Shipping Container Frames: Steel vs Wood

Sustainable designs have been trending for the past few years. One such trend that has been going around is the re-use of shipping freight boxes. They are modified into houses and office spaces due to their convenient size and durability. The freight boxes, when changed, requires extra support. For this reason, it is essential to frame shipping containers when modifying them. The most common materials to choose between are – steel or wood.

These rigid members impart support and shape to traditional structures. The heavy-duty steel body of a freight box offers adequate support and does not require interior framing. Instead, shipping freight box frames help you attach drywall, spray foam insulation, or make extra doors and windows.

Different Types of frames for shipping containers

Frames for modified shipping containers are made of either wood or metal. Metal framing is made of steel or aluminium. Each fixture has advantages and disadvantages that make it suited for various uses. Read through, and by the end, you’ll be able to decide which one to opt for: steel or wood frames.

Steel Frames

Steel fixtures are an alternative to wood fixtures. They generally have numerous advantages of their own. They are less prevalent in traditional construction work but are often an excellent alternative for many projects.


  • They are more robust than wooden fixtures making them more structurally sound.
  • Steel fixtures are lighter than wood fixtures.
  • They are non-combustible.
  • They are more resistant to water damage than wood framing – it doesn’t expand or warp the same way wood does.
  • Less likely to attract fungus.


  • It is more challenging to insulate than wood framing because steel is a better conductor of heat than impeding it.
  • Potential to rust.

Wood Frames

Wood framing is used in most structures nowadays; there are several advantages to being familiar with it. Certain qualities of wood framing stand out more than others when compared to steel framing, such as that wood framing is heavier than steel framing. Or that wood framing is more flammable than a steel frame. Engineers have effectively used this natural resource to create a range of structures, even though certain qualities of wood can be challenging when used for construction.


Natural thermal insulator — unlike steel, wood quickly impedes thermal energy and works as a heat barrier.
Locating skilled wood fixture builders, architects, and other construction participants is more accessible.


  • Wood fixtures are quicker to rot.
  • These frames can succumb to insect infestation.
  • They can easily catch fire as wood is a combustible material.

Steel vs Wood Framing Within Modified Shipping Containers

Project managers that use freight boxes as the structural bones of a building also need to choose the internal framing of each modified shipping container. Once the choice is made, manufacturers can appropriately change each container offsite, adding wood or steel fixtures before insulation.

The choice between wood or steel framing inside a shipping container depends on the project’s requirements. A steel fixture within a container is likely the best choice if the owners want to reduce the possibilities of combustion. A wood fixture may be the best alternative if the owners wish to construct as insulated as possible. It is critical to discuss your project specifications with your manufacturer so that they can assist you as needed.

Typical Uses of Shipping Container Frames

Insulating your shipping container house requires framing. Add spray foam or fibreglass panels to your container to keep it warm. Fixtures can be used to support extra doors and windows. Electric lines, plumbing, and other services can be hidden behind wooden fixtures. A steel frame can strengthen the structural integrity of your cargo boxes.

Remember that while shipping containers may readily be stacked together to form more significant buildings, the standard container sizes might limit design alternatives. Maintaining the structural integrity of the cargo boxes is essential because the cargo boxes‘ dimensions and structural elements should be respected when designing a container-based structure. Working with individuals and organizations familiar with shipping container construction is essential to ensure the building remains structurally safe.

LOTUS Containers – your one-stop destination for all things shipping containers

Since 2008, LOTUS Containers has been one of the leading providers of shipping container solutions. We supply shipping and storage cargo boxes worldwide at affordable and flexible prices. We are a global participant in container trade with representative offices worldwide. As a result, we have exceptionally sound market knowledge. Wherever it might be, no location is out of reach for us. We not only provide intermodal transportation for shipping containers that you have purchased, but we also provide several other services. For example, we give a buyback service in which we buy back the shipping containers you purchased from us and pay you a reasonable price, so you don’t have to worry about where and when to sell your cargo boxes.

At LOTUS Containers, we will handle everything for you, from container purchasing to intermodal container transportation for shipping containers purchased from us. With sites and representative offices all over, we provide worldwide and local knowledge to our customers, delivering the appropriate cargo boxes for your needs, whether for shipping, storage, or freight. Whatever you need, be assured that we will have a solution for you. Contact us if you have any queries.

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