Vertical Shipping Containers

What better way to enjoy a sunny afternoon than with a glass of wine and a beautiful view. This winery’s tasting room experience just became elevated. Cumulus Studio designed the shipping container building for Brown Brothers wine company to amplify the experience of the of scenery and to help lure tourists to east coast of Tasmania. The structure was constructed primarily using recycled shipping containers including the eye catching lookout tower, the Devil’s Corner Cellar Door. The tower invites guests to visually explore the landscape around the vineyard through thoughtfully curated framed views and interpreting the landscape. The guests will learn to appreciate the land where the wine originates in the same way they appreciate the wine that they sip on. There are three distinct openings, all with unique framed views- sky, horizon, and tower.

Shipping containers were used because of their flexibility, durability, affordability, and ability to be constructed quickly. The steel shipping containers are both structurally sound and can easily be modified. A total of 10 recycled shipping containers were used.

The shipping containers were modified off-site, easily transported to the site, and erected quickly. The sky lookout was cut from two parts a container and then put back together; the horizon bridge lookout is between the sky and tower lookouts and  the tower is constructed from two containers, end to end. The timber cladding on outside of the tower mixes the agricultural qualities with the raw industrial nature of the steel and the production process.

This vertical shipping container building utilized the small limited space and created an elegant 3 floor custom build pop-up shop. The project is the Streamer X Espresso Parts Barista Pro Shop is made from recycled shipping containers and positioned on a small island of real estate.










Photo: Designboom


In the Netherlands, architects have a developed structure made out of shipping containers at a bus station and is designed to enhance the waiting experience. The campaign called “prettig wachten” (pleasant waiting) is trying to make the time spent waiting more comfortable and less stressful for travelers. A 40ft shipping container is vertically placed and three 20ft shipping container were horizontally placed on the side. The horizontal containers are suspended together and form a roof.


A Georgia based architect Dachi Papuashvili shared his plan of constructing a tiny home with two recycled shipping containers. One shipping container stands vertically and the sits perpendicular like a cross. The plan was named The Skit, plans to utilize the recycled shipping containers but will also be very sustainable. The roof will be fitted with a solar panel and will make the home independent of any outside energy sources. The Skit will also feature a rainwater collection system and the heating of the home will be done by a small wood-burning stove. The outside of The Skit will be clad in wood and will feature two balconies.

Construction Trends 2016-2017

According to the American Institute of Architects’ Consensus Construction Forecast Panel expects the overall construction spending to grow about 6 percent in 2016 and stay in that range for 2017. With the 6% growth, the value of construction is predicted to reach an estimate of $712 billion. Commercial and institutional sectors are leading the growth trend in 2016. Both single-family residential and the institutional building sectors have the greatest potential for further expansion in 2017. Construction Dive came out with a great article highlighting the 10 construction trends to watch out for in 2016. This article talks about the trends of 2016 that contributed to the booming construction business. Container Alliance can help contribute to the strong demand of the construction industry and offer our level of expertise in these trends:

  • Prefab/offsite construction methods will become more popular

20-office-conversion-ca-9Offsite, also refers to modular or prefabricated, construction has been gaining momentum as an alternative building method to cut down construction time, waste, and cost. The goal is to leave less of a carbon footprint on our planet. Construction companies with unpredictable schedules or staff at various job sites can benefit from the convenience of having on-site facilities because it offers more certainty.

Container Alliance has office units for rent, along with a plethora modifications available to customize your shipping container construction vision. Our office units can be delivered right to a job site and are ready to go. The flexibility and mobility of containers make them great for any project, rather it is needed temporarily or as a long term solution. Speed up the time and save money!

  • Green building will grow in commercial and residential sectors            

Going green is a growing trend that has gained some momentum in the past few years, leading the residential sector to play catch up. “The growing trend in both sectors is driven not just by a desire to produce environmentally friendly structures, but by consumer demand, higher-quality results and lifecycle cost savings,” according to experts at Greenbuild 2015.


Photo: Freshome


  • Jobsite accidents and criminal indictments on the rise         

At a job site, there are two main concerns are security and theft. On-site storage is vital to the construction industry to keep expensive equipment, tools, and materials safe. Container Alliance offers a safe and secure solution with our shipping containers. Our One Trip containers come with standard with a lockbox to prevent your lock from being cut. Our containers come in various sizes and can be customized according to your needs. Contractors can rest easy with the peace of mind that their valuables are kept safe.

  • Remodeling will have a strong year, especially in the luxury market

The economy is picking up again, so are renovations. Data has shown that more people are willing to invest more money in their homes. Home improvement spending has doubled since 2012, increasing the opportunity for contractors to take advantage of this trend. Renovations are happening everywhere, sports stadiums, hotels, schools, hospitals, and residential homes. Container Alliance can provide on-site storage and offices while shipping container construction and/or renovations are happening. We have an array of sizes and a variety of modifications available, including enhanced security, shelving, custom paint, and electrical packages. Shipping containers will keep your items safe while renovations are happening.

Shipping Containers Are Great For The Holiday Season

Now that everyone is full from all the turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, and pumpkin pie, it is time to start planning your Black Friday extravaganza. With the holidays just around the corner, consumers are looking for all the best deals on Black Friday, it is the biggest sale day of the year. Having shipping containers can help your business grow, stay organized, and create a great branding opportunity. Here are four ways shipping containers can benefit your business:

View on Rear Left with door open

Extra Storage Space – Extra storage space during the holiday season is especially valuable to the retail environment because of all the extra stock stores have during the peak season. In most cities, affordable inventory storage space is limited and using shipping containers is a cost effective alternative. The sky’s the limit on the design possibilities, they can be stacked or cleverly arranged to maximize as much space as possible. Not to mention, containers are eco-friendly and prevent the use of bricks and cement. Tons of shipping containers are just sitting idle in ports, so why not reuse them? Help the environment by taking objects that would normally be thrown away and turn them into something productive. Do you only need storage for a few months? Container Alliance has long-term and short-term rental options available. Don’t feel tied down with purchasing a container, rent one first! 

container-shelvingInventory Control – By having extra storage on site, businesses can have access to their stock at all times and can manage it better. Shipping containers for business is a great way to stay organized, especially if you add shelving to your unit. Shelving systems are a simple, cost-effective method of utilizing the space inside your container.

