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How To Best Build A Shipping Container Home From Scratch

The question of how do you build a shipping container home? is one that pops up more and more as houses become expensive and people look for sustainable ways to live.

Shipping container houses are trendy among individuals who dream of living in their own home that is inexpensive to build and costs less hassle than traditional homes.

This guide will show you how to build a home made from shipping containers. Please read on to learn more! 

Step 1: Permit Acquisition and Planning

You may require a building permit to build any structure in the United States, so you must acquire a permit from your local government before building your container home. 

In most cities, you must submit plans to your local building department for approval. Once you receive approval, you can begin work on your project. 

You will need to find a qualified architect to draw up plans for your new home and submit them for approval. The plans must also include a site plan showing where you will place the container on your property.

Step 2: Purchase a Container

You can place the containers directly from shipping companies or through brokers who specialize in selling used containers. Depending on where you live, shipping containers are usually available at ports of entry. 

Still, you may have to ship one in from another country if there aren’t enough available locally for sale. 

Containers that are not being used anymore should be in good condition without missing doors or windows, rust spots, or other obvious damage that would make them unsuitable for use as a home.

Containers come in several sizes; however, they must serve your needs. You will also want to consider whether you need a container with a door or windows already cut into it, as well as whether or not you need insulation installed inside the container before it arrives at your location.

Read More: Amazing Cost To Build A Shipping Container Home

Step 3: Prepare Your Land

The next thing to do is to ensure that you prepare your land. The site should be flat, level, and free from obstructions. 

This includes locating the containers, and determining how you will position and secure them.

There are many ways to secure containers, including bolting them to concrete pads or building them on top of concrete blocks. 

The method you choose depends on the ground conditions in your area and the size of your containers. f you’re building on an existing site, you may also need to dig out any areas that are too low or fill in any areas that are too high.

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Read More: The ultimate guide to building a container homes in Florida

Step 4: Place the Containers

Once you’ve prepared your land, it’s time to place your shipping containers. The placement can vary depending on how many homes you’re building and where they will be located within your property.

If you’re building individual homes, placing them next to each other is fine as long as they aren’t too close together so that one fire could spread quickly to multiple homes or if you want each home to have its driveway or parking space in front of it. 

You can consult with an architect or engineer for help with this step if you’re unsure how far apart each home should be from each other and from other structures on your property.

Step 4: Cut Your Container Openings

For this step, you will need a jigsaw with a metal blade and extra blades. Make sure the cuts are smooth and even so that they will be easier to seal up later.

When cutting the holes for windows, it is essential to leave some extra wood around the window hole because you will be installing metal flashing later. 

Also, if you plan on having a door in your container home, make sure that you leave enough room for it! You may also want to add electrical outlets and light switches before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Add Doors, Windows, and Framing

In this step, you will add the actual doors, windows, and framing to your container home. 

You will also need to install insulation around the exterior walls of your container home and metal flashing around all of your openings (windows and doors. 

This will prevent moisture from getting into your walls and damaging them over time. If you’re looking for more ways to personalize your container home, consider adding shutters or other decorative elements around the openings.

Read More: 11 mistakes to avoid while building a container home

Step 6: Install Electric and Plumbing

Next, install the plumbing and electric systems into your container house. It is advisable to hire professionals for this job, so you do not mess up with the wiring or pipes in your home. 

A professional will know how to install these things properly without causing any damage to them or your home. In order to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you will need to install ducts for air conditioning and heating. 

These will connect to your HVAC system, which can either be installed during construction or added later by yourself or an HVAC technician. 

You can use a generator or solar panels to power your container home, but the best option is to use a grid-tied inverter. This will enable you to connect your home directly to the power grid for a steady flow of electricity. 

For this, you will need an electrician to install the wiring, breakers, and other electrical components in your home shipping container.

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The plumbing aspect is also important when building a shipping container house. This includes installing fixtures such as sinks and toilets in each room of your home. 

A plumber can also help you design your bathroom layout to meet all safety and comfort requirements.

Step 7: Insulation and Temperature Control

Insulation is also very key when building a shipping container home because it can keep the interior of your house warm in winter and cool in summer. 

There are many kinds of insulation materials available on the market today, such as fiberglass or foam board insulation panels that you can easily install by yourself without any help from others. 

