Building a Shipping Container Home in New York - A Complete Guide | Container Home Hub (2023)

A home build project can be an incredibly rewarding challenge that many people dream about. The idea of creating a home that is perfectly suited to your needs is very attractive. However, the price and work that is required to get a project like this underway can be intimidating. Because of this, a shipping container home in New York can be an excellent alternative.

Building a Shipping Container Home in New York - A Complete Guide | Container Home Hub (1)

In this article, we have laid out everything you need to know about building a shipping container home in New York. By understanding the process and what goes into a project like this, you can give yourself a head start.

The key to finishing a home build is preparation.

With the right information, you can get yourself the best possible results and end up with a dream home.

What is a Shipping Container Home in New York?

Shipping container homes are exactly what they sound like.

They are homes built from old containers used for shipping goods all around the world. They are rectangular in shape and are designed to fit on trucks, boats, and trains. Because of their uniform size and shape, they make a perfect material for building unique custom homes.

A shipping container home in New York is a great option for all kinds of people.

They have an incredibly interesting look and can be built into almost any style. Because of the relative accessibility of shipping containers, they are also fairly easy to build.

(Video) Connecting Two Shipping Containers Together! Double Wide Home, Garage, Warehouse - DIY - NO WELDING!

If you have an eye for style and design, this could be a perfect blank canvas for your ideas.

What Are the Benefits of a Shipping Container Home?

There are many benefits of building a shipping container home in New York.

Not the least of these is the relatively low price of construction.

Because shipping containers already have the structure of a dwelling, you don’t need to do any framing. This can significantly cut down on your costs when building and save you quite a bit of money.

Building a Shipping Container Home in New York - A Complete Guide | Container Home Hub (2)

The other major benefit of building a shipping container home in New York is their durability.

Their steel construction means they have added protection against water-related issues. In an area like New York state where there is a lot of snow and moisture, this is incredibly important.

Problems like mold, rot, and mildew are not nearly as prominent and this can save you big money.

Cost of Building a Shipping Container Home in New York

The cost of building a shipping container home in New York is one of its most appealing qualities.

(Video) Mind-Blowing Modular Shipping Container Home with Open-Concept Design - Full Tour

To build one of these homes, you can expect to pay between $35,000 and $175,000. Of course, the cost will depend on things like the location and size of the actual structure. However, you can count on it costing somewhere in this price range.

The cost of building a traditional home in New York state is quite a bit higher.

A traditional home ranges from $113,000 all the way up to $882,000. As you can see, a shipping container home in New York is a much cheaper choice.

This makes them all the more accessible to people who might not otherwise be able to afford a home build.

How to Choose a Builder for a Shipping Container Home in New York

One of the most important decisions you will make for your container home project is the builder.

You should choose a builder who has experience in building this type of home. Not all construction companies will know how to get a project like this up off the ground. Choosing one that specializes in these homes will give you the best experience and results.

You will also want to choose a builder who has a good relationship with their customers.

Online reviews will tell you how a company deals with its clients and what they are like. Building a home is a very difficult and personal journey. Having a builder who is on your side is a great way to have the best possible experience with the project.

(Video) What's up with shipping container homes? The unfortunate truth revealed

  • Giant Containers – They supply new, used, and modified shipping containers globally. Giant Containers offers residential, commercial, retail, and industrial projects, committed to producing cost-effective sustainable living and working spaces.
  • Marengo Structures – They are one of a few companies in the Northeast that has extensive experience building with Shipping Containers, developing andproducing custom, modern, environmentally sustainable, and cost-effective buildings by utilizingshipping containers.
  • Contanium – They specialize in recreational homes or cabins that are affordable, maintenance-free, and movable, with minimal impact on the local and global environment.
  • Bigprototype – They are a design and fabrication firm based in Brooklyn.

Designing a Floor Plan for a Shipping Container Home

You will need to come up with a floor plan for your shipping container home in New York.

Your floor plan will determine things like how the containers are arranged. It will also let you choose how many bedrooms and bathrooms you will want for your home. The layout of your container home is incredibly important and your floor plan will help you work it out.

Building a Shipping Container Home in New York - A Complete Guide | Container Home Hub (3)

To get your floor plan designed, you should sit down and write out all your needs for your home. Then, take this list to a professional draftsman. They will be able to turn your list into a workable floor plan that is to-scale and up to code. You and your builder will then use this all throughout the construction process.