Office Space – Office space can be limited especially in the retail environment. Affordable office space is a whole another issue. Since renting a traditional office may not be in the budget, shipping containers provide a way to create an office space without breaking the bank. This will benefit businesses who want to make a profit without spending the majority of their money on rent and various other expense that goes along with owning a business. Office conversions are an extremely functional modification that can allow for various applications in the re-purposing of cargo containers for an onsite office space. Container Alliance has a variety of office containers to suit your needs including, 20ft office conversions, 40ft office conversions, and 40ft office / storage conversion combinations. Although we can customize your office to your exact specifications, we do have a few popular office packages and pre-built offices that may suit your needs.  We have a variety of door, window, flooring, insulation and electrical options that can be tailored to your specific use.


Branding/Marketing – With so many holiday sales going on, you need to stand out from the crowd. Using shipping containers for business is a  a unique and innovative way to draw attention to your brand or products. Pop-up shops are becoming a growing trend. Shipping container pop-up shops give the retailers more flexibility than having a brick-and-mortar store. Shipping containers are affordable and can be relocated if necessary. Opening a temporary store is great for marketing purposes or if you want to test the waters of a new store or product. It is a powerful tool for creating brand awareness. Shipping containers for business purposes can even be custom painted to match your brand’s color scheme!


Shipping containers are a sustainable and inexpensive way to expand and grow your business. Don’t wait for customers to come to you, make the customers want to come to you. Shipping containers pop-ups will mesmerize their customers with their attention grabbing and unique display. Shipping containers are completely customizable and can be modified according to the needs of an individual or business.

Let Container Alliance help you grow your business. We have various container sizes and conditions in stock, as well as rental options available. Our knowledgeable sales reps can answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today at (800) 386-2345 or fill out a quick quote form.


What Is The Cost Of Shipping Containers?

TowerofcontainersRentalsThe cost of shipping containers varies depending on the geographical location, the condition of the container, modifications, size, and the cost of delivery. Used shipping container prices vary and are usually in the range of $1000-$5000. New or one trip shipping containers are usually more expensive and are usually in the range of $2000-$5000. For example, a basic bare-bones used container is much cheaper than a modified, custom-designed new container. If you hire a contractor to complete all the technical work, you are looking to spend $50-$150 an hour. The total cost of completing your project through a contractor could be up to $15,000 or more. If you are handy and have experience with construction then you could probably do it for $10,000 or less. Containers are made out of corrugated steel, commonly known as COR-TEN. Depending on the cost of steel prices, availability of containers fluctuates, along with pricing. Right now, steel is widely available at a relatively low cost so there are more new shipping containers being made. The high demand of shipping containers makes the price drop, creating an affordable building alternative.

Price Factors

Condition – At Container Alliance, a used container that needs some TLC or needs to be fixed can be as low as $1300 for a 20ft container. A 20ft one-trip container which is in new condition will usually go for around $2200.

Size – Shipping container prices increase with size and vary state-to-state.  The 40ft container is about 20%-30% more than a standard 20ft container. At Container Alliance, a used 40ft shipping container is about $1400 and a new or one trip 40ft container is about $3500. For only about $50-$100 more you can get a 40ft or 45ft High Cube. That is double the size for about a 70% price increase.

Modifications and Customization – Adding additional options such as a skylight, windows, a locking system, doors, ventilation, insulation, etc. are all going to cost you more. The more modifications you are looking for, the higher the price tag will be. 

Quantity – If you are buying more than one container, many shipping container companies will often offer a bulk discount rate so the cost per unit will be less.

Delivery – The prices vary depending on how many containers are being delivered and how far they have to travel. The further you are from a port location, the container will cost more.

Overall, the cost of shipping containers for your residential or business needs is drastically less than a finished structure such as brick and mortar buildings or building a home from scratch.  These buildings need larger and more expensive foundation, along with more intensive labor. Building with a shipping container will save you on the cost of human labor. If aesthetics are not of importance, buying a new container may not be necessary, a used container can save you money. However, a new container may be desired, especially if you are building a home and want to save money on refurbishing a used container.

Contact Us

At Container Alliance, we can help answer any questions about your container needs. We understand that every customer needs are different and our knowledgeable representatives can help figure out which container works best for your specific needs. Fluctuations in the container market can be confusing, give Container Alliance a call at (800) 386-2345 or fill out a quick quote form and let’s get the process started!

Shipping Container Paint Guide

DSC_0156Shipping containers are being virtually used for everything such as restaurants, shops, art pieces, storage, and even homes. You might have bought a used shipping container that was considered “cargo-worthy,” “as is” or “wind and watertight.” These are usually the cheapest container options on the market. “AS IS” containers are used units that have been retired by shipping companies. Most of these containers have light to heavy surface rust, scratches, dents, and come in various colors. Used containers are a great option because they are the most cost effective and there is an abundant supply of these containers. A single shipping container has traveled throughout the world and has been exposed to the marine environment. When the container is moved, the areas where the steel panels are joined together become weakened under stress and the original paint can crack or chip away. Due to the heavy use, water has an opportunity to collect in the corners and underneath the doors and remains stagnant. Painting shipping containers makes the cargo box more attractive in appearance and provides durability, ensuring the strength and integrity of the metal by keeping it free from rust. When you choose the right paint type, painting shipping containers also protects it from various elements. Ensure you find the best paint for your individual container, as there are various container paint options available. The first step is to determine how you will use the shipping container, the intended use will help you decide the best container paint type to use.


