A Guide to customize shipping container

Shipping containers were once meant only for shipping and storage purposes. They were used to transport a wide variety of goods from one part of the world to the other. With time the usage of the container has increased, and they are now used for a multitude of purposes. They can be modified, transformed, and used for building an office, creating a place to live, workshop, garage, and numerous other purposes.

Shipping containers are constructed of strong and sturdy material and hence, can offer a reliable shell for small space needs. They’re perfect for mobile ideas as they can be easily transported from place to place. The reusable nature of shipping containers makes them an excellent low-cost alternative than constructing an entirely new and everlasting space by avoiding the hassle and paperwork of building permits.

How to start customizing your shipping container

Shipping container customization requires an experienced team of welders, carpenters, engineers and plumbers. If you want to customize a shipping container, working with a professional team is best. A well knowledgeable team can prevent tremendous design mistakes.

For modifying a shipping container, the teams follow the steps mentioned below.

Containers are composed of Corten steel (except for the indoor wood flooring), making welding an essential factor in container modifications. A welder needs to get involved in making any changes to a primary container for modification manufacturing groups.

In most cases, a manufacturing group cuts into the perimeters of a container to create the spaces for added doorways, home windows, air conditioning units, etc. Then, welders upload metallic frames to place the vital changes into the container. Welded frames build the container walls structurally—an essential addition when a container is manipulated with cuts. Carpenters later deploy interior framing for insulation in containers to be used for offices or living. At last, electricians and plumbers finish the necessary duties to complete the customization of a shipping container.

Measures to consider for welding

Wrong welding destroys the look of the container and can also affect its structural integrity. In addition, there are chances of unwanted particles getting trapped during the welding process. These unwanted particles can result in a lack of fusion in the container. Therefore, when a door or window isn’t well bonded to the container, it creates dangerous and unstable adhesion.

Customizing shipping container walls

  1. Drywall

    Drywall helps improve insulation and maintain room temperature. It is an electricity-efficient choice and is better than many of the alternatives. It can be installed in an affordable price range. Its smooth finish offers a soft touch. It additionally outperforms other finish materials concerning fire resistance. Drywall can be installed before transportation of the container, but it is often advised to install it only after the container has reached its final location. It helps prevent mud from cracking during transportation.

  2. Plywood

    Plywood is substantially more potent than drywall. With drywall, you have to discover a stud to nail into. However, you can hang heavy objects right away on the plywood surface. It is solid and prevents dents and damage to the container. The natural wood grain pattern is embedded on the walls, making the space look warm and cozy. Plywood can be used naturally or completed with a couple of coats of varnish to create a graceful and cutting-edge impact.
  3. Fibreglass bolstered Panels (FRP)

    Fibreglass reinforced panels (FRP) are strong polyester resin bolstered with fibreglass, presenting a smooth or textured wall surface. FRPs create a rugged, soft, clean, waterproof, and washable cover. In addition, because of the most substantial wall, its advanced flexibility makes a durable and scratch-resistant inner space.

  4. Aluminum Sheets

    If you’re seeking to create a flame retardant environment for your container, aluminum sheets are probably a good solution. It is often advised to pair aluminum sheets indoors with mineral wool or spray foam insulation beneath.

  5. PVC walls

    PVC wall paneling is ideal for moist and damp areas because of its highly durable and water resistance nature. Therefore, this wall covering is the best option when it comes to choosing a panel for portable bathrooms.

Type of container used for customization

As per the International Standard Organization (ISO) guidelines, shipping containers are classified into one-time containers, used containers, and purpose-built containers. While picking out a container for customization, you consider the various aspects of these containers.

One trip containers

The containers that have traveled the sea only once are called one time containers. Such containers are also considered new because they have got minimal damage. Picking out one trip containers would likely be the best choice to customize shipping containers.

Used containers

The shipping containers that have traveled a lot across the sea, shipping goods worldwide, are called used shipping containers. These containers have been tormented by rust, dents and several other damages because they have traveled a lot across the sea. They are cheaper than the one-time containers, but they are not considered ideal for customization due to their extended period at sea.

Purpose-built Containers

Purpose-built containers are built using the pieces of other containers. These containers help you to customize the size and dimension of your project. If you want extreme customization, you can always go with purpose-built containers. The only drawback here is that they are more expensive than the used containers.

Permit requirement

Before deciding to customize the shipping container, a few rules and regulations must be checked and followed. First, confirm with your municipality or city to analyze whether you may need any planning permissions or special permits. Next, ask about zoning laws, building codes, construction of fashionable kinds (residential, business, or business), and building blueprint.

Points to acknowledge for customizing your shipping container


Shipping containers are often considered low-cost alternatives, but this might not be true in all cases. Customizing shipping containers, like adding windows, doors, walls etc., requires money. Therefore, you must always prepare your budget, keeping in mind all the aspects of shipping containers.


Not all shipping containers require a foundation, but you must first focus on creating a foundation when creating multi-container buildings.

Design constraint

It would help if you always made modifications to your shipping container keeping in mind its structural limits. If the structural components of shipping containers are modified beyond the extent, it could risk the container and the goods placed inside. Also, change in such a way that if you wish to move the container from one place to another, it can be quickly loaded in a truck and transported without any trouble.


In today’s era, shipping containers are not just used for shipping. Due to modification and customization, they can now be used in many different ways. To some extent, you can modify shipping containers on your own. However, it would be best to have a container modification team who can effortlessly handle all the complex tasks for the proper customization of containers. If you want more information on shipping containers, visit us on our LOTUS container website www.lotus-containers.com/en/. We will be more than happy to connect with you and respond to all your queries.

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