Cargo Ship Container Houses for Living

Cargo Ship Container Houses

Cargo ship container houses are a unique and trendy type of home made from repurposed shipping containers. So, It is less cost as compared to concrete building. So, Many people opt this houses for their living purpose. If you are Interested. Read this full article. Then decide it is suitable for you or not.

Cargo Ship Container Houses Overview

Concrete vs cargo ship container buildings

Material Difference

Construction Method






Things to Consider When Choosing a Source

How to buy shipping container house



Cargo Ship Container Houses Overview

These Homes built from repurposed, heavy-duty steel shipping containers. Additionally, It is more popular with people. Because its affordability, sustainability, and unique aesthetics.

If you’re considering building a cargo ship container house, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to find a qualified builder who has experience working with shipping containers. Second, you’ll need to obtain the necessary permits from your local building department. Finally, you’ll need to factor in the cost of insulation, plumbing, electrical wiring, and other finishes. Despite these challenges, cargo ship container homes can be a great option for those who are looking for a unique, affordable, and sustainable home.

Concrete vs cargo ship container buildings

When you comparing both concrete and cargo ship container buildings, Their are some the key differences available. We are list out below for your reference.

1. Material Difference

Cargo Ship Containers

  • Main Material: Corrugated steel.
  • Variations:
    • New vs. Used: New containers offer a cleaner slate, while used containers can be more affordable.
    • High Cube vs. Standard: High cube containers offer additional headroom, impacting design possibilities.
    • Reefer Containers: It is previously used for refrigerated cargo, they may come with insulation already installed.


  • Main Material: Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water.
  • Variations: Different types of cement, aggregates (sand, gravel), and admixtures can create variations in strength, color, and finishing options (exposed aggregate, polished concrete).

2. Construction Method

Construction Method

Cargo Ship Container Construction

A dry construction process utilizing pre-fabricated modules. Faster assembly but requires welding and modification expertise.

  • Site Preparation: Similar to concrete, a foundation is needed. Depending on the size and complexity of the structure, this might involve a concrete slab, gravel pad, or screw piles.
  • Container Preparation: Used containers need inspection and cleaning. Modifications may include cutting openings for doors and windows, adding insulation, and reinforcing walls if necessary.
  • Assembly: Containers are stacked, welded together, or bolted depending on the desired configuration. Openings are created and roofing is installed.
  • Waterproofing: Seams between containers and any penetrations need to be carefully sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Interior Finishing: Insulation is crucial for temperature control. Walls, floors, and ceilings are then finished with drywall, wood paneling, or other materials depending on the design.

Concrete Construction

A wet construction process involving forming, pouring, and curing. Requires more time and skilled labor.

  • Foundation: A strong foundation is crucial. This can involve excavation, laying gravel, installing footings, and pouring concrete slabs or foundations walls.
  • Framing: Concrete buildings can be framed with poured concrete walls, concrete blocks (CMU – Concrete Masonry Units), or a combination. Poured concrete requires formwork (temporary molds) and skilled labor for pouring and finishing. CMU blocks are faster to assemble but offer less design flexibility.
  • Flooring: Concrete slabs are commonly used, poured directly on the foundation or over a base of gravel and compacted soil. Tile (or laminate), wood, or other finishes can be added on top.
  • Roofing: Flat roofs are common with concrete, constructed with a waterproof membrane and drainage system. Sloped roofs can also be built using concrete, wood, or steel trusses.
  • Finishing: Concrete offers a wide range of options. Walls can be left exposed for an industrial look, plastered and painted, or covered with other materials like stone or veneer.

3. Cost of Cargo Ship Containers vs Concrete

shipping container homes cost

Generally, cargo ship containers offer a more affordable option for building materials compared to concrete. Here’s a breakdown of the cost factors:

Cargo Ship Containers Cost

  • Container cost: The price of a used shipping container can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on size, condition (new vs. used), and location.
  • Modification costs: Transforming a container into a livable space requires additional expenses. This includes:
    • Cutting openings for doors and windows.
    • Adding insulation for temperature control (significant cost factor).
    • Electrical wiring and plumbing installation.
    • Interior finishing materials like drywall or paneling.