Now that you have purchased a used container that fits your needs. The size is right, the condition is strong and secure, and the price was right. Now it is time to paint your container. But why paint a container? Obviously, it is going to look better especially if it blends well with the rest of your home, business, or surroundings. If you are using it for marketing purposes, consider painting shipping containers for a fresh-looking exterior. But there is another reason you should paint your container. Painting your container adds an extra layer between the steel and the elements. Painting shipping containers will drastically slow down the spread of rust and will make your container last longer. When a container is chipped, dented, or damaged in a number of ways, these scars can speed up the process of rotting. Along with rotting, many people are concerned with the chemicals used in making the wood floor. If you are simply using a container for storage purposes, there is not much concern over the health risks. However, it is not a bad idea to seal off the floor with a thick coat of paint to prevent water damage and toxic fumes from creeping out. Any outdoor paint that is designed to be walked on and withstand the weather of all four seasons would work, for example, Behr Porch and Patio paint is a great choice.

Best Paint Option:
Water-based direct to metal paint (DTM) – Sherwin Williams and Valspar makes a good marine grade DTM paint

Rust Converter
Spot Priming any rust spots with a “rust converter” which transforms surface rust into a hard substance and then your container is ready to be painted. It also prevents the rust from spreading and secures the spot that is already rusted. I have heard good things about POR-15 rust treatment and rust prevention paint. Its high performance rust-preventive coating is designed for application directly on rusted or seasoned metal surfaces. The POR-15 dries extremely hard so it doesn’t chip, crack, or peel like ordinary paints and the hardness will resist the wear and tear of everyday life. POR-15 is ideal because it chemically bonds to rusted metal and forms a rock hard coating. It keeps moisture away from metal with a coating that is strengthened by continued exposure to moisture. This protective layer can then be painted over with your color of choice.

Ceramic Paint Insulation
What about ceramic paint insulation? Many people are wondering if ceramic insulation paint actually works and if so, how does it work? The dimensions of a container are not very big, if you insulate the inside of a container, you are not left with very much room to work with. On the other hand, If you insulate the outside of a container, the container loses the look and feel of a container. The “ceramic insulation” claimed to be developed by NASA and the supplier claims addresses “all three modes of heat transfer- Radiated, convected and conducted.” However, there have been no studies done to verify their insulating qualities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not suggest using paints or coatings as a primary source for insulation. Their government has recognized roofing paint for its energy efficiency but only the capability to reflect heat off the roof, not insulating the container to keep it cooler. In a study, they found that insulating paints can accomplish a “reduction in heat gain” of about 20% on freshly painted sun-exposed walls, but notes that such direct sunlight is limited, and the “reflectivity of the painted surface generally declines considerably with time.
Source: Freelibrary

Extending the Life of Your Container

Extending the life of your shipping container can be done with little a bit effort and at an affordable cost. Over the course of time, a shipping container that is on a farm, ranch, or on a residential or commercial property will eventually succumb to the forces of nature and start to rust. The floors may even begin to rot inside your container. Take preventive actions and slow down the aging process with paint, a wire brush, and some vinegar.

The only way to completely get rid of rust is by getting the surface down to bare metal and then painting it with a two part paint. It is probably not necessary to chip the paint off the entire container because most of the rust that is visible is probably running down from rusty spots where the coating was damaged. Those spots are probably worst than the rest of the container because of their exposure to the marine environment. It is a good idea to wash and scrub the complete surface and then clean the stains with a diluted ospho.

Steps To Paint Your Container
The most effective way to clean up the rust to repaint a shipping container would be to sandblast the entire container, remove the paint, then remove the rusted areas, prime, and repaint the container. This would result in a completely refurbished container. However, the cost of this process could be more than the container itself.

If you want to cut the cost down and just remove rust and repaint the affected areas, get a wire brush, sandpaper, vinegar, and direct to metal (DTM) paint. A 20ft container needs about 3-4 gallons of paint. Try to remove as much of the rust as possible with the wire brush and sandpaper. Rub vinegar on those areas you cleaned and leave it on for a bit. This will stall the corrosion process. Now it is time to apply the DTM paint, ideally, you should apply more than one coat.

Clean your container – Preferably with a pressure washer – Remove dirt, debris, and loose paint chips. Pay close attention to the areas that need special attention. Don’t forget to clean the top of your container!

Grind down rust – Use Low grit sandpaper, steel wool, or a wire brush – Sand areas to remove the corrosion or loose paint. If those areas are not treated, they will compromise the paint later on. Spray wash the container again and rub vinegar on the areas you cleaned and that need special attention. Let your container completely dry.

Apply a “rust converter”– Apply over rusty areas with a paint brush and/or roller. A rust converter is similar to a steel primer and converts the rust into a hard, paintable surface. It also seals the formerly rusty surface from oxygen, which is part of the rust degradation process. Let dry.

Paint your container – Once the rust converter has completely dried, using a paint sprayer or a heavy paint roller is ideal when applying your paint.

DSC_0179 copy

Have questions about painting your container? Container Alliance is able to paint your container for you, rather your are looking for a color that matches your home or business or a color that blends into your surroundings, one of our knowledgeable sales reps can help you make the decision and guide you in the right direction. Our years of experience in the container industry will save you time and money, we want to help you! We are also able to paint your container for you as a branding or marketing opportunity. Give us a call today at (800) 386-2345 or fill out a quick quote form now!

