How to Turn a Shipping Container into a Workshop
Most people who pursue hobbies, undertake home projects, or run a business from home, require workshop space. Some people may consider building a shed or garage at home for the extra space. However, a shipping container is an increasingly popular choice for workshops, and with good reason.
Modified shipping containers have all the necessary features to manage your workshop. For instance, you can equip your workshop with windows, doors, workbenches, electricity, and air conditioning.
Shipping containers are affordable yet versatile to accommodate various features. By turning a shipping container into a workshop, you can design the interior space based on your needs.
Let’s explore how to prepare your container for conversion, complete the conversion, and some insightful tips to guide you.
How to prepare the shipping container for conversion
It always helps if you have professional assistance, time, and creativity to design your dream workshop from a shipping container.
Shipping containers already have sturdy ceilings, walls, and floors, so half the work is complete. You can then install any customisations depending on your style and specific needs.
Plan for permission
Even though converted shipping containers are not permanent structures, each council has their own rulings on shipping containers. It’s therefore best to confirm with the planning authority in your locality.
Industry experts such as Gateway Containers help you design your workshop for temporary installation. This ensures portability, as you can relocate the container any time you wish.
The best place to get accurate information is the local building authority’s website.
Choose between a new or used container
Since containers have different sizes, dimensions, and specifications, the first thing you should consider is whether you prefer getting a new or used container.
When we say new shipping containers, these are containers that are relatively new, about under a year old, and with only one trip across the sea.
New containers have minimal damage and require minimal preparation before shipping container workshop conversion. They are well-maintained and in the best condition, which is why they are also more expensive.
Used shipping containers often have a number of years in service, before they outgrow their purpose at sea. These retired containers require some touch-ups, but they are still wind and waterproof.
Plan for power and plumbing installation
Since the shipping container’s interior is empty, you need to install all necessities you need for your workshop. For peace of mind, you can always seek professional assistance for your shipping container workshop modifications. It will be challenging to repair if you drill or cut at the wrong place, unlike regular sheds or buildings.
Electricity is a must-have for any workshop. Your workshop also requires insulation to maintain a comfortable environment for you to work. It also helps to protect or preserve your tools and equipment.
Create interior and exterior designs
Container workshop conversions give you a blank canvas to design the space exactly as you wish. You can unleash your creativity on the exterior by painting it or installing wooden panels for aesthetic purposes.
The interior design will also depend on your style. For instance, you can optimise lighting by adding floor-to-ceiling windows or skylights. You can add ramps or stairs at the entrance to help move heavy furniture or equipment.
The steps to take during the conversion process
Prepare the space
Once you choose the most suitable container, the next aspect to consider is where to position the container on your property.
You’ll need to consider the type of foundation to use and if you will need any props to elevate the container from the ground level. Some containers only need props under each corner.
Concrete footing foundations can be used as they provide great stability for your container. If you’re not sure how to set up a concrete foundation, it’s best to seek professional assistance. For cheaper options, you can place the shipping containers on solid ground with timber sleepers or railway sleepers. Compacted gravel fill is also another alternative.
Other foundation options to consider are concrete strips, slabs, or piers. You should also ensure a clear pathway to the site to allow delivery.
Position the container
A tilt tray or side loader is the most efficient way to position your shipping container on the foundation. And if you are in Queensland, Australia, shipping container experts such as Gateway Containers can handle the transport and delivery arrangements for you. Some of these steps can also be skipped since we deal with pre-arranged modifications before we deliver the container to your property.
Identify where to cut the openings
Adding doors and windows requires cutting openings in the container walls. Professionals use grinders, plasma cutters, jigsaws, and cutting torches to cut through the steel.
You can purchase a pre-designed container workshop with the necessary openings from container experts such as Gateway Containers. All you’ll need to do is select the doors and windows you prefer then the experts will assist with installation.
In case of any gaps left by cutting the openings, technicians will seal them to protect your workshop contents.
Install frames, flooring, windows and doors
The best part about planning to convert a shipping container into a workshop is the wide variety of design options available. Containers are compatible with many styles, so you can choose from a range of doors or windows.
You can frame the interior using one and a half inch steel studs since they integrate well with drywall. The studs are also stiff to hold spray foam insulation.
Install plumbing and electricity
Since it may be difficult to estimate the exact amount of electric wiring you’ll need, many people choose to wire the entire place.
One common challenge is passing the wiring around the remaining parts of openings. You can build a custom nail protector by running the wire around the steel in such a case.
When thinking about plumbing and wiring, consider whether you’ll add an exterior AC unit or an HVAC system. Solar panels can also be a cost-effective and sustainable power choice for your workshop in the long run.
Add temperature control and insulation
Insulation is essential in your container workshop as it helps maintain a comfortable work environment. It also helps protect your valuable tools and equipment from extreme weather temperatures. Spray foam is a common choice though it can be more expensive.
However, remember that adding insulation can reduce the interior space available. Alternatively, you can install exterior insulation using log, vinyl, or cedar siding to help optimise the interior workshop space.
How to finish and decorate your new workshop
Your container workshop’s interior finishing depends on your style and preferences. You can have one open space or you can partition your workshop for different work areas.
You can even redo the flooring to match your taste. Many people go for an industrial look in their container workshops by exposing the original container’s floors. Others opt for a more comfortable space by installing carpet or tile.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating and outfitting your new workshop. Just use your imagination and get creative!
Decorating and landscaping
Once your shipping container workshop is ready, the next step is cleaning up the surrounding area. You can add landscaping that blends into your home or build a nice deck to relax. You can add a floor covering and a fresh coat of paint to spruce up the place on the interior.
Valuable tips and advice for anyone considering converting a shipping container into a workshop
Plan for insulating
Shipping containers have a steel body which can become extremely cold in winter and hot in summer. If you plan on working in your workshop for extended periods, it’s best to install Insulation.
Factor in the wind
Shipping container workshops can become noise hazards in windy areas. The rectangular shape is not aerodynamic, so strong winds against the walls can create interior noise. If your home is often windy, ensure you position your container workshop accordingly.
Get your shipping container from a trustworthy vendor
Shipping container vendors are different. Although most are credible, there are some dishonest sellers. The best move is to research the vendor online and reading feedback from previous clients and reviews. Check their credibility, reliability, quality of service and business experience.
If you are thinking of a modified container, contact the experienced team at Gateway Containers.
Customising the entire container ensures the finished product is per your exact wishes. However, this can come with additional costs. If you purchase a pre-built unit, you have fewer customisation costs to factor in.
You can also buy your shipping container from industry experts who work with you to install all modifications precisely as you prefer.
Turning a shipping container into a workshop requires preparation and planning, but it’s a worthwhile project. It’s portable, customisable, cost-efficient, and readily available.
Where to get a shipping container
Gateway Containers is Australia’s trustworthy industry leader in shipping containers. These experts have an outstanding reputation for going above and beyond customer expectations.
Gateway will handle your container needs and logistics, whether you want a new or used container for your workshop.
You’ll find various container types with standard ISO sizes. The technicians can transform the container based on your needs and preferences.
With over 20 years of experience, you can count on quality, affordability, and efficient service. Get in touch today and actualise your dream container workshop.