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Shipping Container Tiny Homes

Shipping Container Tiny Homes

What is a shipping container tiny home?

A shipping container tiny home is a small living space made from one or more steel shipping containers. These containers are typically used for transporting goods across the ocean, but they can be repurposed into homes or other structures. You know those big containers they use for shipping goods on cargo ships and stack on trains? Those are being used for tiny homes!

The containers are transformed into cozy, efficient living spaces that are perfect for those looking to downsize or live a more minimalist lifestyle.

Since they are not built on a trailer with wheels, these are best when you have a permanent location, although they can be moved if necessary.

What are the advantages of shipping container tiny homes?

Strength and Durability

Shipping containers are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and rough handling during transportation. As a result, they are extremely strong and durable. When properly maintained, they can last for decades, even outlasting traditional framed tiny homes.

Moreover, shipping container tiny homes are resistant to pests, mold, and fire. They are also less susceptible to damage from natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of shipping container tiny homes is their affordability. Compared to traditional homes, tiny container homes can be much cheaper to build and maintain.

Eco-Friendly

Building a shipping container tiny home is an eco-friendly option that helps reduce waste and carbon footprint. By repurposing a used shipping container instead of new container, you are giving new life to materials that would otherwise go to waste. This approach is a great way to reduce the need for new building materials, which helps conserve natural resources.

Furthermore, shipping container homes are energy-efficient, which means they require less energy to heat and cool. This reduces the overall carbon footprint of the home and helps protect the environment.

Versatility

Another benefit of shipping container tiny homes is their versatility. They can be customized meet your specific needs and preferences. They can be designed to accommodate any lifestyle, from minimalist to luxurious. Some people use them as vacation homes, while others live in them full-time. They can also be used as guest houses, home offices, or even as short-term rentals.

Shipping containers can also be stacked or combined to create larger living spaces or multi-level homes.

What are the drawbacks of shipping container tiny homes?

While shipping container tiny homes have become increasingly popular in recent years, they do come with some disadvantages that should be considered before making a decision to purchase or build one. Here are some of the main drawbacks:

Sizes

There are only two standard container lengths, 20-feet and 40-feet, and two heights, 8.5-feet and 9.5-feet. All standard models are 8-feet wide. This means you can only have a 160-square-foot or 320-square-foot tiny house container.

However, you can get creative by combining containers. CargoHome built the Helm, which is a two story home with a 20-foot container stacked on a 40-foot container. Customer Container Living created the Happy Twogether, which consists of two 20-foot containers side-by-side and offset a couple feet.

Insulation

Shipping containers are made of metal, which means they can get very hot or very cold depending on the weather. Proper insulation is crucial to making a shipping container house comfortable to live in, but it can also be costly.

Permits

Obtaining building permits for a shipping container home can be difficult in some areas. Some local governments may not be familiar with the concept of shipping container homes, which can lead to delays and extra expenses.

Transportation

Shipping containers are designed to be transported by semi truck, train, or cargo ship. Moving a shipping container home from one location to another can be difficult and expensive, especially if the home is not designed to be easily disassembled and reassembled.

Despite these disadvantages, shipping container tiny homes can still be a viable option for those who are willing to put in the time, effort, and money required to make them comfortable and livable. It’s important to carefully consider all of the pros and cons before making a decision.

What companies build shipping container tiny homes?

There are several tiny home builders throughout the US that specialize in container homes. A few of the most popular are:

CargoHome

CargoHome is a company based in Waco, Texas that specializes in turning shipping containers into elegant and efficient living spaces. They offer a variety of floor plans and custom options to fit your specific needs and budget. Their portable tiny homes are perfect for a weekend getaway or a guest house. They also have their own rental units available through Airbnb (Mainsail, Helm, and Anchor).

Backcountry Containers

Backcountry Containers – Houston, TX – A family-owned and operated company that builds unique and modern dwelling structures using a combination of 20- and 40-foot containers. They offer both standard and custom container structures, and their builds are designed to stand the test of time. Their homes are perfect for those who want to live off the grid or in remote locations.

Custom Container Living

Custom Container Living – Archie, MO – Established in 2015 by Robert Wagoner, Custom Container Living provides quality shipping container homes for full-time homes, vacation cabins, rentals, or even a business property. Most of their floorplans are certified modular homes, which helps ease your ability to get financing and municipality approvals.

Alternative Living Spaces

Alternative Living Spaces is a Las Vegas-based company that specializes in building tiny homes using shipping containers. They offer a variety of models ranging from 160 to 320 square feet, and they can be customized to fit your individual needs. Their homes are designed to be energy-efficient and sustainable, making them a great choice for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

These are just a few of the many companies that specialize in building shipping container tiny homes. When choosing a company, be sure to do your research and choose one that has a solid reputation and a track record of building quality homes.