Where to Find Insurance for Your Shipping Container Home in New York

You should get insurance for your shipping container home in New York.

You will want to protect your investment and the people living in the dwelling. However, it can be difficult to get the right policy for such an unusual home. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make it much easier for yourself.

You should keep track of everything you spend while you are building your container home. Then, when the project is finished, get it appraised by a professional appraiser.

Using this information, work with an insurance agent to get the best policy for your home. It may take some work but you should be able to find coverage that will work for your budget and needs.


Building your own home is a complicated process but can be very rewarding. By understanding everything that goes into a project like this, you can be ready for every eventuality. A shipping container home in New York is a great way to get everything you want out of a house.

(Video) Building Amazing Homes & Mobile Spaces Using Shipping Containers!

If you would like more information, be sure to check out the rest of There, you will find tips and tricks from the pros. You will also find resources and builders as well as featured homes. These can help you get inspired and get you thinking about your own custom dream house.

(Video) Tiny Shipping Container Home in New York | Real Estate Investment Properties

Michael O'Connor

Building a Shipping Container Home in New York - A Complete Guide | Container Home Hub (4)

I have been a freelance writer since 2015, when I began writing content for sites such as Textbroker, Constant Content, and Zerys. Since then, I have written hundreds of articles on dozens of topics. Because of this, I have learned to write concise, well-researched content no matter what the niche may be. Writing for the big content marketing platforms has been my bootcamp. I have learned to hustle, to write cleanly, and to do it all day long. Research, though, has been by far the most valuable skill I have acquired over the years. Currently I focused on home/home improvement/DIY topics!


Does NY State allow shipping container homes? ›

Yes. Just like with a conventional house, you need to secure permits and make sure that your container house will comply to your area's building codes and policies.

How much does it cost to build a container home in NY? ›

The cost of building a shipping container home in New York is one of its most appealing qualities. To build one of these homes, you can expect to pay between $35,000 and $175,000.

How much does it cost to turn a shipping container into a house? ›

On average, it costs between $10,000-$35,000 to build a small shipping container home. However, if you plan on using multiple shipping containers, the price can increase dramatically to over $100,000.

Is it cheaper to build a house or a container home? ›

Shipping container houses are significantly cheaper to build than regular homes. They are very resource efficient and can be made to look like regular houses. You will need a building permit to build or install a container house, and you'll likely need a site plan in order to obtain the building permit.

Can I live in a shipping container on my own land? ›

It's impossible to give a definitive answer on the point of planning permission, as local planning authorities have differing regulations depending on where you live, but in broad terms a shipping container is classed as a temporary structure, and therefore are exempt from requiring planning permission.

How long do shipping container homes last? ›

Generally speaking, though, a home built from used shipping containers should last about 15 years without any major maintenance, and one built using new containers should last about 25 years. By using an effective form of external cladding, you can extend your home's lifespan by several decades.

How much does a 40 foot shipping container cost? ›

How much does it cost to rent a 40 foot container? A 40ft container can cost anything from around $2500 for a second hand unit to $8000 for a brand new one.

How long does it take to build a container home? ›

It takes between 8 and 12 weeks for Custom Container Living to build a container home.

How much is a container house? ›

The cost of a container van house can vary widely. Used 20 foot containers can cost you from PHP 60,000 to PHP 80,000 while a good quality 40 foot one can set you back PHP 135,000 to PHP 140,000. If you want to buy one that's already converted into a living space be prepared to shell out around PHP 200,000 or more.

What are the problems with container houses? ›

Shipping container structures are made from heavy steel to transport goods, so they don't feature the necessary accommodations for a traditional living area. Door holes, window holes, and snow on the roof can compromise the structural integrity of your container.

Do container homes get hot? ›

Are shipping container homes hot? A shipping container home can get very hot during warm weather without adequate insulation. Most container homes are comprised of metal shipping containers with metal siding and roofing. Metal is not a good insulator, which allows heat from outside to easily warm the interior.

What are the cons of container homes? ›

Con: Not Quite Eco-Friendly

However, these containers typically have wear and damage making them unsafe for new home construction. If you do decide to use refurbished construction you need to ensure the structural integrity of your home.

