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The Complete 2022 Guide to Shipping Container Pools

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Are you contemplating building a shipping container pool at home?

Whether it’s to add a fun spot for hanging out in your backyard or to create a space to do laps, a container pool may be exactly what you need. It’s affordable, easy to install, environmentally friendly, and portable. What more do you want?

Building an inground pool can be expensive. HomeAdvisor states that a traditional swimming pool costs an average of $49,000, but what if you can get the same thing for just a fraction of the cost? That’s where container pools come in!

In today’s post, we’ll be discussing every aspect you need to know about building your own pool from a shipping container.

What is a Shipping Container Pool?

traditional swimming pools vs shipping container pools
Source: Shipping Container Pools

Shipping container pools refer to modular, often pre-fabricated, swimming pools made out of upcycled (used) shipping containers. They’re typically cheaper to buy and build compared to traditional swimming pools. Container pools can start at as low as $28,000 and range up to $50,000. The typical lifespan of a shipping container pool is around 20 years.

Advantages of Shipping Container Swimming Pools

Why should you get a shipping container pool? These are some of our favorite benefits that you should know about!

More affordable

Perhaps the single most common appeal of choosing a container pool over a traditional pool is its affordability. Still, it’s impossible to ignore that much like equating container homes with real houses, it can be unfair to compare a shipping container with a real, in-ground pool. The fact is that while both are swimmable and generally durable, they’re just not the same.

It still doesn’t change the reality that container pools are more affordable than traditional pools. However, keep in mind that you may need to spend additional costs on various features that you may not have to think about with an in-ground pool, but we’ll talk about these features more later.

Want to do it yourself? Check out our post on DIY shipping container pools, a complete how-to guide.

Quick to install

Companies usually build container pools at their own location and not at your property. The result is that installation can be pretty quick and may take up as few as one day. So, it’s technically possible to jump right into the water on the day that builders come to set up the pool for you! So you won’t have to deal with noisy tractors and construction workers coming in and out for weeks on end.

Set up anywhere

Without needing to dig into the ground, you can practically set up your container pool in any part of your home. As long as there is enough empty space to place the container, of course. But other than that, no need to fuss over zoning laws, plumbing, and landscaping.

Eco-friendly

Another potential appeal for getting a container pool is the environmental aspect. This isn’t unlike why lots of people choose container homes too. When you think about it, you are reusing a shipping container that would otherwise go to waste after it has served its original purpose to ship cargo.

On this note, we do recommend asking your builder about where they source their containers. If possible, use only old shipping containers but make sure that they are still in good condition for pool-related purposes.

Portable

When talking about the benefits of a container pool, it’s only natural to touch on its fantastic portability. This isn’t something to gloss over and perhaps a huge benefit of an above-ground pool. You can easily transport the pool if you ever move homes or decide to hand ownership over to someone else.

Of course, it will take time to drain, disassemble, and assemble the pool. But you can’t remotely do anything like this with an in-ground pool!

shipping container swimming pools being transported
Source : Youtube

Boost property value

Just like any other pool, getting a shipping container pool is a great way to increase your home’s value. If you ever want to sell or get your property appraised for a mortgage, then your pool will undoubtedly boost its worth.

Of course, other factors like the location of your home and the current property market will come into play. Living in warmer climates also helps, as this means people can use the pool all year long.

Disadvantages of Shipping Container Pools

It’s important to be objective and consider both sides in any decision, so here are some drawbacks to think about before getting a container pool.

Inflexible size and layout

Most shipping containers have a uniform size of 8 ft by either 20 or 40 ft, which means that these are the two possibilities of size for your container pool. You can also graft multiple containers to create a bigger pool, but it’ll be much more expensive. The depth is also quite inflexible as most container pools can’t be deeper than 9 ft.

This inflexible size and layout can be a huge red flag for some people, so try to find out as much as you can about the sizes and modifications that a builder offers. But it’s safe to say if you want a pool for diving or playing volleyball, a shipping container pool may not be your answer.

Temperature control

If you live in an especially hot or cold region, you may need to spend more in terms of the heating and cooling system in your pool. It’s because you have to maintain the temperature despite exposure to the sun and other weather elements.

The metal material of a shipping container can radiate heat easily and cause the heat to escape, when what you want is for the pool to stay warm. It’s why insulation is important; this is not as big of a deal for an in-ground pool thanks to the natural insulation that the soil around the pool provides.

Unusual appearance

fully functional modular pools with durable vinyl liner
Source: real estate

The appearance of your container pool largely depends on your builder and how much you pay for it. While it’s possible to fully customize the pool aesthetics, you have to accept that it will have an unconventional look that may not meet the common expectation of what a pool looks like.

Plus, container pools are often not the most attractive to the eye when it sits on top of the ground of your yard. Those of you who have a more traditional and classical home design may find its look more jarring and striking.

