Common Questions about Shipping Container Conversion

Shipping Containers

There are many common questions that people ask us as they begin to research the use of shipping containers. As with any new concept, there are also many misconceptions about shipping container conversion projects. Here are five that we hear most often:

1. It’s cheap and easy to build with containers.

Probably the most common misconception about construction using containers is that it’s extremely inexpensive and can easily be done by anyone. Unfortunately, this is not true. You cannot build a home for $2,000, but it is less expensive. The national average for home construction is currently $125 per square foot, while our typical cost for a finished unit ranges from $90-$110 per square foot. The actual construction is not a simple process either. The containers weren’t originally intended to be placed on their ends or to have the sides cut out of them. This takes a very high level of structural engineering and precision on our part. It’s not something someone should try on their own without guidance.

Shipping Container Conversion

2. All containers are the same.

There are different sizes and heights of containers, but the majority of them are the standard length of either 20 or 40 feet. There are also less common lengths ranging from 8’ to 53’. The most common height is 8’6”, but 9’6” high cube containers are also readily available.

There are a lot of shipping containers available for purchase, but they are not all of the same quality. At MODS, we use only the highest quality containers with minimal usage for our structures. We buy from a reputable dealer and inspect the containers before purchasing. If you are considering purchasing one yourself for a project, make sure to take the time to inspect for damages and find out how many times the container was used for transport. Doing this will prevent potential structural issues down the road.

Shipping Container Inspection

3. A shipping container home will turn into a hot metal oven in the sun.

When a container is fabricated and properly insulated, it is actually more energy efficient than a traditional structure. We hear quite often when people our touring our standard units that they are amazed how cool it is inside even in the summer heat.

4. The structure won’t pass a building inspection.

Ours MODS comply with the international building code. In addition, if your local municipal code requires a building inspection of wiring and plumbing inside of walls, we can assemble the structure on your site for full inspection during assembly.

5. The containers will start rusting over time.

Shipping containers are made from a non-corrosive steel called Corten steel. They are specifically designed to be able to withstand all natural elements they may face during their trip across the ocean. This makes them highly resilient to any damage from wind, humidity, and water.

If you have any questions that weren’t covered here or on our FAQ page, please contact us. We’re always willing to share our expertise and get you prepared to begin your project.

6 thoughts on “Common Questions about Shipping Container Conversion

  1. Annie Marks Reply

    I had no idea that the metal shipping containers were insulated! That is great for shipping you materials in, especially if they maintain a decent temperature. The fact that the containers come in so many different sizes is great to meet all your shipping needs. Thank you for going more in detail about shipping containers and helping people like myself understand the benefits of using them to do our shipping!

    • mods Reply

      They are not insulated when initially used as shipping containers. MODS insulates them to be used as housing or for other applications.

  2. Kyler Brown Reply

    I work for my grandfather who has run a motel business for several years now. He has an old shipping container that he uses for storage, and it seems to work great for us. It has never rusted, and it never gets too hot in the sun. In fact it actually stays pretty cold, and we’re actually looking to get another one! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Charles Kemp Reply

    I have heard that a lot of people have been doing different projects with shipping containers. It would be really cool to have a little building made of shipping containers. They are pretty easy to fashion a home out of them. It also looks really nice. I think if you really didn’t care about space, you could do it.

  4. Stacey Reply

    The banks will not finance the building of shipping containers what do you suggest?

    • mods Reply

      That is not entirely accurate. Some banks may finance once you present approved architectural plans. There are many online resources that offer advice on financing options for container based home projects. Try Googling the query “will banks finance shipping container homes”. I believe as time goes on and this construction concept becomes more mainstream, you will find more banks willing to provide financing for what is in many cases now considered non traditional construction. You may run into similar financing issues if you buy a mobile home.

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