When you’re shopping for or building your own shipping container home, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is the type of shipping container windows you choose to include on it.
The truth is, you have more options available than you think, and when you’ve chosen to install the windows yourself, you’ll quickly learn that making your shipping containers more personalized to meet your needs and preferences is a piece of cake.
Can You Install Your Own Container Windows?
While it’s not the easiest thing in the world, with a little guidance and some good ‘ol fashioned YouTube videos, you can install your own shipping container windows, even if you’re not exactly a building expert or DIY enthusiast.
Because there are so many types of containers, there have to be many types of window options as well. When it comes to shipping container doors, windows, shelves, flooring, and other container accessories, finding the right combination that fits your style can make all the difference in the world.
The first thing you need to do is determine what the purpose of the shipping container is. Windows are usually specially made for certain types of containers and come in many sizes with many different features.
For example, will this be a large window, privacy window, concession window, or windows for personnel doors?
Once you know the plan and measurements of your shipping container, you can more easily determine which window will best fit the container and which one best suits your needs.
When going the DIY route, one of the easiest ways to install shipping container windows is by welding the window frame as noted in this video:
Another option is using 2×4’s or steel tubing. The process would look something like this:
- Measure the size of your window.
- Take a marker and mark the area where the window will be installed. Assess the width and height of the container first.
- Construct the window frame by using 2×4 pieces of wood or steel tubing. Make sure the tube length is roughly the width of the window. Afterward, cut a piece equal to the window’s length. You’ll have four pieces total (two for the width and two for the height).
- Cut out the opening for the window by using a power cutter or circular saw. Use a masonry-bit drill to make pre-drill holes in the unit.
- If you notice sharp edges anywhere on the frame, take a grinder and blunt them out.
- Use either nails or screws to attach your steel frames to the opening for the window.
- Place the window in the opening and secure it to the frame.
- Once you know the window is in place, use roofing nails to secure each corner, and use additional nails if you need to take care of any loose ends.
- Finally, use caulking to close in all openings or leaky areas.
You can also view YouTube videos that help explain the process a little better because you can see exactly how the window is installed.
Also, keep in mind that there are numerous shipping container window kits found online that can help make the process of installing these windows much easier. These include:
Shipping Container Window Kits
Container Modification World stainless steel frame kit, 36×30 sidewall
Looking for a quick and easy way to frame your new window? Look no further than this galvanized steel framing kit! The kit comes with everything you need to install a 36″ x 30″ window, including a vinyl nailing strip. The galvanized steel construction is durable and weather-resistant, making it the perfect choice for any application.
- Container Modification World stainless steel frame kit, 40×30 end wall
Types of Windows for Shipping Containers
Shipping container windows come in many different types and sizes, so you can easily add the perfect window to your container if that’s what you wish to do. Window options include the following types:
These privacy windows are made to add natural light to the container but are usually found near the ceiling to keep prying eyes away from it. They are usually double-pane windows sized at around 32×14 inches, but they are always located well above eye level.
Burglar Bar Windows
Burglar bar windows are perfect when you need to protect certain contents from possible theft or burglary, such as sensitive documents are large items that might be tempting for some people to steal. They are also good when the container is kept at a remote location and you’re afraid of a theft.
Extra Large Windows
Extra-large windows are usually around 3×6 feet and are double-paned. Facilities that may benefit from having extra-large windows in their shipping containers include manufacturing facilities, construction sites, and quarries, not to mention any others that face customers.
Sliding Glass Doors/Lighted Doors
These windows are built into doors and offer natural light, which can help when you have structures that have limited wall space. Any container that benefits from having as much window space as possible will find sliding glass doors and lighted doors a big help.
Sliding Shutter Windows
Not all windows have glass, including these sliding shutter windows that are usually just framed openings in the walls of the container and close with a slidable steel cover. You’ll find sliding shutter windows in facilities for the military and first responders, and they can either act as a window or they can disappear into a wall.
If you think about poolside concession stands or food trucks, you can picture what a concession window looks like. These windows are usually either 6- or 8-feet wide and have a rolling metal window that can be locked shut so that the contents inside are safe.
Standard Window with Blinds
Usually available in a 3×3-foot design, these windows are double-pane for security and come with blinds. They are there to make the container more aesthetically pleasing if they are used as a living space or some type of office.
Types of Materials Used for Container Windows
As you can imagine, shipping container windows can be made out of many different materials, and it’s good to be familiar with them before you decide which one is right for you. They include the following materials:
If you’re interested in energy efficiency, you’ll want to choose insulated glass. It is usually made out of a desiccant component and consists of 2-3 panes of glass. It does a great job of keeping down cooling and heating costs.
Single- and Dual-Pane Glass
There are both single- and double-pane glass types, and occasionally you can find the triple-pane glass. It keeps the inside of the container cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It saves money on utility bills and keeps the inside of the container a lot more comfortable.
Translucent and Opaque Glass
Translucent glass lets limited amounts of light in, so if you try to view objects inside of the container, they will be blurry or fuzzy. Opaque glass does not let in any light, so viewing the objects is next to impossible.
Obscured glass lets in light but is difficult to see through due to etchings, frost, or specific designs found on it. If you’d like to add some privacy to the container items, this type of glass is usually recommended.
This type of glass is usually colored for one of several purposes: to reduce sunlight, to look nicer, or to offer privacy. Popular for decorative panels and skylights, this type of glass can also protect the contents of the container from harmful UV rays.
Uses for Shipping Container Windows
Despite what some people might think, shipping containers are not just for business use. There are many uses for shipping containers, including:
- Residential vs. commercial uses. These include playhouses and even small stores.
- Agriculture uses. These include containers being used as a barn or a place to keep hay, horses, etc.
In conclusion, shipping container windows are a cost-effective and efficient way to improve the appearance and function of your container home or office. They are also a great way to offer a more inviting entrance along with the enhanced utility of your container.
Lastly, while you can go the DIY route if you want, if you are interested in installing shipping container windows in your home or office, be sure to consult a professional contractor who can help you choose the right style and size for your needs.