Concrete House Cost

  • Material cost: Concrete itself is not incredibly expensive, but the cost can vary depending on the type and mix used.
  • Labor costs: Concrete construction is labor-intensive. Skilled workers are needed for pouring, forming, and finishing, which can significantly drive up the cost.
  • Foundation costs: Concrete buildings require a strong foundation, which can involve excavation, materials, and labor.

Cost comparison

FactorCargo Ship ContainersConcrete
Material CostGenerally Lower (Container price)Lower (Concrete itself)
Labor CostLower (Less skilled labor needed)Higher (Skilled labor for pouring/forming)
Additional CostsModifications (insulation, electrical, etc.)Foundation, potential for additional framing materials


  • Cargo Ship Containers: Can be a more budget-friendly option, especially for smaller structures. However, modification costs can add up quickly.
  • Concrete: Generally more expensive due to labor and foundation requirements. However, it may offer a lower overall cost for larger or more complex structures compared to heavily modified container homes.

Both concrete and cargo ship container houses can be very durable, but they excel in different ways:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Durability of Ship Container Houses


  • Weather Resistance: Corten steel used in shipping containers is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions at sea, including high winds and salt spray.
  • Vermin Resistance: Steel construction deters pests like termites.
  • Relocatable: The modular nature allows for potential relocation to a new site, although a proper foundation is still required.


  • Rust Susceptibility: Corten steel has some natural rust resistance, but requires additional treatments and maintenance to prevent excessive corrosion.
  • Insulation Challenges: Modifying containers for proper insulation is crucial for comfortable living and energy efficiency, but can be a complex and expensive process.
  • Limited Design Flexibility: The modular nature of containers presents challenges for creating large or complex designs.

Durability of Concrete Houses


  • Superior Fire Resistance: Concrete is a non-combustible material, making it highly resistant to fire damage.
  • Structural Integrity: Properly constructed concrete structures can withstand strong winds, earthquakes, and other extreme weather events.
  • Long Lifespan: With proper maintenance, concrete houses can last for over 100 years.


  • Susceptible to Cracking: Concrete can develop cracks over time, especially if not properly reinforced or exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Moisture Issues: Waterproofing is crucial to prevent leaks and moisture damage, which can lead to mold growth and structural problems.
  • Maintenance Needs: Regular maintenance is necessary to address cracks and ensure proper drainage to avoid moisture issues.

Compare Features

FeatureConcrete HousesCargo Ship Container Houses
Fire ResistanceExcellentNot Fireproof
Structural IntegrityVery StrongStrong
Lifespan (with maintenance)100+ years50+ years
Weather ResistanceGoodExcellent
Vermin ResistanceGoodExcellent
RelocateabilityNot RelocatablePotentially Relocatable
  • Fire Safety: If fire resistance is a top priority, concrete is the clear choice.
  • Long-Term Stability: For a structure with a projected lifespan of over 100 years, concrete offers superior durability.
  • Harsh Environments: For locations with extreme weather conditions, both can be suitable, but cargo ship containers might require less maintenance for weather resistance.
  • Relocation Potential: If future relocation is a possibility, cargo ship containers offer more flexibility.

Remember: Proper construction, maintenance, and addressing potential weaknesses are crucial for ensuring the long-lasting durability of both concrete and cargo ship container houses.

5. Sustainability

When it comes to sustainability, cargo ship container houses generally have the edge over concrete houses.

Cargo Ship Container Houses sustainability

  • Reduced Waste: Reuses existing steel containers, diverting them from landfills. This reduces the need to manufacture new building materials like concrete and lumber.
  • Lower Embodied Energy: Requires less energy to modify a container compared to producing and transporting concrete.
  • Potential for Energy Efficiency: With proper insulation and design, container homes can be energy-efficient, reducing operational carbon footprint.


  • Modifications can add embodied energy: Manufacturing insulation materials and using additional building materials for modifications add to the overall embodied energy.
  • Transportation: The distance containers need to be transported to the building site can impact their environmental footprint.

