DIY Shipping Container Pool – How to Build a Shipping Container Swimming Pool

As consumers become more conscious, there’s a movement towards using upcycled, sustainable and cost-effective materials. The use of shipping containers is at the center of that movement – everything from shipping container offices, restaurants, homes, and even swimming pools.

What is a Shipping Container Swimming Pool?

Shipping container pools are pools made of recycled or new shipping containers that are typically utilized to transport cargo. But why not just have a traditional big-size backyard swimming pool?

Here are some benefits of having a shipping container pool

  • Extremely compact and space-saving for your backyard
  • A container can be customized into a swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, or steam room
  • Much cheaper than a regular swimming pool
  • Installation can be built anywhere
  • An eco-friendly option
  • Fun project to work on and a great story to tell when socializing

Should You Buy or Build Your Own Shipping Container Pool

There is the option to buy a pre-made shipping container swimming pool. Some manufacturers even sell them with all types of add-ons such as a filtration system, water circulation, heating systems, LED lights, and thermal pool covers.

You may even find included stairs, a wooden deck, and a child-proof gate. The benefit of buying one is convenience. You can simply go on the shipping container pool manufacturer’s website, pick out the spec you want and purchase it immediately.

But you’re probably here because you’re a DIY-er just like myself! We like the satisfaction of seeing through the completion of a project. Not to mention, you can save way more money by building out your own shipping container pool.

For example, a 6M or roughly 20-foot shipping container swimming pool costs about $26,900. In comparison, a 20-foot shipping container alone may cost $2000 to $4000. And you can always buy a bigger size if you’d like a larger pool.

Steps to Build a DIY Shipping Container Pool

We’ll walk you through our method and process of building out a pool from a shipping container. Follow this method step-by-step and make sure not to miss any details!

1. Get Local Permits

Prior to starting the construction process, you need to get the shipping container design approved by local authorities. They typically require you to submit an application for approval and design drawings. If you need help with the product design, you may ask an engineer.

2. Determine the Size of the Pool Before Construction

Next, you must make a decision on the size. This means choosing whether you want a 20 feet or 40 feet shipping container. Next, you’ll want to determine the depth and width of the shipping container. The height of most shipping containers is usually 2.6 meters high and has a width of 2.4 meters.

3. Build out the Foundation

You’ll also need to build out a foundation to install on your DIY shipping container pool that can support the water weight. First, dig out the land basing and lay a concrete slab foundation.

backyard swimming pool

Source: Alignable

4. Construct an Structure

Shipping containers aren’t designed to have liquid inside. That’s why it’s important to add reinforcement on the walls of the container by adding steel channels. This reinforcement helps to hold and protect against water pressure.

When converting the container into a pool, the water will push the walls from the inside. Consider welding a flat plate over the container lip to avoid any type of pool spillage.

Before you waterproof your pool, you need to add all weld anchor points and pool accessories. This may include a bench to relax in. You’ll also need to make space for your plumbing, electrical, water pump, and filtration system in advance.

When hooking up the plumbing, you’ll need to connect the power source to the pumps. Waterworks can be a complex task, so hiring a plumber to install this type of pump would make your life easier.

pool construction

Source: Jeff Putt

5. Waterproof from the Inside

Typically, shipping container pools need waterproofing because most containers are lined with plywood floors that can’t withstand water. Since water is being filled from the inside of the container, the waterproofing needs to be completed from the inside.

Here’s how to use watertight welding to waterproof the inside. Weld a layer of steel sheets inside prior to adding any type of preventative treatment. Add some protective coats to the surface to prevent rust, such as marine-grade epoxy, marine-grade enamel, and anti-corrosion metal primer.

6. Install Plumbing

Connect your plumbing points to the other equipment for a functional draining and pump system. The plumbing equipment and heater should be stored beneath the pool deck. During the winter, you’ll have to heat the pool as well.

pool plumbing

Source: Excelite Pool Enclosure

7. Design Your Container Pool

Besides the price point, one of the biggest advantages of building it yourself is the benefit of customizing it. You can personalize your container by adding a mural, a funky painting, or even graffiti on the walls.