Can you insure a container house? ›

Yes you can insure the contents of a shipping container that's being used for storage on your site. You container will require a high security lock box and an insurance rated padlock (or a padlock your insurance company will recognise).

Do shipping container homes rust? ›

Container homes are no different—they are at risk of rusting if they are not handled carefully. As with many things, prevention is the first—and best—step in solving a problem. Most shipping containers are made from COR-TEN steel, which is strong, durable, and resistant to corrosion.

How do you insulate a shipping container? ›

One of the easiest and quickest ways to insulate a container home is with spray foam insulation. This insulation material can be sprayed directly onto both the interior and exterior walls of a shipping container. Many shipping containers are coated with highly toxic paints to withstand life at sea.

Do you need planning permission to build a shipping container house? ›

Long story short, it depends on the situation. From a shipping container office, to a shipping container house, if it's not taking up too much room on your land, isn't affecting neighbours or surrounding infrastructure, and it's portable, then you probably won't need planning permission.

Where can I place my shipping container home? ›

Finding land
  • A friend or relative's garden.
  • Out of town business park.
  • Residential garage block.
  • Farmer's land.
  • Church land.
  • Disused airfield.
  • Forgotten orchard.
  • Remote rural and coastal areas.

Do you need planning for a shipping container house? ›

Shipping containers are generally classed as temporary structures, so they are usually exempt from planning permission requirements. However, different authorities have different rules and regulations so you should always check with your local planning authority before placing any orders.

Are shipping containers toxic to live in? ›

Shipping container homes are made with potentially toxic materials. Paint containing toxic metals is often used to shield the exterior of the container from the elements. The floors are made from wood treated with chemicals to protect against rot and vermin.

Do container homes hold their value? ›

Do Shipping Container Homes Hold Value? Shipping container homes typically do retain their value for many years. Depending on the housing market for the area, you're likely to experience them increasing in value. They're attractive to buyers because you can deliver practically anywhere.

Do container homes keep their value? ›

So, whilst a shipping container home that has been kept in poor condition will likely depreciate in value, those that were built to an exceptional standard and are well-cared for will almost certainly fetch an attractive resale price if and when the time comes.

Are shipping containers waterproof? ›

Because the decks of the ships are exposed to the elements, containers are equipped with heavy-duty rubber door seals that keep water and wind out. So yes, shipping containers are watertight.

How much is a 53 foot shipping container? ›

You can purchase a new, one-trip, 53ft shipping container for US$22,995. The price is much higher than any standard container due to 53ft containers having specialized delivery and storage requirements.

Will a full size truck fit in a shipping container? ›

You can ship one or more cars – trucks in a forty foot container. The car – trucks should be secured by strapping. The container company can supply you with and install the restraints needed to ensure safe shipping. With proper configuration you can ship a car or truck regionally, nationally or locally with ease.

Can shipping container homes have basements? ›

Yes, a Container Home Can Have a Basement!

Whether it's a DIY project or there is a contractor involved, it just takes some time, planning and know how to execute this construction. So, yes, it's very possible to make a container into a basement!

What are the steps to build a container house? ›

6 Steps to Building a Shipping Container Home
  1. Choose Your Location. Before you can start your container home build, you need a plot of land. ...
  2. Plan Your Project. ...
  3. Get Approval for Your Building Plans. ...
  4. Prep Your Site. ...
  5. Lay the Foundations and Buy Your Containers. ...
  6. Await Delivery and Installation.
25 Mar 2021

How many shipping containers does it take to build a house? ›

The smallest shipping container can provide about 100 square feet of floor space for a shipping container home. Eight larger containers together can make a two-story house at about 1400 square feet. Hundreds of container micro-apartments together can make a huge apartment building.

Do shipping containers get struck by lightning? ›

Although it is probably a good idea to ground your container because there is a risk, albeit small, that under certain circumstances there could be a lightning strike.

Is it cheaper to build a shipping container home? ›

By contrast to traditional houses, completed shipping container homes cost far less than a traditional home, typically ranging between $10k and $35k, and a far cry from the average $300k of building a traditional home; however, there are many factors that could lead container house to a ballooning budget and the ...

How many square feet is a 40ft shipping container? ›

The 40-foot shipping container has a greater amount of floor space for a more comfortable living area. The square footage within the interior of the container is 300 square feet with a length of 30'5”, a width of 7'8”, and a height of 7'9”.

