Frequently Asked
Shipping Container

General FAQs

General FAQs

Our Containers

Why should I choose a shipping container over a brick and mortar building or other modular structure?

A shipping container is an inherently cost-effective, strong, and secure solution for functional, mobile space — even before modifying it at any level. No other structure can meet that criteria. For more details, read our blog entry: 7 Reasons Repurposed Shipping Containers Make Sense.

What can shipping containers be used for?

Shipping containers can be utilized for commercial, industrial, housing, and institutional applications. Uses include storage space, office space, bathrooms, locker rooms, industrial enclosures, workforce housing, and more.

Where do the shipping containers come from?

Falcon has a sophisticated supply chain that enables us to obtain the best containers from all over the world.

What types of containers do you use?

We repurpose used shipping containers. Many of our containers have only been used once and are in “like new” condition.

How do I know I’m getting a quality container to start with?

When containers arrive at our facility, we ensure they meet our strict criteria for quality prior to beginning any work.

Do you provide products to individuals or only businesses?

We only sell to small businesses, large corporations, and government entities.

What site preparation do I need to do?

Containers can be placed directly on the ground, so you’re unlikely to require steps, ramps, tie-downs, skirting, or even a foundation for short-term use, though they are available. You may wish to lay the container on a gravel foundation for leveling purposes. Where applicable, connections to power, water, and waste may be required. Additionally, Falcon recommends a level surface to begin with for the best comfort and functionality.

Customizing & Furnishing

Can you custom design my shipping container?

Yes! Falcon is proud to offer pre-built quick-ship structures as well as a variety of pre-designed floor plans ready to be ordered at scale, but we can also work with you to modify existing floor plans or start from scratch.

Do you have pre-designed floor plans?

Yes! We have existing floor plans for many different applications, including workspaces, living spaces, bathrooms, locker rooms, storage, and more. Take a look at your options.

I want more/different windows or doors. Can I add those?

Yes! Please consult with the Falcon team on cost and specifications.

Can you provide furniture in the container?

For loose furniture, we recommend self-selection and self-installation for customers. But we do offer cabinets, work surfaces, and shelves that are secured to the interior walls.

Can I have the unit completely self-contained so I don’t have to hook up to site utilities? For example, using solar?

Manufacturing a container to be self-contained is possible, though a consultation regarding all requirements is needed. We discussed solar power more extensively in this blog entry.

I want the side hinged so it folds up and makes an awning. Can I do that?


Usually the containers with upward folding awnings are not actually ISO containers; they're fabricated from scratch to accommodate the structural load of the awning while imitating containers. We exclusively repurpose existing shipping containers, and thus don't create these awnings for safety reasons. If you're looking for fully opening sides, we can offer you a container built with sidewall doors.

Can I have the entire side cut out?

Yes, however, the steel in the wall of a container is integral to its strength. If the wall is cut out, it must be reinforced with steel in order to maintain its shape and sturdiness. Contact us to discuss this if you’re considering it.

Can I have granite countertops or other high-end finishes?

Falcon’s products have been proven effective in the industrial environment and are guaranteed to withstand the wear and tear of transportation. Many customer-specified interior products or finishes can be accommodated. Often however, we recommend alternative materials or self-installation once the structure is delivered.

Do you build custom residential shipping container homes?

We have pre-designed floor plans for a ready-to-use living environment. If you're seeking a larger, custom residential project, let’s talk and figure out if we’ll be the right fit.

Can you deliver?

Yes! We can arrange delivery of your shipping container structure. Please contact us for a quote and arrangements based on your exact delivery location.

Container How-Tos, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting

How do I hook up electrical and plumbing to my unit?

Electrical and plumbing can both be connected very easily by a licensed electrician or plumber through external portals on the container. Please note that the electrical connection has high voltage, and customers should hire an electrician to safely connect the container to power.

I want to start small and add on later. Can I do that?

Yes! The modular nature of container construction is one of its benefits. Read this case study for an example of how phase installation served a previous customer.

What building codes pertain to my project?

All structures are subject to the building codes and permits of the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). There will also be variations in code requirements depending on the size and use of your project and whether it's temporary or permanent. Please visit our permitting page for more details.

Can I bury it and make a bunker/basement/storm shelter?

No. The walls, roof, and floor of a container are not strong enough to withstand the massive pressure from dirt or water piled on top of it. We absolutely do not recommend burying a container to any depth.

Ordering Process FAQs

How does Falcon’s ordering process work?

A quick consultation will allow us to understand your needs and in turn we will provide a quote for your approval. Before production however, you’ll receive and approve drawings to ensure the container is produced to your specifications. For more details, visit our process page.

How long will it take to fulfill my order?

