How much does a shipping container home cost to build?

Shipping containers at a port

It’s no secret that shipping container homes are becoming increasingly popular. They’re affordable, durable, and easy to construct, making them a desirable option for people looking for an eco-friendly home. But what many people don’t know is how much it costs to build a shipping container home.

In this article, we’ll explore the cost of building a home from a shipping container, from the materials you’ll need to the labor costs involved. We’ll also look at some of the factors that can affect the overall cost of your project. So if you’re considering building a shipping container home, read on for more information!

Shipping container home cost to build

The total cost of your project can depend on many factors, such as the size and design of your house, where you live, and how long it takes to assemble. If you hire professionals to help with the construction process or hire workers (instead of doing all the labor yourself), it’s also important to consider labor costs.

A general rule of thumb is that building a 100 sq. ft. shipping container home can cost around $10,000 in materials, plus the cost of hiring professional builders or construction workers (if you don’t plan on doing any of the work yourself).

However, this is just an approximation. If you do more research, you might find that some shipping container homes cost as little as $10,000 to construct, while others will be closer to $100,000.

As with any construction project, the best way to get an accurate estimate for your situation is to talk to a few builders and contractors. Some professional builders and construction workers will charge by the hour, while others receive a flat rate.

Shipping container homes cost breakdown.

Here’s a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay for each aspect of your project:


An estimate from US Foundation Repair reported that the average foundation costs around $8500-$15,000. If you’re building a standard shipping container home, your foundation will likely be a concrete pad or a slab.

Foundation of a shipping container home

If you’re building on a hillside or an area that’s prone to flooding, it may also be necessary to add pilings and additional support. This can cause the cost of foundations to climb anywhere from 10-30% higher.

Weather-proofing and flooring

If you’re living in a cold climate, it’s important to take steps to keep your home warm. Shipping container homes tend to be naturally insulated, so weather-proofing is usually unnecessary. But if you want the inside of your house to have a more finished look, adding insulation can increase the cost of your project by 10-20%.

For extra insulation and protection, you can also consider adding a layer of flooring. Most people choose to lay down plywood or OSB boards over the top of their foundation, but it’s possible to use other materials such as bamboo or rubber. Flooring will add an additional $500-$2000 to the cost of your project.

The exterior of your home can also have a big impact on the overall cost, with most people choosing to cover their shipping containers in siding, stucco, or metal. But be aware that these materials can increase the final price anywhere from 20-100%.

Windows and doors

Most shipping container homes are built with large windows, but these can also significantly impact your costs. If you choose to use glass, it will likely be double-paned, increasing the price of window installation anywhere from 50-100%.

Window of a container home

If you’re using shipping containers that are 8ft wide or smaller, most people cut out one of the ends and add a door. The cost of a standard steel or aluminum door can vary depending on size, but expect to pay around $400-$500.

Other materials & equipment

In addition to the other aspects of your project, there will also be considerable extra expenses if you plan on adding plumbing or wiring, figure in another $1000. Professional builders and workers will also need to be compensated.

As you can see, the cost of building your own shipping container home is highly variable, and many factors affect it. However, if you plan and do your research, it’s possible to build a quality dwelling for less money than you might think.

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