metal grinder as a tool for constructing container homes

Important Tools for Building a Container Home

A container home is an economical way to build your own house without the need for expensive materials and tools. It is also an eco-friendly alternative to building with conventional materials like steel or concrete. Container homes are available in different sizes, shapes, styles, and prices depending on how many rooms you want to include in your house and where you want it built.

If you’re thinking about building your own container house, you probably wonder: Do I need special tools to build a container home? The good news is that you don’t, as long as you have the essential tools for DIY projects like carpentry and construction. The not-so-good news is that you also don’t need much of anything, and even if you don’t have much to work with, you can still build your own container home.

You don’t need special tools to build a container home because they are essentially just a big, prefab house. Building a container home involves assembling a bunch of individual components that generally come in pre-made packages.

For example, you don’t need a hammer or a saw to build a container home. Instead, all you need is a few basic tools that are essential for any DIY project. If you’re ready to get started, check out the list of tools you’ll need below.


A welder is a must-have tool when constructing a container home. You can’t just slap together a bunch of metal panels and expect them to stick together. Instead, metal sheets need to be welded together before you can use them as structural supports.

A welder is also essential when it comes time to fabricate metal parts like door frames and window frames. The welder can be used at various stages during the construction process. These may include:

  • Welding shipping containers together
  • Welding containers to the foundation
  • Welding door and window frames into place
  • Welding the structural support

There is still a serious discussion about the best welders to use when working on a shipping container home. Below are the most common options you can consider:

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

It is a Metal Inert Gas Welder – this welder uses a continuous electrode with a supplied shielding gas that is external.

shipping container homes can be welded together using GMAW
GMAW-welding at night

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

Uses a stick welder with consumable electrodes.

It could also use a wire-feed welder with a flux-core as the continuous electrode.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

It is the Tungsten Inert Gas Welder that makes use of non-consumable tungsten electrodes. It also uses a consumable filler rod and externally supplied shielding gas.

Note that a stick welder is quite simple to use but will require replacing the electrodes from time to time. This could be tiring if you are to do multiple welds. However, understand that this welder is suitable for thicker welds. If your shipping containers are not clean and thick, this welder will do the job perfectly. As a beginner, you may require some practice first since the electrode would easily stick to your piece of metal.

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Understand that wire-feed and MIG welders are easy to use and fast but could produce splatter metal that you grind off to have a neat and smooth finish. These welders will do magic when the welded area does not have dirt, paint, or other materials.

TIG welder is a difficult welder, but it produces the best welds. With this welder, you use one foot and both hands when working on the pieces. This welder will also require clean, good metal to produce significant welds. If you want to weld your container home, you can consider the MIG welder. It is an ideal choice that will not give you a hard time working on the containers.

Spray Form Insulation Kit

The decision to use a spray form insulation kit will depend on the insulation material you are using. Usually, we recommend spray foam insulation if you are building a container home. However, even as you decide on this, you want to be sure whether to do it yourself or find a qualified contractor who can do it.

If you are working on a cabin or small home with just one container, you may consider doing it yourself. To DIY, purchase pre-mixed solutions that are ready to spray. These kits will usually come with everything you need, be it the hose, spray nozzles, or cylinders of foam. You could get a local contractor to do the estimates for you. From there, you can compare the costs involved in DIY. 


You’ll also need a hammer for installing nails into the walls of your container home. With a hammer, all you have to do is strike the nail with force into the wall, and it will then go through the wall paneling as if it were cardboard.

A hammer will be convenient for your container home. Without a hammer, striking these nails and firmly attaching them to your home will not be possible. Ensure you get a typical hammer that will do the job without breaking midway. Research the online stores and look for reviews about the ideal hammer you want to use for the container home construction. 

A hammer as a tool for building a container home
Hammer is one of the important tools in a shipping container home build

Pliers/Wrench Set

Pliers are great for gripping onto things that are too small or too hard for your fingers, while wrenches are useful when tightening or loosening nuts on screws on wood panels or other materials that your welder has installed. If you don’t have these essential tools handy, consider renting them from a local hardware store.

Pliers are also ideal for grabbing pieces of metal during construction. Some pieces could have sharp edges that could easily cut you. Grab these with pliers to avoid injuries as long as they are not too heavy for the pliers.

Grinder-One of the Best Tools for Building a Container Home

A grinder is one of the shipping container cutting tools you cannot miss having. You can use it to grind metal sheets that you’ll be using for doors and windows into the right shape. You can also use it to grind metal sheets into the right size for panels on your container home. The grinder is among the best tools for cutting a shipping container into suitable sizes.