Back to School: Shipping Container Schools


Photo: Inhabitat

This bright and innovative gym/sports hall was created out of shipping containers. This eye-catching structure is used as a four court sports hall, viewing gallery, changing rooms, and an office. This stacked shipping container building radiates and inspires fun with its bright colors, zigzag cutouts, and abundance of natural light.


Photo: Inhabitat

This unique mobile library was conceived to help support local Dutch schools that lack funds or space for a library. The lower level of this shipping container building is a small library that packs 100 meters of book shelves and above is a reading room. There are also four computer terminals. The innovative structure almost feels like a fun house with its transparent floor that magnifies and makes kids look huge.


Photo: Inhabitat



Photo: DesignBoom

Samsung has begun an effort to provide children with access to modern technology. Electricity is received via photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. This solar powered mobile lab can generate nine hours of electricity a day. The shipping container school classroom that hold 21 students is equipped with a 50 inch electronic board, internet-enabled powered notebooks, galaxy tablet computers as well as wi-fi cameras.


Photo: Inhabitat

Overcrowding in schools has become a trend lately and schools are constantly struggling with space shortages. Due to budget cuts or tight budgets, there is little that these school can do. Slovenian architect Jure Kotnik understood the importance of a comfortable learning environment that sparks imagination in young children. Kotnik came up with a temporary fix to remedy the overcrowding at a local kindergarten. He transformed shipping containers into a kid-friendly temporary container classroom.


Photo: Inhabitat

REALM Charter School in Berkeley, California had its students design new classrooms using 40ft used shipping containers and named it Project H. The teacher leaders gave the students control to plan their classroom, source materials, and also build the container classroom themselves. This gave students practical experience in planning and construction. Students got to use angle grinders, blow torches, welders, and many other tools. Through the program, students gained valuable experience thinking critically and creatively with a group. These kids got the hands-on experience to help them succeed later in life.

Contact Us

Container Alliance provides shipping containers, storage containers, and custom container modifications in California and is part of a network of shipping container providers throughout the United States. We have been in business for 8 years and work with every client to find the perfect storage solution to meet their unique needs. Give us a call at 800-386-2345 today or get an online quote now.

Shipping Container Dimensions

The two industry standard sizes of shipping containers are the 20ft and 40ft containers. Importers and exporters are at an advantage when it comes to packing up their container because their products are boxed and shipped from the manufacture. This makes it easy to access the amount boxes that fit on a pallet. If you are using a container to move, it is difficult to know how much of your stuff is going to fit into the container. Do you need a 20ft container or a 40ft container? Finding the perfect shipping container dimensions that will fit your entire home seems like an impossible task. Packing your items in a container can feel like a game of Tetris. Going through each room of your house or apartment and taking inventory of what is in each room will help give you a better idea of what standard container dimension you will need. Taking inventory of your home will also help with the organizational process when it comes time to load your container. At this time, you can discard any unwanted items or make a trip to Goodwill. Hopefully this guide provides a clear understanding of the shipping container dimensions as you embark on your journey to a new place!

20 ft container rental20ft Containers – The standard container dimensions of a 20ft container is 20ft long, 8ft 6in tall, and 8ft wide. It can hold about 850 to 1,050 cubic feet, and are usually big enough to fit a 1 to 2 bedroom household, or one vehicle with a few small household goods. The container filled to the maximum capacity is 1170 cubic feet but filled up to 90% capacity would be about 1,050 cubic feet. This is only an estimate and only work if everything fits like a puzzle piece – which rarely happens – so be sure to leave some extra space.

Cubic FeetQuantityTotal
Twin Bed
King Size Bed30
3 - Seater Couch45145
Washing Machine 15115
Refrigerator 10110
TV (Small)5210
Medium Boxes (18" x 18" x 18")4520
Large Boxes 8540
Dinner Table 50150
Suitcases 5420
BMW 3 SERIES 325i M Sport 2dr Step Auto Convertible 3.0670
Grand Total 1050

Resource: Movehub

CIMG037540ft Containers – The standard container dimensions of a 40ft container is 40ft long, 8ft 6in, and 8ft wide. It can hold about 1,850 to 2,200 cubic feet, and are typically appropriate for moving a 3 to 5 bedroom household, or 1 vehicle and a 2 bedroom household. The overall capacity of a 40ft container is 2,390 cubic feet. It is highly unlikely that you will fill your 40ft container to full capacity because of awkward shaped items. Make sure you have some extra room so you do not fall short. The 40ft shipping container dimensions are best for families and larger homes or large items such as vehicles.

Item Cubic Feet
Living Room / Kitchen / Dining Room / Laundry Room
Couch 3 Seater50
Sofa Bed50
Sofa Sectional30
Arm Chair10
Occasional Chair15
Lazy Boy25
Book Case20
Coffee Tables5
Wall Unit Small15
Wall Unit Large20
Cupboard small10
Cupboard Large15
Floor Lamp3
Upright Piano60
Baby Grand Piano70
Grand Piano80
Carpet and Rug10
Grandfather Clock20
Breakfast Chair5
Breakfast Table10
Kitchen Cabinet30
Utility Cabinet10
Refrigerator (Small)40
Refrigerator (Medium)45
Refrigerator (Large)55
Freezer (Small)45
Freezer (Medium)50
Freezer (Large)60
Washing Machine 35
Dishwasher 35
King Size Bed70
Full Size Bed 55
Twin Size Bed 40
Bunk Beds70
Dresser, Chest of Drawers
Ironing Board10
Side Tables10
Wardrobe Boxes
Small Dining Table20
Medium Dining Table 25
Large Dining Table 30
Dining Chairs5
China Cabinet25
Corner Cabinet 20
Outdoor Area
Barbecue 10
Lawn Chair5
Porch Chair10
Lawn Mower35
Outdoor Swings 30
Picnic Table20
Large Bookcase 15
Arm Chair10
Computer Desk 20
Conference Table 50
Drawing Table 20

Resource: Movehub 

Estimating the volume of your container
Generally speaking, a two-bedroom apartment will fill into a 20ft container. For example, if you take a typical 1,200 square foot apartment and pack it very well using boxes and bubble wrap, it should easily fit all your possessions in a 20ft container. This would be similar to a 2-3 bedroom house of about 2,000 square feet in a 40ft shipping container.

