A Cost Breakdown to Designing Your Own Shipping Container Home

One of the most common reasons why people choose to design and build their own shipping container home is because they’re cheaper than purchasing a traditional home. And prices don’t seem to be getting any lower, as they’re set to rise 2% in 2017, according to Rightmove.

Shipping Container Home

Many shipping container homes are built on a budget, so you don’t need to worry about high costs if you decide to follow this route. Here at Flintham Cabins we want to make it easier for you! We offer a wide range of containers, so you can choose the ones that best suits you and your project.

When undergoing a project such as this, it’s important to know what will cost you money and where you can save it.


The Container

A good way to start is by choosing the container or containers that will be your home. This will depend on the unit you want, which includes materials and sizes. Smaller containers are cheaper, as are used ones. There are no rules about what you should definitely purchase, but if you opt for used it might be better to choose a unit that hasn’t been in use for very long, as opposed to a container that has spent its whole life at sea!

You might also want to buy all containers from the same brand or manufacturer, as everyone will have slightly different measurements that might not add up if you intend to push several containers together.

The best way to know how much a shipping container will cost you is by asking for a quote. You want quality above all, as you’re investing in the space where you’re going to live, so you need someone who can give you the best prices for the best quality.

Shipping Containers

The Insulation

You might be tempted to forego this step and use the budget for something else. Our advice is, don’t! If you opt out of insulating your container – or if the insulation is not properly done – you won’t feel comfortable living in the unit. Shipping containers are too cold during winter and too hot during summer.

You can choose from several types of insulation, such as spray foam, panel, or blanket. The blanket insulation is the cheapest but requires wooden batten to be fitted to the container first, which reduces the amount of space available inside the unit.

This is one of those things that you shouldn’t cut corners on. After all, if you’re going to design your own home, you might as well do it properly!


The Foundations

Sure, this is not a mandatory step at all. You can build a container home without placing it on a foundation. However, a shipping container is made from metal and, while they’re incredibly resistant to rust, they’re susceptible to wear and tear over time.

If you choose not to have foundations, you run the risk of rainwater accumulating at the base and infiltrating your home – and even shifting the unit. You might also find your home invaded by little critters, such as insects, all the time. A cement foundation can keep your container free of trouble!

Shipping Container Home

External Cladding

This is where you can save money, as external cladding can be optional. If you’re looking for a contemporary, industrial look, then you may want to paint the container and that’s it. Job done. If you want it to look a little more like a traditional home, you can look into several types of cladding, such as stucco and timber.


We’ll leave you with one of the most famous examples shipping container homes is the ‘Containers of Hope’, designed by Benjamin Garcia Saxe. The Peralta family wanted a home that would allow them to see the beautiful landscapes that Costa Rica provides at all times – and wanted to avoid getting themselves into debt.

Their decision cost them only $40,000 USD (approximately £33,000) and gave them a beautiful and comfortable home to live in – not to mention luxurious!

Container homes are a cheaper alternative to traditional ones, but they don’t have to be less attractive or comfortable. The pricing range of a container home will vary depending on what you want, but you can be confident that you can still design one with a tight budget.

If you’re looking to build your very own container home and join the ranks of thousands of other shipping container homeowners around the world, Flintham Cabins is the perfect starting point. The variety of units we offer allows you to choose the best container for your needs and, of course, budget!

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