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

Picture this: it’s a warm summer day, the sun is shining brightly, and you are lounging in your very own swimming pool, a refreshing drink in hand. Sounds like a dream, right?

Now, what if I told you that dream could become a reality without breaking the bank? Enter the increasingly popular trend of DIY shipping container pools.

A creative and cost-effective way to beat the heat in your own backyard. Not only do they offer a unique twist on traditional swimming pools, but they also come with a host of other benefits that make them an enticing option for many homeowners.

As the world leans towards more sustainable and economical solutions, DIY shipping container pools have risen to the forefront, providing an environmentally friendly and wallet-friendly alternative.

Forget about the exorbitant costs and lengthy construction periods associated with traditional swimming pools.

Container pools are here to revolutionize the way we cool off during those sweltering summer days. Intrigued?

Let’s dive deeper into the world of shipping container pools, and discover how you can transform a humble shipping container into your very own backyard oasis.

What is a Shipping Container Swimming Pool?

A shipping container pool, as the name suggests, is a swimming pool made out of a repurposed shipping container.

These are the same containers used to transport goods across oceans and continents, a testament to their durability and robustness.

After serving their purpose in the shipping industry, these containers often find themselves retired and left unused.

However, with a bit of creativity and ingenuity, these containers can be transformed into stunning and functional swimming pools.

Benefits of DIY Container Pools

In a world full of options, you might be wondering, why opt for a shipping container pool? Let’s explore some compelling reasons.

1. Cost-Effectiveness

Traditional in-ground pools can be incredibly costly, not only in terms of the materials required but also the labor involved in the excavation and construction process. On the other hand, shipping container pools offer a much more economical alternative.

The container itself is relatively inexpensive, and since it already comes in a rectangular shape, it requires less structural work to convert into a pool. This can lead to significant savings on both material and labor costs.

2. Speed of Installation

Time is money, as they say. Constructing a traditional in-ground pool can take several weeks, if not months, to complete.

This means you could be waiting a long time before you can take that refreshing dip. Shipping container pools, on the other hand, can be installed in a fraction of the time.

Since the container already comes in a predefined shape, there is no need for excavation, and the installation process involves merely preparing the site, reinforcing the container, installing the liner, and setting up the filtration system.

With the right planning and preparation, your shipping container pool could be ready for use in just a few days!

3. Versatility and Customization Possibilities

One of the most appealing aspects of shipping container pools is their versatility. They can be installed above ground, partially in-ground, or entirely in-ground, depending on your preferences and the layout of your yard.

Additionally, they can be customized to suit your style and needs. Want a window on the side to create an aquarium-like effect? No problem. Fancy a jacuzzi section or built-in steps? Easy peasy.

The possibilities are endless, and you have the freedom to design your pool exactly the way you want it.

By choosing a shipping container pool, you are opting for a cost-effective, quickly installed, and highly customizable swimming pool solution. What’s not to love?

Basic Design Principles

The basic design of a shipping container pool involves converting the interior of the container into a watertight space suitable for swimming. This usually involves reinforcing the container, adding a liner, and installing a filtration system.

  1. Reinforcement: Shipping containers are built to carry heavy loads, but not necessarily to hold water, which exerts a considerable amount of pressure on the walls and floor of the container. Therefore, the first step in the conversion process is to reinforce the container with additional steel to ensure it can withstand the pressure of the water.
  2. Liner Installation: After reinforcement, a liner is installed inside the container. This liner serves as a waterproof barrier that keeps the water inside the pool and prevents it from leaking out. The liner can be made of various materials, but vinyl or fiberglass are commonly used due to their durability and water-resistant properties.
  3. Filtration System: Just like any other swimming pool, a shipping container pool needs a filtration system to keep the water clean and safe for swimming. This involves installing a pump, filter, and sometimes a heater, depending on your preferences.

While these are the basic design principles of a shipping container pool, the possibilities for customization are endless.

You can add stairs, lights, a window view, or even a jacuzzi section – the sky’s the limit! Remember, this is your pool, and you have the freedom to design it to suit your style and needs.

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.

Types of Shipping Container Pools

Shipping container pools come in various shapes and sizes, and can be customized to suit your specific needs and preferences. Let’s explore some of the options available to you.

1. In-ground vs Above-ground

One of the first decisions you will need to make when installing a shipping container pool is whether you want it to be in-ground or above-ground. An above-ground pool is placed on top of the ground and may require a deck or stairs to access.

On the other hand, an in-ground pool is installed into a hole dug into the ground. Both options have their merits. An above-ground pool is easier and quicker to install and may offer a unique aesthetic appeal.

An in-ground pool, on the other hand, may blend more seamlessly into your landscape and can be more accessible.

2. Different Sizes

Shipping containers come in various standard sizes, typically ranging from 10 to 40 feet in length, and about 8 feet wide. This means you can choose a pool size that fits your space and needs. For example, if you have a smaller yard, a 10-foot container might be the perfect fit. If you have more space and want a larger pool, a 40-foot container might be more suitable.

3. Styles and Features

Shipping container pools can be customized with a variety of styles and features. For example, you can choose to have built-in steps for easy access, or install a window on the side for an aquarium-like view into the pool.

Other popular features include underwater lights, jet systems for a jacuzzi effect, and even a dividing wall to create separate sections in the pool.

Remember, your shipping container pool is your own personal oasis, and you have the freedom to design it exactly the way you want. Whether you prefer a simple and minimalist design, or a luxurious and feature-rich oasis, the possibilities are virtually endless.

Choosing the Right Container for Your Pool

When planning to build a shipping container pool, the first critical decision you need to make centers around the type of shipping container you want to use. The selection process involves detailed consideration and scrutiny of certain factors such as size, condition, and material.

  • Size and Type

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and types. The most common sizes are 20 foot and 40 foot long containers. The larger 40-foot containers are typically best suited for a full-size swimming pool. If you plan to have a smaller pool, maybe for a quick plunge or cooling down during the summer, a 20-foot container might be enough.

Standard containers are typically 8 feet wide. This might seem narrow for a pool, but most people find this completely sufficient for residential use. If you want a wider pool, you could consider placing two containers side by side.

There are also high-cube containers available that offer an extra foot in height which may effectively provide added depth to your pool, ensuring a deeper dive, which some pool-goers might prefer.

  • Condition

The structural integrity of the shipping container you opt for is paramount. Used containers might come with dings, dents, and surface rust, which could affect overall durability. Inspect containers for corrosion and structural damage. Although these can be fixed, it often leads to additional costs and effort.

You could opt for a brand new ‘one trip’ container. While they’re more expensive, they’ve only made a single trip overseas and typically remain in excellent condition.

  • Material

Shipping containers are typically made of steel or aluminum. Steel is more robust but is prone to rust if not properly treated. Aluminum containers are rust-resistant but less sturdy than their steel counterparts. For a pool, steel containers are generally preferred because of their strength, but they will require extra work in terms of rust prevention.

  • Choosing a Supplier

It’s important to carefully select your shipping container supplier. Pick a reputable provider who will allow you to inspect the container before purchase. Ask for assistance and guidance. They should be knowledgeable about the containers they sell.

  • Delivery and Positioning

Before the container arrives, ensure your site is fully prepared. Accommodate factors like how the shipping container will be delivered, and how you plan to move it to your desired location.

In summary, choosing the right shipping container for your pool involves careful consideration of factors such as size, condition, material, supplier selection, and on-site delivery. It’s a critical step towards ensuring that your container pool project starts off on the right foot and remains enjoyable throughout. By leaving no stone unturned at this stage, you’ll be setting up your project for success!

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.

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