How To Build Your Shipping Container Home

Shipping container homes are growing in popularity as more people want an affordable, sustainable option.

Building a shipping container home is an affordable and environmentally friendly option for homeowners who don’t require a lot of space. For instance, you can personalize your container home to match your design style and preferences. Here is a look at the process of transforming a shipping container into a home.

Read on to find out how a shipping container can be converted into a comfortable home.

Time needed: 60 days

How to build your shipping container home explained in an easy to follow step-by-step guide.

  1. Plan your shipping container home

    Find a site for your future home. Then hire an engineer or construction company to draw plans for plumbing and wiring. These may be necessary to get any permits from city or country authorities.

  2. Find a container

    Purchase the container(s) that will become your home. Most containers are purchased from a dealer, who acquires them from a shipping company and re-sells them to regular people. Here are a few size options:Build a Shipping Container Home  

    20′ Container

    L19’4″ x W7’8″ x H7’10” = 1,175cu ft (33.2 cbm)

    40′ Container

    L39’5″ x W7’8″ x H7’10” = 2,300 cu ft (65.1 cbm)

    40′ High Cube Container

    L39’5″ x W7’8″ x H8’10” = 2,694 cu ft (76.2 cbm)

  3. Create a foundation

    The site of your shipping home may need to be graded or compacted so that the soil is uniform and flat. After that, you can have a concrete foundation poured to anchor and stabilize your home.

  4. Install Windows, Doors and Skylights

    Windows and skylights are an important part of your home because they add light and dimension to your space. Consult with a structural engineer or architect to find the best places to put windows and skylights without damaging the structure of the container.

  5. Frame the interior

    Framing allows you to set up separate rooms or areas within the shipping container space. Some container homes have several bedrooms, closets, bathrooms and sleeping lofts.

  6. Have it inspected

    City or county authorities will want to inspect the home to make sure it is livable before you can move in. They will check the structural integrity and ensure plumbing and wiring are up to code.

Time needed to build your container home

Professionals can build a container home in less than two weeks. A DIYer may take up to a year to complete the project. So you’ll likely need around 60 days where you can work 8 hours. Most people building part-time can reasonably complete the project in one year.


How to build your shipping container home