Is It A Good Idea To Build A Container Home In 2023?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Container homes, once a curious oddity in the realm of home building, have grown significantly in popularity over the years. They are common for everything from vacation rentals to guest suites, and are even used in building large geometric dream homes in desirable areas.

With this boom of a fashionable yet seemingly affordable new type of home building, you might even find yourself wondering if it is a good idea for you to build your own container home in 2023.

Container homes can be a great investment if you are able to find quality and affordable containers to build with. The climate where you live, price, and quality of materials, as well as how much space you require all impact whether or not a container home is a good decision for you in 2023. Current supply and demand can impact if this is a good year to build this type of home.

If you are one of the many people who have become interested in, or fascinated by the idea of building a container home, then keep reading. There are lots of variables that impact whether a container home is the right decision for you in 2023.

Before you even weigh the pros and cons, you should understand exactly what a shipping container home is, and the factors to consider before building one.

What Is A Shipping Container Home, Exactly?

Shipping container homes are dwellings that use sea or freight shipping containers as the main structural element of the home. These containers can be recycled, out-of-commission sea shipping containers, or even brand new containers built specifically for this purpose.

Either way, these containers are typically either 20’ or 40’ long and 8’ feet wide. But like building with blocks, the containers can be stacked several wide, and even several tall. Thus, a container home can be a stylish geometric home of upwards of 320 feet wide, and several stories tall.

These containers are made of highly durable steel that is meant to withstand all sorts of weather conditions. They are generally not climate-controlled, and since they are metal, they are more conductive and less insulating than other building materials.

Before hunting for cheap containers, however, you should consider a few factors that impact whether or not a container home is right for you.

Three Factors To Consider Before Building A Container Home In 2023

1. The Climate

Where you live and the type of weather you have can impact if a container home is a good idea or not. Container homes are not natural insulators. In fact, they are the opposite.

So, if you live somewhere with high heat and strong sun, you will need to provide lots of extra insulation in your container home. This will make your small home even smaller. The same goes for very cold climates.

In general, container homes are not the best idea in extreme climate environments. They are better in milder or temperate climates.

2. How Much Space You Need

Container homes can be larger than just one container, and can even be quite large with several bedrooms. Still, they have space limitations since they are prefabricated structures.

Know the ceiling heights and wall widths you need before deciding on whether or not you should build a container home.

3. Is There A Supply Shortage?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been all sorts of supply shortages that are still catching up in 2023. Shipping containers were also affected at this time.

At the same time, homesteading and building DIY homes has grown in popularity as home prices skyrocket. This means supply can be scarce, and in turn, prices can be much higher than normal.

Make sure you spend time tracking prices before purchasing used or new containers in 2023 or 2024.

Pros Of Building A Container Home In 2023

They Are Durable Structures

One of the best benefits of using shipping containers to build a home is their strength. These containers are made of steel that is durable and weather-resistant. After all, these structures are designed to withstand harsh weather on the high salty seas.

Can Be Designed To Be Transportable

If designed accordingly, container homes can be movable structures. While not as mobile as a classic mobile home, some container homes can be moved from one location to another without too much trouble.

Potentially Cheap If Using Recycled DIY Materials

One of the main reasons shipping container homes became popular in the first place is because they can be very cheap to build. If you do a lot of the work yourself and find recycled shipping containers, then you can build a home at a fraction of the price of other conventional materials.

Easy And Fast To Build

Container homes also have the benefit of already having the walls and ceiling installed. This makes building container homes very easy and fast, especially if you decide to make minimal modifications and are a skilled builder.

Aesthetically Pleasing Modern Industrial Look

Lastly, while it might take a little time to get used to the idea of living in a shipping container, these homes can actually look very chic and stylish.

The grooved steel gives a modern yet industrial look, which you can soften by painting it a warm or matte color. Container homes tend to be smaller than most other homes, so this lends itself well to a minimalist style.

Cons To Building A Container Home In 2023

Containers Are Not Great Insulators

One major con to building a container home in 2023 is that shipping containers are lousy insulators. In fact, steel is a conductor rather than an insulator. This means your home will cook in sunny heat and freeze in the cold without lots of insulation.

Sure, you can insulate your container home and make it livable throughout the year. Just remember that quality insulation will cost you, and it will also take valuable space away from already snug interiors.

As 2023 showcased the hottest month ever recorded, it is important to consider insulation and climate before settling on a container home.

Limited Supply And Potentially Rising Prices

Like all great money-saving ideas, the dirt-cheap shipping container home is no longer as inexpensive as it was years ago.

As the idea of building a home with shipping containers has grown, it is much harder to find cheap used containers in 2023. Not only is it hard to find used cheap materials, but new materials are in high demand. This can cause fluctuating and higher prices.

Limited Customization

Another downside to building a new home with shipping containers is that it limits your ability to customize the home. While new shipping containers can potentially be custom made, once created, it is hard to manipulate these steel structures.

Some may find the puzzle of creating a spacious home out of these limiting structures a rewarding challenge, but it is a challenge nonetheless.

Your Municipality Might Not Allow Container Homes

One factor that is essential to consider and might render building a container home in 2023 impossible is the law of your land. Some municipalities, towns, and HOAs prohibit homes built of containers and similar materials.

They might also be considered a mobile home, or other type of classification that is prohibited. So make sure your area allows container homes before setting out to build one.

Steel Can Be Hard To Work With

Steel sure is strong, but that is not always a good thing. While highly durable, steel is also quite difficult to work with and manipulate.

This is particularly true if you are just a casual DIY builder with no welding skills. Make sure you understand the work needed to complete your particular container home project in 2023 before embarking on tasks that are out of your skill level and budget.

Wrapping Up Building A Container Home In 2023

Container homes are popping up all over the world, and there are good reasons for it. They can be a very affordable and easy way to build a home in 2023.

They are made of durable steel, and can even be built with the ability to be a movable structure. Keep in mind, however, that demand for these homes has grown, so finding cheap used materials is increasingly difficult.

Furthermore, containers are not good insulators, so be mindful of your climate before choosing a shipping container as the basis for your new home.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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