Can You Live In A Shipping Container?

Living In a Shipping Container Home

Can you live in a shipping container? What things do you need to think about when considering this particular living arrangement?

There are generally two overarching concerns before one decides to make the move into shipping container living: the personal and the legal.

The personal: What does one need in a living space in order to be happy?

The legal: Are there appropriate zoning and housing laws — plus the infrastructure — to make your shipping container home habitable for the long term?

Let’s take these concerns one at a time.

Living In A Shipping Container: The Personal

Living in a shipping container represents a sacrifice — but one that’s borne from a sense of adventure.

The first thing that one must consider is whether or not inhabiting limited space is an attractive lifestyle choice. Plus, there is the fact that many shipping container homes are located away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Are you prepared for the possibility that you may not appreciate isolated living as much as you thought you would? 

Of course, more and more cities are allowing for the design and construction of shipping container communities. If you happen to live in one of these cities, then you won’t have to worry so much about that sense of isolation. You will, however, have something new to deal with: crowds! (Along with a small living space.)

Lifestyle

What else? There is a certain style of living that is best complemented by shipping container homes: individual and minimalist. This is why so many people are drawn to the simplicity of downsizing into a shipping container home.

Make no mistake: One can craft a lifestyle of one’s choice when living in a shipping container. But it is nevertheless true that most of the things one takes for granted in modern living may have to be downsized in a container home.

As we’ve examined elsewhere in the Container Stop blog, there are several things in addition to the small space that may be considered cons of shipping container living. (Naturally, we think the pros outweigh the cons, but it’s important to have all the information so that you can make an informed decision on whether shipping container life is for you.)

Shipping Container Home Cons

  • You’ll need insulation. Depending on your location, without adequate insulation, your shipping container may become unsuitably hot in the summer and unbearably cold in the winter.
  • It can get noisy. Containers amplify sounds, so you may want to soundproof the container.
  • The potential for high set-up costs. To make them livable, you’ll have to add the basics yourself — electricity, plumbing, windows, sliding glass doors — not to mention any so-called luxuries, such as carpeting and furniture. Container Stop can help with many of the basics. Get in touch today!
  • Health hazards. Containers can be of uncertain origin. To avoid potential hazardous materials, such as lead, remember to partner with reputable companies like Container Stop.

Living In A Shipping Container: The Legal

This is another topic we’ve covered on the Container Stop blog. What are some of the legalities that one must consider when looking at a shipping container house?

As we wrote in our “Can I Put A Shipping Container On My Land?” blog post, “Although we like to think that our properties are ours to do as we please, there are local, state, and federal regulations that we all must adhere to. Beyond that, there are often neighborhood regulations, as well as homeowners associations (HOA) that all have a say in whether or not you can have a shipping container home on your property.”

We recommend doing a little research into the local laws and regulations regarding container homes in your area. If possible, hire an attorney to help you sort through the thicket of property zoning rules, building codes and permits, property inspections, and more.

Modifications

You’ll also want to pay close attention to laws regarding shipping container modifications. You want to make your home as comfortable as possible for yourself. But in order to do so, you’ll need to know what your local authorities require. The last thing you want to deal with is having to redo something because a building inspection determined you haven’t stayed up to code.

Educate yourself as well on the deed restrictions to your property. No sense in constructing a super fantastic container home on a permanent foundation in a place where it’s not allowed. Once your home is built, you want to live there, not fight for its existence!

Finally, you’ll need permits for electrical work, plumbing work, and other construction add-ons.

Container Stop

All of this may sound daunting. Don’t let it get you down!

Lots of people have discovered the joy of eco-friendly alternative living spaces. Maybe even some of your friends and family have moved into a tiny home or had someone like Container Stop build container homes for them!

In fact, many people have constructed custom homes and vacation residences out of shipping containers. So if you’re not sure if full-time, tiny-house real estate living is for you, consider a part-time residence instead!

And be sure to contact Container Stop with any questions. Our service area continues to grow, and we look forward to expanding our operations into your neck of the woods.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Container Homes

Shipping Container Home Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’ve spent any amount of time perusing the Container Stop blog — and we hope you have! — you’ve no doubt noticed our enthusiasm for shipping container homes.

That enthusiasm for the shipping container business was there from the get-go. It’s one of the reasons we got into this line of work in the first place. We saw right away what a unique opportunity shipping container homes presented both in terms of eco-friendly housing and creative possibilities.

Still, like all things (even the best things), there are pros and cons of shipping container homes. 

With that in mind, we thought we should write a blog post discussing the advantages and disadvantages of building and living in a shipping container home.

Naturally, we think the pros (positives and advantages) far outweigh the cons (negatives, disadvantages).

Furthermore, we think the work we do at Container Stop and the friendly, expert, thoughtful way in which we go about our business is a solid plus in the pros column.

But don’t take our word for it. (Actually, do take our word for it — but also take our customers’ words!)

Fabulous service, good box, perfect delivery. We recommend Garett and his team. They delivered a good quality box — on time and with courtesy!