How many cars will fit in one shipping container? 
Varies with the size of the cars, but typically:

20ft Container
A large sedan, van, or small SUV when loaded flat without supporting frames
2 very low sports cars when loaded with supporting frames

40ft Container
2 large sedan, vans, or small SUV when loaded flat without supporting frames
3 or 4 sedans when angled and secured by frames

Container Alliance can help you find the right shipping container dimensions for your moving needs. Give us a call at (800) 386-2345 to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales representatives or fill out a quick quote form today!

Container Conversions: Modifications

cutting-and-framing-4Cutting a piece out of your shipping container is necessary if you plan on creating a passage between the containers or you plan on adding windows and/or door openings to the container walls. There are many ways to cut through container steel, including a plasma cutter, cutting torch, grinder, and a jig saw (for small openings). If you have no experience cutting steel or welding, the best route to go would be to hire a welder. Before removing any structural components, it is vital to secure reinforcements because when you start cutting containers up, they become weakened. Cutting a shipping container or removing panels causes the structural integrity to be compromised. As a general rule, whenever you remove parts of the panelized corrugation, steel framing will be necessary to frame out the opening. In addition, column and roof support may be required depending on the size of the opening and roof/wind loads. Be sure to review with a structural engineer or architect.

Container Alliance has extensive experience in basic container modifications and can cater to essentially any need that might come up with regards to cargo container conversions. We specialize in preparing containers for various applications that involve the cutting of container sections in order to join them together with others. We have removed entire sidewalls, portions of sidewalls, floors, and ceilings.

Doors and Windows


Container Alliance can cater to essentially any need that might come up with regards to custom shipping containers. We have qualified modification experts that can source anything you need to meet your specific requirements. An experienced fabricator and welder use a welding gun to cut doors and windows into the steel side. Windows can range from a small porthole to a fully glazed window wall that can be opened to create access to the entire side of the container. If your modified shipping container is being used as a business, it might be a good idea to add sliding hatch or a sliding steel door.

Container Alliance steel sliding doors were created as an alternative to roll up doors when full size wall height is needed and can be installed on either side of the container. Another great thing about this door is that it is virtually invisible when the container is shut and can be locked from the inside, making it very safe and secure. These doors are very heavy and industrial, perfect for workshop applications, mobile product display or “pop up” store fronts. The commercial lightweight door is cost effective, secure and durable, and can be installed on either side or front-end wall of the container. You have the option of having the door open outward or inward with hinges on either side. All openings for doors and windows should be reinforced by steel framing. If you are converting a container into a home, french doors are another option. Skylights are another great way to bring in natural light without running electrical or mounting lights inside your container. Modify your shipping container with domed, flat, or vented skylights, as well as custom sized skylights from Container Alliance.




The wooden floors of shipping containers are usually treated with pesticides, so it is necessary to either replace them or create a physical barrier with epoxy resin and optionally build a new plywood subfloor on the top of them. When modifying shipping containers, most people replace the flooring rather than just cover it up, but sealing the floor with polyurethane or epoxy paint is a good idea as well. Most importantly, be very careful if you decide on sanding the floor. Sanding can release trapped fumigants and the exposure could be dangerous. You can find out the history of your container on the data plate. The data plate reveals what the floors had been treated with previously. The chemicals used to treat the plywood floors can potentially be harming to the health of humans, so replacing the floors might not be a choice if you are planning to live in your container or conduct business on a regular basis. Why is the vapor pressure important?  It’s easy to trap the contaminated floors of a shipping container to prevent physical contact, but it’s very difficult to block their vapors if present and their subsequent inhalation.


Before applying the epoxy, it is a good idea to wash the floors with isopropyl alcohol to remove any surface chemicals or oils that would prevent the epoxy from penetrating and sticking to the wood. Make sure you have a well-ventilated area because the alcohol vapors can be potent. The epoxy should be both a physical and vapor barrier to the chemicals. An optional subfloor can be added to provide additional barrier to the treated chemicals. If you are building a separate subfloor in your cargo container conversion, make sure you seal the existing treated wood with solvent-free epoxy resin using a paint roller. You can then build a subfloor on top of this if desired. Another interesting option I have seen in cargo container conversions is to pour a concrete floor inside the containers on top of the plywood. It could even be the finish floor with some dyes and/or patterning added.

Alternative Flooring

traditional-bamboo-flooringBamboo Floors– Unfortunately, the tropical wood used in containers is becoming scarce and in danger of running out. It takes about 50-60 years to replace one cut down tree. Bamboo is now being used as an alternative to plywood by select suppliers to make shipping container floors to help decrease the environmental damage. Bamboo is biodegradable and has the ability to grow rapidly. As bamboo grows, its grass naturally fights off pesticides and other harmful chemical

Steel-Overlay-FloorSteel– Steel is one the most recyclable products in the world and last a relatively long time before it needs replacement. Steel is durable and a sustainable flooring solution. Steel is resistant to rust, wear and tear caused by heavy use, as well as corrosive environments.

