Thinking of purchasing a shipping container home, but don’t know how long it will last?

All over the world, there have been innovations in housing. These innovations range from changes in design to changes in materials progressively to the use of unconventional building materials. The need to cut costs and avoid wastage has brought about the use of shipping containers for housing. Statistics have shown that approximately 1.5 million containers are shipped through Port Houston yearly.

However, to use this material, you would be interested in knowing how long container homes last.

Shipping containers are made from strong metals, typically corten steel. They are built strong to withstand harsh weather. This is because the ships that carry them are exposed to the elements (sun, water, salt, etc.). Nevertheless, these metals do not completely resist corrosion. 

Shipping Companies use shipping containers for 10 – 12 years before they are discarded.  At this point, the containers may not be able to serve logistics purposes anymore. They are now relegated from logistics and recycled or assigned to serve a new purpose and start a new life span. Homes are expected to be durable investments. They are not things you want to change every now and then. Therefore, one of the frequently asked questions is what the shipping container home life span is? 

Well, the average life span of a container home is 25 – 30 years. We have used the word ‘average’ because durability can be affected by several factors. The life of a shipping container home is largely affected by the weather. For instance, a container home exposed to the sun’s UV-rays and water will corrode faster than one with lesser exposure. Corrosion can quickly depreciate a shipping container home. The implication is that harsh weather can even cause these homes to under live the estimated average.


How to Extend Shipping Container Home Life Span

It is clear from the preceding that the life span here is not defined. You can influence how long your shipping container home lasts.  It would be best if you were intentional about caring for these homes. You can determine how long your container home lasts. Below are some ways to extend the life of a shipping container home. 

container home life span

1. Buy factory-built container homes

This is a perfect way to measure the durability of your container homes. Most factory-built container homes are made from new containers.  Most of these containers have only been used for a single trip. The implication is that they still have their durability intact. They are free from dents and rusts, unlike those that have gone out of service. 

If you get a factory-built home, you have automatically subscribed to durability. Your shipping container home life span would have moved from 25 years to over 40 years. The supposed 10 – 12 years of use by the shipping company will be yours in this case. 

Many states in the USA have approved the use of shipping container homes as alternative housing units. Some of these states include Texas, California, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Oregon. This development has seen the emergence of many container home companies. It implies that getting a factory-built container home is not difficult. Some of these companies include,

  • Quick Build (Bernardsville, New Jersey)
  • Numen Development, LLC (Houston, Texas)
  • Office of Mobile Design (Los Angeles, California)

2. Engage the services of a reputable container modification service

A good container modification service will help clean the rusted area before modification. This will help protect the container from further corrosion. Rust is the major factor when it comes to the deterioration of shipping container homes. 

If rust is checked, it will help your container home last much longer. The rust checking has to be a periodic exercise to ensure that durability is enhanced.

container home insulation

3. Go for Insulating and Cladding

Insulation is a kind of material specifically designed to prevent heat from moving through the walls of your container home. Not just the wall, even the ceiling, and floor. Heat control is essential for increasing your shipping container home average life span. Insulation traps air and other gases in a complex matrix of tiny cells or passages. This will prevent your container home from being too cold in the winter and being too hot in the summer. 

Cladding here refers to covering your container home with an external layer such as wood. It serves to protect the container home from harsh weather. Consequently, it elongates the life of your shipping container home. Sound insulation and cladding are likely to alley every fear of depreciation. The layer of wood will serve as protection, while insulation will ensure a safe temperature. 

4. Regular Painting

It is common knowledge that painting is a good form of maintenance for metals. When metals are threatened by corrosion, painting can help to maintain them. In fact, painting is the most familiar way of maintaining metals. Oil paint is to metal what a cocoon is to a larva. 

In Africa, the most popular cement brand, Dangote Cement, is perhaps the highest container homes user. The company distributes shipping containers to their wholesale customers to serve as shops. In every city in Nigeria, you find Dangote branded container homes in uncountable quantities. 

It is worthy of note that the only maintenance given to these container homes is periodic painting. Now and then, the company repaints these shipping container homes. Each time they are repainted, they appear just as new as they came.



In conclusion, it could be said that you cannot really say how long shipping container homes last. It is believed by many persons to be between 25 and 30 years, but that is not certain. 

The maintenance options provided above would definitely keep your shipping container home in good shape for well over 50 years. The life span of any commodity that responds to maintenance may not be easily ascertained. Many factors indeed determine the life span of a container home. 

These factors include the type of metal, weather, and chiefly the user’s maintenance culture.  If a corten steel material home is adequately maintained, it can last a century.


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