Total Cost Breakdown of Shipping Container Exterior Siding

exterior container home cost

The exterior siding of the shipping container involves different layers for protection and sometimes temperature control as well. We will be discussing the cost breakdown of the exterior sidings for three different materials. There are many more materials and ways that can be applied in the process. These are, however, the most common ways to get an idea of the total siding costs incurred.

Calculating the container dimensions

There is a specific method to calculate the dimensions of the exterior siding of a container. Let us consider a 40-feet high-cube shipping container. Such a container is 40 feet long, 91⁄2 feet tall, and 8 feet wide. For the siding process, you will have to add about 2 feet to the height of the container. This is done to cover the roofing structure and the bottom rail of the shipping container. The dimensions for roofing, therefore, comes out to be 40X111⁄2 feet for each sidewall. Similarly, the siding dimensions for the end walls are 8X111⁄2 feet.

Siding substructures

Let us discuss the different kinds of materials that can be used for the container siding. We will also be detailing the costs involved in using each of these materials.

Substructure 1

Here we take two by sixes and rip them into smaller pieces. We apply a premium adhesive to them and put them into the outside valleys of the container. Then these are screwed through the metal at an end for securing them properly. This method does not include any insulation and is, therefore, cheaper. It costs us about 25 cents per square foot for this type of substructure.

If you want to add an insulation board to this substructure, you can easily do that as well. Ensure to attach a fastener that can go through the insulation board to secure it comfortably. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too long to pierce into the metal.

Substructure 2

Another substructure that already includes insulation involves the use of fast panels. These panels can be installed on the exterior sides quickly and easily. The costs involved in these kinds of siding is $3 per square foot. With this kind of substructure, your material cost rises but there are savings in the labor costs. The system is extremely fast and involves the use of less labor compared to the one discussed earlier. While considering the rise in material costs, you must also consider the decline in labor costs involved.

Substructure 3

The third option includes the installation of galvanized roofing panels on the sides of the container. The cost of these panels turned out to be $1.70 per square foot. This estimation includes the entire container but the doors. These are excluded from our calculation to give you an idea about the cost of siding alone.

As a bonus, here are two other ways you can do the siding of your container house:

Trex Board

Trex boards enhance the overall look of the container siding. They are virtually maintenance-free and are resistant to scratching, molds, insects, and mildew. If you consider using Trex boards on the siding, they will cost you around $3.75 per square foot.


Trex Boards

Cedar Lap

Cedar lap siding is another beautiful and extremely durable option. It is one of the most cost-effective options. At the same time, it is labor-intensive as well. It is extremely flexible as you can stain it or clear-coat it as per your preferences. Such a siding will cost you around $1.50 per square foot.

Final Words

Your choice of siding can accurately tell you the amount you are going to spend on building your container home. This way you can budget your expenses well in advance. You must keep an allowance for taxes, transportation charges, and other unexpected expenses while calculating the siding cost. Expecting a bigger bill and ending up spending less is way better than going out of the budgeted amount.

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