Higher risk of spider cracks

shipping container pools with spider cracks in wall of second layer
Source : Youtube

Fiberglass shells and container pools come hand-in-hand, as the former is the material that you will most likely use to line the inner part of the shipping container and keep all the water inside. Unfortunately, despite being quite tough and low maintenance, fiberglass shells have the potential of spider cracks.

Spider cracks refer to cracks on the surface layer and can be difficult to spot. The good news is that they usually don’t run deeper than the surface and won’t cause structural issues. All you need to do is conduct regular inspections and apply gel coat.

Features of a Shipping Container Pool

What are some of the features you can expect in a shipping container pool?

  • Built-in filtration system

The filtration system can include a salt chlorinator or magnesium system, among many others. It’s completely customizable to each order, so rest assured you’ll be able to create the pool of your dreams. In other words, your pool can use filtration for standard chlorine pool water, saltwater, or even mineral water.

  • LED lights

Some companies, like Seventeen Pools, offer LED lights that come with their container pools. The fun, color-changing system can be a great and unique feature that makes your container pool even more interesting. Using a smart system also allows you to fully customize the lighting on your smartphone or tablet.

seventeen pools infinity pool with added features led lights
Source: Trek Pools

  

  • Lightweight doors

Every shipping container pool comes with a couple of doors, usually two. There will be a small and lightweight fiberglass door that grants access into the pool, and a larger one into the filtration system. The door for the filtration system would usually also feature a vent to accommodate the heat generated by the machines.

Moreover, it can be worth making sure that there’s a child safety lock on these doors, especially if you have kids in the house!

  • Heater

A heater is a must-have component in any shipping container swimming pool. There are various brands and models to choose from. You can also opt for either a gas or electric heater.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one kit that gives you everything you need to build your own container pool system, check out Modpools. Their equipment comes with a full set of pump and filtration systems, a heater, wifi control, and LED lights.

  • Pool Deck

Another essential feature of a container pool is the decking, which often includes the stairs leading from the access door and into the pool. Most companies or builders will offer preset options for the decking, but can also leave the deck plain and naked, so you can use your own decking to match the rest of your patio.

  • Interior coating and protection

Each shipping container builder has a different approach to how they coat the interior of a container pool. However, a good rule of thumb is to use an automotive-grade paint protective layer as the first layer, and a polyurethane coating for some added protection.

  • Fiberglass shell

The fiberglass shell is used to line the inside of the shipping containers where the water will go. But not only that; it is also used for other elements like the doors. Shipping container pools in Australia even build their own fiberglass shell, which lets them ensure the best quality control and product that 100% fits the shipping containers.

  • Windows

A great thing about container pools is the ability to install large windows. This can make for a cool feature that you can’t have in regular in-ground pools unless you have a basement and complicated architecture. The addition of windows can provide a fun display for when you’re swimming!

  • Interior & exterior color

It’s now time to choose the interior color of your shipping container pool. A few common options include sapphire, onyx, topaz, and quartz, all of which have their own unique appeal and charm depending on the look that you’re going for.

Just like the interior, the exterior color of your container pool is another important feature that you should think about. Most builders will have a predetermined set of exterior colors that you can choose from. However, it’s always possible to customize this and request a color that you think will match your home decor the most.

Container Pool Sizes and Depths

Now you know about the benefits and drawbacks of a shipping container pool. It’s time to dive a little deeper and discuss the different sizes and depths of a container pool that some companies offer!

In general, container pools have a generic set of choices for the size and depth, depending on the company or builder that you choose. For example, this popular Australian pool company offers pools of 6m or 12m in length, and are approximately 1.3m deep.

17 Pools have pools of three pre-designed lengths (20, 30, 40 ft), three pre-designed depths, and up to 12 ft in width. Of course, they also do custom sizes for an additional charge.

Boxx Pools also has 20, 30, and 40 ft pools, while Trek Pools only offers two options: 20 and 40 ft.

Installing a Shipping Container Pool

Now, let’s consider how you can install shipping container pools in your own home. Installation is easy and quite practical, but may still cost some money. It’s why you should make sure not to let a single small mistake cost you.

The best way to install a container pool is to lower it using a heavy-duty crane that is operated by someone certified and experienced to a predetermined location.

Is installing a container pool hard?

We’ve mentioned how quick and convenient it is to install a container pool. So the short answer to this question is no, it’s not hard to install or set up a container pool at all. Most container pools are self-containing and have ready-to-go features, which means that even a first-timer should be able to do it.

Can you install shipping container pools in the ground?

It’s always advisable to install your shipping container pool above ground, just the way that it’s intended. But it’s still possible to excavate the ground so that you can set it up in the ground. If this is the case, you will need a retaining wall that can keep the earth away from the exterior of your pool. There should be a 20 cm gap between the soil and your pool.

Can you install shipping container pools on a slope?

Part of the main appeal of a container pool over a traditional pool is its practicality. Yes, it’s true that you can install it almost anywhere, including in small backyards where a traditional pool may not fit.

