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Shipping Container Homes vs Tiny Houses

Updated on:
May 6, 2024
Shipping Container Homes Vs Tiny Houses

Image Source: Canva

Steelbox shipping containers revolutionized global trade in the 1950s, offering a secure and efficient way to transport goods across oceans. These versatile containers are now widely used for storage, construction, and even as alternative housing solutions, such as tiny houses.

With their durable steel construction and standardized sizes, steel box shipping containers provide a cost-effective and eco-friendly option for various needs, including tiny houses. 

Let's explore the endless possibilities and benefits of utilizing steel box shipping containers, not only for storage and construction but also for creating unique and sustainable tiny houses in today's world.

Basics of Steel Box Shipping Containers

Types and Sizes

Steel box shipping containers come in various types and sizes to cater to different needs. Standard containers are 20 feet long, while high cube containers offer extra height. These containers also come in 40-foot and even 45-foot lengths.

  • Standard containers: 20 feet
  • High cube containers: extra height
  • 40-foot and 45-foot lengths available

Construction Materials

These containers are primarily made of COR-TEN steel, known for its durability and resistance to corrosion. The walls are typically 1.9mm thick, providing strength and protection for goods during transportation.

  • Made of COR-TEN steel
  • Walls are 1.9mm thick for durability

Common Uses

Steel box shipping containers have a wide range of applications beyond just transporting goods across oceans. They are commonly used as storage units, mobile offices, and even as the basis for innovative architectural projects like container homes and tiny houses. These compact living spaces have gained popularity for their affordability and sustainability. Tiny houses are a great option for those looking to downsize and live a more minimalist lifestyle. With the versatility of steel box shipping containers, they can easily be transformed into cozy and functional tiny houses that are perfect for individuals or small families.

  • Storage units
  • Mobile offices
  • Container homes

Benefits of Using Steel Containers

Durability and Strength

Steel containers are known for their exceptional durability, capable of withstanding harsh conditions and heavy loads. They are resistant to corrosion, ensuring a longer lifespan compared to other materials.

  • Withstand extreme weather conditions
  • Resist wear and tear effectively

Security Features

Steel containers provide excellent security, protecting goods from theft and vandalism efficiently. Their robust construction and lockable doors offer peace of mind for storage and transportation needs.

  • Secure locking mechanisms
  • Deter unauthorized access effectively

Weather Resistance

Steel containers offer superior weather resistance, keeping contents safe from moisture and environmental elements. They prevent water leakage, maintaining the integrity of stored items in various climates.

  • Protect against rain and humidity
  • Prevent mold and mildew growth effectively


Steel containers and tiny houses are environmentally friendly, as they are recyclable and reusable, reducing waste significantly. Their sustainable nature makes them a preferred choice for eco-conscious individuals and businesses looking to minimize their environmental impact. Tiny houses are another great option for those seeking eco-friendly living solutions, as they often utilize recycled materials and have a smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional homes. Incorporating tiny houses into your lifestyle can not only help reduce waste but also promote a more sustainable way of living. When considering eco-friendliness, both Steel containers and tiny houses are excellent choices for those looking to make a positive impact on the environment.

  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Promote sustainability in logistics operations

Choosing the Right Container

New vs Used

When considering new steel box shipping containers, you benefit from pristine conditions and the latest features. However, these come at a premium price. On the other hand, used containers are more budget-friendly but might have wear and tear.

  • New
  • Pristine condition
  • Latest features
  • Used
  • Budget-friendly
  • Potential wear and tear

Size Requirements

Selecting the right size is crucial when choosing a steel container. Consider your storage needs carefully to avoid running out of space or paying for unnecessary capacity. Common sizes include 20-foot and 40-foot containers.

  • Consider storage needs
  • Avoid insufficient space
  • Prevent unnecessary costs

Inspection Tips

Before finalizing your purchase, conduct a thorough inspection of the container. Look for any signs of rust, dents, or structural damage that could compromise its integrity. Check the doors, floors, and walls for any defects.

  1. Inspect for rust, dents, or damage
  2. Ensure structural integrity
  3. Check doors, floors, and walls meticulously
Image Source: Canva

Customization Options

Insulation and Ventilation

Steel box shipping containers offer various insulation options to maintain optimal temperatures inside. Adding insulation helps in preserving goods during transportation, especially for perishable items.

  • Pros:some text
    • Maintains temperature
    • Protects goods from extreme weather conditions
  • Cons:some text
    • Adds weight to the container
    • Increases overall cost

For ventilation, containers can be customized with vents to regulate airflow. Proper ventilation is crucial for preventing moisture buildup and maintaining air quality inside the container.

Doors and Windows

Containers can be fitted with different types of doors, including roll-up doors or cargo doors, based on specific requirements. The choice of door impacts accessibility and security.

  • Key Information:some text
    • Roll-up doors are convenient for frequent access.
    • Cargo doors provide enhanced security features.

When it comes to windows, containers can be equipped with fixed or sliding windows. Windows allow natural light into the container, making it suitable for various purposes like offices or living spaces.

Interior Modifications

Interior modifications involve adding shelves, racks, partitions, or lighting fixtures to customize the space according to needs. These modifications enhance functionality and organization within the container.

Maintenance and Care

Rust Prevention

Steel box shipping containers are prone to rust due to exposure to moisture and harsh weather conditions. To prevent rust, apply a high-quality rust-resistant primer and paint regularly. Inspect the container for any signs of rust and treat them promptly with rust inhibitors.

Regularly inspecting the container's exterior for rust spots is crucial in preventing extensive damage. Apply a coat of rust-resistant paint as soon as you notice any signs of corrosion. Keeping the container elevated off the ground can help prevent moisture buildup.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the longevity of steel box shipping containers. Clean the exterior with a mild detergent and water solution to remove dirt, grime, and salt deposits. Avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch the surface.

To ensure proper ventilation and prevent mold growth, clean the interior of the container regularly. Use a disinfectant solution to eliminate any bacteria or mold spores that may have accumulated inside.

Repair Techniques

In case of minor damages such as dents or scratches, use epoxy filler or automotive body filler to repair the affected areas. For more severe damages like holes or punctures, welding techniques can be employed to restore the structural integrity of the container.

Inspecting the container regularly, applying rust prevention methods, conducting regular cleaning, and employing appropriate repair techniques are essential steps in maintaining steel box shipping containers for long-term use.

Closing Thoughts

You now grasp the essence of steel box shipping containers, from their basics to customization options and maintenance. By understanding their benefits and how to choose the right one, you're ready to make an informed decision. Remember, regular care ensures longevity and optimal performance. Embrace the versatility of steel containers for your shipping needs, tailored to suit your requirements.

Explore the world of steel box shipping containers confidently. Make choices that align with your goals and needs. Your well-maintained container will be a reliable companion in your shipping endeavors.

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