Carpet– Carpet will provide an added protective layer that will feel good in between your toes. Carpet tiles are perfect to cover the traditional hardwood flooring instead acting as a replacement option. Carpet tiles come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be installed in odd shaped floor spaces. They can be installed in small areas and in many different ways. Carpet tiles are flexible, affordable, and a practical alternative to container flooring.

Vinyl–  Vinyl flooring can last anywhere from 10-20 years. Vinyl is resistant to scratches and stains. It is easy to clean and resistant to rust, oil, and water. Vinyl makes your living space easy to maintain by sweeping on a regular basis and  occasionally mop when necessary.

Linoleum– This is one of the most eco-friendly alternatives and is naturally antibacterial and biodegradable. Linoleum floors can last up to 40 years with regular maintenance and care.

At Container Alliance, we have found that many customers prefer a different flooring material. We have various flooring options including our standard options: steel overlay, vinyl flooring, Rhino lining®, or rubber flooring. Call us today to discuss these various flooring options for your modified shipping container.

Cleaning, Sanding, and Painting


Make sure to remove any dirt, dust, or other forms of detritus

Wash the container. Use a pressure washer or high- powered spray brush and completely clean the inside and outside of the container

Inspect the inside and outside of the container for any rust or corrosion.

After the container is dry, go over the container with medium grit sandpaper.

Apply a primer coat of paint

When primer is dry, apply a thick, exterior paint.


Applying the paint by using an industrial paint sprayer can make the job fast and easy. However, if you cannot get one, rolling the paint will work just as well. There are direct to metal and oil-based paints that will fit your needs. One of the most recommended is an industrial, alkyd enamel. You will probably need to give the container at least two coats of paint. Painting the floors can help seal it off and prevent both water damage and the idea of fumes. Any outdoor paint will work, we recommend Behr Porch and Patio paint. This type of paint is designed to be walked on and withstand the weather of all four seasons. Treating any rusted areas with vinegar and repainting the container with DTM paint will help the unit withstand weather, and a thick coat of porch and patio paint on the flooring will help to prevent the floor from rotting or releasing fumes.

Painting at Container Alliance

custom-paint-greyAt Container Alliance, we take pride in the modification work that we do. The most common type of general alteration of an ISO unit is refurbishment and painting. Starting with used or new containers, our refurb/paint process is not just cosmetic; we spend time in the preparation of the unit prior to applying any coating. This includes pressure washing to remove any dirt or dust, grinding down surface issues and straightening out any blemishes or dings. From there, we primer any steel that we may have exposed in an effort to preserve the life of the container. Next, we tape off the rubber seals around the cargo doors for longevity, but keeping in mind the aesthetic of the unit as well. Finally, we spray with direct to metal water-based paint. The finished product is a high quality freshly painted container. We can also apply specialty roof coatings customizable to your specific application.

Fixtures, Electrical, Plumbing

Framing the inside of your container is optional. However, framing and drywall give the interior a more natural feel and can aid with the insulation. At this point, you should be adding any exterior doors, as well as any skylights and flashing required to weatherproof the structure. Now, it is time to install plumbing, electrical, and heating systems. Contact a trained specialist if you are not familiar with setting up these systems. If you are installing electrical, plumbing, and a heating system yourself, it important to plan and mark where everything is going to go. Where are your switches, outlets, and lights going to go? Where are the appliances going to placed? Where is the fuse box going to be placed? Ask yourself these questions and create an electrical layout. If you are concerned about security or live in a remote area, do not install an electrical outlet on the outside of your home.electrical-2-of-2

Electrical at Container Alliance

We can do electrical packages for any size container. We do offer standard packages and can add or subtract from the package. Of course, as with anything in our custom shop, we can accommodate anything outside our standard configurations, just give us a call and we will take care of the rest!


Insulating your container especially in cold climates is necessary, so that condensation does not easily form on the interior steel walls. This could result in future problems such as corrosion and mold. Insulating the walls can be done on the inside or outside or both, just as long as it is insulated. Insulating the outside of the container creates a more conventional look to your structure and allows you to use the full space of the container. Insulating the inside of your container gives the outside a more rugged look because of the steel exterior with a more conventional interior. Spray form may be the most expensive, but the benefits outweigh the financial costs. Polyurethane foam for the interior and ceramic insulation paint for the exterior, work well together. A minimum of a two inch foam layer creates structural support and stops the condensation from building up. Applying a foam layer to the interior and exterior walls will create protective barrier against the heat, cold, and moisture. For hot climates, reflective paint on the exterior will help reflect the sun’s UV rays and prevent heat from being captured. The paint also helps to obstruct mold, mildew, and rust from forming on the container. Steel or wood studs are used with the spray foam to secure drywall. Incorporating a thermal break insulation1between the studs and container walls will help the heat stay in. Drywall will give the interior a more traditional feel and will add insulation. 

Types of Insulation:



Ecological insulation, such as egg cartons, etc.

insulated-container-2-of-2Insulating at Container Alliance

Our insulation packages are always very high quality. There are many different types of insulating products that are available, from glue-on panel systems to insulating paint. Our standard insulation is done with R-13 value fiberglass surrounded by wood studs, and finished with plywood and drywall or particle ply. Always ask a sales rep about what you need, and we can work with your custom requirements.


Managing airflow and ventilation in your modified shipping container is equally as important as insulating your container. Be aware, due to the size of containers, any ventilation problem is enhanced. Without providing proper and effective ventilation, serious problems will occur in the future. Shipping containers are meant to be air tight  because they are used to ship goods around the world in various weather conditions. Here are four venting options to manage the airflow and temperature in your container:

Pre-installed container vents. Containers already have passive vents installed in them. They allow for pressure changes when the weather quickly changes and have a screen to prevent insects from getting in. However, they do not promote airflow through the container.vents-1-of-5

Louvered vents. Louvered vents are added to create more airflow and helps to cool the container. They also help fight against too much moisture from building up. It is a good idea to install them on opposite ends to help promote as much airflow as possible. 