In addition, there are also some DIY kits that allow you to create an insulated wall using plywood sheets instead of buying expensive insulation panels for your house project. 

If you decide to go with plywood sheets for insulation purposes, ensure that you have properly cut each piece so that they fit together nicely before attaching them to the walls of your container house project.

Step 8: Landscaping and Decorating

Landscaping is a critical step in the building process, as you want to ensure that your container home looks great from the outside. 

If you are going to use your shipping container for commercial purposes, then landscaping will be a very important part of the project.

You should consider getting professional help with this step. If you are using the container for a home, then you can probably do some of the work yourself.

 You will want to consider adding trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your property to give it more privacy and prevent people from looking directly into your home from outside. 

You could also add some flowerbeds or lawn areas around the perimeter, depending on your available room.

In addition to landscaping, you should also consider decorating your home once you finish the building process. 

This can include adding furniture inside, painting walls, and other types of decoration that will make your home look nice and comfortable for yourself or any guests.

Step 9: Inspection and Sign-Off

Once construction is complete, an inspector will come out again to look over your completed home and make sure everything adheres to the rules before signing off on it. 

They will also make sure that the land has been appropriately cleared and that any grading issues have been addressed. 

The inspector will also check the stormwater drainage system and make sure that it is approved for drainage. If everything is up to their expectations, you’re ready to move in!

Read More: Effective Ways to Stop Condensation in a Container Home

What to Consider Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Ensure you Check the Container you Want to Purchase

If you’re building a house out of shipping containers, it’s important that they’re in good shape and sound condition before you buy them. 

You’ll need to make sure that they have been properly constructed and maintained, and that there are no holes or other issues with them.

It’s very important that you do this since you don’t want to end up with a damaged or poorly maintained container. This can be especially true if you purchase from an auction site like eBay.

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Read up on Your Local Laws on Container House Building

This may seem tedious, but one of the most important things you should do when planning your new home is to read up on local rules and regulations. 

Some areas have strict guidelines about what kind of buildings can be constructed using shipping containers as part of their structure. 

It’s also wise to check if there are any restrictions on how far from the road you can build your home. 

This will affect how many doors you need to cut in each container when making them into rooms for living space.

Read More: Amazing cost to building a container home

Find a Qualified Contractor

You need to find a contractor that can do it all: design and build your container home, help you find land and get permits, and even connect you with local builders who can finish the interior of your home. 

Some companies specialize in shipping container construction, while others have experience with other types of buildings. 

Make sure you’re choosing a company that has experience working with shipping containers, as this will ensure your project goes as planned. 

Understand the Shipping Container’s Structure

Shipping containers are strong, but they’re not indestructible. They are specifically designed to be stacked on top of one another, so they have steel reinforcement bars running through their centers that make them stronger as a unit than individually. 

However, if you’re going to be using them as individual units, you need to understand how they’re built.

Know Your Shipping Container Market

Shipping containers come in many different types; they may come in 20-foot and 40-foot lengths (you’ll probably want at least two 40-foot-long containers). 

You also need to know what kind of doors and windows are available for your project, some come with doors or windows already installed, and others don’t have any openings at all!

Minimize too Much Welding

There are plenty of ways to join a shipping container together; however, the most common is by welding them together. 

This means that you will need to weld all the containers together at some point during the construction process in order for them to become a house. 

However, there are some problems with this approach. For one thing, it requires an electric welder, which can be pretty expensive and also time-consuming. 

If you don’t want to spend too much money on welders or don’t want your project delayed because of welding issues, consider using bolts and nuts instead of welding when connecting the containers.

Have a Strategy to Cope With Wind

This is another aspect that should be considered when building a shipping container home. 

The main reason for this is that the metal walls tend to become very noisy when a strong wind blows around them, making it difficult for people to sleep at night if they live close by or inside the building itself. 

Therefore, it’s always advisable that you devise some kind of strategy to reduce this noise before installing any windows or doors into your new home!

Read More: Which states allow whipping container home in the US?


All told, if you’re thinking of building a shipping container home, then you have some work ahead of you. 

But it’s work that holds tremendous potential for an end result that will exceed all your expectations. 

And if you follow the advice laid out in this article, you can start on this path with the confidence that it will pay off in the end.

Read More: Ultimate Truth On Is It Cheaper To Build A Container Home?

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