Container house : building house with container

Understanding shipping container size and prices for your home project

Introduction to Shipping Container Homes

Shipping container homes have garnered attention as an innovative approach to modular, eco-friendly, and potentially cost-effective housing. Understanding the sizes and prices of shipping containers is crucial for anyone considering this route for their home project. In exploring this topic, prospective builders can gain insights into the cost implications and practical considerations of using shipping containers for their construction endeavors.

Standard Shipping Container Sizes

Shipping containers, also known as intermodal containers, commonly come in two standard sizes. The 20-foot container, typically measuring 20 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.5 feet in height, offers approximately 160 square feet of living space. On the other hand, the 40-foot container doubles the length to provide around 320 square feet. These dimensions can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. Additionally, there are high cube containers, which offer an extra foot in height for both 20-foot and 40-foot options, accommodating more vertical space.

Modified and Custom Container Sizes

For those requiring different dimensions, custom containers are also available. Modifications can be made to standard containers, and they can be cut down or welded together to create unique footprints for a home. Such alterations, however, will affect the structural integrity and potentially the cost, and must be carried out by professionals with expertise in container modifications.

Price Factors for Shipping Containers

The price of shipping containers is influenced by various factors such as age, condition, delivery costs, and supplier. New or one-trip containers that made a single cargo trip tend to be more expensive, as they boast better condition with less wear. Used containers, while cost-effective, may require additional maintenance or modifications to bring them up to a suitable standard for housing. Furthermore, the delivery location significantly impacts the price, with distant or hard-to-reach areas commanding higher delivery fees.

Cost Comparison by Size and Condition

A general cost comparison illustrates that a new 20-foot container can range anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000, whereas a used one might be between $2,000 and $3,500. Similarly, new 40-foot containers hover around the $5,000 to $8,000 mark, with their used counterparts costing approximately $3,500 to $4,500. High cube variations typically command an additional $1,000 to $1,500 on top of these prices. Note that these are just ballpark figures, and prices may vary based on location and market conditions.

Additional Costs to Consider

When calculating the overall budget for a container home, it is essential to factor in additional costs beyond the raw container price. These include but are not limited to inspection fees, shipping and handling, site preparation, foundation setting, and modifications such as window and door cutouts, insulation, and interior finishing. Each of these elements can add significant expenses to your home project, and getting a comprehensive estimate from the onset is advisable.

Long-Term Investment and Value

A container home is not only about upfront costs but also about long-term value. The durability of steel containers, when properly maintained and insulated, can ensure that your home withstands extreme weather and ages well over time. Additionally, the unique aesthetic and ecological footprint of a container home can enhance its value, particularly in markets that favor sustainable and innovative housing solutions.

Finding the Right Supplier

Finding a reputable shipping container supplier is a significant step in your home-building journey. Experienced suppliers can provide valuable advice, ensuring that you get containers that are structurally sound and suitable for residential conversion. They can also assist with understanding any relevant local building codes and regulations that need to be considered in your project planning.


Embarking on a shipping container home project begins with a thorough understanding of container sizes and prices. By getting acquainted with available options and related costs, aspiring homeowners can make informed decisions that align with their budgetary constraints and design aspirations. While container housing might not be the perfect solution for everyone, for many, it represents an exciting and potentially rewarding building venture. As the trend continues to grow, so does the wealth of knowledge and resources available to assist you in creating a container home that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Quitter la version mobile