A container home under construction

How To Build A Container Home For Beginners And Starters

Shipping container home is much more than just a meme or fad. They’re very practical and an excellent option for those who want to save money while maximizing their floor space. Have you ever desired of building a home made of metal? How about out-of-shipping containers? Let’s have a look

What is a Container Home?

A container home is a house made from shipping containers. These steel boxes measure 8 feet by 40 feet and weigh about 20 tons. They can be stacked three high on ships or trucks for transport. Once unloaded, they can be used as storage units or office spaces before being re-purposed as homes.

The main advantage of using these containers is that they cost less than traditional construction methods. You can choose one that best suits your needs without hiring an architect or contractor to design it for you.

Why Would Anyone Want to Build Their Container Home?

For most people, it’s about saving money. If you can build a home for less than you’d pay to buy one, that’s a bonus.

But there are other reasons people want to build their own homes. Maybe they’re DIY aficionados who love the challenge of building something from scratch. Or perhaps they’re just really frugal and want to ensure they have the best bang for their buck.

Whatever the reason, building your own container home isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, with some basic knowledge and these tips, anyone can do it!

Tips to Consider Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Here are some tips that will help you build a high-quality container home:

1. Make Sure you see the Containers You’re Buying

If you want to be sure that the container is in good shape, check it out before you buy it. Some companies will allow you to inspect the containers before they ship them to you. This helps you can see if there are any problems or damage. 

This is especially vital if you’re buying from a company that buys and sells containers. This is because they probably won’t know what kind of shape the container is in. Also, ensure that the doors are not rusted shut so you can access the container itself.

Read More: Which States Allow Shipping Container Homes In The US?

2. Spend a Little Extra on a One-trip Container

If your friend or family member works at a shipping company, Request a tour of the containers. This will give you a clear vision of what you’re getting yourself into. 

If not, it might be worth spending a little extra on a one-trip container that has been used once. You can also hire an inspector to check the cargo hold before purchasing your containers.

3. Read up on Your Local Rules

It’s essential to know whether or not your local jurisdiction allows people to live in shipping containers. In some areas, they may be considered temporary structures that aren’t allowed under zoning laws. Check with the local fire department because they may require fire sprinklers or smoke detectors inside your home.

4. Find a Contractor That can do it all

The first thing you need to do is find a contractor that has experience with building a shipping container home. They should be able to get your home up and running in a timely manner. If you want to save money, then you can do some of the work yourself. However, there are many things that are better left for professionals, like welding and cutting holes into your containers.

Read More: Cost To Build A Container Home In Texas: Expert Analysis

5. Know Your Shipping Container Market

If you wish to receive the most out of your shipping container, it’s vital to know the market. If you’re in an area with high demand for storage units or office space, interest in containers will be more. So if this is the case, it might be time to start looking for one that best fits your needs!

6. Understand the Shipping Container’s Structure

A shipping container is a standard-size box that is used to transport cargo. It consists of steel sheets and has a length of 8 feet, 6 inches, and a width of 8 feet. It also has a height of 8 feet, 8 inches. 

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However, there are other sizes as well. There may be slight variations in the size and structure of each container. This is because different companies manufacture them at various locations worldwide.

The structure of these containers is very strong due to their construction material and design. They are built to survive extreme weather conditions and keep the content inside safe. This helps even if they fall off a ship or train during transportation. This makes them ideal for construction purposes as well.

Read More: 50 Beautiful Shipping Container Homes That Feel Like Home

7. Don’t Expect to Make a Huge Saving

Shipping container homes are popular because they’re cheap and can be built quickly. However, there are numerous hidden costs that aren’t obvious at first glance. 

For example, you’ll need to hire an architect or engineer to design your plans. You’ll also need permits (depending on where you live), which can cost hundreds of dollars each. If you want running water or electricity in your home, you’ll need to install those as well. However, they may not be cheap either!

8. Minimize the Required Welding

Shipping containers are made from corrugated steel sheets, which are then stacked on top of each other like pancakes. This means that any holes in the walls must be filled with welding, which isn’t easy! 

You might want to avoid adding windows or doors until after your building is complete. Otherwise, you’ll have to ensure that nothing gets in the way of them opening up or shutting properly.

Read More: Are Shipping Container Homes Legal In Michigan? Quick Guide

9. Know how to Insulate

The insulation in shipping containers is not very good, so it’s important that you know how to insulate your container home properly. The best way to insulate a shipping container is with spray foam insulation, which can be applied directly to the walls of the container and then covered with drywall or plasterboard.

10. Plan Ahead for Plumbing

The plumbing in shipping containers isn’t very flexible or reliable since they were designed as cargo ships rather than living spaces. That means it’s important that you plan everything out carefully before installing your plumbing system so that if something goes wrong, you’ll have access points where you can fix it without tearing down a part of your house.

