How to Build a Shipping Container Pool

shipping-container-pool-build

If you fancy a swimming pool in your home, there is an easy route to have one. A traditional pool might take a lot of construction time and be expensive too. But a shipping container pool is easy to install and comparatively light on your pocket. You can easily modify a 20-foot or a 40-foot container into a stunning swimming pool for your backyard. You have the option to construct it either above-the-ground or in-ground. Above-the-ground container pools are quite popular as they can be built off-site. Also, they add an aesthetic appeal to the modern house.

These pools are portable and, therefore, can be transported to your new home whenever you shift. You can even construct a steam room, hot tub, sauna or jacuzzi in a similar manner. The solid structure of these containers are bound to last for decades if waterproofed carefully. Let us find out more about the construction of this pool.

cargo-container-swimming-pool

Steps to construct a shipping container pool

Here is a step-by-step process to create a swimming pool from a modified shipping container:

1. Taking local permits

Before starting any construction project, you need to take permission from your local authorities for your building design. You will have to submit your design drawings along with the application for design approval. You can hire an engineer to prepare these designs.

2. Size of the Pool

You will be required to decide the size of the pool. You can choose between a 20-foot and a 40-foot size. Also, the depth of the container pool must be planned here. The height of a regular container is 2.6 meters while that of a high-cube one is 2.9 meters. You can cut the container to get the desired depth. You don’t need to decide the width of your pool as the width of a container is 2.4 meters. Two people can easily swim in this pool as the swimming line in public pools feature the same width.

Pro tip: If you are planning to build container pools for commercial purposes, you can create two pools from a single container. Invest in a high-cube container and cut it into half. You will be left with two pools each having a depth of 1.45 meters.

3. Foundation for the pool

On selecting the size, you will have to construct a foundation for your container pool. Dig out the land basing the size of the shipping container selected by you. Lay a concrete slab foundation for placing the container. It is the same foundation that we lay for the container home. This foundation is best for supporting the container in carrying water’s weight. You can read the detailed steps to build this foundation on our foundation-related page.

concrete slab foundation

4. Structure

Shipping containers are not built to carry water inside them. Instead, it is ensured to keep the water outside when the container is made. This makes it important for you to build a pool-worthy structure out of a shipping container.

The containers are built to carry the majority of the load at their four corners and the base. But, when you convert it into a pool, the walls of the container will get a strong push from inside. The base, sides, and corners of the container will have to share the load of pool water. So, you will have to reinforce the walls of your container to make them capable of carrying this water pressure. Consider using rectangular steel channels on the outside walls of the shipping container for adding strength to them.

If you want to prevent pool water spillage while swimming, you can weld a flat plate over the entire container lip. This plate can be covered with a timber cladding for a smoother surface. It also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your shipping container pool. Additionally, you can also add an underwater bench to relax during your long swimming sessions.

Pro tip: You must add all the pool accessories and weld anchor points before waterproofing your container. Also, make way for all your electrical and plumbing points in advance.

container pool design

Picture source Poolbox Sl

5. Waterproofing

Shipping containers are usually lined with plywood floors that are not good for holding water inside. When you are modifying your container to a home, you tend to waterproof it from the outside. But here, since water will be filled inside the container, waterproofing will be done inside. You can choose to waterproof your shipping container pool with one of the following methods:

a. Watertight welding

This waterproofing method involves the use of steel sheets. Before rust-treating and painting the shipping container, a layer of steel is welded inside it. The inner base and walls are both covered with this steel. Subsequently, three protective coats are applied over this surface:

  • Marine-grade epoxy
  • Anti-corrosion metal primer
  • Marine-grade enamel

You can choose the color of enamel to suit your preferences. You can compare this process with the welding of drinking water steel tanks.

Advantages:

  • Since steel can be conveniently cut, you can install a viewing window for your pool.
  • This waterproofing method is ideal for DIY projects as welding can be carried out in your backyard.
  • It is the best method of waterproofing for second-hand containers.
  • If rust ever reappears, you can apply a coat of paint to fix it.

Disadvantages:

  • You will have to find an experienced welder for carrying out this procedure.
  • This method requires the use of high-quality waterproofing paints.
  • It is a meticulous welding job to cover every nook and corner of the shipping container carefully.
  • Compared to other waterproofing methods using fiberglass and concrete, it is expensive.

container pool water isolation

Picture source Poolbox Sl

b. Waterproof concrete

In this waterproofing technique, a steel wire mesh is attached to the wall of the container. This mesh and foam work form the base for holding concrete on the inside walls of the container. Once the concrete cures properly, tiles can be used to cover the interior walls. It will prevent algae growth in your pool and also give it a quality finish.

