Pros and Cons of Container Homes

Minimalist housing, like tiny homes, van living, and container homes, has taken off in the past decade, in part due to the skyrocketing costs of home ownership that make traditional houses inaccessible to many people.

Part of the appeal of container homes is that they are a chance to recycle old shipping containers, giving them new purpose.

Another benefit of container houses is that they’re quick and easy to build; they are one of the fastest types of housing to assemble. You can easily get a fully finished container home within a few weeks and that wait time is getting shorter thanks to companies that specialize in building prefabricated container houses. This speed is partly because you already have a shell to work with.

This leads to another benefit of container homes: they’re cheap to build. In fact, much like van living, there are a lot of people who document their process of building a container home online. Just take a look at this couple who both had no prior professional experience in building a house. Container homeowners often have lower construction costs because some of the work can be done by the them.

Since the houses are made from metal boxes used to ship tons of cargo across the sea, container homes are touted for their durability and eco-friendliness. Add to that the appeal of being able to have your house picked up like a dollhouse and moved to another site and you can see why a lot of people would opt for this approach.

Now consider these draw backs:

When you have a 20 feet by 8 feet metal box, adding insulation, plumbing, electric wiring, and all the other stuff that makes it possible for a container home to actually be livable can make things feel rather tight.

Container homes are strong, there’s no doubting it. That strength comes from the corrugated steel walls of the shipping container it’s made from. Your average container home is only that strong for as long as you don’t mess with its corrugations. Every time you make a cut for a door or a window, your container home’s structural integrity takes a hit. This makes it necessary to reinforce cut areas.

Then there is the question of how clean the interior of the container might be. Some of the items shipped across oceans are harmful pesticides. And the wood flooring is often toxic treated lumber as well. So due diligence is needed before purchasing such a unit.

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