The Top 5 Shipping Container Shed Exterior Finishes

Shipping containers are awesome because they are ideal for many DIY home projects. You can have a container shed built with a beautiful exterior finish in a few short hours.

Many people are not just seeing shipping containers for their potential to make great sheds. Quite a number of them are going all the way and using these containers to build houses. But for now, let’s focus on your shipping container shed.

In particular, what can you do to spruce up its exterior? Here are some ideas I think you should consider…

Modern Shipping Container Shed Exterior Finishes

Many people today are all about innovative design concepts. If you are among them, then I recommend you try a modern finish on your shipping container shed.

As far as this goes, you can use vinyl and even metal siding for a truly modern finish. A stylish exterior shed finish doesn’t have to cost a small fortune.

Metal Exterior Finish
You may decide to go with a metal exterior finish for your container shed.

You may want to go with a vinyl finish if you have a tight budget. I would personally go with this option. A vinyl exterior is also easy to install.

Steel is also a popular finishing material for shipping container sheds. And that is because it has a lot of benefits to offer. For instance, the material is weather-resistant and robust.

You can also go with a wooden finish. This modern material will make your shed look like a log cabin. Still, if you are not looking for a rustic look, you can use corrugated steel for a modern industrial look.

Most of the modern finishes today mimic the appearance of natural materials.

The modern exterior finishes are robust, and they can stand up to corrosion and termite attacks better than the natural materials.


  • Most modern finishing materials are pretty affordable. This is good if you don’t want to spend much on an exterior finish.
  • Modern finishes have pretty varied creative design options. That means you will have plenty of design options to work with.
  • A modern finish like steel is pretty durable, and it should extend the longevity of your shipping container shed considerably.


  • Some of the best modern finishing options can get pretty expensive. Professional assistance might be necessary to install modern exterior finishes, which can add to their costs. Not all modern finishing options are durable.

Lap Siding

Without a doubt, lap siding is one of the best finishing options you can try. The design versatility you get with this siding option has few equals. You can give your shed anything from a traditional rustic look to a more modern appearance if you so wish.

You can even create cedar, and other natural wood finishing designs when you use this exterior finishing option. In addition to permitting you to create these fantastic design styles, you can also enjoy the added durability that this material offers.

Lap siding is also usually resistant to termites and decay. As far as installation goes, lap siding is just like wood. The siding is easy to install, and with some woodworking experience, installing lap siding should be easy.


  • The finishing material is quite durable and is one of the best options in the market today. That is why the warranty on this material can be as high as 50 years.
  • Lap siding is excellent as it offers you a lot of design options to work with. The siding offers excellent paint adhesion, which makes further finishing changes much easier.


  • The siding can become easily damaged if hit.
  • The material can fade with use, which is obviously not a good thing for a finishing material.

Mixed Finishing Styles

Who says you have to stick to a single finishing concept? Well, you don’t. It’s possible you have a soft spot for many types of finishing concepts. You can always blend together these ideas to come up with something truly unique and special.

For instance, you can try blending rustic wood and vinyl finishes while designing your shed. You just have to decide which material should go where.

A mixed finishing style can really make your shed look quite fascinating. As an example, you can use one kind of design on a particular side of the wall. You can then use a different kind of finishing on another side of the wall for a unique design effect.


  • Blending finishing styles can give your shed a very unique look. Using a combination of finishes is a great way to employ creative design concepts


  • Figuring how to blend various finishing styles can prove a little challenging at first.
  • There is a higher likelihood of not achieving the look you had in mind compared to using a single finishing concept

Paint Finishing

You could be one of those people who actually like the shipping container look. Therefore, you might not even want finish ideas that conceal this fact. In this case, your finishing task will be easy, and a coat of paint will be enough.

With the right choice of paint and colour, your shipping container shed should have the great appeal you wanted to begin with. You should try to use reflective paint for your shed…

Shipping containers heat up quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. The reflective paint will help keep the internal temperature of the container cooler.

Exterior paint finishes are big money savers because you can do the work yourself. Many other finishing styles require professional installation…

That, obviously, can get a little expensive. And I think you would agree that this is the last thing you would want if you have a limited budget. An exterior paint finish is definitely the most budget-friendly option.

Pros of Paint Finishing

  • A Paint finish is considerably cheaper than other traditional exterior finishes.
  • It is easy to opt for another finishing style in the future. You can cover up a paint finish with a different finish if the need arises.
  • A paint finish is the least time consuming exterior finish. Paint finishing makes washing the shed extremely easy.

Cons of Paint Finishing

  • Your shipping container will not have any unique appeal, at least by many people’s opinions.
  • The paint finishing will not offer the shipping container as much protection from weather damage compared to other exterior finishes.
  • The exterior paint finish will not provide as much protection from extreme temperatures. A reflective paint will help considerably, but a wood finish may be best.

Rustic Finishing

To some people, old is indeed gold. So, as much as shipping container sheds are a modern construction idea, a rustic look could be what you truly want. Thankfully, you will have this option as you design your shed’s exterior.

To get the rustic look, you just need wood cladding. This cladding will give your shed the appearance of a cottage cabin. A rustic finish is a good choice if you want your shed to look more like a home or a traditional wooden shed.

Another way to achieve the rustic look is to use log siding. As far as the rustic wooden finish goes, you cannot go wrong with pine and cedar. Bamboo may also be a good option as well.

Wood Exterior Finish
You can use a wood exterior finish on your shipping container shed.

In general, a rustic finish is usually gorgeous, and it should go well with a shed that has lots of greenery. Cedar is also quite beautiful as a finish material. It also goes well with wooden landscapes and also waterfronts.

If you would like your shed to have a rugged carefree look to it, you can even try to use unfinished wood. Otherwise, you can also try painted wood.


  • Rustic finishes usually look better than other exterior finishes.
  • A rustic wooden finish hides the “shipping container look,” making your shed more visually appealing.
  • A rustic finish is excellent if you want your shed to have a natural look Wood is low maintenance and long lasting, and it can even outlast materials like vinyl


  • Might require professional help to install.
  • Some wood finishing options can get a little expensive


I believe, and I think most people would agree, looks matter a big deal when it comes to construction. So, if you have a shipping container shed, and are not happy with its original look, you can have it adjusted using one of the many available finishing styles.

Above are some options you can consider. If you want a more basic finish, then you can do an outstanding paint job and get the look you want. But if you would like to take things a little further, you can go for more elaborate finishing styles.

Your options here include modern, rustic, and even lap siding finishing. These styles are popular for a reason, and the above analysis better explains why they are the top choices for many people.

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