5 Steps to Turn Shipping Containers into a Tiny House

shipping container home

Do you dream of an affordable lake home? What about a hunting cabin, guest house or weekend retreat? Citi-Cargo sells both used and new shipping containers that can be used to build tiny homes.

Citi-Cargo shipping containers are great for tiny homes because they are:

  • Durable
  • Weather resistant
  • Reinforced with heavy-duty floors
  • Made of high-quality steel

Here are 5 steps to take when building a shipping container home.

Step 1: Make a wish-list

Shipping containers are the raw structure of your tiny home. Think about what you want and how you’d like to use the space. Do you want to add a new roof? More square footage? Windows or abasements? Check out some examples of shipping container homes and start dreaming.

Step 2: Understand your obligations

It’s less fun, but a major requirement if you’re building a tiny home. What permits do you need to build in your chosen location? What are the zoning laws and building codes? Look up your state’s requirements at the American Tiny House Association’s website. If you’re in Minnesota like we are, read the Tiny Houses Code Fact Sheet from the Department of Labor and Industry.

Step 3: Finalize your design

Whether you’re a DIY-er or want to work with a contractor, decide what you want to add, how you want to modify or join containers, and consider details like like insulation, cooling, utilities and flooring, energy and waste management. Compost toilets and solar energy are popular options for tiny homes. Planning will help you decide what sizes and quantities of containers to purchase. If you use a contractor, ask for references, proof of insurance and details about their guarantee. We like Blackbox Container Studios and Hive Modular.

Step 4: Prepare the site

Get your site ready to receive your containers. Decide on a wood or concrete foundation and build it. See Shipping Container House Foundations and Placing the Containers on the Foundation.

Step 5: Buy shipping containers for your tiny home

See our guide for choosing the best shipping containers to use to build a tiny home. If you’re cutting, welding and reinforcing, do that before you move the containers to your site.

Now its time to implement your engineering plans and create your own tiny container home home.