One of the hottest trends to hit home building in quite some time, shipping container homes have proven far more than a mere fad. Used for basic and luxury living, the idea has caught fire in several U.S. cities. Some developers even believe that these low-cost living solutions may lure house-hungry millennials out of their apartments. With that in mind, here are some indisputable advantages of this new form of housing.
According to recent figures, there are as many as 700,000 shipping containers sitting empty across the nation. Whether you buy them or get them for free, these metal boxes are far less expensive than building a house frame from scratch. And because they are already in the right shape to be repurposed into living quarters, nearly all of the structural work required when building a home is eliminated. Estimated cost savings are in the neighborhood of 20 percent or more.
As we mentioned, there is no shortage of these containers in America. Reusing these metal boxes as homes would save a tremendous amount of energy that would otherwise be wasted on moving and melting them down. It would also save energy on building materials and the construction needed to frame the home.
Designed to withstand the harsh conditions of road, rail, and ocean travel, shipping containers are incredibly strong. Not only can they safely store tens of thousands of pounds, they can also support the weight of other loaded containers when stacked during freight shipping. As a result, these steel boxes are much stronger than ordinary abodes. They can easily survive most earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters without structural damage, making them a superior building solution in areas that experience extreme weather.
While it’s certainly possible to build a home from a shipping container on your own, most folks that need a place to live hire a specialty construction firm to do it for them. Unlike the do-it-yourselfers, these future homeowners want a real, functional abode, rather than a weekend project. That means putting in plumbing, electricity, insulation, and a firm foundation. Because these boxes give builders a strong structure with which to work, professionals can get started right away on interior and exterior necessities and amenities.
The average 40-foot long shipping container has exactly 320 square feet of living space, which is about the size of a small studio apartment in a major American city. And while that is much too small for a home, more boxes mean more room. For example, a recent shipping container home project utilized four containers, placing them side by side to create a 1,280-foot abode. While not as large as the average American home, it was commodious enough to contain three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a full-size kitchen. Not bad for a domicile made of recycled steel boxes!
Cheaper, stronger, and better for the environment than regular abodes, shipping container homes may just be the way of the future.