Cost of Used Shipping Container


Find out what is the cost of a used shipping container and is it a good option for building your container home. There are so many things to consider when you are buying a used shipping container. In this article, we will be discussing these things in some detail. This will give you an idea about the condition of the used containers. You will get to know about the solutions to the various issues that exist in the used shipping containers.

Grades of shipping containers

While buying a used shipping container for creating your house, you will find many grades of containers. You will typically find the following grades:

One-trip containers

They are brought from the place of manufacture to the country you reside in. This is where the name one-trip comes from. These containers are priced heavily at around $9,000-10,000 as they are completely new.

Cargo Worthy (CW)

These containers are the ones that have the potential to be taken to the sea again. They will cost you around $5,000-6,000 depending on the place you buy the container from. Your location also plays a major role in deciding the pricing.

Wind and WaterTight (WWT)

These types of containers are most suitable for constructing a container house. They are wind and watertight which ensures to prevent the entry of rainwater and dust into your house. At the same time, these containers are appropriately priced as they are not brand-new. Though they are used, they have minimal rust and can be repaired with paint easily. You can buy such a container for around $2,500-3,000.

Cost of acquiring WWT in North Carolina

In our experience, we acquired a 40-feet high cube shipping container which is nine feet six inches tall. It falls under the third category of containers we discussed above. Including the taxes we paid in North Carolina, we spent $2915 on the container cost. Along with the taxes, this amount also includes the shipping cost of $250. It is a pretty good deal under $3000 to get a WWT shipping container for modification. We inquired about the used container cost from quite a few companies. Some were quoting the price between $3,500-4000 as they were middlemen. Taking quotes from a variety of companies will help you get the best deal in your area.

Note: The cost of used shipping container is different in different States. Make sure you check the cost in your State.

Giving support underneath

For a permanent or semi-permanent structure, you need to provide some solid support underneath. This support helps the shipping container carry the load you are going to put on it. These shipping containers need support only at their four corners. Even when you put another container on top of the base container, it touches the lower one from four corners. So, it is sufficient to provide support at the corners of the base container to add strength to the structure.

When you cut doors and windows from a container, you take away a lot of rigidity from the overall structure. In that case, you will have to weld in additional supports to add back the strength you took off. This way, things become easier when the finished container home is picked up by the crane for transportation.

Patched-up Holes

Sometimes the shipping containers are available at low prices for modification. This is because these containers are no longer seaworthy due to their poor condition. There could be some holes on the base, sides or roof of the container. These holes are patched up with welding to add back the strength of the container. But over time, this can also weaken and pose a problem for the shipping companies. That is when they sell these containers for non-shipping purposes.

While purchasing a used shipping container, don’t forget to check for these patched holes. The condition of these holes will decide the durability of your container house. Pay only for the shipping container that can live for the years you expect it to.

Amount of Rust

The foremost thing to consider while buying a used shipping container is the amount of rust it contains. You don’t want your house to corrode and disintegrate into pieces. Look for a container that has the least amount of rust. Consider the solution you will be applying for bringing the rusted container back to health. You can easily get away with the rust issue by cutting a window or something. The other option could be removing the rust and using a primer to fix the part. Paint can then be applied to prevent the rust from reappearing. The amount of rust could significantly increase the cost of the used shipping containers.

Dents on the metal sheet

You must also consider any dents on the shipping container. Dents on the sides are harmless for your house and can be normally painted. Dents that appear on the roof might hold some rainwater. Pick up the container whose dent you are quite confident to repair. You don’t need to step up on the roof to spot them, these can be observed from inside the container.

The temperature inside the house

The shipping container houses become extremely hot in summers due to the metal structure they are made of. You will also find some cooling vents inside the container on the side walls. These are usually created near the roof of the container. These vents help to maintain the temperature inside the structure. They prevent the interiors from becoming too hot in the summers. We would advise you to not store anything containing gasoline or propane inside your container house. It can easily vaporize when the temperature rises. An explosion might also take place in such a case.

Examining the roof

You will be required to examine the roof of the container as well. Step up on the roof with a ladder to closely check it out. There could be some dents that you already spotted from inside the container. Rust is pretty much normal on the roof as the rain pours over its surface. If you find some spots that have clogged water, you can consider cleaning them up. These can then be fixed with a primer and paint. You might need to do some patching work if there is a lot of rust over the roof.

You must also check out for any holes in the beams of the container. Such holes will mean that the whole beam is probably filled with water. You will have to drain the water with some drilling in the beam. To add the strength back to the container, provide some reinforcement with the welding process.

Cost of Used Shipping Container – Final Words

These are the things you can consider while purchasing a used shipping container for building your tiny home. Everything comes down to the price you are ready to pay for the container and your bargaining skills. The more price you pay, the better is the condition of the shipping container. But do not forget to check for the price quoted by several companies. You don’t want to end up paying more than the real worth of the used container.



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