How To Build A Shipping Container HomeĀ 

3d rendering of a modern house with a swimming pool, created from shipping containers.

Gone are the days when shipping containers were solely used to store and transport goods from one point to another. In recent years, the trend for using them as houses has been increasing for a good reason. Due to the sturdy steel materials used in these giant containers, they make an ideal residence option. A container house can protect your assets and household from severe weather and other external conditions.

And in an era when sustainable practices are being patronized by many people, finding other uses for shipping containers is good for the environment. Shipping containers make great home extensions if you want a simple home design. There are different ways to use it as the central area of your home or stack them together to create larger rooms. Whatever home ideas you have, you can make them into reality.

Thus, you can apply the following tips when building a shipping container home:

Choose The Right Container

If you’ve finally decided to build a shipping container home, the first thing to secure is precisely a shipping container. Depending on the size of your home, one sufficient size is a large (40ft) shipping container. Shipping containers of different sizes, types, and conditions will depend on the scale of your house plans. But the 40ft sized one is enough to provide you with an ideal space to accommodate a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It’s almost like having two units of (23 ft.) studio condo apartments.

Before buying from just any company, research to ensure the best quality and condition of your shipping container; it’s essential to inquire about the cost, shipment, company’s background and reliability, warranties, and customer testimonials. The key is conducting thorough research before deciding which vendor to buy from.

Research Local Laws And Acquire Building Permits

Before beginning shipping container architecture, researching your local laws and regulations before starting construction is the most important thing. There are different rules and regulations for home building, which will vary depending on the city you plan to construct in. You must ensure that the container building fits on the land and meets the zoning laws and building codes.

Thus, to obtain an occupancy permit, structures must comply with building codes. You need to be familiar with the zoning rules in your city or region. You have to ask your local government or the agency assigned for construction whether they allow shipping containers to be used as homes in your designated lot and neighborhood. Contact your city or county planner for more specific information on shipping container homes. Particularly, container homes are usually allowed in more remote, less-trafficked areas.

Prepare The Land

Before starting your construction, one crucial step is to prepare your land. To keep the home elevated from the ground, you’ll need to consider the ground on where the house will be built, as well as the kind of foundation you’ll use. It’s when you should choose the suitable materials for your home’s foundation. Also, it’s essential to place the shipping container on a stabilized and secure land surface. Ensure the land area is dry so your shipping container won’t easily get rusty.

Before purchasing your shipping container, it’s always best to buy the land. It allows you to match the container according to the features of the land. Also, purchasing land requires more lengthy procedures and takes more time. And when it’s finally secured, you will have sufficient space to store your shipping container.

The foundation for a single shipping container can be concrete or wooden supports on the ground, and for multiple shipping containers, it can be a full basement. You should consider structural requirements and your preferences when deciding. No matter what foundation you use, you need to deliberately add steel plates or other materials to hold your storage container. And by doing this, shipping containers can be welded directly to these secure foundations.

Work With The Right Contractors

After you’ve put together a plan, talk to an experienced contractor about it. It’s part of the best tips for building a new house. You need to hire the right team of contractors to install and construct your shipping container home. Since the material is made of steel, choose professionals who are experts in working with steel and welding.

However, for the interior parts of the home, you need carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. With that, before hiring a team of professional workers, consider the following:

  • Scan through several service provider companies.
  • Read reviews, check their service inclusions and rates, and compare prices.
  • Don’t forget to inquire about insurance and warranties too.
  • Set Your Timeline

Another step for your home construction is to set a timeline. Fortunately, compared to traditional stick-built houses, shipping container homes are often quicker to build. The smallest and simplest container homes can be constructed in a few days or weeks. However, the finishing and interior design will need some time too. If you’re planning to have a more complex designed home, the construction can take longer, at least a few months.

Shipping container homes constructed off-site before being transported to your land is the fastest. You can consider that option if you want to finish your home in a shorter time. Pre-fabricated shipping container homes are also built with precision and great-quality materials and processes. The key is to find the best shipping container company to handle the construction.

A woman is sitting in front of a shipping container home.

Plan All The Details

Finally, you can complete your shipping container home by proceeding to take care of the interiors. Here are the must-do house tasks:

Install Windows And Doors

Homes need doors, windows, and flooring. Since there are many designs and materials to choose from, you must choose something that fits your home design and the steel materials. Consider installing these materials since the shipping container is made of steel.

Add Insulation

Keeping your shipping container house’s interior temperature under control will require insulation. You need to ensure proper insulation for your shipping container home. There are different ways to do this. However, you must consider that insulating your shipping container home will eat up the available space.

Take Care Of Plumbing And Electricity

You will also need to install plumbing and lighting fixtures in your shipping container home. Once again, you must consider the proper installation due to the steel material. Hire an electrician and plumber with enough experience and expertise in handling installations in shipping containers.


This article aims to provide you with the necessary information about building your container home and the benefits you will reap after doing so. While it requires all the steps mentioned above, the results will be worth all the time and effort. Above all, remember to always prioritize quality when looking for the shipping container and hiring the right contractors. It’s primarily a matter of planning and doing thorough research.

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