Shipping Container Home – Top 8 Mistakes


If you are interested in building a shipping container home you have to learn about shipping container home mistakes. Regarding time and costs, this option has plenty of benefits. But, there are challenges you need to overcome until you will be able to see your shipping container home standing. Because the shipping container homes don’t have well-established laws and regulations, people can go wrong when building such homes. Get to know what mistakes are out there, so you can avoid them.

1. Not every shipping container is suitable for becoming a home

This is, without a doubt, one of the most common mistakes made by people looking for this type of home. Unfortunately, the term “shipping container” is applied to all types of shipping containers. However, they are not all the same and getting the wrong kind of container will definitely ruin your plans. You may not even manage to get a permit from the local authorities if the container doesn’t respect standards. What does this mean? It means that you will have to pay attention to the height and length of the container. For example, a high cube container is tall enough to allow ceiling insulation to be installed. In comparison to regular containers, the high cube container will not compromise the height of the room for this process.

2. Not paying attention to the age of the container

While it’s true that shipping container homes mean re-purposing used containers, getting an old one can result in troubles. Older containers attract people with their lower prices. But, they will generate additional costs for restoring and maintaining within standards. Older containers can also be corroded, deformed, damaged, or have dampness issues. Ideally, you should personally check a container before purchasing it. If not possible, request clear photos of every corner and part of the container.

3. Not using adequate insulation

shipping container home insulation material

When building a shipping container home, you need to bear in mind that it needs better insulation than regular homes. A shipping container can offer just metal walls. Because metal is a good heat conductor, these walls will allow heat to exit the home faster than usual. Thus, this type of home will require more effective insulation. Without proper insulation, a shipping container home can be either cold or extremely hot, according to the weather. Not to mention that condensation can occur, which triggers damages that are expensive to cover. The climate where you live should dictate the type of insulation that is most suitable for your home. Learn how to insulate cargo container home here!

4. Modifying the container too much

It’s normal to want to adjust the container to your needs when designing your home. But, cutting too much out of the container can lead to problems. Taking too much steel out of the walls or ceiling of the container will affect its structure. There’s the risk for the container to become less resistant and reliable in time. It is okay to cut out fragments to install windows and doors. But, cutting a large piece of a wall or ceiling will affect the sturdiness of the container.

5. Hiring a contractor that has no experience with shipping containers

Shipping containers may not seem complicated, but a lack of experience when building with them can translate into unwanted results. Finding an experienced contractor can be one of the most difficult steps of the process. Shipping containers are new in the construction materials sector, so many contractors may not be used to them. Why you need an experienced contractor? It will be capable of providing the best guidance and pieces of advice for a durable shipping container home. So, take the time to find the best contractor for the job.

6. Not checking the local laws regarding planning and building a home

International Regulations Shipping Container Homes

This is a very important aspect because it can affect your ability to obtain a building permit. In the worst-case scenario, you will have to take down your home if you already built it. While there are internationally applied regulations, the local ones are the most important. Each county or city has its own set of building regulations and codes. And both home builders and owners should respect them. To obtain your building permit, you need to know these details and have them in mind. They apply to all kinds of new homes, not just for shipping container homes. It is advisable to check the local regulations before starting a project, so you avoid problems and disappointments. Check your local laws here!

7. Assuming that building with shipping containers is the cheapest solution

Using shipping containers can indeed reduce the costs of building a home, in most cases. However, there are very many factors that can influence the final costs of building such a home. The amount of welding necessary, the location, size of the home, and finishes can all influence costs. Each of these factors can add up to the final bill. Welding, in particular, is costly and time-consuming. Modifications to the structure of the container can also generate more costs. If possible, try to keep these two to a minimum. This way, you avoid spending too much on your shipping container home.

8. Assuming that a shipping container home doesn’t require a foundation

Cargo container home-foundation

If you want a durable and permanent residence made out of shipping containers, you need a concrete foundation. Or, at least, you should have some piers. The shipping container should not be placed on the ground just like that, even if it has a floor. There might be requirements in the local regulations concerning a home’s foundation. So, you should check it first. But, in general, houses require a concrete foundation. And to make one, you will need time and budget.

Hopefully, we provided help with understanding shipping container home mistakes and you will not make any!

Find out more about container house foundation here!

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