How to Build a Shipping Container Home in Simple Steps

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There seems to be a new rage in the niche of homebuilding: shipping container homes. It’s sustainable, affordable, and versatile, perfect for anyone who wants to live off the grid.

If you’ve never heard of them, they’re exactly what they sound like: houses constructed out of shipping containers. Some people would be hesitant to live in a metal box house, but the advantages of these structures might persuade you otherwise. If you want to learn about building a shipping container house, go through these easy instructions!

Lay Down Your Budget:

Although container homes are less expensive than traditional houses, the costs vary by the size, location, design, and custom features you desire.

Before you start building your shipping container house, make a realistic financial estimate for it. So, first and foremost, how much do you want to spend on the container home? 

Guesstimate figures for costs including:

  • Permits, compliance, and fees.
  • Structural and civil engineering.
  • Shipping containers and building materials.
  • Architects, contractors, and builders.

Research Will Put You in Positive Light:

Once you know the budget for your project, it’s time to start doing some research. What kind of home would you like to build? There are many possibilities: a single-story or multi-level, a small cabin, or a large house.

You can use Pinterest as an excellent resource for inspiration during this phase. Figure out which style appeals most to you! Just search shipping container homes and take notes on what catches your eye (or save them into boards). Remember to include information on where to buy shipping containers in your study.

Sort All Permits and Documentation:

Any building project requires permits from the city to be approved by local authorities. It is another crucial step to complete before you start building. You need to make sure that you have all of the necessary permits. Otherwise, your project might be delayed or even halted altogether.

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The process for obtaining a permit differs from one area to the next, so we recommend checking with local authorities about their specific requirements. An engineer may need to sign off on your plans in some cases. If this is the case, check if they know someone to assist you!

Acquire Shipping Containers:

It’s time to purchase shipping containers once you’ve gotten all the required permissions and permits. Depending on your design and how big you want your home to be, this might involve one or more containers customized for residential use.

You will have to evaluate what size and condition of containers you need. Depending on your needs, you may purchase a used container or a brand new one in 20ft or 40ft length.

Choose a Builder and Subcontractor:

Now it’s time to choose a builder or sub-contractor. It is crucial because you will need building professionals who can handle your project correctly. If not done correctly, you may end up with costly repair work that might be very hard to undo once the house is ready.

Choosing a company for your home project can be challenging to make the right decision.

You’ll need someone with experience who understands how these unique structures should come together from start to finish and knows what’s necessary because they’ve worked on such projects before.

The last thing anyone wants while building their dream house is to experience problems later.

Prepare The Site:

Preparing the site is one of the most crucial phases in creating a shipping container house.

This involves checking out things like drainage and soil stability and leveling off any slopes so they can support heavy loads without sinking into soft ground over time. If there are trees nearby, consider removing them before construction begins because their roots could damage structures during storms or earthquakes if left unchecked.

Determine Your Floor Plan:

A floor plan is essential for planning out how many containers you require and their placement. 

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In addition, you will want to figure out which rooms connect with others. When construction has started on your home itself (and if any areas need more attention than others due to this reason), it’s also tremendously thrilling.

Build Your Foundation:

You should always build a solid foundation for your shipping container home; don’t just place it directly onto the soil. Over time, there could be movement in either direction and rot forming at the base. Concrete piers are the most popular foundation for a shipping container house, which are poured into the ground and provide a solid base for constructing your home.

Some companies will prefabricate entire foundations for shipping container homes if you’re ambitious (or want to speed up the process). It can be a great option if you’re short on time or don’t feel confident in your ability to pour concrete.

Assemble Your Home:

It’s time to begin constructing your house once you’ve set up the foundation. This process will vary depending on the design of your shipping container home, but you’ll need to cut windows and doors into the sides of the containers and then attach them to form the structure.

Fortunately, before you assemble the shipping containers, you don’t have to cut out all of your windows and doors. Instead, place each container on top of another to stack like a row of books. Once the entire structure is in place, you can start cutting into it for doors and windows.


Now that your shipping container home is up and running, you need to take care of it! Keep an eye on the weather and safeguard your investment from wind, rain, snow, and other elements. You may also want to consider painting or staining your home a different color (or even adding some decorative designs) to make it stand out.