How To Build A Roof Over A Shipping Container

How to Build a Roof Over a Shipping Container

If you are looking to expand your living space, create a storage area or just need a place to hideaway, shipping containers are an excellent solution. However, these containers are not fully equipped to handle extreme weather conditions. In cases like these, it is important to have a roof constructed over the container to increase the level of protection. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to build a roof over a shipping container. We will also discuss the benefits of installing a roof and answer common questions about constructing one.

The Benefits of Building a Roof Over a Shipping Container

Adding a roof over your shipping container has many advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:

Protection from Extreme Weather

Shipping containers are designed to withstand harsh ocean conditions, but they are not equipped to handle extreme weather like strong winds, heavy rainfall, and hailstorms. A roof offers an additional layer of protection, ensuring that your goods inside the container are safe.

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Increased Living Space

Shipping containers are versatile and can be turned into living space, offices, or storage units. With a roof built over your container, it creates an extra covered area for your belongings, creating more room for activities.

Additional Storage Space

If you are using your shipping container to store items, the roof can double the storage capacity as it can provide extra space to fit more goods.

Improved Aesthetics

A roof adds an elegant touch to the shipping container and enhances its visual appeal. It additionally makes the container stand out from a typical ol’ shipping container.

Steps to Build a Roof Over a Shipping Container

Here are the steps needed to build a roof over a shipping container:

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Materials

Before you start constructing the roof, you will need to gather all the necessary materials. This will include wood, roofing materials, bolts, nuts, and washers, among others. You can get roofing materials that best suit your climate conditions and personal preferences. Common roofing materials include metal, shingles, or polycarbonate panels.

Step 2: Preparing the Container

The first step in building a roof over a shipping container is to prepare the container itself. Clean the container thoroughly, and remove any rust or grime to guarantee maximum stability and make sure the roof is well supported.

Step 3: Measure the Container

To ensure that the roof fits correctly on top of the shipping container, measure the dimensions of the container accurately. Measure the length, width, and diagonal of the container, and note down your measurements. With these measurements, you can calculate the amount of material you’ll need.

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Step 4: Create the Roof Frame

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials and measured the container, it is time to create the roof frame of the shipping container. Cut the wooden beams into the appropriate lengths for the frame, then weld them together onto the top of the container. Make sure that the frame is levelled accurately and squared up.

Step 5: Add Roofing Material

The next stage is to add the roofing material to the roof frame. Make sure that the roofing material you choose is durable and capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions. You can use screws or nails to attach the roofing material securely to the frame.

Step 6: Paint and Refine

Once the roof is installed, it’s time to paint and refine it. You can coat the roof with a layer of paint and varnish if desired. This will not only help to protect the roof from weathering, but it will also improve the overall look of the roof.


What are the best materials to use in constructing a roof over a shipping container?

The best materials to use when constructing your container roof will be determined by your weather conditions, your budget, and the overall look you’re trying to achieve. You can use cost-effective materials like metal if you’re on a tight budget, or opt for more expensive materials like polycarbonate panels or shingles if looking for a more decorative look

What is the average cost of building a roof over a shipping container?

The cost of building a roof over a shipping container can vary based on factors like materials, size, and contractor fees for labour. On average, you can expect to spend between $2,500 to $5,000 USD to construct a roof over the container.

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What tools are needed when constructing a roof over a shipping container?

The materials you will need are wood, roofing materials, nuts, bolts, and washers. For the tools, standard construction equipment like an electric saw, welding machine, drill, ladder, and tape measure will be necessary to get the job done at a reasonable price.

What precautions should be taken when building a roof over a shipping container?

It’s essential to take proper safety precautions for any construction work. For building the container roof, make sure to keep the following in mind:

– Wear proper safety gear like a hard hat, gloves, and construction boots.
– Ensure that the container is placed on a stable surface and is well supported before beginning any work.
– Use appropriate safety gear while working with sharp materials like wood and metal.
– Keep the work area secure and organised.

Do I need to consider city planning permission before building a roof over a shipping container?

City planning permission requirements vary from place to place, so always check your local building codes before starting any construction. Some regions may require permits, while others may not; it’s always best to gather this information beforehand.

How long does it take to build a roof over a shipping container?

The timeframe for building a shipping container roof will depend on the size and materials being used. It usually takes about two weeks for experts to complete the task. However, the experience of the contractor is also critical, and It may take longer if you decide to use a novice team with little construction experience.


Adding a roof over your shipping container offers many benefits. It adds an extra layer of protection, increases your living space, adds extra storage space, improves the aesthetics and raises the overall value of your property. By following the steps outlined in this guide and with a little determination, you can construct the perfect roof over your shipping container that will last and fit your needs for many years to come.

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