8. Add Some Landscaping Around the Exterior

Once you complete the decorative painting, you need to begin preparing the pool surrounding when you invite guests over. Consider adding a few potted plants and comfy chairs for guests to enjoy. Some pools even have a fireplace or heater pump next to them to keep them warm.

9. Add Other Pool Features

You may also add other cool features to such as pool safety features or electronic monitoring systems.

Pool Safety Features: 

All shipping containers with pools should have safety features to protect your family and other guests. Here are some safety features to add:

  • Stainless steel railing around the pool to hold onto
  • A protective fence surrounding the pool to protect children from running in
  • Ladders located at the ends of the pool for easy and emergency exit
  • A children stairs with watertight welding for children to enter
outdoor 40ft swimming pool

Source: Excelite Pool Enclosure

Electronic Monitoring Systems: 

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

Best Shipping Container Pool Designs


20ft container pool

The glass paneling on the sides of the container makes it look like an aquarium. It’s excellent for diving in and watching others swim.

Source: Pinterest

Pool with Extended Deck

container pool deck

If you have a beautiful landscape or scenery out of your balcony, take advantage of it with an extended deck. This allows you to build a pool and enjoy the views from it.

Source: Pinterest

Make it Natural

This demonstrates how versatile these pools can be. This container looks similar to a natural pond, especially with the bright contracts between the rich greens and blue water.

conex container in the forest

Source: Pinterest

Wood Planking

backyard swimming pool

Adding wooden steps is a great modification to this container. It’s really functional because it allows people to step up to the top rather than on external stairs. Also, it’s a nice place to tan or use as extra seating.

Source: Pinterest

Lid on Top

covered container

This container uses the surrounding deck as part of a pool cover. It’s incredibly stylish and sleek. Not to mention, you can still use the area even when you’re not going for a swim.

Source: Pinterest


indoor shipping container pool

Shipping container pools can be done in-ground as well. This can be a great solution for your yard. Simply build a sturdy structure with a hefty weight surrounding it.

Source: Pinterest

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a container pool rust?

Shipping containers are constructed with alloy and weathering steel that forms a layer of oxidation for protection. However, rust may still occur without the proper maintenance and care. Steel can only slow down the rate of corrosion.

Anytime you place a container in a wet area, you’ll likely battle with rust. However, there are high-quality coatings that will cover up the metal and stage off rust for a while. They won’t last you forever, but they should last for many years.

Do you need planning permission to put a container on your land?

Anything that is built on the exteriors of your home, local officials must be informed. However, shipping containers can be nuanced since it falls between a permanent structure and a piece of temporary equipment.

The exact requirements and approval process will differ based on location. You’ll need to find the home building zoning and codes from the various governing bodies. These regulations are to protect against dangerous situations like electrocuting your pool guests or flooding your neighbor’s yard.

Can you finance a container pool?

There are many options for DIYers to secure financing to build their container pool. You may obtain personal loans, unsecured loans, or even a home equity loan. Typically this falls under a home-improvement loan.

What are some interesting and optional features you can add?

One of the coolest features you can add is windows to the side of the container. It converts your pool into a human aquarium. You can choose to have a full-length style pool or turn the ends into a jacuzzi. There are plenty of other options as well, such as lighting arrangements, heaters, and even a saltwater system.

Final Thoughts

Make sure to follow these steps to build a pool. Missing a step could lead to dangerous accidents that could be expensive to repair.

With a little bit of work, you can create a beautiful shipping container swimming pool for your family and friends to enjoy. Don’t be afraid to get some inspiration from the pool ideas we’ve shared and add your own personal touch.

Ryan Stetson

Ryan Stetson

Currently own two 20' and 40' containers converted into an office/workshop. Having worked in the shipping industry for 6 years, my goal is to share my personal experiences as well as connect potential container buyers with suppliers around the US.

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