Did you know that another benefit of a shipping container pool is that it doesn’t require a flat or level surface to set up? That’s right! As long as you can create some kind of steel foundation that’s strong enough to support its entire weight, you can install the container pool even on a sloping property.

This can prove very beneficial for those living on uneven terrain, as container pools can practically be built on any type of surface. The possibilities are endless, which can be a great assurance for many homeowners!

How Are Shipping Container Pools Built?

There is no single, predetermined way to build a shipping container pool, and different builders may have a different approach depending on their operation. But the general process goes like this…

Start with an old shipping container that is no longer suitable for cargo-shipping purposes, but still good enough to contain pool water. The first step is to reinforce it structurally so that it’s strong enough to accept the fiberglass shell.

Then, you have to remove the container doors (at this point it can be great to recycle them) and build your own doorframes to fit new fiberglass shell doors. This is important for safety reasons. There should be two doors in your pool: one to access the pool itself and the other to store the pump and filtration system.

Finally, it’s time to do the finishing touches and complete the pool. Paint the pool in a high-gloss two-pack paint, fit in the deck of your choice, install the windows, and plumb up the filtration system. You’re all set!

Can you build a container pool yourself?

If you’re a big DIY-er and want to take on the project of building your own shipping container pool, we have good news for you: you can build your own container pool!

After sourcing and choosing the perfect old container, you need to determine the location of your pool and cut the container to your desired length and depth. Don’t forget to ensure that it can fit in your yard.

The rest of the steps are pretty much the same as how any container pool is built. The only difference is that you need to source the various protective layers, coating, and paint yourself. While this can be a challenging and time-consuming process, it can be more gratifying in the end to know that you’ve entirely built a new pool with your own hands.

How Much Does a Shipping Container Pool Cost?

According to Shipping Container Pools, a 6-meter pool starts at US$25,000 while a 12-meter pool starts at US$32,000. Then again, the exact price of a container pool depends on the builder that you choose, the location, as well as the size of the pool. It can vary from project to project and may include a wide variety of equipment, including the filtration system, pump, installation fees, etc.

In general, a 20-feet container pool is around $27,900 while a 45-feet pool can cost $47,000 or more. To quote another concrete example, 17 Pools’ pricing is $61,000 for its largest pool dimension of 40×12 ft, and this includes delivery.

Financing a Shipping Container Pool

It’s no secret that swimming pool loans is a common thing in the US as many lenders and credit unions offer pool loans for homeowners looking to finance their latest pool project. But is it possible to finance a shipping container pool? The answer is yes.

Many container pool companies nowadays have partnered with lenders who can offer loans. For example, 17 Pools has worked together with a third-party lender to help customers finance their pools. Even if you’re building the pool yourself, you can consider a home equity loan or other personal loan types to help you finance the project.

Where to Buy a Shipping Container Pool in the US

Good for you, there are tons of options when it comes to shipping container pool manufacturers in the US. These are some of our top suggestions, so feel free to look into them and find the perfect match for you:

FAQs

Can a shipping container pool leak?

A shipping container pool can leak if the construction doesn’t include proper reinforcement with steel and other materials. It will also help to coat the inner portion of the container with a waterproof layer and use a watertight welding process to ensure that the pool can last as long as possible. You can also install a flat plate with timber cladding over the surface of the pool to avoid spillage.

Do you need a permit for a container pool?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but it’s safe to say that you probably need a permit to install your container pool. While some states or cities may not

require you to get approval for the pool itself, you still need approval for the foundation of the pool.

It’s important to pay attention to building codes and laws when installing your container pool. Especially because you’re running the risk of flooding your neighbor’s houses, electrocution, and other safety issues!

With that said, those living in the countryside or rural areas may not need to worry as much about permits and regulations. But we still recommend designing your pool with the safety of its users in mind.

How is a shipping container pool delivered?

If you’re buying a container pool from a builder or company, it will most likely be prefabricated and built off-site, which means it has to be delivered to your home. This means you have to think about where the truck and crane can park, taking into consideration nearby trees, buildings, wires, and fences.

Does a shipping container pool need a foundation?

Yes, a container pool needs a foundation in order to support the heavy weight of the water and prevent it from sinking into the ground. You will need at least a thick layer of gravel to support the pool. Better yet, you can use some kind of steel frame or concrete slab, or even piers.

Can a container pool rust?

You may be tempted to think that with all the benefits of a container pool, it has few or no issues. The fact is that rust can be a very real problem for container pools. This is because the metal in shipping containers are easily oxidized, so proper maintenance is the key to avoiding this problem.

Our main recommendation is to use a high-quality coating that will prevent, or at the very least delay, rust on your container pool. However, it’s important to reapply the coating every few years just to ensure that you minimize the risk of corrosion and rust.

Wrap Up

Overall, a shipping container pool may be just what you need. Like a traditional pool in the ground, it can provide fun in your own backyard, but it’s also more affordable and offers some unique advantages.

What do you say? Is it time to look for the right builder to set up a fantastic pool in your home?

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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