprised at the level of comfort and space that’s available in shipping containers. 

4. Patio, Decks, Roof Lounges, and More.

If you lay a little foundation and plan the landscaping of your container home, you can get away with some really comfortable and convenient add-ons. 

For example, turning the roof of your container into a deck is a swanky option. Laying some wood over the roof and installing a railing around the edges makes for a perfect place to put some chairs down, lean back, and watch the stars. 

You can even add staircases to and from the roof that can serve as access points for upstairs bedrooms and separate living spaces. A container is a large, comfortable area, and you can situate a few of them together to provide excellent living spaces for different members of your family. Just like the creative loft space, you see in the picture above. 

5. Container Rentals

Another thing that might be preventing you from buying a container home is the fact that you don’t want to live there year-round. It’s understandable that you may not want to jump into such a big commitment.

However, there’s a way that you can actually profit from the investment of a container home. You can set up the home to be used as a rental property. Air B&B is an excellent option for those with a container home that they don’t use year-round. 

Depending on the average rental rates in your area, you could be looking at a decent profit from simply renting out the container home. People are always interested in having a unique living experience for a night or two, and container homes can certainly be that experience. 

6. Intimate Connection to Nature

Another huge benefit of container homes is that they can be located in close connection with nature. Depending on the arrangement of containers that you choose, you could actually have a home that interacts with nature. 

For example, there are container houses that have large windows on either end and sit in the center of a heavily wooded forest. In this way, a guest would wake up and feel as though they were sitting right there on the forest bed and communing with nature. 

The possibility of using large windows to break down the barrier between your home and nature is a very valuable one. If you’re looking to rent out your container space, we definitely recommend investing in some large windows with a great view. 

Interested in Shipping Containers?

Whether you’re looking to ship something, buy a container for personal reasons, or even turn a few shipping containers into a home, we have got the right information for you.

So, contact us today! We do offer a wide range of container modification options and can provide you with a detailed price quote when you are ready.  

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.

The Pros and Cons of Building a Shipping Container House

The average cost for newly constructed homes is $385,200. Many people are turning to alternative building materials such as shipping containers to ease the cost of new construction. 

They are so popular that even hotels like the Flophouze Hotel in Round Top, Texas are constructed entirely from shipping containers. These prefabricated boxes may be the perfect solution to creating your dream home. 

If you are considering building a shipping container house here in Houston, there are a few pros and cons you should consider first. Keep reading so you can make an informed decision. 

Pro: Speedy Construction 

Building with shipping containers is much faster than traditional construction methods. Smaller homes can reach complete fabrication within three weeks in offsite fabrication. Larger homes can be completed in a few months.  

Many of the small details and modifications can be done at the production site before the containers ever reach their final destination. 

Shipping containers are also much friendlier to the DIYer. However, it is smart to consult with a design firm or an engineer before embarking on your container home. 

Pro: Cost Effective 

Building with shipping containers can save you money when compared to traditional shipping methods. One man used two containers to create a rustic cabin that is completely off the grid for $35,000. 

Depending on the quality of the container and its location, a container can cost anywhere from $1,400 to $4,500 and sometimes more. You may be able to find one for cheaper, but you’ll want to make sure you can actually build with it. 

Con: Not Quite Eco-Friendly 

The general theory is that if you use old refurbished shipping containers, you are doing the environment a favor. However, these containers typically have wear and damage making them unsafe for new home construction. 

If you do decide to use refurbished construction you need to ensure the structural integrity of your home. 

New shipping containers offer you the freedom and structural integrity to create any building you can dream up. 

Harmful Chemicals 

Used shipping containers may have held toxic chemicals or other materials. They have also been treated to prevent corrosion during transit. 

Remember, containers are made of steel and spend most of their time near and on the ocean. Saltwater and metal is a recipe for corrosion and rust. 

Make sure you inspect your refurbished container to confirm that it has been adequately treated to be safe for use in home construction. You will also want to check for rust as this will compromise the structural integrity. 

The Eco-Friendly Part 

If you decide to use a refurbished container the most significant impact you will have is with the use of steel. The average 40-foot container has more than 8,000 pounds of steel. 

You are also reducing your use of other traditional building materials such as wood and masonry. 

Pro: Mobility 

Whatever your reason, maybe you don’t want the home to stay at its original location permanently. With traditional construction, you don’t have the option of moving your building. 

Containers can have your completed building moved to a new location as many times as necessary. 

Pro: Creative Freedom 

Shipping containers come in a variety of different sizes which gives you the freedom to create a home as large or as small as you wish. You can combine multiple containers to create a larger space. 

You can create large windows to open the space up and bring in a lot of natural light. Or you can install large glass doors that you can open up and bring the outdoors in. 

Using shipping containers lets you express your personal style. With the rules of traditional construction and architecture out the window, you are free to create. 

For the most freedom, try to stick with high cube containers, they are 9’6″ tall. This will make it easier to add insulation and still have room for a ceiling fan. 

If you aren’t worried about this, you could use a standard height container; they are 8’6″ tall. 

Cons: Permits and Codes 

Container homes are still relatively new in many municipalities. Because of this, many permits and building codes are not designed to work with them. 

Do your research to ensure you are legally able to build a container home. Then you need to make sure your home complies with all current zoning and construction regulations. 

Here in Houston, the best place to start is with the Building Code Enforcement office. If you do not comply with planning regulations, you may find yourself having to take the home down even if construction is complete. 

Pro: Toughness and Durability

Containers get manufactured with durability in mind. Their original purpose is to survive many months and thousands of miles out on an ocean tanker exposed to the elements. 

They often far surpass the minimum specs for new homes when it comes to strength and durability. 

To retain this strength, you need to be careful about how much steel you cut away. If you plan to make significant cutaways for doors, windows, and room openings, then you need to install reinforcements. Additional steel beams can carry the load. 

Construct Your Shipping Container House

If you are ready to start building your shipping container house here in Houston, Texas, we can help you get started. We have a large inventory of both new and used containers. 

We can help you create the container building of your dreams. This could be a home, office, or any other structure you need to have built quickly.  

Contact us today and let us help you create the shipping containers you need to build your dream shipping container home.