Concrete Houses sustainability

  • High Embodied Energy: Manufacturing concrete requires a significant amount of energy and releases CO2 emissions.
  • Limited Reusability: Demolishing concrete structures creates debris that often ends up in landfills. Recycled concrete can be used, but it’s less common than recycled steel.


  • Durability: Long lifespan of concrete structures can minimize the need for frequent rebuilding and associated environmental impact.
  • Thermal Mass: Concrete can absorb and retain heat, potentially reducing heating and cooling needs in some climates.

Here’s a table summarizing the key points:

FeatureCargo Ship Container HousesConcrete Houses
Material ReuseHighLow
Embodied EnergyLower (existing material)Higher (new material production)
Operational EfficiencyCan be energy-efficient with proper designCan be energy-efficient with thermal mass

Overall: Cargo ship container houses generally have a lower environmental impact due to material reuse and potentially lower embodied energy. However, sustainable practices during construction and using recycled materials in concrete builds can help close the gap.

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When it comes to versatility, concrete houses and cargo ship container houses offer different advantages. Now We are breakdown it one by one.

Cargo Ship Container Houses Versatility

  • Modular Design: Containers offer a modular building block approach. They can be stacked, joined side-by-side, or used in various combinations to create different layouts and structures.
  • Relocatable Potential: The modular nature allows for potential disassembly and reassembly on a new site, offering some relocation flexibility.
  • Faster Assembly: Prefabricated containers can be assembled on-site more quickly compared to traditional concrete construction.


  • Limited Size: Individual containers offer a confined space. Creating larger living areas requires combining multiple containers, which can impact aesthetics and design flow.
  • Design Challenges: The rectangular shape of containers presents challenges for achieving intricate architectural details or creating organic curves.

Concrete Houses Versatility

  • High Versatility: Concrete can be molded into various shapes and sizes, allowing for a wide range of architectural styles. From traditional to modern, complex curves to expansive layouts, concrete offers great design freedom.
  • Adaptable Floor Plans: Walls and layouts can be more easily customized within a concrete structure to suit specific needs and preferences.
  • Integration with Landscape: Concrete can be used to create seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, offering design flexibility for decks, patios, or pools.


  • Requires Skilled Labor: Complex concrete designs necessitate skilled labor for forming, pouring, and finishing, potentially impacting cost and flexibility.
  • Time-consuming Construction: Concrete construction can take longer due to curing times, limiting flexibility for quick modifications.

Versatility Comparison

FeatureConcrete HousesCargo Ship Container Houses
Design VersatilityHighModerate (modular approach)
Floor Plan FlexibilityHighModerate (limited by container size)
Landscape IntegrationHighModerate (depends on design)
Construction SpeedSlower (curing time)Faster (modular assembly)
Relocateability PotentialNoPotentially Relocatable

Choosing the Right Option for Versatility

  • Complex Designs and Layouts: Concrete offers more freedom for intricate shapes and floor plan customization.
  • Faster Construction and Potential Relocation: Cargo ship containers might be a better choice if speed and future relocation are priorities.
  • Modern or Industrial Aesthetics: Cargo ship containers can be a good fit for modern or industrial design styles.

Remember: Both options can be versatile with creative design approaches. Consider incorporating additional elements like windows, skylights, and decks to enhance the overall feel and functionality of your space.

The biggest advantage when it comes to relocating a home goes to cargo ship container homes.

Relocating a Cargo Ship Container Home

Cargo Ship Container Home relocate

In modular design, containers act as versatile building blocks, offering flexibility in assembly and relocation. These units can be disassembled, transported, and reassembled on new foundations, providing adaptability to changing needs or environments. Their relatively lighter weight compared to concrete makes transportation potentially easier and less expensive, a significant advantage in logistical planning. Overall, these features make modular construction an appealing option for projects requiring mobility and efficiency in deployment.

Challenges of Relocating a Container Home

  • Requires Careful Planning and Expertise: Disassembly, transport, and reassembly on a new site need proper planning and may require specialists to ensure structural integrity.
  • New Foundation Needed: The container needs a new foundation at the new location, adding to the cost and complexity.
  • Local Regulations: Some areas might have restrictions on relocating container homes, so checking local regulations is crucial.