Read More: Easy Explanation To What Is A Plumbing Process

11. Have a Strategy to Cope With Wind

Shipping containers aren’t designed for windy environments, so if you live somewhere windy or have high winds frequently, consider installing wind bracing on your house before it’s too late!

Steps to Build a Shipping Container Home

How do you get started now that you’ve decided that a shipping container house is a way to go? Planning, preparation, and buying will take time to make this new fantasy house a reality. Here is a step to step guides on how to go about it:

Step 1: Permits and Planning 

The first step in constructing a shipping container home is to obtain all the necessary permits. This is an important step, as building your home using a shipping container may be illegal if you don’t have the proper licenses. 

For example, some municipalities do not allow mobile homes or prefabs on their properties. You should also check with your homeowner’s association or local building department to see if there are any regulations against building with shipping containers.

Read More: Florida Shipping Container Home Laws: Ultimate Guide

Step 2: Purchase a Container

The next step in building your own shipping container home is purchasing a used or new container. There are various places where you can get these types of containers at reasonable rates, including online retailers like eBay and Craigslist and large online retailers like Amazon and Walmart. 

You can also find them at local hardware stores and lumberyards that sell building materials such as lumber, plywood, and metal roofing panels. The best place to look would be online retailers who specialize in selling these types of materials at discounted prices due to overstock or discontinued products.

Read More: Amazing Truth About Building A Container Home In Ohio

Step 3: Prepare Your Land

If you’re building on a flat surface, you must clear the area and level the ground. If you’re building on uneven ground or on a slope, then you’ll have to prepare your site properly so that the container is level.

Builders use laser transit for this purpose. This tool uses infrared beams to measure distances between two points and can provide a precise level reading. You can also use water or air levels if you don’t have access to these devices.

Step 4: Place the Containers

Now that you have your containers, it’s time to begin building. It’s important to note that if you are using a non-waterproof shipping container, then you will need to put in some sort of waterproofing material between the walls and floors. This can be done by cutting openings for doors and windows, drilling holes for plumbing and wiring, and adding insulation to the walls.

See also  50 Beautiful Shipping Container Homes That Feel Like Home

These steps will vary depending on your design plan and what type of materials you use when building a shipping container home.

Read More: 8 Of The Best Shipping Container Pools In Texas Builders

Step 5: Cut Your Openings

Once you have everything cut out of your shipping container home plans, it’s time to start cutting openings into your container so you can get inside! You will need to cut holes in the side doors or back doors depending on how many people will be able to access each room at once.

Cutting the openings is what most people dread, but it’s not as hard as you think. If you can get access to a plasma cutter, that’s the easiest way to go. But if you don’t, you can use an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel or a reciprocating saw with a metal blade.

If you’re working with a new container and want to keep the original doors and windows, follow this guide on how to cut them out of shipping containers.

If you’re working with an older container that doesn’t have doors or windows anymore, then it’s best just to cut out whatever shape of opening you need. You can also rent or buy a torch set if you need help cutting out the opening for the door or window frame (it will come with instructions).

Read More: Are Shipping Container Homes Legal In Georgia? Find Out Why

Step 6: Add Doors, Windows, and Framing

A few elements need to be considered when adding doors and windows to your container home.

Firstly, you should look at the size of the door or window opening on the container itself. This will help you determine how much space you have to work with. The next step is choosing which door or window style you want. You’ll find both DIY kits and custom options available for purchase.

The third step is to make sure that there’s enough room between the frame and wall so that it doesn’t interfere with any electrical wiring or plumbing pipes that might be running through it later on during the construction process.

The fourth step is to cut out openings for doors and windows using a circular saw and drill equipped with a masonry bit (if necessary). It may take some time before these holes are completely smooth, but don’t worry.

Step 7: Install Electric and Plumbing

You’ll need to install a septic system if you don’t already have one. If you’re building on land where there is no access to city water or sewer, this can be one of the most expensive parts of building your container home. The good news is that nearly all homes built from shipping containers are off-the-grid, so you will still need to install an alternative water source and some type of on-site sanitation.

In order to have access to power and water, you’ll need to drill through the side walls of your container. These holes will be covered by plywood panels when they’re finished, so it’s okay if it looks a little messy right now. Make sure that your electrical wiring is installed before you begin drilling, as this will make things easier for you down the road!

Electricity is one of the most important parts of any home. It’s needed for lighting, heating, cooling, entertainment, and more. If you are going to build a container home, it’s important that you know how to wire it up properly.

