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A Look At Shipping Container Apartments

Updated: Jul 21


Shipping containers are being used to build all types of structures, from mobile restaurants and cafes to permanent houses. While shipping container houses are in demand, one type of shipping container structure that is growing in popularity is shipping container apartments.


Shipping containers are huge building blocks, so it makes sense to put many of them together and build houses or full apartments. Just like any other type of house, there are advantages and disadvantages to shipping container apartments. In this article, we will try to explain some of the common problems and advantages of shipping container apartments.


Thoughts On Shipping Container Apartments

Advantages Of Shipping Container Apartments


  • They are cheap: Building an apartment requires proper planning, you would need to foresee future problems and challenges. In general, you know exactly what an apartment will look like when it’s finished before you even lay the foundation. If you consider the fact that the shipping containers which will be used in the apartment are all made and customized in a factory, you will realize how efficient it is to build them. Faster work and higher quality are virtually assured, as almost any factory can do things faster and better than in-site construction. Add that to the fact that you will lose far less building materials and installation labor and you have a much cheaper building.


  • They are portable: For many types of housing, it is actually invaluable to be portable. You can move an entire apartment with ease, since the building blocks are easily disassembled, and are designed and built for transportation. This can be very useful in multiple circumstances. You can set up residence for an entire workforce in a matter of few days, you can allocate people who need housing due to natural disasters or conflicts. There is always need for fast accessible housing, and shipping container apartments can play that role perfectly.


  • They are durable: Shipping containers are made of conjugated steel. They are built to endure all types of weather conditions; from massive storms to hot and dry deserts. Usually, a great number of these shipping containers are stacked on top of each other during long periods of transportation on ships, so putting them on top of each other for long periods of time is something they have been built for.


  • They are modular: For apartments, having modular building blocks is very convenient. You can have many shipping containers of the same design built in a factory and just ship them to a location and install them. This is also convenient for moving them as well; you wouldn’t need to match shipping containers exactly as they were before; you would just need to find one or more of each type of block that you require and add them up to have an apartment unit ready.


  • They are highly customizable: As shipping container buildings are gaining more and more popularity, more and more designers and architects are getting involved in their modification processes, and the results are highly variable and, in many cases, simply stunning. Aesthetics which can be a problem with a simple unmodified container have become one of the most appealing qualities of shipping container buildings and apartments. Shipping container apartments are among the trendiest types of apartments.


Thoughts On Shipping Container Apartments


  • They are eco-friendly: There are millions of unused shipping containers in the world. Usually, it makes sense for shipping companies to buy new containers or build them instead of shipping them back and forth, it just costs less time and money. Putting those unused shipping containers into use is actually doing a service to the environment. Also, a high percentage of the steel used to build shipping containers is recycled, and the steel can be recycled after being used for a long time in service as well.

There are many more advantages with shipping container apartments, we just listed some common ones. Now let’s talk about some of their disadvantages as well.

Disadvantages Of Shipping Container Apartments


  • Dimensions: There isn’t much variation in the dimensions of shipping containers. There are different lengths to them, but the width and the height are mostly the same. These dimensions might not be very appealing at first glance. The height, in particular, can be a problem. The most common height of a shipping container is 2.6 meters (8 feet 6 inches). That number can be reduced by the addition of insulation and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). But the fact is that the average height of ceilings in normal apartments is between 2.6 and 2.75 meters, so the shipping container’s height isn’t that bad. Plus, you can always stack two or more shipping containers on top of each other and remove their ceilings or floors to get a lot more space. This can be done horizontally as well to add more space to rooms.


  • Insulation: Shipping containers are generally not insulated, and insulating them comes with its own set of challenges. An uninsulated shipping container can be very uncomfortable to live in, as it can be extremely warm or unbearably cold in different seasons. As we mentioned before, when space is a premium, removing some space for insulation adds to the problem. But insulation is not a problem that cannot be fixed either, just look at freezer containers that have been in use for decades to move food and other sensitive goods. It would be impossible to keep everything frozen if proper insulation is not present. As for space, it is always possible to insulate the outer part of a wall rather than the inner side, that way you wouldn’t need to worry about reducing the space.


  • Rusting: This won’t be a problem everywhere, but at some locations, it’s worth mentioning. Shipping containers are made of steel, and that steel can rust if it’s not properly cared for. In humid climates, where decay is much more visible in pretty much everything, the risk of rusting is far more than in drier locations, where rusting won’t be a big problem in normal circumstances. However, the rusting of shipping containers can be controlled with proper maintenance, and it can be less costly than repairing a normal building.

In general, we believe that the advantages of shipping container apartments outweigh their disadvantages if used properly. Here at Green Box Container, we have years of experience in building and modifying all types of shipping containers. If you are considering building a shipping container apartment, contact us.


We will be with you every step of the way, from design to building and delivering them. We will prepare a 2D model based on your thoughts, modify that model and make new ones according to your wishes, and when you approve the model, we will build and deliver them to you within 30 days. Take a look at our website and social media for ideas and inspirations and contact us!


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