Maybe you’ve never thought of a shipping container as a viable home space. After all, aren’t these huge metal containers or crates primarily used to haul heavy cargo on ships? Actually, yes…they are…which means they may also be ideal as waterproof, fairly secure living spaces (with some modifications, of course), also known as shipping container homes.
PFNC Global Communities has gotten plenty of buzz lately for taking modest shipping containers and turning them into homes for poor people. You can find out more about that here. Although the homes may be relatively small by American standards (40 feet from one end to the other and not terribly wide), they do have such amenities as kitchens, sinks, stoves and dining area.
PFNC Global Communities aren’t the only ones using shipping containers as homes
Plenty of middle class homeowners and even home builders are taking a second look at shipping containers. They can be turned into some fairly nice homes and even the cost of adding upgrades, plumbing and bathrooms to the home can be cheaper than building a new home. While they might not work for a large family, they could be ideal as home offices, extra living space or just storage space. If you’d like to see an example of how attractive a shipping container home can be, take a look at the prototypes shown at PFNC Global Communities here: www.pfnc.net/projects.htm
Why a shipping container home may be coming to my backyard
I’m actually considering buying one myself and I’ve talked to other homeowners who are buying them to use as home offices, extra storage space or even guest houses for visitors. Where else can you find potential living space for as little as $2000, plus delivery, the price it’d cost me to pay for one to be delivered to my backyard? Once you buy the container, you don’t have to continue paying monthly rental fees so those with the space to put them in a backyard on an unused plot of land can find them attractive alternatives to monthly storage rental services. With a little imagination and plenty of sweat equity, there is no reason why a shipping container couldn’t be converted into usable living space. Plus, the starting price is a bargain! A shipping container home is undeniably not your typical house. With the help and power of interior designing, you can absolutely transform a shipping container into a unique and awesome livable space. Again, you just have to be creative and you can have great outcome.
Where to buy shipping containers for homes
It only took me a short bit of searching to find the owner of a company called Storage Container outlet, found here. The company sells shipping containers as well as storage and cargo containers in my area of the country, including Indiana. The quote I got was for a 40 foot shipping container, used. As noted above, the price was only about $2000 plus a couple of hundred dollars for delivery. New shipping containers could cost twice as much, but even at $4000 and up, it is easy to see that the price could beat the cost of many small homes or apartments across the country. No wonder PFNC Global Communities has decided to use these as alternative housing for the poor. It certainly seems a cost-effective way to buy the foundation for a home!
The current housing crisis and cost of renting or leasing office space and paying for homes has also caused much more interest in shipping containers as homes, based on a conversation I had with the owner of the Storage Container Outlet. Not only are churches and schools buying the containers but people who formerly turned up their noses at the thought of shipping containers as homes are rethinking that position.
What makes shipping container homes so attractive to PFNC Global Communities and others?
For one thing, they are extremely strong. They have to be because they are used to carry heavy cargo on ships (their original purpose). The also tend to be watertight and stackable. This means that they could be used in groups – and have been – in some cases, as alternative housing, just as PFNC Global Communities uses them.
Thinking of a shipping container home? What else you need to know
If you are interested in learning more about shipping container homes, whether for yourself or perhaps as alternative housing for poor people in your community, you’ll probably want to talk to an architect or home renovation expert. At the very least, call a qualified home contractor for estimates to add bathrooms, plumbing and sinks to the space. Of course, if you only need extra storage space, you won’t need to go to all that trouble.
You may also have the option of buying new or used shipping containers. Older ones may have some dings or rust but the company I called guaranteed that even used shipping containers would be waterproof and hold up for years. I’d have to get rid of the rust and use marine paint or another finish to paint it but that hasn’t discouraged me from investigating the possibility -yet. Of course, you’ll also want to check your zoning laws to see if you could put one in your backyard or part of your land (odds are better if you live out in the country). Some neighborhoods may have restrictions.
As I look out my kitchen window, I imagine that shipping container in my backyard. Then I go back and look at the photos of various shipping container homes I see online. I imagine the possibilities, from home office to guest space to housing for the poor people in my community – or other communities across the country.