How To Build A Shipping Container Garage In 5 Easy Steps

With a little planning, a shipping container garage can be a fun do-it-yourself project…

Shipping containers are ideal for a garage due to their modular shapes and cost. You can also easily modify a container to meet your requirements.

Here are the 5 easy steps that will help you build a long-lasting shipping container garage…

Design and proper planning is vital for a shipping container garage project

A design will help determine the number of containers that you will need for your project. The layout will depend on the space available, vehicle count, and the required storage space.

Having A Plan Will Save You Money During Your Shipping Container Garage Project
Proper planning is important for a shipping container garage project

You want to ensure that your vehicle has enough clearance to enter the container. You may require a high-container for your garage. A high-cube container will give you an additional foot of vertical space for your vehicles.

You will also need to construct a small ramp for your container garage. The ramp will prevent you from damaging your vehicle when driving into the container.

A plan will help you stay on budget. It will also help you determine what professional help you may need. Professional advice includes but not limited to welders, electricians, and carpenters…

A welder can safely remove steel for the windows, doors, ventilation, etc. The welder will also reinforce the openings in the container. This step is vital because removing steel will compromise the structural integrity of the container.

You will need to frame the inside of your container for the insulation and to run the electrical. A carpenter can efficiently complete this task.

It’s crucial that your garage remains structurally sound. So it’s always a good idea to speak with an architect or a home builder before you alter your container.

Preparing the foundation for your garage

Your garage requires site preparation and a proper foundation just like any other construction project. A shipping container garage needs a firm and level surface to rest on.

The foundation you use will depend mostly on your budget. You can prepare a concrete slab, concrete footing, wooden beam or steel pipe footing foundations.

It’s essential to keep your container as low to the ground as possible. This will make it easier for you to drive in and out of the garage. So keep this in mind when planning and designing the foundation.

In most cases, the concrete slab foundation is the most suitable for a garage. It is structurally stable, cheap and easy to lay…

You need to prepare the ground before you pour the concrete. To do this, you need to remove all soft and organic material and then compact the soil. You can now spread thick gravel.

You now want to create the form for the slab. After the framing is complete, you can place the mesh/rebar inside. With everything squared and levelled, you can now pour the concrete.

With the concrete poured you can level it with a 2×4 wood stud and a bull float.

Concrete can get very slippery when wet, so you want to use a broom to give it a slight texture. The textured concrete will be safer to walk on.

You may also want to seal your concrete to protect it from salt, oil, grease, etc.

Leveling A Concrete Slab
Leveling a concrete slab

It’s critical that you have the garage foundation completed before your container arrives. The delivery driver should be able to place the container directly on the foundation.

You want to select the correct shipping container

In most cases, people usually buy the wrong sized container for their garage. With a completed design and proper planning, you can easily avoid this same costly mistake.

Shipping containers are expensive to ship. So you want to avoid unnecessary delivery charges by selecting the correct sized container the first time.

The most common container sizes are 20 and 40 feet. The container you pick will depend on your vehicle size and your storage needs.

You should pay particular attention to the height of the container. A high-cube container will give you an extra foot of vertical space. A one-trip will be ideal if you have a larger vehicle.

Some cities have bylaws that limit the height of garages. You should contact your city and ask if this applies to you. For standard size home garages, the twenty-foot containers are ideal.

You may want to consider using a one-trip container for your garage. One-trip containers are more expensive up front, but they will last longer. You can also go with an older cargo-worthy container.

One-trip containers are more visually appealing compared to cargo-worthy containers. One-trip cargo containers have only transported cargo once. So they have less surface damage and zero rust.

On the other hand, a cargo-worthy container will have a lot more damage and rust. A cargo-worthy container usually requires a little work before they are usable.

Buying a container from a container supplier

It’s best to buy a container from a local container supplier…

Container suppliers often have their own delivery trucks. So you can usually get a reasonable delivery rate. In some cases, they may even offer free shipping.

Shipping containers are costly to ship. So buying a container close to your home will ensure you pay less in delivery fees.

Before your container arrives, you want to make sure your property is accessible for big trucks…

When making the access road, consider not only your vehicle but also the truck that will deliver your container. You, therefore, need to avoid sharp turns, creek crossings, steep inclines, debris, loose soil as well as low tree branches.

A 20-foot shipping container is usually easy to deliver. You may encounter problems with a 40-foot container.

Setting up your shipping container garage

Preparation of the container involves various modifications to match your choice and preference…

The changes made to the container may include installing windows, doors, cabinets, and possibly a security system.

You will have to remove steel from the container for the windows and doors. This will require additional framing to ensure the container remains structurally safe.

Additional modifications may include electrical wiring, insulation, flooring, creating workbenches, and adding whirlybirds for air circulation.

Proper ventilation is crucial

It’s important to ventilate your container garage properly. This will ensure that toxic exhaust safely exits the container. Pressure buildup can occur inside a closed container. So proper ventilation is a must to prevent an explosion from occurring.

Shipping Container Ventilation
Proper shipping container ventilation is important

You want to speak to an experienced builder to ensure that you properly ventilate the container.

How can you extend the life of your container garage?

Fixing any visible holes in the container is essential. This will ensure that your garage remains weatherproof.

It is essential to treat your container against rust and corrosion before you finish your garage. You can paint your container after you treat the rust/corrosion. You don’t usually have to paint a one-trip container.

Condensation build up usually occurs on the inside of containers. Installing a vapour barrier will prevent this from happening. Excess moisture can lead to rust/corrosion and eventually a leak. So it’s always best to try to keep moisture away from your container.

You can also install cladding and a roof to keep moisture away from your container. This will significantly increase the lifespan of your container. These two steps will also make your garage more visually appealing.

If you decide to install a roof, you will usually have to do some welding. Adding a new roof can add considerable cost to a container garage project.

The roof design will depend on your local weather and your budget. In most cases, you want to go with a roof with a pitch. The pitch will ensure that you don’t have any pooling water on your roof. Pooling water can eventually cause a leak to develop.

Inspecting and arranging your finished cargo container garage

Once the construction is over, you need to examine your shipping container garage to ensure that it meets your expectations. The roof needs to be leak free and high enough to suit the purpose and usage of the garage.

You want to ensure that windows and doors have flexible hinges. The floor should be dry, firm, and free from debris. And all electrical devices should be functioning correctly.

In conclusion…

Building a container garage may seem like a complicated process at first. But with a robust design and proper amounts of planning, you will find that it’s relatively straightforward.

If you’re not a DIYer, be sure to speak with a contractor to help you with your project.

Remember to contact your city before you start building a container garage. A city official will be able to make you aware of any bylaws relating to container garages.

I hope you now have a better understanding of how to build a container garage.

P.S. What size container do you think you will need for your garage? Please let me know in the comments section below…

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