— Mills Geological

Whenever I need a container or someone I know needs a container the first thought in my mind will always be Container Stop!

— Eric Adams

Shipping Container Home Pros

  • Affordable
  • Expandable
  • Quick and easy to build
  • Waterproof. You won’t have roof leaks — or any kind of leaks. Remember, these rugged and sturdy containers are meant to weather the massive swells and storms of deep-sea travel.
  • Safety and Security. Lock that bad boy up when you’re away. Let someone try to get inside!
  • Floodproof
  • Fireproof
  • Pest Proof. (Unless termites evolve to start chomping on steel.)
  • Eco-friendly. Your carbon footprint will be reduced by a significant amount if you choose to inhabit a shipping container home.
  • Relocatable
  • Customizable. They’re ideal for housing, office space, and commercial spaces. But since our focus here is on shipping container homes, the fact that their customizable means we can add any number of doors and windows and skylights. Just ask!

Shipping Container Home Cons

  • Size. It’s small. Limited storage space — unless, of course, you’re using it only to store things.
  • You’ll need to insulate it thoroughly. Otherwise, summers are too hot and winters are too cold — and both of those scenarios will make your container uninhabitable.
  • It can be rather noisy. The container amplifies sounds, so you’ll need to do a fair bit of soundproofing.
  • The containers themselves come bare-bones. You’ll have to add all the luxuries and amenities, such as electricity, plumbing, windows, doors, etc.
  • Some containers are of uncertain origin and are, therefore, often coated with lead or unknown materials. This is one of many reasons to stick with a reputable company like Container Stop for your shipping container needs.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! We’re here to help.

Contact Container Stop today. Or request a quote!

Are Container Homes Eco-Friendly Homes?

Shipping Container Homes Eco Friendly

What are the environmentally-friendly aspects of a shipping container home? There are quite a few — from the use of fewer materials and resources in their construction to the fact that they’re incredibly long-lasting.

There’s also the fact that shipping containers can be relocated quickly to places where people are in desperate need of housing. For example, after natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes.

That positive facet of container home living may not appear on most lists of eco-friendly housing. It should, though, due to the efficiencies built into the process of locating containers. That is to say, the handling systems and the infrastructure — cranes, ships, trains, etc. — in place to move them from one place to another with speed and efficiency.

Even better, areas that are prone to natural disasters can prep for them beforehand by using containers to house residents.

“The units are capable of meeting or exceeding hurricane codes in Miami-Dade and seismic codes, like in California,” says David Cross of SG Blocks.

According to The Spruce, the building materials used in container homes “are also resistant to many of the problems that plague traditional wood-frame homes: fire, mold, leaks, and wood-boring insects.”

“Certainly termites and other varmints aren’t interested in steel,” Cross says.

What Makes Container Homes Eco-Friendly?

Another environmentally friendly — or at least efficient — aspect of container home living is that these homes can be built in locations that are traditionally unsuitable for housing. For example, container homes can be embedded on steep hillsides of propped up with support beams on extreme slopes where the land is not used (or can’t be used) for other purposes.

There’s also the fact that reusing something — e.g., a recycled shipping container — rather than building something new is also inherently enviro-friendly.

Plus, consider that a storage container can be retrofitted into a tiny home without the need to harvest timber that might typically be necessary to build something from scratch.

“Shipping containers are left abandoned every year,” writes Sara Barnes at MyModernMet.com. “By using them for a dwelling, you’re repurposing steel and giving it a new life. In addition, your recycling cuts down on other materials like concrete or bricks.”

Affordability, Arrangeability

The folks at Sundog Structures, who make container homes, bring up a good point, too. Container homes are affordable, which means more money left over for other things.

“By saving money on property fees and construction, you can invest more money into making your home comfortable, eco-friendly, and technologically-advanced,” they write. “You’ll have more money to spend on ‘green’ appliances, which will allow you to live a more environmentally-friendly life, without breaking the bank.”

Another overlooked aspect of building shipping container houses is that they can easily be arranged to take advantage of natural light to make the living space warm and inviting — or cool and inviting. In fact, managing heat and cool spaces inside a tiny house is easily accomplished. 

Finally, as fully modular units on a plot of land, these green buildings make the best and most efficient use of the available square feet. Interior finishes can be just about anything, too!

Finally, container homeowners can also utilize tried-and-true measures to make their container home even more eco-friendly. For example, residents can install rainwater collectors, build compost heaps and grow their own veggies.

Container Stop

As we’ve written elsewhere on the Container Stop blog, “the tried-and-true methods of energy and resource conservation work just as well — sometimes better! — in a container home.”

Container homeowners can also add:

  • Solar panels
  • Low-flush toilets and showerheads
  • Ceiling fans
  • Tankless water heaters
  • LEDs
  • Insulation

And because of a container home’s smaller footprint, many of these eco-friendly practices can potentially have a bigger impact.

Make sure to consult your local building codes to see where you can get started on your own dream shipping container home.

Please browse the Container Stop website for more great ideas about container home living. 

And as always, if you have questions, get in touch!