Living Area - hâB Shipping Container Tiny Home
hâB Shipping Container Tiny Home

Can you DIY a shipping container tiny home?

You can! A great example is the hâB Shipping Container Tiny Home, built by Tomas Ryan. He did a great job journaling his DIY adventure.

Want to see some more cool shipping container tiny houses?

We’ve featured quite a few over the years! Here are some examples:

  • Mainsail by CargoHome
    The 40-foot Mainsail features a main floor bedroom and rooftop deck. The tiny container home was built by Texas-based CargoHome and is available for nightly rental through Airbnb. Made from a repurposed shipping container, the exterior finish combines dark cedar siding with the original metal container. The rooftop deck is accessed by a spiral staircase …
  • Lake Cabin by Custom Container Living
    This 40′ Lake Cabin tiny house is actually a shipping container! The builder, Custom Container Living, gave it a raised gable roof, making it look like a regular house instead of a container home. The 380-square-foot container home has a rustic exterior with cedar lap siding, metal roof, and full light french doors. The modern …
  • Woodsy Shipping Container Tiny Home
    Located in South Austin, the Woodsy Shipping Container tiny home provides guests a prime spot close to South Congress (SoCo) and all of the hip boutiques, original eateries, and live music shows the area has to offer. The modern style container home was designed by JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers of “The Bachelorette” and was …
  • Portable Hotel Room by Contained
    From Australian-based design firm, Contained, is this 20-foot shipping container repurposed into a portable hotel room. The container is easy to ship nearly anywhere in the world and can quickly open into an individual hotel room. The 20-foot container has a slide-out queen size bedroom, a living room with herringbone flooring, and a dark color …
  • hâB Shipping Container Tiny Home
    Tomas Ryan built his own shipping container tiny home and kept a detailed journal and pictures of his DIY adventure. Named “The hâB,” the total cost for his home was ~$25,000 and 288 hours of his “inexperienced labor including mistakes, redos, and various other life distractions.” Tomas used a recycled high-cube container that measures 40-foot …
  • Rustic Retreat XL by Backcountry Containers
    The Rustic Retreat XL is a 40′ shipping container tiny house built by Backcountry Containers, located outside Houston, Texas. The 270-square-foot home was featured in season four of Tiny House, Big Living! Jon Meier, the owner of Backcountry Containers, built this custom Rustic Retreat XL for his sister-in-law, Emily Flowers. The container house includes a …
  • Helm by CargoHome
    From Waco, Texas-based CargoHome is the Helm, a two-story shipping container tiny home. The home has two bedrooms with queen size beds and an air mattress in the living area, providing accommodations for up to six people. The home is available for nightly rental through Airbnb. The Helm consists of a 40-foot bottom container and …
  • Happy Twogether by Custom Container Living
    Made from two 20’ repurposed steel shipping containers, the Happy Twogether provides a more traditional house layout than a tiny house on wheels. The shipping container tiny house was built by Custom Container Living in Archie, Missouri. The main floor bedroom and living room are in one container while the main entryway, kitchen, and bathroom are in the …
  • Green Creek Shipyard Tiny House 2.0
    Located in North Carolina, the Green Creek Shipyard Tiny House 2.0 is a stunning custom-built shipping container home available for nightly rental through Airbnb. The 40′ shipping container tiny home was designed and built by three siblings. The home is located on a secluded piece of property that shares with one other tiny house, the …
  • Green Creek Shipyard Tiny House
    Featuring a massive 18’x23′ deck with spiral staircase, hot tub, fire pit, and pond, the Green Creek Shipyard takes luxury tiny living to a whole new level. Located in Green Creek, North Carolina, the 40′ shipping container tiny home is available for nightly rental through Airbnb. The tiny house has a 10′ glass garage door …
  • A Tiny Slice of Heaven by Alternative Living Spaces
    A Tiny Slice of Heaven is a 33-foot container home built by Alternative Living Spaces. The home is being used as a short term rental property in Denver, Colorado. The 264-square-foot tiny container home was converted into a studio with a full bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. The home can accommodate up to four people between …
  • Weekender by Custom Container Living
    This Weekender model is a shipping container tiny house with a rustic log cabin theme. Built by Custom Container Living in Archie, Missouri, the 20′ container home has a cozy interior with its stained wood walls, floors, and cabinets. The exterior of the house is wrapped in stained pine log siding and has two entry …
  • Calico by Katz Box
    For his senior thesis project at the Columbus College of Art and Design, industrial design student Tobias Katz designed and built this tiny house out of a 20-foot shipping container. Tobias then founded Katz Box, LLC, a design-build company that produces tiny living spaces in up-cycled shipping containers. Named the Calico, the shipping container tiny …
  • Old Stick Lounge
    Located in Leander, Texas – 35 miles from downtown Austin – is the Old Stick Lounge, a 40-foot shipping container house available for nightly rental through Airbnb. The countryside getaway resides on the seven acre Old Stick Ranch. Built out of an up-cycled 40-foot shipping container, the home provides accommodations for up to five guests …
