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If you are one of those people who love traditional tiny houses, then you will probably enjoy seeing the beautiful tiny house designs that innovative builders have come up with. Tiny houses made of shipping containers are getting to be more and more popular nowadays. It is just so amazing to see how these creative builders come up with some unique ideas for these small spaces. Here, we are going to explore why you should consider choosing a shipping container as a base for your tiny house. We are also going to give you a guideline on how a shipping container can be transformed into a beautiful tiny house.

Why Use a Shipping Container for Your Tiny House?

Perhaps you think that turning a shipping container into a tiny house is easier than constructing a regular tiny house. After all, you already have a ready-made shell. However, if you have some knowledge about building tiny houses, then you will understand that each type of material, design, or strategy can be a challenge on its own. However, in some ways, using a shipping container for the exterior of your tiny house can be superior compared to regular tiny houses.

You Can Help the Environment by Recycling

Re-using materials is one way that you can construct an environmentally friendly home. If helping the environment is your motivation, then you should consider this option.

Shipping Containers are Much Cheaper

You don’t need to spend a lot of money when using shipping containers. It usually only costs a few thousand dollars. However, if you already feel content in having a simple tiny house, then you could construct your shipping container home for less than this amount.

Shipping Containers are Stackable

If you are planning to expand your tiny house, then you can easily achieve this by using shipping containers. For a growing family, constructing a modular house is a smart decision.

Shipping Containers Are Weather-Resistant And Durable

Since shipping containers are designed to transport different kinds of items on ships and travel long distances, then you can ensure that they are totally indestructible. In fact, shipping containers have the ability to resist water, fire, earthquakes, and any other things that will be thrown at them.

Your Shipping Container House Can Be Constructed in Less Time

Since the shell is already made, then transforming a shipping container into a tiny house can be done in less time compared to creating a tiny house from scratch.

Shipping Container Tiny Houses Look Amazing

You might have already seen several photos of eccentric shipping container homes. Regardless of how you arrange, paint, or design these huge containers, you will probably end up having a unique house. This is the best option if you are looking for a tiny house that is sleek and modern.

You Can Feel Secure in Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are safe since it is not easy to break into. A house that is built as sturdily as shipping containers can make a burglar’s life a challenge.

How to Transform Your Shipping Container into a Tiny House

Create a Design for Your Tiny House

The first thing that you have to do is to design the look of your house. How many rooms do you want and how are they going to connect with each other? How much space do you need? Where should your bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen be located? Where are you going to place your windows? Should you use large French doors or small porthole windows? Also, consider the logistics. Putting your kitchen across your bathroom would be nice on paper, however, you have to verify if there is still enough room for opening the oven door or walking through the gap.

When drawing a floor plan, be sure to use the standard size of shipping containers such as 8 x 40, 8 x 20, etc. You can get some inspiration by doing a Google or Pinterest search. There is no limit to using your own imagination.

Consult an Engineer

If your design requires the removal of some parts of the wall, especially the load-bearing parts of the walls, then you need to talk to an expert about this. This is to help guarantee that your shipping container house will have a solid structure. Obviously, you don’t want to construct a building that is not safe.

Determine If Your Design Could Be Possible

Before you continue with your design, figure out what could or could not be done. After knowing this, you will be able to finish your design. Consider all the details including electricity, flooring, framing, insulation, as well as how you’re going to be getting rid of waste.

Prepare Your Land

After finding a place to park your tiny house, the next thing to do is to level it. Make a foundation and consider how you are going to elevate your shipping container from the ground. You could probably use concrete strips, concrete slabs, concrete piers, or steel plates. However, if you need some expert advice, then you can consult an expert, especially if you will be using multiple shipping containers. Be sure to check if there is enough space for your shipping container once it is delivered.

Purchase Your Shipping Container

It is reasonable to purchase your shipping container earlier. It will depend on the length of time it takes before your container will be delivered. You can either select new or used shipping containers. Obviously, if you want to buy a used shipping container, then be sure to check if its quality is good enough for turning it into a house. You should schedule a pre-purchase inspection so you can check for any unpleasant smells, rust, etc. You also need to find out if the container has been used.

Obtaining Your Container

If your shipping container supplier can deliver and position it for you, then you don’t have any problems. If not, then you have to hire a forklift or a crane to handle the delivery of your shipping container. That is why it is very important that you have to ask this ahead of time. If you will make the arrangement yourself, then ask them if they can handle the weight of your shipping container. You also need to consider how you are going to secure your container to the foundation. Perhaps hooking or welding would be a great option. If you purchased a used shipping container, then be sure to thoroughly wash it!

Connecting Your Containers

If your design requires multiple containers, then you have to consider how you are going to connect them. Some options could include welding, clamping, or using bolts on them. However, this will depend on whether you want the connection to be permanent or not. You could add structural reinforcements if needed.

Make Some Openings

The next thing to do is to cut out openings for the doors, windows, and other parts so you can convert your shipping container into a tiny house. If you don’t have enough skills for this, then it’s best to hire an expert to do this for you. While you are cutting your container, it would be a good idea to get rid of its anti-corrosive paint and re-treat it. If there are gaps after cutting your openings, then be sure to seal them to secure the interior of your house.

Get Rid of The Flooring

Keep in mind that these shipping containers are sometimes treated with harsh chemicals. Be sure to decide what you are going to do about this. Are you going to remove this or are you going to add a subfloor? If you want to add a subflooring, then you might want to obtain a high cube container, so you will have some additional headspace.

Framing and Adding Insulation

Decide on what type of framing, covering, and insulation you are going to use for your interior walls. The type of insulation that you will use will probably depend on where you live. If you want to maximize your space, then you could install the insulation of the exterior part of your house.

Install Electricity

It’s time to install the electrical wirings on your shipping container tiny house. If you are not an expert on this, then you have to hire a professional to do this for you.

Put In Some Decorations and Move in

By this point, your shipping container tiny house is almost done. All you have to do is add some extras such as a bathroom, a kitchen, and a toilet. After this, you can start decorating your house. This is the fun part!


After knowing how to transform a shipping container into a tiny house, you can decide whether this is the house that you want or not. Before making any decision, it is greatly recommended that you should do a lot of research and talk to a few tiny house builders.

The Dream Homes Project helps the less fortunate ones in obtaining their own homes. We build homes made of shipping containers. If you are interested in knowing how they build their homes or if you want to make some donations, then you can contact us at 760-218-8472 or send us an email at [email protected]

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