Completion timelines typically depend on the complexity of the project but can vary based on a number of factors. If a quick delivery time is important to you, in-stock containers can be shipped within days. Choose a pre-engineered design and take delivery in just a few weeks. A customized or custom design timeline will be custom quoted.

If I buy in volume, can I get a discount?

We pride ourselves on operational efficiency and being able to offer all customers fair pricing. If an order positively impacts our ability to purchase raw materials from our suppliers, price savings will be passed through to the customer.

Can I have an architectural/CAD/3D drawing of a Falcon container?

We provide Shop Drawings for customer approval prior to beginning any work. Please note: There are variations between manufacturers of containers. These variations include corrugation patterns, construction techniques, floor materials, and exact size. For this reason, it’s not possible to provide drawings or models beyond the Shop Drawings.

What if I need repairs to my container?

If your container remains under warranty, Falcon will handle qualifying repairs except in cases where another manufacturer’s warranty applies - such as an HVAC. For required repairs outside of warranty, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to recommend a qualified repair professional.

What are Falcon’s standard terms and conditions?

You can view our standard terms and conditions here.


What are the best windows for shipping containers?

The ideal window depends entirely on the intended purpose of the structure. The windows are not necessarily interchangeable. Aside from the variety in sizes, many types of windows come with features that may not be necessary for every application. Consider which window options are available before designing a shipping container structure. Keep in mind that any window larger than 3 feet by 3 feet will likely need structural reinforcement.

What’s a shipping container window frame?

Our production team uses internal systems to standardize each cut and framed opening. These window frames are made to fit windows of varying sizes and allow for quick installation of the desired window.


How secure are shipping container doors?

Shipping container cargo doors are heavy-duty, weather-tight, and secure. Companies across the world trust containers to ship valuable goods over turbulent seas. As containers are repurposed into modified structures, cargo doors often receive security-enhancing modifications, such as additional locks, that allow the doors to remain operable.

How often should I lubricate container doors?

If you begin having trouble opening the cargo doors of your shipping container, or if you have a “used container” — those that have taken multiple trips overseas — you should consider lubricating the cargo doors. After cleaning the cam, keeper, and door hinges, apply lubricant to these areas. We recommend you start with the right door, since it’s the first door you open. Door hinge corrosion from sea travel can make doors difficult to open, but one-trip containers aren’t likely to face this problem.

What is the best lock for a shipping container?

Cargo doors are often modified to include lock boxes to deter thieves. We can customize a lock box and weld it to the cargo door to protect the lock from bolt cutters and other theft devices. These boxes include lock tabs that are welded inside the box to increase security and reduce vulnerability.

What are the differences between containers with roll-up doors vs. side doors?

Roll-up doors, sometimes called overhead doors, lift from the bottom and roll up inside the container. They’re lockable, easily unlatched, and lightweight. These doors are also welded into the container wall and can be installed almost anywhere along the side walls or at the ends of the container. Keep in mind that there are various grades of roll-up doors, and depending on the frequency of use, it may be worth an additional cost to purchase a premium roll-up door. Some lower-level roll-up doors aren’t designed for frequent use and can quickly wear out.

Side doors are cargo doors at the end of a shipping container. They’re heavy-duty, weather-tight, and secure swinging doors. They use a cam and lock system, which ensures the contents inside the container are protected against theft and environmental threats.


Do shipping containers get hot inside?

Since shipping containers are made of steel, they can easily get hot inside. Depending on the external temperature and levels of sunlight, an unmodified shipping container will get very hot sitting directly under the sun. But the internal temperature becomes easier to manage thanks to added insulation and air conditioning units.

How should I insulate a shipping container?

The amount of insulation your structure needs depends on the climate of your job site and the function of the modified container. You’ll need insulation if you plan on living, working, or storing temperature-sensitive assets in the container. Our three most popular insulation options include styrofoam, rolled batt, and spray foam.

Styrofoam insulation is ideal for storage containers because it doesn’t require interior framing but still helps regulate internal temperatures. Batt insulation, which is common in attics and crawl spaces, works well for container offices and living spaces. Finally, spray foam offers a functional climate-controlled space for temperature-sensitive equipment storage.


Are stairs required for OSHA-compliant structures?

OSHA is a regulator for workplace safety. With this in mind, single, mobile container buildings — such as ground-level offices — do not need to have stairs to be OSHA compliant. As office structures expand, this may change. If you request a larger OSHA-compliant container structure, we will prepare your structure accordingly.

Interior Wall Panels

What are the interior wall options for shipping containers?

Sanded wood paneling or drywall are great options for companies that frequently relocate their offices and living spaces, as it’s flexible enough to weather regular relocations without damage.

