Shipping Container Home Garage Ideas


When you have limited resources, it becomes almost impossible to construct a car garage in your house. Living in shipping container homes does not mean that you will have to compromise your dreams. Constructing a shipping container home with a garage might go well over your budget. But with a little clever design, you can easily incorporate a garage in your plan while staying in your budget. Engineering excellence allows you to double the size of a shipping container house. You can create a 640 sq ft house including a garage by using only two 20 foot containers. Let us find out more about this concept.

Steps of constructing a container home with a garage

Before you begin with the building aspect, some considerations must be fulfilled. You will be required to source the basic building material and invest time in planning well for your project.

Choosing the container

The first requirement for building a container home with a garage is selecting the right container. You can choose either a new or a used container, both have their pros and cons. For instance, a used container will be cheaper but will have some rust issues. On the other hand, a new container will be costly but will last for more than 20 years. You will also have to select the appropriate size for your needs keeping in mind the local building rules. The standard sizes include 10-feet, 20-feet, and 40-feet containers. High-cube containers are also available in the market that have some extra height than the normal ones. Usually, a 20-foot container is suitable for modifying into a car garage. You can also consider a fire-resistant container for your car garage as it has higher resistance to weather conditions.


Selecting an appropriate design

In the planning stage, you will have to select the right design and configuration for your garage. You can consider building utility spaces like locker rooms adjacent to the garage. Above all, you must ensure easy accessibility for your car. The entry of the garage should be wide enough to comfortably drive the vehicle in. You can always add a few modifications for saving space like adding a roller door instead of a normal one.

Garage foundations

As discussed in our previous articles, you cannot place the shipping container directly on the ground. It won’t remain stable when you’ll add weight to it. A solid structure is required to be constructed in the form of a foundation for a stable container garage. A concrete foundation is most suitable for building a shipping container home with a garage. You can also look for more options discussed in our foundation-related topics. In this house design, we are using a strip foundation for placing our container.

container garage foundation

Design Concept

In this design, the containers are lifted a floor above the ground to make them sit on a solid foundation. Strip foundation is created in the form of an encasement to leave space inside for living. To know the detailed construction process of strip foundation, consider reading our foundation-related topic. In this design, the base of shipping containers act as a roof for the foundation encasement. In this manner, a space equivalent to the total space formed by the containers is created below them. For instance, two 20 foot containers create a space of 320 sq ft when combined. This design model will help you create an additional space of 320 sq ft below these two containers. This way, you can easily double the size of your house and create an additional habitable space.

You can use the ground floor for building utility areas like laundry, a garage, and storage cabinets. At the back of your house, you can use a steel-caged stack to construct a staircase. For privacy, bedrooms and living space can be created on the first floor. Kitchen and a little dining area can also be built here. Such design allows you to construct a full-fledged bathroom without worrying about the shortage of space.

container home garage design split level

Benefits of this design

The biggest benefit of this design is the construction of a garage for the safety of your vehicles. But, that’s not all about it. There are some other benefits offered by this design that are worth mentioning.

Savings in resources

For building a space of 640 sq ft without using this design, you will have to use four 20-feet containers. But this design allows you to get the same space with the use of only two such containers. That is a huge savings in building resources.

Doubled-up space

This house design allows you to double your space, whatever the number of containers you are using. In shipping container homes, limited space is the biggest problem. Getting double the space you build is, therefore, extremely beneficial.

Savings in construction cost

With the use of less building material, you save a lot of money with this design. The amount spent on purchasing the containers is reduced to half. You don’t need to construct a roof for your garage as the container will act as one. Also, steel cutting costs are saved as you just need to place the shipping container over the foundation. You don’t need to cut its top or base at all, not even for building the stairs. That is the benefit of incorporating the steel-caged stack in this design. Also, if you follow this design, you won’t need to spend money on additional reinforcements. The cutouts for partitions are planned well above the strip foundation to prevent the hassle of building reinforcements.

A moisture-free establishment

Since your container is lifted above the ground level, you are bound to receive a moisture-free construction. Also, the design does not let the container walls touch any surface. So, they are also free from any moisture. You only need to add a little protection to the outside walls and roof of the container. This will prevent your establishment from the environmental moisture.

Savings in time and effort

This design includes minimal construction. You don’t need to dig the land for building foundation as per this design. An easy strip foundation is created and used as walls for the garage. A little modification is performed on the shipping container for constructing partitions and cutting out doors and windows. You don’t even need to perform steel cutting for the top or bottom of the container. Even the staircase is conveniently stacked at the back without cutting the container out. This saves a lot of time and effort resulting in reduced construction time.

Useful Tips:

  • You can use sliding doors for your garage to save some space.
  • Using fiberglass for the doors on your first floor will help you keep the weight to the minimum.
  • A small private balcony can be attached to the bedroom with this design. It will act as a canopy over the entry of the ground floor and won’t even restrict the natural light.

Bonus design concept for building a container garage

I’m glad to share with you another great design concept. This is suitable for you if you do not wish to construct solid walls of your foundation. Also, you can get in finished out-of-site and place it over your foundation. The prerequisites of this design will remain the same as they are applicable for all kinds of container garages. Let us find out more about this concept:



Here you don’t need to build a foundation with walls. Instead, you will be using a shipping container to park your vehicles. You will be required to construct a foundation of your choice to place the container. The shipping container can be customized into a garage either on-site or off-site. The customization will include:

  • Constructing a solid floor as your vehicles will park inside. A concrete slab foundation is the apt choice here. You can find detailed information about this type of foundation in our foundation-related topic.
  • Adding insulation to the outer walls of the container. It is necessary to regulate temperatures inside a shipping container. The material of these containers get affected by the outer environment quite easily.
  • Making a provision for air circulation by cutting out a vent.
  • Cutting out doors and windows.
  • Sealing the outer walls and open spaces properly to prevent the occurrence of moisture inside.
  • Building a workbench and some shelves.
  • Fitting electricals and providing electricity connection to the garage.
  • Enhancing the security of the garage with the right selection of doors and windows.
  • Painting and laminating the container walls.

Benefits of this design

The biggest benefit of this design is the possibility of constructing it completely off-site. Here are a few more benefits offered by this design that are worth mentioning.


You only have to construct your garage once and can take it anywhere you want. Even if you plan to shift your residence someday, you can take it along.

Savings in cost

Traditionally building a full-fledged garage will be heavy on your pocket. This container concept will save you a huge sum. The cost savings will expand to both material and labor expenses.

Separate establishment

If you do not have a car garage in your house, you can easily add it with this design concept. The model allows you to build it separately and conveniently add it to your home. This can be helpful in cases when you have limited resources and building your house in phases.

Savings in time

Constructing a traditional garage or even just the walls of your garage might take much of your time. But, this design allows you to construct a garage quickly with readymade shipping containers.

There are many other ways in which you can build a shipping container home with a garage. You must know the benefits of the plan before you consider adopting it for your construction. The cost estimates must also be considered in advance to stay inside the allocated budget.

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