Why you shouldn't live in a shipping container? ›

There is a lot more steel in a shipping container than you actually need for a building; that's so they can be stacked full nine high and get tossed around the ocean and thrown on trucks and trains. It's really being wasted when it's put into a house.

Do container homes leak? ›

Shipping container homes with proper sealing are less likely to suffer from moisture problems compared to a standard home. Rain and water cannot penetrate the corrugated metal panels. However, without quality welding, leaks can appear at the seams.

Does a container home need a foundation? ›

You will always need a foundation for your shipping container home. This is because the ground moves a considerable amount. The ground can rise, sink or slide. This movement can be sporadic and is usually very slow.

Can a tornado lift a shipping container? ›

Since they are sometimes stacked several levels high on cargo ships, they must be fairly strong. However, if they aren't anchored strongly enough to the ground, the tornado will simply pick them up and then drop them. Tornadoes have been known to pick up entire trucks, shipping containers and all.

Do shipping container homes need insulation? ›

While sturdy and durable, a shipping container's steel walls can get very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. That means you'll definitely need insulation if you intend to use the container as a living or working space, or if you plan to store temperature-sensitive assets such as electronics or perishable goods.

How do you stop condensation in a shipping container home? ›

Ventilation. The most cost-effective and simplest way to prevent condensation is with ventilation. If you have air circulating through your shipping container, this will reduce or prevent condensation. It equalizes the air temperature in both the inside and the outside.

How do you connect two shipping containers together? ›

To combine two or more shipping containers, first, an experienced container modification manufacturer cuts the openings in the sides of the containers and reinforces the openings with steel tubing. Once the cutting and framing is complete, the containers are pushed together and combined into a larger room.

How do you cool a shipping container? ›

Let's take a closer look at seven ways to keep your shipping container cool in the summer.
  1. Install shipping container vents. ...
  2. Get a heat-proof roof. ...
  3. Install insulation. ...
  4. Get air conditioning. ...
  5. Use a dehumidifier. ...
  6. Keep the doors shut. ...
  7. Position the shipping container in the shade. ...
  8. Contact Secure Container.
5 Jul 2021

What do I need to know about shipping container homes? ›

Container homes, on the other hand, are shipping containers converted into living spaces. A lot of the time, owners combine multiple containers to create gigantic modular dwelling masterpieces. Shipping container homes give owners more flexibility and creativity over how their homes appear without breaking the bank.

How much is insurance on a shipping container? ›

Cargo insurance costs are usually a percentage of the value of the shipment or the value of the shipment plus shipping charges. Most freight brokers sell coverage for 60% of the shipment value. For every $100 worth of cargo, there's a corresponding insurance value of up to $2.

What is meant by cargo insurance? ›

What is Cargo Insurance? Insurance that generally protects shipments from loss, damage, or theft while in transit. This coverage is beyond basic claims insurance that may be provided, and it will reimburse for the designated value of the goods if a covered event occurs while the freight is in transit.

Do I need to buy insurance for self storage? ›

Most storage and self-storage companies will insist you have insurance in place before they'll let you leave your belongings. Their insurance only covers their liability if they're found to have damaged your goods. Remember, though, that storage cover isn't always provided as standard with many home insurance policies.

How do you heat a container home? ›

There are a lot of different ways to add heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) amenities to your shipping container home. This could be traditional electricity, sure; but it could also be propane tanks, solar panels, or the addition of insulation.

How do you reduce heat in a container house? ›

How Do I Keep My Container Home Cool?
  1. Install Shades.
  2. Use the Night Air.
  3. Use Your Garden.
  4. Swap Your Lights.
  5. Box Fans.
  6. Design Your Container Home to Keep Cool.
  7. Don't Use Your Oven.
  8. Portable Air Conditioning Units.
7 Sept 2022

What's the best paint for a shipping container? ›

Marine-grade paint should always be used for shipping containers. This paint is exceptionally durable and provides quality protection from the elements. Typically, an acrylic marine-grade paint is used with a satin finish.

How thick are shipping container home walls? ›

Shipping container walls are 0.075-inches thick. They feature 14-gauge corrugated steel. The frame, pillars, and rails are 7-gauge tubular steel with 0.187-inch thickness.

