Skip to content

What To Know Before Building a Shipping Container Home

What To Know Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Shipping containers don’t spend their entire lifespan out on the seas moving cargo. Once a container is no longer cargo-worthy, it moves onto land for recycling and repurposing. While most shipping containers turn into storage options for businesses, some people turn them into a fully functional home!

A Shipping Container for a House?

People have transformed shipping containers into new structures for years and continue to do so as the trend grows. From off-the-grid living to making the most of a small city land lot, shipping containers have proven themselves as an option worth considering for home construction. Contractors, welders, and designers work together to transform empty shells into sleek, modern housing options that don’t forget any of the necessary home comforts.

If this idea sounds exciting to you, don’t go out buying a container just yet. Here’s what to know before building a shipping container home.

Pros of a Shipping Container Home

There are three big advantages when it comes to turning shipping containers into housing: their footprint, their stackability, and their available modifications.


Shipping containers typically range from 20 to 40-feet long with a width of 8 feet. This size offers architects a variety of options for adapting to a small or oddly-shaped lot of land.


One of the most interesting aspects of shipping container homes is that shipping containers are easy to stack and weld into unique structures. Shipping container homes are often multi-level and can easily include overhangs and perpendicular stacking for more organic room layouts.


Any modern home requires plumbing, electricity, and windows. Shipping containers are surprisingly easy to modify, so including these traits is not difficult. There are a variety of other modifications available as well, including interior door installation and insulation. Due to the adaptability of these containers, they can easily transform into a home that fits a variety of needs, from housing large families to serving as the ideal bachelor pad.

Cons of a Shipping Container Home

The biggest downside of constructing a shipping container home is that they often require permits. Missouri is among the few states that welcome these structures. However, even some cities and counties in the state will still put restrictions on your building. The municipality may subject container homes to property zoning laws, building codes, and manufactured home codes that limit your architectural vision.

Weather conditions in Missouri also mean that shipping container homes likely require some reinforcement to best withstand high winds and winter weather.

Understanding all there is to know before building a shipping container home is crucial to making choices you don’t regret. There is obviously plenty to love about the modifiability and sustainability of shipping containers. Still, for some dream homes, there’s no substitute for the real thing. Weigh the pros and cons and talk implementation ideas with your contractor to decide if this unique housing option is right for you.

Leave a Comment