Recycle A 20 Foot Shipping Container By Turning It Into A Swimming Pool

4 June 2015
 Categories: Business, Articles


If you are looking for a really great recycling project you can do with your family, which you will enjoy for years to come, consider turning a twenty foot shipping container into a backyard swimming pool. This can easily be done with a few skills, a small budget, and a little imagination. Not only will you keep a shipping container from sitting somewhere slowly rusting away, you will create a special oasis for you and your family.

Why Use A Shipping Container?

There is literally a sea of shipping containers sitting in rail yards, ports, and other locations rusting away. Although sunlight, salty water, and the rough handling they endure can work a number on them in a short period of time, they are built to withstand this type of abuse. Even after they have been retired, there are years of use left in them.

Shipping containers are built from corrugated weathering steel, which is often referred to as COR-TEN, or Corten steel. This is a type of steel alloy which has been developed to form a stable rust-like appearance, which actually creates a protective coating over the steel when the container is allowed to remain unpainted. Painting the containers will actually inhibit this process, and can lead to rust. When shopping for a container, look for one that has not been previously painted in order to take advantage of the properties of the weathering steel. 

Shipping containers also make the perfect pools because the containers are built to be watertight, although your project will require additional welding of the seams and other stress points. Another reason to use a shipping container is due to the fact that you can purchase them for a very low price. They are available through numerous sites online, through classified ads, or even directly from the ports, or through shippers. Once you have found a suitable container, it is time to finish your project.

Build Your Pool

  • Find A Space - You must first decide if you are going to create an above ground pool, or an in-ground pool. You can create either using a shipping container. If you choose to create an in-ground pool, you will have to dig a hole deep enough to accommodate your container, as well as your plumbing. An above ground pool will not require this step.

No matter which you choose, you will need to a choose space in your yard that will accommodate the size of your container. A twenty foot shipping container is 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and average 8 feet 6 inches in height, although you can find them anywhere between 4 feet 3 inches, and 9 feet 6 inches. The volume, or how much water your container will hold will depend on its exact size, as well as any accommodations you make to your project.

You will need to acquire the equipment you will need to set your container in place. Depending on where you purchase your container from, and how accessible your space is, ask the seller if they would be willing to deliver it, and set it in the location where you are going to work on it.

  • Create An Opening - In order to create a swimming pool, most people will remove the roof off of their container, but instead of removing the roof, consider flipping your container over, and removing the side that was once the floor. You are going to have to remove the flooring anyway, so why not remove this edge of your container, as well as your flooring at one time.
  • Weld And Waterproof - As already stated, to make sure your seams are tightly welded, you will may need to have certain areas resealed. This will help to prevent any leaks that you may have in your finished project. 

Prime the inside, as well as the outside of your container. Once your container is primed, apply a marine-grade epoxy. You may also find this type of epoxy is called boat, or pool paint. Once your epoxy is dry, you are ready to apply your final coat of paint. You will need to ring your container, with some type of steel channel, as well as plating, in order to ensure that your water stays in your pool.

  • Add Your Plumbing - Ask your pool store professionals for suggestions on your pump, filter, heaters, and other plumbing specifications that your pool will require. These will vary based on the final volume of your pool. 
  • Add The Finishing Touches - Once you have added your plumbing, all you have left to do is to add your water, your chemicals, and a couple of ladders. Your pool will then be ready for you and your family to enjoy.

There may be local, federal, and state regulations, pertaining to the construction of your pool. You may find additional information pertaining to some of these on the National Swimming Pool Foundation's website, although this is not a conclusive list. Make sure you check all of the codes and regulations in your area before undertaking your project. For more information on shipping containers, check out a site like