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How to Select a Perfect Roof for Your Shipping Container Home

It is an essential step in container home building to select a roof for your new home. A container roof will protect all in your family from the elements. 

Choosing the appropriate roof for your container is not a decision to be taken lightly. 

You need a roof that protects you, where do find the resources to build a quality roof, and know what questions to ask when buying?

Types of Container Roofing Styles


The advantages of shed-style roofs are that they are inexpensive, quick to build, and easy to install. They also provide good space for generating solar power.

To install a shed-style roof on your shipping container, you will need to weld right-angled steel plates across the length of each side.

Attach wooden beams to the steel plates on either side of the container roof. Then, screw these trusses into place.

Now, you can attach the purlins or steel bars to provide structural support for your roof.

To brace the trusses against the wind, place 20-foot-long purlins (wooden beams) on top of them.

You’ll need a structural engineer to provide the specifics you need. This engineer will help you determine how much weight your roof can support.

This figure varies depending on the climate where your home is located, as it takes into account rain, wind, and snow loads.

Coated steel sheets, galvanized metal, and shingles are all viable options for roof coverage. But the coated steel will last longer than the other two materials.

The final step in the construction process is ensuring that your roof has adequate ventilation.

Underneath your trusses, attach a fascia and soffit board. The soffit board should have at least an inch air gap in the middle, covered with wire mesh that allows air to flow out of the attic space by venting registers or holes punched through between rafters.

To allow for ventilation, cut slots in the gable ends of your steel roof. This will help to prevent heat buildup and rust caused by condensation on the underside of a solid sheet metal ceiling.

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A sample of Gable container roof

Most people imagine a traditional home when they think of gable-styled roofs with distinct triangular shapes.

A gable roof boasts a sloped line that helps it drain rainwater effectively, thus making leaks less likely and extending the life span of your roof.

It is popular for its extra ceiling space, which other roof styles lack. A gable roof is constructed in stages similar to those used for installing a shed-style roof.

To install a gable-style roof on your shipping container, attach right-angled steel plates across the length of the container.

Attach wooden beams to the steel plates on each side of the container. Secure trusses into these beams, and then add purlins to form a substantial roof structure.

Like the shed-style roof, you can use any three options for your metal roofing: shingles, galvanized steel sheets, or coated steel sheets.

You should install a vent at the top of your roof frame. The trusses will hang over the edges of the box, and you can attach fascia boards to cover that space beneath them.

It is essential that a soffit board has an air gap in the middle and wire mesh to allow airflow.

Flat Container Roof

A sample of a flat container roof
Courtesy: A-One Construction

A flat-roofed shipping container can be adequate for some purposes.

It may be cheaper not to roof your shipping container, but this leaves you vulnerable to water pooling on the roof.

If you decide not to roof your containers, it’s essential that a quick safety barrier be installed.

Place a tarpaulin sheet over the roof of your container and cover it with rolls of asphalt. This will keep out water and protect the container’s roof.

How to Maintain Your Shipping Container Roof

Buy Your Container From a Reputable Company

Shipping containers have become increasingly popular for their durability, easy assembly, and versatility. 

However, most people don’t realize that the roof of a shipping container does not last forever. 

Over time, it will inevitably begin to rust, leading to leaks and structural damage. To ensure that your roof remains in good condition, hire a professional to change it when necessary. 

Hire a Professional to Change Your Container Roof

It may seem like a straightforward task, but changing the roof of a shipping container requires specialized equipment and knowledge. 

This is why hiring a professional who understands what they are doing and has experience with this type of project is important. 

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If you want to get the good results possible, look for someone with previous experience working with this type of product or whose services have been recommended by others who have had success with them before.

Remove Ice and Snow From the Roof

Ice and snow can be very heavy, so make sure to remove them before they cause any damage to your container. 

First, use a shovel or broom to get rid of any ice or snow on top of the roof. Then use an ice scraper to remove anything that might still be in place after using the broom or shovel. 

If you have leftover snow on your roof, you can use a heat gun or blow dryer to melt it off the surface.

Keep Your Container Roof Clear From Dirt and Debris

If dirt or debris is on top of your shipping container, it will cause damage over time as it accumulates. 

This can include bird droppings, leaves, and even insects such as spiders. These foreign objects can lead to rusting of the steel sheets, which may cause holes or serious damage to appear over time.

In addition, If dirt gets on top of your roof, it will make it much harder for water to escape during rainstorms or heavy winds. 

This can lead to water pooling up in low areas of your roof, which could cause problems like mildew or mold growth inside your home or office space.

Conduct Regular Roof Inspections

Your shipping container needs to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that it’s in good condition. 

The inspection frequency will depend on your container’s use and the environment in which it is placed. 

If your receptacle is located outside or in an area with high levels of precipitation, such as near a body of water, then you should inspect it more often than in a dry area. In addition, 

if your container has been sitting outdoors for some time, you should conduct more frequent inspections.

Treat Surface Rust on the Roof

If you notice surface rust on your shipping container, there are several steps you can take to remove it. 

You can use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove the rust before painting over it with primer and then top coat paint. 

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Alternatively, suppose you don’t want to repaint the entire unit. In that case, you can use a rust converter spray to convert the rust into a protective coating that will inhibit further corrosion on your unit’s surface.

What to Consider When Choosing a Roof for Your Shipping Container Home

Weather Endurance

Depending on where you live, the weather may be quite extreme at times, especially when considering hurricanes or tornadoes, so choosing a material that can stand up against Mother Nature’s fury is essential!

Corrugated steel isn’t necessarily designed for longevity when exposed to extreme temperatures and high winds. 

Still, it should hold up well enough in most climates if properly installed and maintained over time.

Long-Term Maintenance

The first thing to consider when choosing a roof is how easy it will be to maintain over time. 

If you live in an area that gets lots of rain or snowfall, you’ll want a roof that doesn’t leak or corrode easily. 

If you live in hot climates, metal roofs can be costly to cool down since they can get so hot during the summer months.

Roof Slope

The slope of the roof will determine how much rainwater can run off your home. The steeper the slope, the more water can flow off and away from your structure. 

A shallow pitch makes it more likely that water will pool on top of the structure, which can cause structural damage over time. The ideal roof pitch depends on where you live but usually ranges between 1/12 and 1/3 inches per foot.

Price Range

The price of a shipping container home depends on many factors, including the size of your home and whether or not it has insulation already installed inside the container walls. 

Some people choose to install their insulation, while others hire professionals for this task. Either way, it’s important to factor this cost into your budget before deciding which type of roof material is right for your project.


There are many options for choosing a roof for your shipping container home. The only way to learn what is best is to do your research. 

As you can see from the options above, many great styles of varying quality and price will look wonderful with the rest of your design.

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