How thick is the floor of a shipping container? ›

The floor of a standard container has an underside clearance of approximately 6 inches (150mm) and the floor has a thickness of 27mm (1.1 inches).

How much does it cost to insulate a shipping container home? ›

In terms of cost, InSoFast offers shipping container insulation packages that range from $1,981.00 to $2,538.60 for standard 20-foot containers with 8-foot ceilings to $3,197.00 to $4,756.20 for 40-foot containers with high cube 9-foot ceilings. Orders can be customized to fit your budget and needs.

› shipping-container-house-bu... ›

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From beautiful patios to sleek micro kitchens, these repurposed shipping containers are anything but boring.

Do you need planning permission for container homes? ›

Typically, you don't need planning permission if you're building a container home on empty land or farmland. However, be aware that you may require planning permission if the use of the land changes (i.e. from agricultural to residential). So you'll need to contact your local LPA.

Do you need planning permission to put a container on your land? ›

Shipping containers are classified as temporary structures and so you do not normally need planning permission. However, it's always a good idea to check with your local authority as we can't guarantee that you won't need planning permission for a shipping container.

Where In the US Can I build a container home? ›

Best US States to Build Shipping Container Home
  • Alaska. We chose to start with Alaska because this state has no zoning requirements when it comes to affordable homes. ...
  • California. Believe it or not, California is a state that is very strict when it comes to the way land is used. ...
  • Louisiana. ...
  • Texas. ...
  • Tennessee.

What is the cheapest home to build? ›

Ranch Homes

A home with a simple and concise layout is the cheapest type of house to build. Ranch homes are typically single-story structures with attached garages. They're easy to find construction plans for and highly customizable, so you can find a home that fits your needs and budget.

Does a shipping container need a foundation? ›

You will always need a foundation for your shipping container home. This is because the ground moves a considerable amount. The ground can rise, sink or slide. This movement can be sporadic and is usually very slow.

Can you live in a converted shipping container? ›

Container homes are yet another excellent example of how old shipping containers can be recycled and converted into something innovative and functional. Not only do they offer environmental benefits, they also allow you to create a unique and affordable home.

Can I build a temporary structure on my land? ›

Planning permission for temporary structures are also required when: The structure will take up more than 25% of the available land. If the structure is a warehouse or factory extension, and will increase the size of the building by over 25% The structure will come within five metres of your site's boundary.

How much does a 20ft shipping container cost? ›

If you're looking for a 20ft reefer container, you can get one at US $12,835. The 40ft alternative costs an average of US $18,819. A typical 20ft open top container costs US $4,013. Note: The container prices here are based on thousands of transactions on the xChange trading platform in 2022.

How do you start a container home? ›

How to Build a Shipping Container Home in 7 Simple Steps - YouTube

Do you pay business rates on storage containers? ›

So, do you have to pay business rates for storage? The short answer is – no.

How long does it take to build a container house? ›

It takes between 8 and 12 weeks for Custom Container Living to build a container home.

Are shipping container homes worth it? ›

They can be more cost-effective than traditional housing.

They are typically more cost-effective than conventional housing because they require fewer building materials and labor to construct. You can lower the cost of customizing your container housing by renovating the dwelling using your DIY skills.

Can shipping container homes have basements? ›

Yes, a Container Home Can Have a Basement!

Whether it's a DIY project or there is a contractor involved, it just takes some time, planning and know how to execute this construction. So, yes, it's very possible to make a container into a basement!

Is it better to build or buy a house 2022? ›

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house? As a rule of thumb, it's cheaper to buy a house than to build one. Building a new home costs $34,000 more, on average, than purchasing an existing home. The median cost of new construction was $449,000 in May 2022.

How can I save money to build a house in 2022? ›

We've put together our top six ways to build your house, keep the costs low and save a ton of money in the process.
  1. Don't Use a Contractor. Don't get us wrong. ...
  2. Go Tiny. ...
  3. Use Reclaimed Building Material. ...
  4. Get as Much Done Cheaply or for Free. ...
  5. Keep the Design Simple. ...
  6. Skip the Fancy Finishes – For Now.
3 Sept 2022

What is the cheapest house foundation? ›

Price: Generally, slab foundations are your cheapest option when it comes to foundations, an excellent choice if budget is front-of-mind. Low Maintenance: Of all foundation-types, slabs require the least amount of maintenance, adding to their pricing value.

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