The next big thing in backyard pools might surprise you. Why? It’s not about incorporating a sun ledge, rain curtain, or smart technology. In fact, it’s the opposite of smart technology. Shipping container pools are a basic steel box that is converted into a backyard water feature.
Shipping container pools have grown in popularity, seen as an eco-friendly alternative to the splashy in-ground pools that come with a hefty price tag. They also offer a modern look and, for the right person, a DIY water feature.
But before you head down to a shipping yard, you will have to consider whether a shipping container pool is right for you and your backyard.
Basics of shipping container pools
Shipping containers became a trendy alternative to a backyard pool because they can be a great place to splash around. They are inherently durable as they are made of corrugated steel. The frames are strong enough to hold up to the weight of the water that it will be filled with.
But it’s not as simple as getting a used container delivered and filling it with water.
People interested in a container pool have two options — buy from an online retailer or DIY. However, the basics of the pool are the same. A shipping container is cut to depth and size. A lip will be added to cover any sharp edges. Modifications, such as viewing windows, will require the overall structure to be reinforced.
But how do you keep that water in? Containers are designed to keep water out, not keep it in. The pool will likely feature some kind of insert, whether it’s made of fiberglass, vinyl, or plaster. The material will affect the overall cost of the shipping container pool.
Other basic questions about swimming pools made from containers:
How big is it? The dimensions of a shipping container are 8 feet by 20 feet or 8 feet by 40 feet. And, typically, they are about 5 feet tall with a capacity to hold about 5,000 gallons of water.
Is it eco-friendly? Swimming pools made from shipping containers are considered eco-friendly because it is a way of upcycling the container.
Are they energy efficient? Container pools are not insulated, and you will need a heater to keep the water comfortable. The steel can also reflect the sun so the heater will have to work to keep the water at temperature.
Can you move it? Yes. Once it has been drained, you can hire a crane operator to move the pool to a new home.
Are shipping container pools cheaper?
While a container pool seems like a simple solution to your backyard pool dilemma, the cost might surprise you. A shipping container pool can cost $25,000 to $40,000 depending on the size and features.
By comparison, the average cost of an above-ground pool is about $2,700. Prices for an above-ground pool, though, can be between $100 for a cheap kit from a big-box store to thousands when buying from a pool store.
A swim spa, with built-in heater and plumbing, can range in price from $15,000 to $55,000. An in-ground backyard pool costs between $50,000 and $100,000 on average.
A container swimming pool can be cheaper than a custom in-ground pool but it is more expensive than other alternatives, including swim spas.
Installing a container pool
Unlike a standard above-ground pool, you cannot visit your local big-box retailer, select a container swimming pool, and bring it home that day. The pool will need to be ordered and delivered to your home via truck.
Meanwhile, you will need to prepare your backyard, arrange moving it to the final spot, and more.
If you want to install a shipping container swimming pool, here are important factors to consider:
Shipping containers come in standard sizes. While you can customize them for your pool project, you will still have a narrow, rectangular pool.
Many people choose to install a container pool above-ground but it can be buried in the ground or partially-recessed, depending on the design of your backyard. If you choose the in-ground pool option, you will need to dig a vault and plan for appropriate drainage.
The steel box that is the container is heavy on its own. The dry weight of a 20-foot shipping container swimming pool will be nearly 6,000 pounds. A 40-foot container will weigh about 10,000 pounds without water. Fill it with water, it’s even heavier. You will need to have a solid foundation for the container pool, one that can support the weight when filled with water.
Container swimming pools are a niche market, and it is unlikely that there is a retailer in your area. You will purchase your pool online, scheduling delivery to your house. But what happens once it arrives? Well, that’s on you. You will be in charge of finding the contractor to handle the installation. More than likely, you will need a crane to put the pool in position.
Access to utilities
If you modify a shipping container to use as a pool, you will need access to utilities. Depending on the system you will need electrical to run the pumps and potentially gas for the heater. A licensed contractor might need to be onsite after delivery to hook up the pool.
Consider sun and shade during the day. Will it be comfortable to splash or will you have leaves constantly falling. You should also consider whether there are any privacy issues that would affect your enjoyment. Are there privacy concerns?
Should you buy a shipping container pool?
Whether you should buy a container pool will depend on where you live, your space available, and budget.
Swimming pools made from containers are sleek and modern looking, offering you a place to hang out in the summer months. You can set up a pool in about day, once you have prepared the location for your pool.
However, this style of backyard pool might not be the cheaper alternative that you were hoping for. The cost of the pool alone can be up to $45,000, and you will have to pay for site preparation, landscaping, electrical and, possibly, gas hook-up.
You will also need to consider how many people will use the pool and how they will use it. Container pools are spacious enough for family and friends to hang out and relax. However, if you want to swim for exercise or training, it might not be the best option. The container pools, even the longest, will not be long enough to comfortably use as a lap pool alternative.
Would you install a swimming pool made from a shipping container?