Shipping container Houses

February 9, 2016


Container Guest House, by Jim

How Long Will My Shipping Container Home Last For Blog CoverToday the ContainerHomePlans team want to address a very logical and common question that we receive through email multiple times each week. Once people start to seriously consider building a home out of shipping containers, the logical next step is to try and work out the cost of doing such as opposed to building a traditional brick house or a wooden house. In order to work this cost out we need to take into account how long our house will last for; because if our cheap home is only habitable for five years, then over several decades rebuilding our home countless times is going to cost a lot more than investing in more expensive materials at the very start and building the home once (dramatic, but you get the idea!).

So this article will address how long shipping container homes last and compare this to two other viable options; traditional brick homes and wooden houses.

Shipping Container Homes

Now, the first question to address is: are you going to be using new or used containers for your home? ‘Used once’ containers are a very popular choice because they’ve only been used to ship products once, so you get them a lot cheaper than new containers and you don’t end up with a beat-up container that’s seen years of service!

An artists shipping container retreatWe’ve been in touch with various suppliers to enquire about the length of time containers last for. The consensus seems to be that a new shipping container will last for over 25 years without any form of maintenance. Obviously this figure will vary depending on the climate the shipping container in also; however a minimum of 25 years seems like a fair representation.

What if my container is used, how long will it last?

Heavily used containers tend to be around 10 years old when they come out of service, so assuming you’ve purchased one of these containers you should have at least 15 good years from the containers before you need to perform any maintenance repairs on it. With used containers others factors apply such as whether they have any heavy dents or rust when they were purchased.

Extending the Lifespan

Old Annapolis MarylandYou can take simple but effective measures to extend the length of your shipping container home dramatically. If you use a form of external cladding for your containers it can add decades onto the lifespan of your home. A good cladding won’t be damaged by rot and termites and can last over 50 years! Another effective measure that can be used is undertaking restoration action as soon as you notice either rust or corrosion. The longer you leave the rust un-treated the more damage it can do so; treating it early will limit this damage.

To conclude, it’s very tricky to place a figure on this because we haven’t been building with shipping containers long enough yet to have examples. However we know that storage facilities made from steel have already lasted decades so there’s no reason why shipping container homes can’t.

Traditional Brick Homes

Let’s now turn our attention to a traditional brick home, which are very popular in countries such as England and Germany. In England you can find examples of brick homes that date back to the 1500’s (Apethorpe Hall) and use durable materials such as slate, brick and hardwood. Such examples are now the envy of countries throughout the world as these building provide incredible heritage and culture.

Like with shipping containers, the average length of time a traditional brick house will last varies depending on numerous factors, however for the sake of comparison we will attempt to single a digit out for you!

Source: www.containerhomeplans.org
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