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Shipping Container Sheds: Why Use a Shipping Container As a Shed

29 February 2024

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Tips & GuidesConversions

In recent years, shipping containers have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional garden sheds for outdoor storage solutions. Many people are turning to buying shipping containers to use as sheds because of the issues they face with traditional sheds, such as weather damage and lack of space. 

With a noticeable rise in interest and inquiries, it’s evident that shipping containers are transforming backyard storage by providing a practical and innovative approach to overcoming common storage challenges.

What is a shipping container shed?

A shipping container shed is essentially a repurposed shipping container that has been converted for use as an outdoor storage shed. Originally designed for transporting goods across vast distances, shipping containers are made to be exceptionally durable against harsh weather conditions, pests, and theft.

Unlike traditional wooden or metal sheds, shipping container sheds are made from high-strength, corrosion-resistant steel, offering a unique combination of strength, security, and modularity.

Their standardised sizes, typically ranging from 10 feet to 40 feet in length, providing ample space for a variety of storage needs, from garden tools and lawn equipment to bicycles and outdoor furniture.

Why use a shipping container for a shed

Using a shipping container as a shed offers a practical and efficient solution for outdoor storage needs. This approach has gained traction for several reasons compared to traditional sheds. The durability, versatility, and security of shipping containers make them an outstanding choice for individuals and businesses alike seeking a reliable storage option.

Benefits of using a shipping container as a shed

Shipping containers, with their robust design and construction, offer many benefits over traditional garden sheds. Some of these advantages include:

Durability

Shipping containers are built to withstand harsh conditions during sea transport, making them extremely durable and weather-resistant. Unlike wooden sheds, they are not prone to rotting, warping, or termite damage.

Security

Constructed from tough steel and including heavy-duty locking mechanisms, shipping containers typically offer a higher level of security compared to traditional sheds. Their design and build make them difficult to break into, offering better protection for valuable tools, equipment, or other belongings.

Customisability

While traditional sheds offer some level of customisation, shipping containers can be extensively modified with relative ease. Adding insulation, windows, doors, and internal shelving or partitions can transform a basic container into a highly functional storage space, or even a comfortable garden room.

Space Efficiency

Shipping containers come in various sizes, often providing more usable space than a standard garden shed. Their uniform shape and sturdy construction allow for stacking, which can be a space-saving solution in smaller yards, while maximising the area available for storing your belongings.

Portability

Although larger than many traditional sheds, shipping containers offer a level of mobility not usually associated with traditional sheds. This mobility offers flexibility in case of changes to the layout of your garden or if you move to a new property. 

Eco-friendliness

Repurposing used shipping containers as sheds is an eco-friendly option. It gives a second life to containers that might otherwise sit unused. This eco-friendly aspect is a significant advantage over building or buying a new traditional shed, which often involves fresh resources and contributes to the environmental footprint.

Disadvantages of using a shipping container as a shed

While shipping containers offer numerous advantages as shed alternatives, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider.

Cost

Depending on your location and the condition of the container you purchase, the initial cost, including delivery and placement, can be high compared to traditional shed options. Finding and transporting the container to your property might also pose a logistical challenge.

Permits and regulations

The process of obtaining necessary permits and complying with local regulations may be more complicated for shipping containers, as they’re not traditionally considered garden structures.

Condensation issues

Without proper insulation and ventilation, shipping containers can develop condensation inside, potentially damaging stored items. This issue is less common in traditional wooden or ventilated metal sheds.

Heat conductivity

Metal containers can get very hot in summer and cold in winter. Without proper insulation, this can make the interior environment less suitable for storage of certain items or use as a comfortable workspace. Insulating a container for temperature control is an additional cost and effort, whereas wooden sheds naturally have better insulation properties.

Aesthetics

The industrial look of shipping containers may not suit every garden. Making them blend in might require extra effort and resources, unlike traditional sheds which often come in designs that blend in more easily to fit outdoor aesthetics.

Common problems with traditional sheds

Still not convinced? Read on to learn some of the most common issues people face with traditional sheds – and the solutions.

Traditional sheds often face a range of issues that can compromise their functionality and longevity. One common problem is susceptibility to weather damage; wooden sheds, in particular, can suffer from rot, mould, and warping due to exposure to rain and humidity. 

Rotting

The traditional garden shed is typically made of wood, and it is common knowledge that water makes mould and fungus grow faster which quickly rots wood. As a result, the shed becomes weakened and holes begin to appear, meaning that it isn’t waterproof anymore.

Solution

Shipping containers, as standard, are made from heavy duty anti-corrosive steel because they are initially designed with exposure to the elements at sea in mind. Thanks to this clever design, you can rest assured that your container will stand the test of time.