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It will help you also get rid of any container walls that are not needed to make it a cozy home. The grinder is the easiest to use shipping container cutting tool and is DIY-friendly. You can replace the cutting discs easily as they are cheap. With the grinder, you do not require previous experience to use. With few initial cuts, you will be good to go and construct your shipping container home with much ease. 

Read More: Tools for Cutting Shipping Containers.

metal grinder as a tool for constructing container homes
An grinder is a versatile tool that you should have for your container home build


A drill is essential for drilling screws and bolts into the metal sheets. You will need a drill to install the screws and bolts that hold the metal sheets on your shipping container home together. You can also use it to drill holes in wood panels to install hardware. The shipping container home will need some adjustments. You will need to rivet together some pieces and walls.

You need to drill bolts and screws to join parts to do that. No machine will help you more in that than the drill. Look for an ideal drill that will make invisible holes that are sealed perfectly appear as if nothing happened around that area.


A wrench is necessary for tightening and loosening nuts on screws on wood panels or other materials that have been installed by your welder. If you don’t have these basic tools handy, then consider renting them from a local hardware store. Tightening these nuts will not be possible without the use of wrenches. It is a crucial tool you must have with you when building that ideal container home.

Lifting Equipment

Constructing a container home will not be successful without the help of lifting equipment such as a crane. You have to have a crane to lift materials from one place to another. Crane comes in handy when it comes to lifting heavy objects. You can use it for lifting things like concrete, wood, and even bricks.

After the shipping containers land on your ground, you will need an effective tool to lift the containers and place them where they should be. That could be on the foundation or top of another container, depending on how you have designed the home.

Such machines are plenty, and they could include forklifts and cranes, among others. Ensure you do not exceed the maximum load capacity for the crane or forklift. This may not be an easy-to-do task, so you could consider the services of a professional. A crane or forklift is among the top crucial tools you need to accomplish your container home construction.

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Safety Equipment

When working with heavy materials like steel, you need safety equipment such as a hard hat and goggles. Your safety is paramount, and you need to be well-protected against any accidents that could go wrong in the work area.

Goggles and a hard hat are essential for protecting your eyes and head during the construction process. Other safety equipment you need will include hard gloves for handling metal sheets. Your boots should also be challenging and robust such that no metal can tear through them to get to your feet.

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Read More: What is Site Inspection?

Drawing Software

You will need drawing software to map down your house design and structure. You can use drawing software such as SketchUp. Drawing software is useful for drawing up your plans and building designs.

2D CAD Drawing

When you are working with 2D CAD, you will need software such as AutoCAD to make your drawings more accurate. Even when you are building the house in 3D, you still need 3D modeling software to be used. This is because it helps you draw up the structure and design of your container home.

3D CAD Drawing

A 3D CAD is also needed for making precise measurements of the container home. You can use this software for making precise measurements of the size of your container home and its structure because it has a high level of precision and accuracy.

Tape Measure

Another important tool for building your container home is a tape measure. You will need a tape measure to complete your container home accurately and adequately. You can use a retractable tape measure or a metal tape measure. Correct measurements are required to ensure the home is aesthetically pleasing and stunning.

Due to wrong measurements, it will have a traditional, well-constructed design rather than an irregular shape. A tape measure is among the fantastic container home construction tools you will need.

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Spirit level is one of the must have tools for building a container home
Spirit level for checking the straightness of your build

Level as a Tool for Building a Container Home

Another critical tool for building a container home is a level. A level helps you determine whether your container home is perfectly straight or not. Most people might overlook the relevance of a level when constructing their shipping container home.

You do not want to be in a house where nothing is stable because the house is a bit slanted. Your home needs to be on level to keep everything in place and standing. Container homeowners can also use a digital level to get accurate measurements of their container home.

Caulking Gun

A caulking gun is also an essential tool for installing plywood sheets on the walls of your container home. You can use this tool to prepare for installation by caulk around windows, doors, and other openings in your house before you start installing plywood sheets on the walls of your house.

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Construction Supplies

To finish your project correctly, you will need construction supplies such as paint, brushes, nails, screws, etc. There are many types of construction materials available in the market. You will have to make the container home appear aesthetically pleasing.

That is why you need to get the construction supplies such as paint to finish up the home and make it stunning from the outside. These are crucial tools to help you finish up the home and make it look like a home.

Since most shipping containers are rusty from years of use, consider using a rust primer. Check out the one below.

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