Inexpensive Shipping Container Barns

Are you considering building a new barn and the most cost-effective way to do so? If you’re contemplating building a barn or renovating or replacing your current barn, you might be interested in the uses and benefits of shipping containers.

You can build a weather-resistant and fire-retardant barn with shipping containers. Whether replacing or starting afresh, shipping containers have numerous benefits for farmers (including shipping container farming), agricultural businesses, and workers as well as those who have the land and need extra storage or space opportunities.

It’s incredible how much you can do with shipping containers and how much storage they hold. A standard shipping container can store up to 8000 boxes of shoes, don’t tell your wife. Shipping containers are convenient for budget and time restrictions among other benefits that could suit your barn requirements.


Read on to find out how you can use a shipping container to build your barn and why it may well be a suitable option for you.

Can you use a Shipping Container for a Barn?

You can use a shipping container, or multiple shipping containers to build almost any structure you can think of. A home, a garage, a shed, gym, clothing store, restaurants, and yes, you can even build a shipping container barn.

Here are a few benefits you might find value in for using cargo containers to build your barn:

  • Quick to construct.

A shipping container is already made and ready for use almost as soon as it’s delivered. You may need to renovate and complete some small construction depending on the type of barn and layout you need. Otherwise, this is a time-effective solution if you need a barn quickly.

As well as being a quick construction solution, because a shipping container is technically not a permanent establishment on your property, you may not need a permit to have one on your land. Always check with your local council and building authorities to be sure.

  • Storage.

Shipping container barns offer plenty of storage room for your equipment. With containers ranging in sizes from as little as 8 feet all the way up to 40 feet.

  • Cost-effective.

By the time you’ve finished pricing up all the equipment, tools, labor, and time needed to build or renovate a barn, you might find that purchasing a storage container is much cheaper than a traditionally built barn.

  • Stackable.

If you don’t have the land space required to fit two shipping containers side by side, they’re also conveniently able to stack onto one another.

  • Eco-friendly.

Steel is the most recycled material in the world.

If recycling and reusing are just as important to you as your land, then consider purchasing used shipping containers for the eco-friendly benefits. Steel containers are treated with harsh chemicals when made to withstand the long hauls overseas and throughout their cargo industry lifetime.

Related: Check out our complete guide on shipping container aquaponics!

But you can purchase a used shipping container to save using traditional materials like wood and masonry. Steel is made with little energy and can be recycled and reused endlessly making it one of the most sustainable materials to use in construction.

Is it Cheaper to Build with Shipping Containers?

Depending on the type of barn you’re planning to build will determine the right size container for you. Standard shipping containers are usually around 40 feet and can cost anywhere from US$2,500 to approximately US$9,000 and will also depend on whether you’re buying your one-trip containers brand new or used.

Typically, a used 40-foot shipping container will cost you around US$4,000.

Traditional barns on the other hand can cost you anywhere from US$10,000 and higher with the median average cost of building a barn set around US$50,000.

The average price for delivery of a shipping container can be as little as $400. Again this will depend on your location and where you purchase the container from. The further out in more remote areas, the more expensive the delivery of your container will be.

So to answer your question, yes, it is cheaper to build with shipping containers.

How do you Attach a Truss to a Shipping Container?

A truss is an assembly of beams or other elements that creates a rigid structure.

A traditional barn usually has a roof truss for the overhead rafters. If a truss is vital to your barn layout, you can attach a truss to your shipping container barn using either metal or wood for the frame.

truss for barn

You can attach a truss over your shipping container barn with one or multiple containers. Typically, a barn roof that’s attached to a shipping container is attached to two shipping containers placed evenly apart, providing you with the ability to use more undercover space for your barn.

We’re very fond of not wasting any space available to you! You can use this space for parking your cars or farming vehicles, shelter from the rain, garage and farm equipment, food crops, storing hay bales, and so much more.

You can check out how to set your trusses and cover the wasted space between your containers with a steel metal frame by building yourself a barn roof with YouTubes DieselCreek here.

Alternatively, here’s a quick YouTube Shipping Container Barn Build video example of how to build your barn roof with a wood and metal frame and a fully insulated roof solution.

With two water-resistant and weatherproof shipping containers, placed parallel to one another to form your walls, inner storage and structure, you can add your trusses on top to form the roof.

If all goes well and to plan, with hard work and extra hands, you could have your shipping container barn ready in just a couple of days.

What are the Costs of Transforming a Shipping Container into a Barn?

Transforming a shipping container into a barn will save you time and money.

Here is an example of how much it might cost to build a steel shipping container barn with an overhead truss.

  • x2 40 foot steel containers at US$4,000 each.
  • x2 40 foot steel container delivery at US$400 each.
  • Consider the doors, windows, welding, flooring, the truss, and any other costs associated with the building project and budget for approximately US$10,000 – $US15,000.
  • Building a shipping container barn might cost you around US$24,000.

Pricing will vary depending on how many shipping containers you plan to use, delivery costs, whether you plan to attach a truss to your storage containers and how you intend to use the containers.

Garage, Barn, and Shed Ideas and Inspiration

You can get creative with steel containers if you have the right tools and plan well for your project.

Here’s a YouTube video with some great ideas you can use for your shipping container barn.

From shipping container homes, offices, barns, wood storage, warehouse options and more. You can add windows and doors, create secure stalls for animals, and keep your equipment out of the rain.

Many people choose to build shipping container barns for their security, durability, cost-effective, reusable, and cheap wall structure.


  1. Can you use more than one shipping container to build a barn or shed?

    You can use as many containers as you like, depending on your project budget and available land space.

  2. Is it okay for animals and livestock to have stalls and feeding areas in a shipping container?

    With some repurposing inside the shipping container, yes it is safe. Check the Consolidated Data Plate (CSC) for information on any chemicals that have been used to treat the floor and when it was last treated.

  3. Is it more cost-effective to build a shipping container barn?

    As mentioned above, the costs for constructing a barn from the use of shipping containers are cheaper than building a traditional barn. With shipping container barns half of the work is already done for you.

  4. Can I get a shipping container delivered to my home?

    Yes, shipping containers can be delivered to you, no matter where you are. Give the company your location and they’ll quote you delivery price. As it goes with any postage and handling, the further away you are, the more expensive it may be.


Call it your workshop, your shed, your harvest overflow area, or your barn. Either way, storage containers are a quality-made, sturdy, and durable option for those needing to build a barn or shed with limited time. Steel containers can withstand harsher weather, wind and rain as well as protect your livestock and harvest from fire.

Start your DIY container project today to save on time, effort and money.

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