Shipping containers are one of the most commonly used modular building systems in the world. They can be found everywhere from rural farms and small-scale businesses to large corporations and industrial complexes.
The versatility of shipping containers means that they can be used on various projects and scales from tiny backyard homesteads to massive industrial complexes, military bases, marinas, campsites, parks, hotels, resorts, ski lodges, marinas and more.
In this blog article, we will discuss specific ideas and tips for how to modify a shipping container so that it is suitable for a particular project or function.
So what exactly is a shipping container modification? A modification is any change or addition made to standard shipping containers either after purchase or before use by an end user.
For example, if you purchase a standard 40ft shipping container, they may not have been modified with doors installed on the first four sides. Still, if you attach additional doors to fit your needs then you would have modified the original container.
You would also make modifications if you remove doors or add windows or other features that make the end user’s life easier or more functional than with just the basic box.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of using shipping containers?
One of the main benefits of using shipping containers is their versatility. They are easily customizable in various ways and can be configured for specific functions, such as office space, storage space, living quarters, mobile homes or event spaces. Their low cost and ease of transport make them easy to move from place to place. The downside to using shipping containers is that they are not always aesthetically pleasing.
In order to get around this issue, some companies have begun customizing shipping containers before they’re delivered to the end user. For example, they may sandblast or paint the outside of the container before delivery to better suit the aesthetic needs of their business or project.
Another option is adding doors, windows, siding, and roofs to your newly modified shipping container before delivery to look better than just a box when it arrives at your location.
Ideas for shipping container modification
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of ideas for shipping container modifications. There are so many ways to modify these containers that it would take hours to go through them all.
Generally, the ideas listed below fall into one or more of the following categories:
- General functions
- Space efficiency & utilization
- Work/productivity/storage space
- Environmental considerations or energy efficiency
- Safety and security Some examples include:
- Adding a second door on the opposite side of the container (eg. 40ft double door container)
- Removing a door on one side and adding a window (eg. 40ft double door container)
- Adding a window in place of a wall opening (eg. 40ft double door container)
- Adding additional doors on one or more sides and removing windows from other sides (eg. Container as office building)
- Fitting doors with specific sizes for easy entrance when certain doors are closed (eg. Container as office building)
- Modifying with sliding trays on the floor for storing items outside of your workspace (eg. Container as office building)
How to pick the right shipping container for your project
The best way to pick the right shipping container is to start with an idea of what you want your finished project to look like.
It is much easier to plan for a specific type of end use, rather than hoping that the container will fit your needs when it arrives. Nowadays, there are many different types of containers available from standard products such as wooden crates and steel shipping containers, to more unique designs such as modified cargo containers used by the military or even custom-built structures like limousines.
If you are having trouble deciding what type of container is best suited for your project, here are some questions you can ask yourself about the project:
- How big is my project?
- What kind of structure do I want it to be?
- Is this going to be a temporary or permanent installation?
- What materials do I need it made out of?
- Will I need a roof or not?
- What shape do I want it to be in?
- Do I need windows or doors?
- Are there any particular features that need consideration like fire resistance, noise reduction, waterproofing, etc.?
How to install a door on a shipping container
Door installation is relatively easy and can be done in most situations by the end user themselves, however, it does require some mechanical knowledge and a little bit of work. The first step to installing doors on a standard 40-foot shipping container is to remove the door from the original container.
Once you have removed the door, you will want to cut a hole in the roof that is large enough for you to fit your new doors through. On each side of the roof, you will need to drill holes wide enough for your bolts and fasteners. Next, use these drilled holes as guides for drilling a pilot hole directly through all four walls. This will allow your bolt heads to engage into the container’s wall boards or metal studs.
You’ll install two locking bolts on each side at this point so that it won’t get pulled out too easily later when you put everything back together.
Once your holes are drilled, you’ll need to attach hinges and adjusters onto them as well as attach hinges and mounting brackets onto the top and bottom of each door frame, where there will also be small half-inch stainless steel screws sticking straight up from each corner just under where your hinges attach that will help hold down any extra weight from additional materials such as glass or drywall if these are installed in front of your new doors.
Now that everything is attached, it’s time to seal up any gaps around where you’re going to attach your doors with silicone sealant or
How to install windows in a shipping container
When it comes to windows, there are a few things you will need to consider before purchasing. The size of the window is one of the most important factors here. A window needs to be big enough for your purposes.
For example, if you’re installing a window in a shipping container, then you would need to make sure that the window is large enough for people to be able to get through it and that it can be easily opened and closed so as not to obstruct access.
The glass used in shipping container windows is typically tempered glass which means that they are very strong and won’t break easily and they will also provide an excellent seal which will help keep your space warm in the winter or cool in the summer.
The style of window that you choose can also have some impact on your project. If you want something more modern or industrial then you might choose a square-shaped window but if you want something more traditional then a round-shaped window may work better for your design.
Another factor with choosing your style of shipping container windows is how much area they cover. Some people might opt for smaller, decorative windows while others might want larger ones that span across multiple walls. This all depends on what kind of effect you want from them and what looks best with your design aesthetic
How to install a skylight in your shipping container home
Installing a skylight in your shipping container is one of the quickest and easiest ways to add natural lighting and make your space more comfortable. Here’s how you can install a skylight in your home.
- Remove any existing roofing materials, including metal roofing, as well as any insulation that may have been installed.
- Level the floor inside the container and remove any built-up dirt or debris.
- Purchase an electric skylight kit that includes the electric motor, wiring, mounting hardware, light fixture (if desired), electrical box, ballast, and lights.
- Attach the electrical box to the exterior of the container using screws or bolts with washers and nuts before placing it near an interior corner. For example, if you are installing a skylight on your bathroom ceiling above a bathtub, then place it near where one of the interior walls meets the ceiling so that it will be shielded from direct sunlight by other objects above it.
Shipping containers are a perfect, cost-effective way to build a home or office. But what if you want to modify your shipping container before it’s built?
This guide will help you determine which modifications are best for your project, which parts you’ll need to buy, and how to find the right shipping container for your job. Need help deciding? Give us a call, and we’ll help you pick the perfect home or office for your business.