PVC wall paneling is durable and easy to clean. It’s moisture resistant, so if a container is used as a mobile bathroom, we usually install PVC paneling to allow the interior walls to be washed down.

In addition to wall paneling, aluminum and perforated steel wall interiors are available.


What is the floor of a shipping container made of?

A shipping container’s floor is constructed of marine-grade plywood or bamboo. “Marine-grade” means that the wood has more layers than traditional construction plywood, making a more stable floor that’s less prone to warping. Additionally, container floors aren’t smooth and have small variations with countersunk screw heads. 40-foot shipping containers include a built-in trailer hitch tunnel, meaning there’s about a 10-foot-long steel plate on the non-door end of a 40-foot container.

When customizing the shipping container, many companies have the option to keep the original flooring and add an epoxy coating to make it easier to clean. Some companies choose to add new floors on top of the existing plywood or bamboo. These additional flooring options include coin vinyl, vinyl plank, welded steel, and aluminum.

How thick is a shipping container floor?

A shipping container floor is 1.1 inches (28 millimeters) thick. Container floors are constructed with steel beams that lie at the base of the container and connect to the walls. These cross members lay roughly 12 inches apart. On top of the beams, manufacturers screw down panels of plywood or bamboo.

Are shipping container floors waterproof?

Shipping container floors are water resistant. The manufacturers who build shipping containers make sure the entire box is water resistant and can travel by sea. Although, as we modify containers into a variety of structures, if water resistance is particularly important, we recommend that you cover the original flooring with epoxy to improve the water resistance or install coin vinyl flooring or other water-resistant options.


What kind of paint should be used on shipping containers?

We use a variety of paints, however, a hard, shiny alkyd enamel paint works well for most containers. On the other hand, we also use a waterborne coating system that works just as well and is significantly better for the environment.

If you plan to add a mural to the container, a matte acrylic paint base is the best option. Industrial applications may call for specialized polyurethane paints.

Do shipping containers rust?

While the steel exterior of shipping containers is resilient, rusting is possible. Rust may occur on the roof of a container where standing water or snow has accumulated for extended periods of time. To prevent this, make sure you properly maintain the roof and walls.


How do I install shelves in a shipping container?

You must either weld or bolt the shelves onto the wall, depending on the interior of the unit. Consider bolting or screwing the shelves in place if the interior is built out with drywall or other applicable finishes. If the walls of the containers are unmodified, screw the shelves to the steel walls. When shelves are installed after delivery, we suggest screwing to the steel walls versus welding. Welding often burns away protective paint that can be unsightly and harder to clean and repaint. Instead, after screwing shelves to the walls, any small screws that fully penetrate the steel can be ground off and painted to prevent rust.

We can install shelves into the container before we deliver it. This way the work will be taken care of for you and, as you relocate the container in the future, the shelving will stay in place.

Clear Span Buildings

What is a clear span building?

When shipping containers are placed side by side and the side walls are removed to create a larger room, it’s called a clear span. Interior columns and beams maintain the structural integrity of the structure.

How are two shipping containers joined together?

Generally, containers are bolted together using special container connectors called bridge fittings, or they can be welded together in a permanent installation. If the structure is permanent, connecting the containers to the foundation should be considered as well. Work is also done on the interior to ensure structural integrity.

How many shipping containers can I stack?

Shipping containers were designed to be stacked nine high in ports and on cargo ships. For repurposed structures, shipping container buildings can also stack into multiple stories. For example, Fortress Obetz, a shipping container stadium, stacked containers three levels high.


Container Modification FAQs

Additional FAQs

Additional Questions

How much do 20-foot and 40-foot containers weigh?

An empty 20-foot shipping container weighs between 3,970 lbs and 4,850 lbs. An empty 40-foot shipping container weighs between 8,340 lbs and 9,260 lbs. Keep in mind that containers used to be heavier, so these numbers could change again in the future. Of course, the weight will likely increase with the addition of insulation, drywall, air conditioning units, and other elements.

Can a shipping container be cut in half?

While it is possible to cut a shipping container in half, keep in mind that the stability of the structure comes from the four corners. If you choose to cut a shipping container in half for a project, we would either weld the end cap back on to the open end or create structural reinforcements to ensure safety and stability. This technique is helpful for those container projects that have requirements outside the standard 10-foot, 20-foot, and 40-foot sizes.

How is a shipping container loaded onto a trailer?

A crane or a forklift is needed to move a container on or off a trailer. To determine whether to use a crane or a forklift, evaluate what equipment is available to you and where the container will be located.

How much does it cost to modify a shipping container?

The cost to modify a shipping container varies depending on the size and intended use of the structure. Browse our floor plans based on storage, workspace, bathrooms and locker rooms, industrial enclosures, living space, and multi-container layouts, and let’s discuss pricing together.


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