Read More: 10 Shipping Container Homes You Can Order Right Now

Step 8: Insulation and Temperature Control

After installing the electrical and plumbing systems, it’s time to insulate the walls. Shipping containers are made out of metal, which means they will conduct heat and cold very easily, depending on the weather conditions outside.

If you live in a hot area, insulation is essential to keep your home cool during summer. If you live in a cold area, insulation is also essential because it will help keep heat inside your home during the winter. You can install insulation by yourself if you have access to the internet or if someone nearby can help with this step!

For this part of the process, we recommend using spray foam insulation that can be applied directly to the interior sides of the container walls and ceiling. This will help keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer by keeping out drafts and outside air from entering your living space.

Read More: 5 Amazing Ways To Insulate A Shipping Container Home

Step 9: Landscaping and Decorating

Another thing to do is to build a nice garden. The shipping container homes are made from metal and are very strong. But it does not mean that you can use them for any purpose. 

It will be best if you use your imagination and creativity to create the perfect house for yourself. The great thing about these houses is that they are portable and can be moved anywhere in the world.

See also  Are Shipping Container Homes Legal In Kentucky? Expert Guide

If you don’t want to put it on a lawn, you can use artificial grass or mulch. You could also plant some shrubs and other plants around your home. This will make it look more like a permanent structure.

Read More: Effective Ways To Stop Condensation In A Container Home

Step 10: Inspection and Sign-off

After the construction is completed, you need to get an inspection done by a professional inspector from your local municipality or county building department. The inspector will check whether all the requirements are met and if there are any deficiencies in terms of the safety, health, or structural integrity of the house. 

You should also check with your insurance company about what types of coverage they offer for these kinds of homes. This is because most insurance companies do not cover shipping container homes as standard building materials. After all, they are considered non-traditional materials in construction projects. So it would be good to check with them before purchasing insurance coverage for your new home.

Read More: Important Tools for Building a Container Home

Benefits of a Shipping Container Home

The primary benefits of using shipping containers for the building include the following:

Container Home is Faster to Build

Compared to traditional home-building methods, the speed at which you can build with containers is incredible. It only takes a few days to make your first wall, and then you just stack them on top of each other!

Container Home is Sustainable

Shipping containers are made from recycled steel, which is much more sustainable than traditional building materials like timber or brick. The same goes for the materials used to construct your shipping container home. They’re all sustainable and recyclable.

Shipping Container Homes can be Portable 

Shipping containers are designed to be shipped on trucks and trains, which means they can be moved easily if you need to relocate your home or business. This makes them perfect for nomads who want a temporary place to live while they travel around the world or for people who wish to take their house with them when they move out into the country.

Read More: Ultimate Truth About Shipping Container Homes In California

Container Homes are Cost Effective

Shipping container homes are less expensive than conventional homes because they use recycled materials that are readily available at little or no cost. The cost savings can be substantial compared to traditional building methods, which involve buying raw materials like lumber and bricks, often leading to inflated prices due to supply and demand factors.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Building Container Homes in Florida


Shipping containers are built with reinforced steel frames and walls that can withstand the rigors of travel on ships or trains without cracking or denting easily due to normal wear and tear over time. 

The walls are also insulated with foam insulation, so they stay cool in warm weather conditions while keeping heat inside during cold temperatures. Making them ideal for climates where extreme weather conditions frequently occur, such as tropical regions or mountainous regions where winters can be particularly harsh on buildings due to freezing temperatures.

Read More: The Truth About Shipping Container Homes In North Carolina

Shipping Container Home Has Quick Turnaround 

Building with shipping containers allows you to get your new home up quickly instead of waiting months or years for it to be built from scratch or from plans drawn up by an architect or engineer. 

You also don’t need to worry about getting permits from local authorities since all you need is permission from the owner of the property where you want to build your house, and your local zoning laws may not even apply to you in this case!

Read More: Council Approval For Container Homes In South Australia – Is it Important?


Building with recycled shipping containers means you’re not adding more waste to landfills or forests, which is good news for the environment. 

In addition, the materials used to build your house will be more sustainable than traditional building materials like concrete and lumber because they use less energy to produce and transport.

Read More: How To Finance A Container Home: All You’ll Need


Now I’m not saying that it’s necessarily going to be easy or that you can do this with limited materials and tools, but there are many lessons you can learn from the process. You start off small, in tight quarters, and build upward as you improve your work. 

Think of it like a baby! Container homes are greener, cheaper, and more efficient to build than other building materials. They’re modern and sustainable and are popping up all over the world. So take that first step toward making your container home today! Learn about choices for container home insulation, choosing the best location for your home, solar power for container homes, estimating costs, and much more!

Read More: How To Finance A Container Home: All You’ll Need

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