Concrete Homes

  • Not Relocatable: Concrete structures are permanent. They cannot be easily disassembled and moved to a new location.

Alternatives for Concrete Homes

  • Building a New Concrete Home on the New Location: This is a more realistic option but essentially means building a new house.
  • Prefabricated Concrete Homes: These offer some modularity and potentially faster construction on the new site compared to traditional concrete builds, but are still not truly relocatable.

Here’s a table summarizing the key points:

FeatureCargo Ship Container HomesConcrete Homes
RelocateabilityPotentially RelocatableNot Relocatable
Transportation EaseEasier (lighter weight)Difficult (heavy structure)
Cost of RelocationPotentially Expensive (requires experts, foundation)Not Applicable
Local RegulationsMay have restrictionsNot Applicable

Choosing the Right Option for Relocation

  • If relocation is a high priority, a cargo ship container home offers more flexibility, but be prepared for the planning and costs involved.
  • If relocation is unlikely, a concrete home offers a permanent structure, but moving it is not a viable option.

Additional Considerations

  • The size and complexity of the structure will impact the difficulty and cost of relocating a container home.
  • The distance to the new location will also factor into transportation costs.

Ultimately, the best option depends on your specific needs and priorities. Consider how likely you are to relocate in the future when making your decision.

  • Location: Look for a supplier close to your build site to minimize transportation costs.
  • Condition: Used containers are generally more affordable, but inspect them thoroughly for rust, damage, and watertightness.
  • Size and Type: Containers come in various sizes (20ft, 40ft high cube, etc.). Choose the size(s) that suit your building plans.
  • Certification: For container homes, a High Cube container (HC) is often preferred due to its additional height. Ensure the container has a valid CSC (Container Safety Convention) plate for secure transport and building code compliance.
  • Delivery: Get quotes for delivery to your building site. Factor in the cost and logistics of transporting the container.
  • Reputation: Research the seller’s reputation for quality, customer service, and fair pricing.

Additional Tips


  • Get quotes from multiple sources: Compare prices, container condition, and delivery options before making a purchase.
  • Inspect the container thoroughly: Look for signs of rust, dents, leaks, or any damage that could compromise structural integrity.
  • Consider potential modifications: Factor in the additional costs of modifications needed for your project, such as insulation, cutting openings, and adding doors and windows.

By following these tips and exploring the different options, you can find a reliable source for your cargo ship container house building project.

buy shipping container house

You can Finding Reputable Sellers from following methods. We are not recommended any seller. Do Own research then make your decision.

  • Look for Established Businesses: You can choose sellers with a proven track record and positive customer reviews.
  • Check for Certifications: It ensure the containers have valid CSC (Container Safety Convention) plates for safe transport and potential building code compliance.
  • Compare Prices and Conditions: Then Get quotes from multiple sources and compare container condition, pricing, and delivery options.

Cost will be varied depends on seller location, Size of house and more factor. Check all things before going to make a purchase.

Safety Tips

Never pay upfront without a signed contract: Always establish a clear agreement on the container’s condition, delivery terms, and payment schedule. Additionally, Inspect the container thoroughly: So, Don’t rely solely on photos. Inspect the container in person for any damage that could compromise structural integrity. Consider hiring a container inspector: An experienced inspector can provide a professional evaluation of the container’s condition.

By following these tips and conducting thorough research, you can increase your chances of finding a reliable seller for your shipping container house project.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your priorities and vision for your project. If you’re unsure, consulting with architects or builders experienced in both types of construction can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.


Is homes made from shipping containers safe ?

Yes, homes made from shipping containers can be safe, but there are some factors to consider: If Safety with Proper Construction will be no fail. This type of home have Structural Integrity, Fire Safety, and Great water proofing. Additionally, You can made any modifications. Same time, A strong foundation is essential for any house, including those made from containers. Skilled professionals should design and build the foundation to ensure the home’s stability and safety.

Can i make interior design on this this ship container house?

Absolutely! One of the exciting aspects of cargo ship container houses is the potential for creative interior design. Here are some reasons why: Modular Design, Open Floor Plans, Exposed Elements, and Different Flooring options (Versatility of Materials).