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how to build a house out of a shipping container

by:Lida Group     2023-07-25


The concept of building a house out of a shipping container is gaining popularity across the world. Shipping containers have become a popular choice among many people looking for an affordable, eco-friendly, and sustainable way to build a home. In this article, we will guide you on how to build a house out of a shipping container, providing essential insights to help you make informed decisions.

1. Choosing the Right Shipping Container

The first step to building a house out of a shipping container is to choose the right container that will serve your purpose. There are several factors to consider when selecting a container, including size, condition, and design specifications.

Containers come in different sizes, and it's advisable to determine your needs before selecting one. Are you building a home for a single person, couple, or family? The number of occupants and activities you plan to carry out in your home will determine the size of the container required.

The container's condition is another critical factor to consider when selecting one. While new containers may appear appealing, they can be costly compared to used ones. Used containers, on the other hand, may have several scratches, rust, or worn-out paint. It's essential to assess the condition of a used container before purchasing it.

Lastly, you must have a design specification in mind to enable you to choose the right container. Do you want a single-story or double-story house? How many rooms do you need? Do you plan to install a garage? Understanding your design requirements will help you choose a container that meets your needs.

2. Container Modification

Once you have a suitable shipping container, the next step is to modify it to meet your desired design specifications. Many people prefer customizing their containers to match their unique needs. Modifications can range from intricate designs to simple ones, depending on the homeowner's preference.

Common modifications include installing windows and doors, painting the container, and insulating the walls and roof. You may also need to cut out openings for ventilation, plumbing, and electrical installations. It's essential to involve an expert in container modification to ensure that you achieve a structurally safe and functional home.

3. Foundation Construction

A foundation is crucial when building a house out of a shipping container. A solid foundation will support the weight of the container and protect it from moisture and soil displacement. The foundation's type can vary, depending on the location, soil type, and local building codes.

The most common foundation for container homes is a concrete slab. It's advisable to involve a structural engineer to help you design and ensure that the slab can support the container's weight.

4. Transportation and Assembly

Once the modifications are complete, the next step is to transport the container to the building site. Transportation requires adequate preparation, such as obtaining the necessary permits and ensuring the transportation company has the necessary equipment to deliver it safely.

Assembling the container may require several contractors, such as crane operators, welders, and plumbers, to ensure that everything is done right. Once the container is on the foundation, it's time to install the necessary utilities, such as plumbing, electricity, and ventilation, to ensure that your home is functional.

5. Interior Design and Furnishing

The final step is designing and furnishing the interior of your shipping container home. This includes installing fixtures such as kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and lighting. You may need to make creative use of the limited space available in a container home to ensure that you achieve a functional and aesthetically pleasing home.


Building a house out of a shipping container can be an exciting and affordable way to own a home. The process requires adequate planning, preparation, and execution, but with the right team and resources, it's achievable. Remember to involve an expert in every step of the process to help you achieve a safe, functional, and sustainable home.

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