Having a good-quality home made out of shipping containers is not going to depend on architectural style and interior design alone. While these are important elements, they should not be the main focus of concern. Beyond aesthetics, functionality and safety are actually just as important. Here are some tips on how to efficiently use shipping containers for building your new home.

Types of Containers

The types of containers you will use will ultimately depend on the style that you would like to achieve. It’s best to consult with your architect and engineer so you can have a clearer idea of what kind of container is required for the project.

For example, if you like a living room with a high ceiling, you’re better off getting a couple of Open Top containers to stack upon each other, so that you only need to take off the roof of the lower container to achieve the desired effect. It’s a lot more cost-efficient that way because the roof is detachable, which means you won’t need to make any additional effort to cut it open.

Meanwhile, if you want to have easy access from one section of the house to another (room to room, interior to exterior, etc.), you can use the Open Side container. Again, the value of this is that you no longer have to cut out entire sections of the container just so you can achieve the desired look of the house.

By discussing these concerns beforehand with your professional contractors, you can be more mindful and efficient about the shipping containers you’ll need to buy.


A common misconception of folks considering shipping containers for their homes is that they won’t need to worry about establishing a foundation. This, of course, is farthest from the truth. Any structure that you put up, regardless of the material you use, will require a good foundation. Your contractor will take care of this, but it also would help if you’re aware of your options.

One of the foundations you can use for shipping containers is the concrete block. It’s fast to put up, sturdy and stable, and is very affordable. The shipping container will only need to be attached by welding with steel reinforcements. Depending on your preference and budget, you can even add a crawl space underneath.


When you buy your shipping container, you will notice that there really is nothing more to it apart from its steel structure. As such, there is only a rather thin material separating you inside from the weather elements outside. This is why it’s crucial that you insulate the inner walls of the containers well.

Being able to regulate temperature is tantamount to having a habitable and comfortable home. Otherwise, it’s going to easily get either too hot or too cold. Insulation also helps keep unwanted moisture from seeping in, which can further weaken the structure. You can either apply a closed-cell foam layer all around and inside the container, or use ceramic-based paints on the walls to insulate it.

Additions and Cutouts

Open sections of containers make it a lot easier to add or edit sections. As much as you’d like to prevent having to do cutouts on the container body, however, it sometimes becomes inevitable. Additional windows, connecting doors and pathways, or natural light sources, for example, may need holes to be made right on the body of the container.

Keep in mind that you can’t just randomly cut holes on the container, because it might affect the integrity of the structure as a whole. Consult with your contractor to identify the “weak spots” of the container so that you can avoid cutting holes into them. This is especially important if you’ll be stacking containers and the holes to be made are on the lower stack.

These are just some of the considerations you’ll need to factor in when constructing a house out of shipping containers. Get started by picking out the right type of container from reputable and reliable suppliers in Seattle, Dallas, and Houston, such as Equipment Management Services.


32 Great Tips for Building Shipping Container Homes. InterestingEngineering.com.
How to Build A Shipping Container Home – The Basics. MyGreenHomeBlog.com.