How to Design Your Own Shipping Container Home

  • DIY Shipping Container House

    Handy in home construction or project management? Consider a DIY shipping container house as the ultimate project experience.

    Building a home yourself takes some planning, some research (depending on your current skill set) and, of course, some patience. However, going the do-it-yourself route in building your own shipping container home is a worthy endeavor. We’ve already discussed the benefits of using those used shipping containers, but how about what’s involved in actually making your own home from start to finish?

    The more of the project you take on yourself, the lower your costs will be as long as you follow the appropriate rules and regulations. Since much of the benefit of using ISBUs for home construction is the cheap material cost, you can further benefit by managing the project yourself and reduce even more of the expense associated with building a new home.

    In the video on this page, the owner built his house out of shipping containers for around $175,000 vs. the estimated cost of $400,000+ had he used traditional materials. You can see the cost savings are staggering. In addition, his house, if you like the modernistic style, was amazing and larger than the average home.

    The first thing you need to do is understand the building codes that apply in your area. See my post on building codes for shipping container homes for a list of codes for the United States.

    The next thing you need to do is find a guide that can walk you through the step by step instructions for a DIY shipping container house. Even if you have some experience with home construction, obviously building with ISBUs is a bit different and requires some special considerations because of the unique building material you’ll be using.

    Armed with the right information, you can begin laying out your own container home floor plan. Don’t rush this step. Jot down all of the things you want from your home: bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Lay out the rooms as you’d like them to be situated. You can even use regular home plans online to give you ideas of the ultimate layout.

    Use a professional tool like CAD for drafting to develop your finished container home plan. Once your plan is finalized, it becomes the outline for the steps of your project.

    One challenge will be finding the best deal on used shipping containers and knowing how to pick ones that have not corroded. The best DIY shipping container house guides will give you tips on where to find these containers, how to choose the best ones, and how to buy them for a bargain price.


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