Self-assembly

Traditionally, sheds come flat packed which means that you have to DIY and put it together yourself. For some people, this is no challenge but for the vast majority of us, we simply don’t have the time, resources or patience for flat-pack furniture.

Solution

All converted shipping containers done by our team are delivered to all UK mainland addresses and installed by our professional team. All you have to do is tell us where you want it and we do the rest. Fancy that eh? No DIY for you.

Unsecure

Even if you go to the effort of fitting a plethora of padlocks to your shed door, as well as ensuring that any windows are double sealed and secure, the chances of your wooden shed remaining a safe storage place are pretty slim. In fact, the very material that your shed is built of means that doors or windows can be forced open with very little pressure.

Solution

Not only is a shipping container made of reinforced steel, making it a hefty load to shift, but the addition of strong, secure doors and windows and other safety features mean that breaking and entering a shipping container is certainly no easy task. You’d have peace of mind knowing that your valuable equipment is safe under lock and key.

Warping

The fact that your traditional shed is kept outdoors is a problem in itself, even though it shouldn’t be as that’s what it is for! Unfortunately, wooden sheds become easily warped when too much moisture gets into the wood and with the rain in the UK, there’s really no way of avoiding it.

Solution

The clue’s in the name – shipping containers are built for shipping – so first and foremost, they HAVE to be watertight! No warping worries needed with your container shed, as they are all wind and water tight as standard, your tools, equipment and furniture will be safe from any and all water damage that may occur in a traditional shed.

Maintenance

A traditional shed requires constant maintenance to ensure that it remains to be a safe and sturdy place for you to keep your garden equipment, tools, bikes and other such valuables. Wood treatment and safety precautions are just two of the many maintenance issues that need addressing continuously that take time, effort and expense.

Solution

All of our converted shipping containers require very little to no maintenance thanks to their sturdy structures and professional installation. However, if you found a problem, don’t worry – all our container conversions are covered by a comprehensive 5-year structural guarantee against any defects.

Converting a shipping container into a shed

Converting a shipping container into a shed not only offers a unique twist to your garden but also provides a plethora of benefits that traditional sheds can’t match. The process involves a few key steps, from selecting the right container to customising it to suit your specific needs. With the right planning and creativity, you can repurpose a once-static cargo carrier into a dynamic and functional extension of your home.

Choosing the right container

Start by determining the size that best fits your needs. Consider the available space in your garden and the types of items you’ll be storing. This will determine whether you need a smaller 10ft shipping container, a standard 20-foot container, or a larger 40-foot model.

You will also need to decide between a new or used container, keeping in mind that used containers may require more refurbishment but can be more cost-effective.

Preparing the site

Before installing your container, the ground must be prepared. Whether it’s a concrete slab, gravel pad, or pier foundation, a solid and level base will prevent structural issues later on.

Another thing you’ll need to take into consideration is the positioning of your container. Plan for easy access to your container shed, considering the placement of doors and the need for any additional pathways or landscaping. The direction of sunlight can also influence the position of your container, especially if you’re planning windows or solar panels.

Customisation and modification

To create a comfortable and functional shipping container shed, integrating insulation and ventilation is crucial for managing the interior climate and preventing moisture issues. Additionally, including electrical wiring and plumbing adds functionality, while windows enhance natural light and doors improve accessibility. 

However, remember that ensuring precise cuts for doors and windows is critical to maintaining the container’s structural integrity, which often requires professional help.

You can also customise the interior layout of your container shed with shelving, workbenches, or partitions that tailor the space to your specific needs, making it more efficient and usable.

Finishing touches

As the final step in converting a shipping container into a shed, applying the finishing touches is important for both functionality and aesthetics. 

Painting the shipping container and other exterior treatments not only safeguard your container against the weather but also ensures it blends in with your garden’s overall look. Opting for light-coloured paint can help in reflecting sunlight, thereby keeping the interior temperature at a comfortable level. 

Security enhancements, such as installing locks, security bars, or alarm systems, can help protect valuable items stored within.

Finally, integrating the shed into your garden with thoughtful landscaping, outdoor lighting, and decorative elements not only elevates its appearance but also seamlessly blends it into the surrounding environment, making your shipping container shed a functional, secure, and aesthetically pleasing addition to your outdoor space.

Conclusion

As much as a traditional shed might be a quick, cheap option, it’s certainly not always the most sensible option when you’re looking for outdoor storage that’s safe, strong, secure and built to last! There are lots of benefits to choosing a shipping container as a storage solution for your garden, but if you need further convincing, we’re only a phone call away!

If you would like a friendly, honest chat about how we can create your bespoke Garden Container Shed, call the Universal team today on 0845 050 0330 or feel free to email andy@universal-containers.com

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