Affordable Shipping Container Homes

By: Diy maven Jun 08, 2011

created at: 06/08/2011

How many shipping container homes have we seen on the intertubes? Lots. But have you noticed most seem out of reach to the general ogling public? First there's getting the container and then there is the actual conversion of it into a functional home. Definitely, there are some obstacles on the path to owning/living in one. However, Curbly member and shipping container aficionado Daniel Sokol recently let me know that he is doing the hard parts for us. His company, LEED Cabins, offers 20' container homes that start at $15K. Options include solar power, radiant floor heating and LED lighting, to name just a few. As for the interior features, take a look:

created at: 06/08/2011

created at: 06/08/2011

For more information about LEED Cabins, visit their website.

Thanks Daniel!!

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You can build a shipping container house without closed cell foam insullation. Peter De Maria uses the ceramic paint used on space shuttles on the exterior.  Says it's the equivalent of an 8-inch thick traditionally insullated wall.

You can figure on $75 to $85 per sq/ft excluding land, site preparation, fees and permits, etc. for the build out. The cost of four 40' containers (1,280 sq/ft) would run about $15K delivered and welded into place.  You have about $85K left to complete the finish work.  Budget would be tight but it is "doable" if you're diligent.  The closed cell foam insulation is the most expensive component but you CANNOT build a container home without it. Unfortunately, I do not know of anyone in the midwest who could help.

A company in MPLS told me that building a 2-4 bedroom container home could not be made for less than 100,000 or so... I was wondering if you could point me to companies who service the midwest who could. Thank you!

I was wondering where I can get more information on pricing for 2-3 bedroom homes at an affordable price to the Midwest. The company in Mpls here says that building one for under 100,000 is not at all possible.

To answer your comments about the heat and "oven effect" of living in a container (esp. in a desert), the solution is closed cell foam insulation.  The unit I placed in Desert Hot Springs, CA was extremely comfortable - even in direct sunlight!  The "U" insulation metrics for foam is superior to any insulation available (albeit expensive) and is also mold proof, bug proof, fire resistant and extremely quiet. Consequently, cooling needs are minimal.  I've used rooftop A/C units (RV style) or a Samsung wall units ($$$ and requires 220v).  The Desert Hot Springs container actually stayed very cool (sat on the ground).  For heating, a Dickinson marine fireplace or electric radiant floors work great (wood stove are too messy but charming on a winter night). 

Spooner, you poor dear. Thank you so much for your service. I really appreciate it.

Like Maven said it must have been like an oven. Our son was in Iraq and they had tents with "wood" floors. They had electricity so he had a fan, but at those temps it wasn't cool by any stretch of the imagination.

Spooner, in that climate, it must have felt like being in an oven at times too. Can't even imagine. 

THANK YOU for your service. 

I lived in a 20' ISO container when I was deployed in Afghanistan. Not the highlight of my existance. In fact, it's something I would rather not repeat. It sure would have been nice to have indoor plumbing though, even if it was itty bitty. In ours they bunked up to three in one container. That got awful tight.

This is an awesome idea. I love the bathroom though I'd want frosted glass at the very least.

I took a trip to Phoenix a few months ago and ended up touring a shipping container home courtesy of Upcycle Living. I have to say, I'm impressed with what they can do with a container like this. I would love to do something like that, but in spite of all my efforts towards simple living, I'm still a clothes horse who needs a lot of closet! - this is the company in Phoenix I visited

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