Turbine vents. Turbine vents will help if you are having moisture problems by moving the moist air up and bringing the less moist air down. The vent will turn and then pull moisture up and out. However,vents-4-of-5 turbine vents can also allow moisture back in.

Heat/ AC units. If you are more interested in the temperature in the air, a heat/ac unit will do the trick. These units can ensure that your container will be toasty in the cold and snowy winters, but keep cool in the hot and humid summers.


Container Conversions: Buying Containers and Logistics

This is where Container Alliance comes in! Container Alliance is your source for shipping containers, office solutions, custom containers and portable storage containers for sale or rent to suit thousands of uses. We have decades of experience sourcing the right containers for your needs. Choose from a wide variety of shipping container specifications and sizes, conditions and configurations in the industry. Regardless of your intended use, we have what you need at the price points you are looking for. We offer new and used containers customized to your application. We offer the largest network of container providers in the nation! Now is time to create a plan and layout for your container building. Look no further than Container Alliance for shipping containers for your new home or business.

ISO (International Standards Organization) Containers– The most common containers throughout the world. They are used for dry shipping by truck, train, or boat. ISO containers are available in like new “one trip” condition or refurbished. Sizes: 10ft- 45ft High Cube

20 ft container rental

One-trip– One-trip containers are manufactured overseas; mainly in Asia and are shipped with a single container cargo load. Once the container reaches its destination they are often available for sale. These containers are an excellent choice because they have not spent time deteriorating on the ocean or in a container depot / terminals. Most consider these containers and often refer to them as “new” or in “like new” condition. Keep in mind that these containers have made one trip across the ocean and have been handled by container lifts and trucks so they often have a few scratches and a possible ding or two. One trip containers are available worldwide in most port locations. I would strongly consider choosing a one trip container if you do not want to deal with maintenance and esthetics of used containers.

45-cargo-worthy-2-of-3Cargo Worthy Containers–  Cargo worthy containers must be surveyed or certified by a licensed surveyor. Regardless if you plan to ship your container or not, a surveyed container will insure that you will not receive a damaged unit. If your needs require shipping a container you must select a surveyed cargo worthy container. Inspection of cargo worthy containers is based on condition of the doors, floor, walls and ceiling. Structural integrity is also a major factor when it comes to certification of standard shipping containers.

as-is-container1As Is– “AS IS” Containers are the cheapest option when buying a shipping or storage container. “AS IS” units are used as shipping containers for years then retired by shipping or leasing companies. This condition may alert the buyer that the container might have some damage. It is possible that the container may have heavy corrosion in areas and there is no guarantee it is weatherproof. You must understand that mot used containers have surface rust where they are scratched and are often labeled by the shipping label in various colors.

Wind/Water Tight–  WWT means that the container is in good enough
conditions to protect cargo from the elements. Dry and suitable fo40ft-Container-wwt-2-of-4r storage.

Storage Grade– The container is no longer in good enough condition to be used for shipping but are still relatively secure, watertight, and reasonably waterproof. These containers will usually have a significant amount of wear and tear.20ft-IICL-container

IICL-5 (Institute of International Container Lessors rating)
– This means that the container conforms to the international leasing inspection and repair standard. The container should be in excellent condition.

CSC Plate–  A CSC plate is a safety approval pcargo-care-2late, a container’s “passport.” The CSC plate is evidence of the container is structurally sound for international transportation. It means that the container is free of holes and cracks, that its doors open and shut correctly, and it is watertight and dry.

Logistics and Site Preparation

Transporting shipping containers is the easy part, but positioning them where you need them on a site can prove to be quite difficult and problematic. If you are stacking containers or the site is down a narrow area or in a built-up area, most likely you will need to use a crane to get the container properly placed. At this stage of the project, make sure you are meeting safety and competency standards.

Site Preparation typically involve the following steps:
Initial assessment to find out if site survey is necessary.
Survey the site if necessary and plan out the delivery of the shipping container. Figure out the position and confirm if the crane being used can manage the load.

Contact authorities if the project interferes or public areas are affected by the work. For example, if the installation is going to interfere with electrical power lines or if roads are going to need to be temporarily shut down. Make sure road conditions are discussed in advance.
A clear plan and risk assessment for the site should be arranged, giving clear instruction on exactly what will be positioned on the site, when it will take place, and whether ground bearings are enough to bear the load that is laid on them.

Coordinate and plan where the container is going to be placed in advance. Make sure the driver is aware of where the container is going to be positioned so that he/she has a general idea and can come prepared with the required equipment. Also, let the driver know in advance which direction the container should be loaded, doors facing the cab or to the rear. If the doors are facing the driver’s cab, the doors will touch the ground last. If the doors are facing the rear, the doors will touch the ground first. This is vital because it will affect the direction of the container when it is unloaded onto your site.

Make sure that your site for the shipping container is clear of any wire, trees, plants, or anything that could potentially get in the way of the truck. There should be extra space around the area you plan to place your container since the truck driver will need the space to unload the container and back out. These trucks are heavy and can cause damage to your landscaping if there is not a designated area for an easy entrance and exit route.

Delivery at Container Alliance

We have several delivery vehicles and transportation partners that are committed to making sure your portable storage container is delivered quickly, safely and without headaches. It is important for you to understand what can cause issues and what type of preparation is necessary prior to delivery. We are here to help and if there is anything that can be done to get you a container delivered we will do it.  At additional expense we can facilitate the rental of a crane, forklift, or even use casters (wheels) to reposition the container once they are off the truck.  Call us today and we can walk you through your delivery options.