Advantages:

  • It is a cheaper waterproofing option to the techniques involving the use of steel and fiberglass.
  • This technique can be used for pools deeper than 8 feet.
  • It can be customized in a variety of shapes.
  • Unlike vinyl pool liners, this method is low maintenance and is ideal for beach entry.

Disadvantages:

  • The use of concrete makes your pool rough to the feet.
  • It promotes the growth of algae in the pool.
  • It adds to the overall weight of the pool making it difficult to relocate.

Fiberglass Insert

This method utilizes fiberglass to make your container pool waterproof. A fiberglass mold is placed along the interior walls of the shipping container. This free-standing fiberglass carries the strength to bear the pool water load.

Advantages:

  • It adds to your pool’s aesthetic appeal.
  • It carries a good resale value compared to the vinyl pool liner.
  • In terms of repairs performed and chemicals used, it has a low maintenance cost in the long-term.

Disadvantages:

  • It comes with a high initial price tag.
  • This method cannot be used for pools deeper than 8 feet and wider than 16 feet.

container pool isolation

Vinyl Pool Liner

This waterproofing technique uses vinyl sheets throughout the container interiors. A custom-made vinyl sheet with a thickness of 28-30 gauge is lined over the floor and walls. This thickness is suitable for a high traffic pool. A thick sheet implies more durability and it won’t puncture even with rough usage.

Advantages:

  • Among all the waterproofing methods, it carries the lowest initial cost.
  • Unlike fiberglass, this method can be used to waterproof a pool of any depth or shape. In other words, it is highly customizable.
  • Vinyl liners are soft on the feet and are, therefore, extremely comfortable.
  • Besides being soft to touch, vinyl liners do not promote algae growth like concrete does.

Disadvantages:

  • With the use of chlorinated water, these liners will gradually fade due to bleaching.
  • Unlike fiberglass, it carries a low resale value.
  • Unlike concrete and fiberglass, it requires occasional replacements. This makes it expensive to maintain.
  • Unlike concrete, it is not good for beach entry. It is difficult to install over benches and steps.
  • It becomes difficult to connect it to decking as several problems arise in coping pool patio and vinyl liners.

container-pool-with-stairs

6. Plumbing

You must make provisions for all plumbing points before waterproofing. Now, you can connect these points to other equipment for a fully functional drainage system. You will have to take care of the water circulation and filtration aspects here. All the plumbing equipment and filtration system can be stored under the pool deck. This space can, then, be locked with the modified double-swing doors of the shipping container. If you plan to use your pool in winters as well, you must make provisions to heat the pool.

marine container pool plumbing

Picture source Poolbox Sl

7. Personalize your container pool

Shipping container pools offer a huge benefit over the traditional pools. You can personalize them with your creativity by putting a funky paint, mural or graffiti on the exterior walls.

8. Landscaping around your pool

Your container pool is now ready with all the decorative paint. You just need to prepare the pool surroundings for the upcoming family gatherings. Consider adding a comfortable seating space and a few potted plants. You can also set up a fireplace at a comfortable distance from your pool.

9. Additional pool features

Many other useful features can be added to your shipping container pool. If you fancy adding these extras, here are a few of them:

Electronic monitoring system

  • LED underwater pool lights
  • Swim jets
  • Pool cleaner
  • Retractable pool cover

Pool safety features

Ensuring the safety of your family is essential while constructing a shipping container pool. You can consider adding the following safety features to your pool:

  • A protective fence around the pool to bar children’s entry.
  • Two ladders at opposite ends of the pool for convenient and emergency exit.
  • Stainless steel railing installed throughout the length of the container pool to hold onto something at all times.
  • Children step installation with watertight welding to enter the pool from the deck.

Final Words

Follow this step-by-step process of constructing a container pool to prevent skipping of any important building aspect. With a little imagination, you can create a unique swimming pool for your family. Don’t forget to add a personal touch to your very own shipping container pool.

Learn more:

See 10 Beautiful Shipping Container Pool Designs Here

Pros and Cons of Shipping Container Pools

 

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