A Guide to Container Home Installation

Container homes offer a unique and sustainable alternative to traditional housing. They are faster and more affordable than other options, and they also have a different installation process. We’ll walk you through the necessary steps to ensure you’re ready when its time to deliver your container home.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Container Home?

The timeline for building a container home can vary depending on the complexity of the design and the availability of materials. If you order a basic container home, your delivery time may only be a week. However, specific customization options and amenities can add on several more weeks to the process.

When you work with the team at Preferred Homes, they’ll keep you updated on the process and estimated delivery date so you can be ready when the time comes.


Preparing for a Container Home Installation

Before the first container arrives on your property, there's significant groundwork to be done. Here's what you need to know to set the stage for a smooth container home installation process.

Obtain the Necessary Permits

Navigating the permitting process is the first critical step in preparing for your container home installation. Local building codes and zoning regulations can vary significantly, so it's essential to consult with your local authorities early on. Securing the necessary permits before beginning construction will ensure that your project complies with legal requirements, so you can avoid costly delays and modifications down the line.

The team at Preferred Homes has years of experience with permits and home installations in Mid- and West Michigan, and they’ll be happy to work with you to make sure everything is clear for you to move forward with your container home installation.


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Choose a Container Home Foundation

Selecting the right foundation is crucial for the stability and longevity of your container home. There are several different types of container home foundations, and each option has its own set of advantages and considerations, ranging from cost to terrain adaptability. Your choice should be informed by the specific needs of your project, including the soil type of your land and the design of your home.


These involve driving steel, concrete, or wood posts into the ground to support the container's corners. Pier foundations are relatively inexpensive and are perfect for uneven terrains or areas prone to flooding since they elevate the container above ground level. They also allow for easy access to utility connections underneath the home and they can be less invasive to the natural landscape.

A slab or slab-on-grade foundation is a single layer of concrete, several inches thick, poured directly on the ground. This container home foundation is ideal for level sites, and it provides a stable and durable platform for shipping container homes. Slab foundations require proper preparation and reinforcement to avoid cracking and to ensure they can support the weight of the containers.

This type of shipping container base involves creating a continuous strip of concrete or masonry beneath the load-bearing edges of the container home. Strip foundations are effective for supporting the walls of the container, and they’re suitable for soils that have a good bearing capacity. These foundations are more labor-intensive than pier foundations but provide excellent stability for container homes, especially in areas with variable soil conditions.

Raft foundations, also known as mat foundations, involve a large concrete slab that covers the entire area beneath the container home. This foundation type is used when the soil-bearing capacity is low or when the structure's load needs to be distributed across a large area. Raft foundations are more expensive and labor-intensive than other types, but they offer superior stability and are ideal for soft or unstable soils.

Integrating utilities into a container home requires some upfront planning. Electricity, plumbing, and HVAC systems need to be mapped out and installed by professionals. This step can involve cutting and reinforcing the container structure, so having a clear plan is imperative to maintain the structural integrity of your home.

The Day of Your Container Home Installation

The arrival of your container home is an exciting and pivotal moment in the construction process. With the foundation set and utilities ready, the containers are placed using cranes or forklifts. This is a highly technical process that requires a team with precision and expertise to ensure that the container is aligned and secured properly.

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Preparing to Move into Your New Home

With the structure in place, the focus shifts to the interior and exterior finishes. Insulation, appliances, furniture, and paint transform the industrial containers into a warm and inviting space. Installing fixtures, cabinetry, and appliances will further personalize your home, making it ready for occupancy. This final phase of the container home installation is your opportunity to infuse your new home with character and style.

Frequently Asked Questions

While container homes offer great flexibility in terms of location, not all lands are suitable or zoned for residential use, especially unconventional types like container homes. It's crucial to research local zoning laws and property regulations to determine where you can legally place your container home.

Maintenance for a container home is similar to any other home, but you’ll need to pay special attention to rust prevention and structural integrity. Here are a few steps to keep in mind:

  • Regularly inspect the exterior and interior of your container home for signs of rust or corrosion, especially in areas where the paint has chipped away or metal is exposed to moisture.
  • Applying exterior paint not only contributes to the aesthetic appeal of your container home, but it also plays a critical role in protecting the steel from the elements. Use high-quality, UV-resistant paint suitable for metal surfaces, and consider repainting every few years or as needed to maintain protection and appearance.
  • If you find rust, treat it promptly by sanding the affected area down to the bare metal, applying a rust neutralizer, and repainting the area with a rust-inhibiting primer and paint.

One of the advantages of container homes is their modularity. You can design your home with future expansion in mind, adding more containers to increase living space. If you’re thinking of adding onto your container home in the future, be sure to incorporate that into your location, utilities, and foundation.

Get a Free Quote

With the right preparation and support from experienced professionals at Preferred Homes, your container home project can transition smoothly from a bold idea to a beautiful reality.

Get a quote on your container home today.