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5 Mistakes to Avoid when Converting a Shipping Container

When you look at good examples of shipping containers converted into homes and businesses, you find homes that were built extremely fast and for a small amount of money.

However, there are also examples of container homes which have failed because their owners have made simple mistakes.

Here are the top 5 mistakes you can make when converting a shipping container.

Make sure you read the list to find out which mistakes you should avoid.

  1. Purchasing the Wrong Type of Shipping Container

The biggest mistake people make when turning their shipping container into a home or storage structure is purchasing the wrong type of shipping container.

Regular shipping containers are 8 foot 6 inches in height, whereas high cube containers are 9 foot 6 inches tall.

Adding a foot to the height of your ceiling is perfect for people looking to insulate the ceiling of their container without sacrificing on head room.

In a traditional container if you insulate the ceiling you would only have a ceiling height of 7 foot. Instead of an 8 foot ceiling height of a high cube with insulation.

High cube containers tend to be only an additional $1000 which is cheap considering the benefits they give you in the long run.

  1. Not Finding Out Your Local Planning Regulations Before You Purchase 

To avoid this mistake,  get in touch with your local public works building division before you start building.

Before you meet your local public works building division you need to have a very good idea of what it is you want to build, and also have a plot of land ready to build your container on. This normally means having scaled architectural drawings and foundation plans drawn up beforehand. The planning application can take anywhere from 8-13 weeks and cost several thousand dollars.

Each state, city and county has its own rules and standards, so there is no one size fits all approach when applying and planning.

Whatever you do, don’t start building until you have researched your local planning laws and obtained the relevant permits.

  1. Cutting the Steel Out Of Containers Improperly

The great thing about shipping containers is that they are incredibly strong. That said, some  people over modify their containers. This will reduce their structural integrity and strength.

By cutting out large sections of steel from the container you are reducing its strength. This means that you will discover additional costs because you will need to reinforce the containers with steel beams.

Simply move just enough steel to fit your windows and doors, and you will be fine.

  1. Using the Wrong Insulation 

Before you choose your insulation, consider your local climate.

For example, if it rains a lot where you are, you need to ensure your insulation provides you with a seamless vapor barrier, such as spray foam. But, in very warm and dry climate, your insulation should keep your container home cool. You don’t need a seamless vapor barrier.

There is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to insulation. Here are some factors to consider:

  • the local climate
  • your budget
  • the container’s age
  • the style and type of container conversion you are doing
  1. Choosing the Wrong Builder

Many people  like to make their shipping container conversions themselves, however people without the time or know-how will need to get a contractor to build their structure.

When you choose a builder, make sure that they have experience building with shipping containers, or an understand of what is needed to convert a shipping container.

The last thing you want is a builder who doesn’t understand shipping container conversions.

If your contractor doesn’t have experience in modular building, it’s likely they will make mistakes, costing you time and money.

To  make sure you do things the right way when converting your shipping container, contact ContainerOne. Our team of trained experts will be happy to guide you through the process from start to finish. Visit us at