Garden shed or Shipping Container?

Garden shed or Shipping Container?

We explore the advantages of using a shipping container as a garden shed.

The garden shed is a timeless classic, a source of enjoyment and frustration in equal measure. A haven of tranquillity in a quiet sunny corner of the garden. A place to unwind, relax and maybe do some work! Now we mention it, the shed needs seemingly endless maintenance from changing roofing felt to re-painting and when it needs replacing do you buy another wooden shed that can rot and get mouldy or simply not bother? Even worse, we come across a lot of customers who have had their pride and joy burnt to the ground by (one assumes) local teenagers.

20ft one trip (new) shipping container

So have you ever considered to purchase a shipping container instead?

Shipping containers are becoming one of the most popular choices to replace the wooden garden shed. If you’ve got a garden that’s accessible to a crane equipped lorry a shipping container is a great alternative. But what if you don’t have a garden that has vehicular access? Well, we’ve got that covered too with our extensive range of flat pack storage containers. These units come flat packed ready for easy home assembly can be erected in about 45-minutes (based on a 2 x 2m unit.) We offer one of the most extensive ranges of shipping containers in the UK, and with out team of experts on hand to advise what is best for you, why not get in touch?

Advantages of a shipping container vs. wooden shed.

  • No assembly required – you just need to install and level out some blocks or sleepers to support the 4-corners of the container and make sure they are level.
  • Improved security – especially when fitted with a lock box and used with one of our 75mm CISA padlocks.
  • Steel construction. Not flammable, panels or doors can’t be pulled off with a crowbar
  • Lower cost per square metre when compared to similarly sized sheds
  • Very long lifespan
  • No rotten wood to deal with.

So, why not save money and re-purpose a used shipping container for your new garden shed?

Shipping containers are designed to carry up to 30tonnes so if you’ve got heavy gardening equipment a shipping container makes a lot of sense and you won’t bow the floor like you would in your average garden shed. All our containers are also guaranteed wind & watertight and, as garden sheds, they are an ideal low-maintenance alternative.

If you don’t like the idea of opening and closing the cargo doors to access your container or you would like some more light, you could also fit a personnel door and a shuttered window. Both are high security options and can’t be pried open easily like a wooden shed door. The doors come with minimum 8 locking points and are the same as we would commonly supply to building site offices and welfare units. The window units also come with lockable anti-vandal shutters.

What type of container should I order?

A difficult one to answer as it’s a very subjective question. However, we hope the following information will help you to make the right choice. If in doubt you are please contact us and we will be happy to talk through your own needs in detail.

All our containers come with our 24-month wind & watertight guarantee and will be structurally sound.

We offer the following types of shipping container:

Used shipping containers

With our used containers, we give them a thorough inspection and should any repairs be required these are done to a professional standard. All our containers come with intact door seals, working cargo doors and a solid marine plywood floor. However, used containers are some 10 – 15-years of age and will have dents, scratches and some surface rust consistent with their age and working life and will come with their original livery.

Refurbished containers

This type of container is ideal if you have a limited or very specific size you require. We produce these by taking an original 40ft or 20ft container and cutting it down to the size required. Typically, they are supplied with a set of flat panel doors rather than the original cargo doors. Our flat panel doors are easier to use on a day-to-day basis than cargo doors and come fitted with 1-locking bar and a lock box for added security. The lock box or cowl protects the padlock from access with tools such as pry-bars or bolt cutters – a good deterrent. The exterior of a refurbished container is re-painted in a basic RAL colour of your choice; whites, light greys, creams and very light colours will incur a premium because we have to double coat. But essentially you can have the colour you want. They are all made to order with a typical lead time of around 14-working days.

New or one trip containers

If you want a unit that’s going to last for many years to come, we’d suggest opting for a new container. These offer the very best longer-term value and will last some 2 – 3 times longer than a used container. All of our new containers come with a factory fitted lock box as standard. This type of container has simply made one trip (full of cargo) from China and will be pretty much in an immaculate condition. However, they will have been handled a number of times whilst in transit and as such can have minor cosmetic issues consistent with their initial trip. If you want to know more about the sort of cosmetic issues that may be present, please read our article about what to expect from a new or one trip shipping container.

Flat pack units

These are a great alternative for clients who can’t take a normal shipping container due to limited vehicular access. They come ‘flat packed’ and can be moved to location panel by panel. Self-assembly is very easy but will require two people to facilitate this plus a screwdriver and socket set. Assembly of a 2 x 2m unit takes around 45-minutes. For more information on these very flexible solutions, please read more on our flat pack page.

Delivery considerations

For shipping containers, we use Hiab or crane equipped vehicles that vary in size from 45ft long bumper-to-bumper vehicles for a single 20ft unit up to 65ft in length for a vehicle that would deliver a 40ft container or 2 x 20ft units. We would need to park adjacent to your garden fence i.e. adjacent to place where your container is going to be located. Dependent on the vehicle type, we could lift over a 6ft high fence or wall with around a 2ft reach in to your garden.

This picture shows delivery of 2 x 20ft units to a client whose garden had excellent access for our vehicle and as we were delivering two units on one vehicle, the arm was much longer allowing us to get the containers further into the garden.

Is a shipping container more cost-effective than a garden shed?

More often than not, a shipping container will cost less than an equivalent sized garden shed and better still, require less maintenance. Of course, to get the longest life out of your container a little TLC will help. Things like cleaning the roof of built up debris (leaves etc.) will prevent the container roof from having pools of moisture and the occasional re-paint, especially of the roof as this will help increase the life span of your container.

Shipping containers painted with a marine-grade paint typically last longer than one that isn’t painted. However, all shipping containers are manufactured using a special steel alloy that’s called COR-Ten A grade steel. This is the same metal as used on the Angel of the North and the Iron Man in Birmingham. When this steel oxidises and rusts, the rust that forms a non-porous barrier that prevents further moisture ingress which protects the metal beneath. Meaning you get a product that’s less hassle than a garden shed and one that will last much longer too!

If you have any questions about this article, our products or service please call our friendly team for free on 0800 999 8988 any time 08:30-17:00 weekdays or send us a message via the contact form on this website and we will get back to you.