Delivery Vehicle Types:

20’ Tilt bed individual delivery- This is our most maneuverable truck which is used to deliver containers that are 20’ in length and smaller.

40’ Tilt bed individual delivery-  The 40’ tilt bed trailer is hauled with a small cab tractor that has an overall length of about 50ft. This vehicle is capable of offloading itself and hauls containers from 25ft to 45ft in length and includes high cube containers as well.

40’ Flatbed delivery-  By far the 40ft flatbed delivery is much cheaper then tilt bed deliveries. Flatbed trucks can be brokered one way through our network of flatbed carriers. These flatbed trucks must be offloaded with a forklift or crane.

60’ Step-deck delivery- If you have a way to offload and are buying multiple containers we can bring your 3 x 20’ units or 1 x 20’ and 1 x 40’ container on a 60’ step-deck truck. Once again you must offload the containers with a crane or forklift.

Space Requirements:

Containers are typically delivered with a tilt-bed roll off truck. The driver tilts the bed up, and the container touches the ground. The driver then drives out from under the container. The delivery site needs to allow for 15’ of overhead clearance to accommodate the container on top of the tilt bed truck or trailer. To get out from under the container the driver needs at least the length of the container and the tilt bed truck, in a straight line.

20’ individual delivery- 9.5ft of width ,15ft of height and about 60ft in a straight line in order to offload the container

40’ individual delivery-9.5ft of width, 16ft of height and about 100ft in a straight line.

40ft flatbed and 60ft step-deck delivery- Enough room for full size tractor trailer and room to turn


The container should be placed on a surface that is fairly level, smooth, and has strong ground. These containers are very heavy and can not be moved without requesting another truck driver. DO NOT place a container in an area that is vulnerable to flooding because the container won’t sink into the ground. Proper foundations include, pavement, cement, gravel, hard grass, and dirt. Another good option if these types of foundations are not available is to use blocks of concrete to support the container. When placing concrete blocks under all four corners, the container will be elevated and you will avoid the probability of your container sinking into the ground. Another option is a container chassis, they hold the container evenly when they are off the ground.

Any permanent structure requires foundations to settle on. Wooden or concrete supports are just a few options. For, a multi-container structure, a whole basement might be necessary. It is best to consult with a structural engineer to find out what kind of foundation your design requires. If you are using a poured concrete foundation, it’s best to plan on embedding steel plates into the concrete where the containers will be placed, allowing them to be welded straight onto the foundation for extra stability. With multi-container structures, containers should also be welded to one another. Make sure to add reinforcement before any structural components are removed.

The most common types of foundations are:
Concrete slabs
Concrete footings
Wooden beam footings

Contact Container Alliance if you have any further questions regarding the various container types, logistics and site preparation, and delivery options. We are happy to answer any general questions and concerns you may have about portable storage containers for sale or rent. Let us help you plan, design, and create your container conversion vision!

Container Conversions: Design and Planning Process

Find a designer or architect to work closely with on your shipping container conversion. They will help you perfect your building plans and make your vision come to life. The majority of architects use computer-aided design (CAD) to create a rendering of the final product. This will give you a good idea of what you need to expect before the work begins. In this stage of the process, you should make changes and modifications to the design and experiment with new ideas. You should have an idea of how you want to build your custom shipping container structure before you buy any containers. Ask yourself questions like, how much space do I want or need? Is this floor plan functional? Do research on the internet and make sure to plan out the process. Planning and preparation are vital to a successful shipping container conversion project, so that you can minimize the problems that arise.

If you are designing the floor plan yourself, a great tool and resource to work with is Google SketchUp and Google 3D Warehouse. You can also find inspiration and ideas on blogs and websites such as Pinterest, Inhabitat, and Treehugger. When you are designing the floor plan of your custom shipping containers, make sure that you are taking into account all of the functional elements such as insulation, space, windows, sunlight, elevations, and utilities. Once you are satisfied with the building envelope, it is time to move on to the next stage.

Three main plans:

Structural Layout– windows, doors, kitchen, and bathroom
Electrical Layout– the flow of all receiving electricity, location of outlets, switches, and the fuse box
Water Layout– incoming and outgoing water into the container. Including bathroom, toilet, shower, sink, and kitchen sink.

Planning Permission/Building Requirements

Contact local building authority or visit their website to find out an overview of any documents and drawings that need to be submitted and find out the time frame they plan to work with. Every state, county, and city have separate sets of rules and regulations. Their website is a great source to find out any general information on the building process. The earlier the better to start the planning process!

When turning a shipping container into a single-family home or any habitable structure, the containers themselves, their connections, and the overall design of the building must meet building requirements of the update building code of your state, city and/or county. Since there is a gray area because the building code usually does not have specific provisions for shipping containers, it may be a challenge to justify their construction in your proposed plans. Depending on your city, you may have to request an approval for using alternate materials and methods of construction. Various regulations on the climate, fire, installations, electrical, etc, are all different. For larger homes and structures, you may need a building permit that is approved by a city council. Do not forget to check in with your insurance to make sure you can even build your container home.


Los Angeles:

Regarding “green” construction, the County of Los Angeles encourages sustainable building and has recently implemented its Green Building Ordinance. New single-family construction falls into this ordinance in a number of fashions, including recycling demolition debris and limiting irrigation water waste. Going above and beyond these requirements is certainly allowed, but just as the shipping containers, you will need to comply with all aspects of the Los Angeles County Building, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electrical Codes.


San Diego:


For more information, please contact your local Building and Safety Office and speak with a building plan check engineer. They will be able to assist you with site specific questions.