Cost of Building a Shipping Container House


Cost of Building a Shipping Container House in the US

The cost of building a shipping container house includes many small components. We discussed a lot of these component costs in our previous cost-related article. We are talking about costs in Brazil, but you can get an idea of what is involved and find out how much would that cost in your country. Here’s a summary of the costs we discussed in detail in that article:


Cost of Building a Shipping Container House Breakdown

Today, we’ll be discussing additional cost components in great detail. This will give you an idea of the expenses you will incur while building your container home. All these costs relate to the modifications performed on a 40 feet-high-cube shipping container.

Wooden Deck

A part of the wooden deck required some finishing that cost us $313. We used Soffit and Fascia boards for the roof. This escalated our above-mentioned total cost to $10,240.

Wall Framing

For the framing part, we chose a metal frame over a wooden one. We utilized 15 tracks and 58 studs costing $219.46. We used 400 screws and 12 planks of Cambara wood with costs equivalent to $8.92 and $62.43 respectively. This gave us a total framing cost of $290.81.


After installing the frames, we focused on the insulation part. We picked an aluminum foil with an Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) core. For sealing the joints of the foil we used aluminum tape. A total of 1011 sq. ft. of aluminum foil was used that cost us about $361.90. The aluminum tape of a total 820 ft length costing $5.88 was used. To insulate the portion around doors and windows, 6 cans of spray foam were utilized costing around $43.38. Using spray foam in such areas is a necessity as aluminum tape cannot properly seal the edges. The total insulation cost came out to be $411.16.


For the ceiling of the container, we used 6 sheets of plywood. The sheets were 5.25 ft by 7.2 ft having half an inch of thickness. They cost us about $148.70. We also used 32 pressure-treated pine measuring 10 ft. x 1 ½” x 2 ¾” costing $129.73. Pressure-treated pine prevents the plywood from warping. Ten sheets of white laminate were also utilized measuring 10.1 ft x 4.1 ft. They cost us $338.73. Additionally, 12 pine beams measuring 10 ft x 2” x 4” were used, costing us $108.11. We kept them exposed to the ceiling. All in all 300 screws costing around $10 were consumed. Also, 31 lbs of contact glue and 12 ounces of spray contact glue were used. They cost us $115.97 and $7.41 respectively. The total cost of the ceiling came out to be $858.65.


We used plywood for the walls of the shipping container. A total of 13 sheets measuring 8.2 ft x 5.25 ft x ½” were used. Together they cost us $465.82. The number of screws used for fitting plywood reached 700 costing $8.11. We also used some Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) for building templates. It cost us about $6.76. This gave us our total cost spent on building the walls to be $480.69.


This section does not include all the electrical costs but just the cost of preparation done for the future. We installed 328 ft of ¾” conduits inside the walls costing $21.62. Ten conduit connectors costing $2.05 were utilized. Additionally, nine small electrical boxes measuring 0.8” x 1.6” were installed, costing $7.05. One big electrical box measuring 6.8” x 7.3” x 3.1” was also fitted that cost us about $6.26. Other than that we installed a $32.70 lamp at the entry gate that required some wiring as well. This 20 ft of wiring cost us about $1.17. This gives us our total electrical cost to be $70.85

Green Wall

We built a green wall with reinforcement rebars for giving climbing space to the climbing trees. Six reinforcement bars measuring 20 ft x ¼” were used, costing $25.10. We welded them together and painted them for giving a beautiful final look. These two costs will be discussed in the welding and painting cost compositions.


We built an entry-door canopy with ply-glass which is plywood with a fiberglass. With all the nitty-gritty involved, we spent a total of $195.35 on it.


This painting cost does not repeat the costs that were included in the previous cost-related article. It relates to the house parts we just discussed above. We spent $11.85 on a gallon of thinner and $15.68 on ½” a gallon of synthetic enamel. We bought a 5-gallon can of undercoating for $59.46. This undercoating sticks pretty well to the shipping container as it is thick and rubbery. It can be used on external walls and ceilings before applying synthetic enamel. We also spent $40.22 on a gallon of stain for painting the ceiling beams. Twenty ounces of black matte vinyl were used which cost us about $9.66. The total painting cost came out to be $136.87.

Cutting and Welding

Most of the cutting and welding were performed during the installation of doors and windows. We included that cost in the previous cost-related article. This section includes the cutting and welding expenses spent on the beam that holds the ceiling panels. It also includes the amount spent on the brackets used for holding the wall framing. We used 11 lbs of Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding wire costing $35.13. Two bottles of welding gas were also utilized with a composition 75% argon and 25% carbon dioxide. It cost us about $59.46. For the cutting job, nine flap discs and eleven cutting discs were used. The amounts spent on them were $15.47 and $11.02 respectively. This gives us our total cutting and welding cost to be $121.08.


There are a lot of things that do not fit under the composition costs we discussed above. This might include sandpapers, gloves, brushes, rollers, glasses, drills, pens, tapes, safety gear, and microphone batteries. A total amount of $446.97 was spent on such little things. Additionally, we also spent an amount of $90.66 on working benches and temporary shelves used during the construction process. That gives us our total miscellaneous cost to be $537.63.

Cost Summarised


Let us have a look at the costs combined from both the articles:

shipping container home building cost

Cost of Tools


One cannot construct a house without using tools. But you cannot technically add this amount to the cost of your container home. So, it has not been included in the total cost above. An amount of $5,493.85 was spent on construction tools. It includes the cost of miter saw, circular saw, and welding machine. If we include this amount to the cost of building the house, the total cost would rise to $18,862.04. You can, however, sell these tools once you finish your construction.

Work left

A few tweaks are still required to be performed on this construction project. This includes:

  • Flooring
  • Building a storage space
  • Creating some wall partitions
  • Building bathroom
  • Purchasing furniture
  • Installing appliances
  • Building some wooden decks
  • Plumbing
  • Some paintings of the container
  • Electrical fittings
  • Planting the climbing tree on the green wall
  • Installing sun breakers on the outside wall


Final Words on the Cost of Building a Shipping Container House:

A lot of material goes into modifying a shipping container into a living space. Knowing about all the material in advance will help you during the process. Also, the costs associated with these items let you plan your finances well in advance.







2 thoughts on “Cost of Building a Shipping Container House”

  1. Container house enthusiast

    Thanks for this detailed breakdown. I’m guessing the costs in the end would depend largely on what country one is building a container house.

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