  • Empty Nester by Custom Container Living
    The Empty Nester is a 40-foot steel shipping container home built by Custom Container Living in Archie, Missouri. This is their most popular model, featuring a main floor master bedroom and guest bedroom loft. The exterior of this model combines corrugated metal, stucco stone, and vinyl siding. Full light french doors lead into the main …
  • Modern Empty Nester by Custom Container Living
    From Custom Container Living is this 320-square-foot modern style Empty Nester with main floor bedroom and guest bedroom loft. The steel shipping container makes this one of the strongest tiny houses available. The Empty Nester container house features a large galley kitchen with full size appliances, granite countertops, and full backsplash. Upper and lower cabinets …
  • Anchor by CargoHome
    The Anchor is a 160-square-foot shipping container tiny house built by CargoHome. The house is located in Waco, Texas and is available for nightly rental through Airbnb. The shipping container is 20-feet long by 8-feet wide. CargoHome kept the original container doors, but replaced the steel panels with glass for a picturesque view and lots …
  • Blue Steel Tiny Container Home
    Located in The Cedars neighborhood of downtown Dallas, the Blue Steel Tiny Container Home gives you a chance to try out tiny living while having easy access to everything Dallas has to offer. The Blue Steel has two bedrooms and provides accommodations for up to four guests. The master bedroom has a main floor queen …
  • ATL Eco Container Unit One
    You can experience tiny living the next time you visit Atlanta! The ATL Eco Container is a 20-foot shipping container tiny home available for nightly rental through Airbnb. This tiny home is part of an urban retreat and utilizes reclaimed materials. Vibrant colors are used throughout the home. The bedding, towels, and products are mostly …
  • Zion by Alternative Living Spaces
    From Las Vegas-based Alternative Living Spaces is the Zion, a 20-foot shipping container home. The 165-square-foot home has double full light front doors and large windows. To create the french doors, Alternative Living Spaces used the original shipping container doors and cut out space for the windows. This allowed for abundant natural light while salvaging …
  • Temecula Wine Country Tiny Container Home
    This tiny container home allows you to experience tiny living while enjoying Southern California’s Temecula Wine Country! The home is available for nightly rental through Airbnb. The tiny home was built from an upcycled 20-foot shipping container. It now sits at the edge of a 3-acre vineyard, overlooking rows of cabernet sauvignon grapes. Inside the …
  • Big Island Container Home
    Built out of an up-cycled shipping container, this 160-square-foot container home is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. The home offers guests easy access to Hawaii’s black sand beaches. The container home was converted into a studio space with hardwood floors, queen size futon, and kitchenette. In the kitchenette is a two burner induction …
  • City by Alternative Living Spaces
    The City is a rustic chic shipping container home designed and built by Alternative Living Spaces. The Las Vegas-based builder used a standard 8’x20′ shipping container to create this 160-square-foot home. The exterior is solid white with a window box under the front window and a repurposed wood pallet for flowers on the other side …
  • ATL Eco Container Unit Two
    Made from a 20-foot repurposed shipping container, this Airbnb rental allows you to experience tiny living when you visit Atlanta, Georgia. The tiny container home is tucked away in an eco-friendly urban retreat in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta. The ATL Eco Container was built and decorated using upcycled and recycled materials, original artwork from …
  • Tiny House by Cargo Builders
    With its full rooftop deck, this 160-square-foot shipping container tiny house by Cargo Builders creates a great outdoor space for entertaining. The home is made from a standard 20-foot shipping container and covered with a wood facade. The Long Beach, California tiny house builder created the outdoor living space with planter boxes along the staircase, …
  • Payette by Live Simply Homes
    The Payette is a 40-foot shipping container tiny house from Phoenix-based Live Simply Homes. The southwest style house has a stucco exterior and stucco stone on either side of the double french doors. A large fold down deck provides a great space to enjoy the outdoors. Inside the 320-square-foot container home is a 10’x8′ main …
  • Intellectual by Roostspace
    The Intellectual is a 320-square-foot shipping container tiny house with a main floor bedroom, electric fireplace, and two double French doors. The builder, Roostspace, is located in Longmont, Colorado. The kitchen features sleek, modern cabinets, an induction cooktop, and full size stainless steel appliances including a convection microwave with sensory cooking and a dishwasher drawer. …
  • Freedom by Minimalist Homes
    Milford, Michigan-based Minimalist Homes built the Freedom shipping container house using a minimalist industrial theme to reduce its impact on the environment. The 40′ high-cube container house is 8′ wide and 9.5′ tall, providing an extra foot of height compared to standard containers. The exterior is a sleek, dark gray with reclaimed wood trim around …