Building Homes From Shipping Containers

There’s a recent upswing in people wanting to start building homes from shipping containers. First of all, the tiny house kit in general is popular and more are on the lookout for a sustainable living. Secondly, there’s a massive amount of empty shipping containers out in the world, abandoned after many years in service of transportation ships. Consequently the cost is much lower compared to buying a regular house or apartment. Based on these reasons we’ve decided to write a complete guide in how to convert a container into a livable house.

Furthermore, due to the simplistic square design of a container, it’s very convenient to make most use of the space. Since they have the same design they can easily be put together, like building lego, to create a larger complex. Another advantage is the environment aspect, because since you re-use shipping containers, you’re also putting something in use that otherwise would have decomposed.

However, there are some things you need to know before starting to build home from shipping containers. Most importantly you need to know the market and the local rules. Check out the best tips gathered from experience builders in the guide below.

Table of Contents:

  1. Check local building rules
  2. Get inspiration through other beautiful builds
  3. Start planning the interior design
  4. Learn handy skills on YouTube tutorials that’ll save you money
  5. Consider buying a shipping container locally
  6. Get a plumber to control the pipes
  7. Design a porch on the roof
  8. Summary

1. Check the local building rules

Before building home from shipping container you need to check out the local building rules. Unfortunately, many people have written into us, saying that they started a build – hiring contractors and everything – but ended up having to abort the whole process. Therefore you shall always make sure to read up on the local laws concerning building permits and regulations.

2. Get inspired by others

Since the shipping container trend started a few years back, there sure has been a lot of creative houses that’s has been built. Varying from large complexes that is made out of 25 containers, to stunning single containers with roof windows and porches.

3. Plan the interior design

By making sure that you have a proper shipping container home plan, you can start buying furniture and other necessities and design the interior of the home. In short, if you don’t have a plan the difficulty level will increase once the container arrives. In order to get interior design ideas we recommend Pinterest where there’s a ton of DIY container houses.

4. Learn insulation and soldering online

To make it easier to build home from shipping container you should learn how to insulate and solder online. Through either youtube tutorials or written articles online, you can save thousands of dollars by soldering what you need and insulate the walls.

5. See which containers are for sale near you

Before going to Amazon or Jamaica Cottage Shop, check the local listing for shipping containers for sale near where you’re living. Since the transportation cost is high for containers, you’ll be able to save a few bucks by purchasing one nearby and pick it up yourself.

6. Hire a plumber well ahead of time

Assure that you hire a well-recommended local plumber that can take care of installing the toilet and shower. While you certainly can do this yourself, there’s a high risk of doing it wrong, which might end up costing you much more money than it would had you taken the safe road initially.

7. Consider a porch on the roof

Another advantage of its flat design is that you quite easily can build a porch on the roof. Many have actually started to plant grass on on the rooftop to make it even more cozy. Below you see two stunning examples of container porches, which owners really has made the most out of the space.


In closing, building homes from shipping containers are rather straight forward. Basically you order a container, get yourself a building plan, design the interior and voilá – you’re done. Of course you need to follow our advice above and do proper research, but it’s not rocket science either. So don’t get discouraged by people online saying it’s a huge hassle and so forth. On the contrary you should get inspired and start the planning today already! Except our tips and recommendations we’ve summarized the most important takeaways from this guide:

  • Check the local building permits
  • Learn to insulate and molder through YouTube tutorials
  • Find a great plumber that can install your bathroom
  • Contemplate building a porch on the roof of the container
  • Buy container homes on Amazon and Jamaica Cottage Shop
convert shipping container into home