Shipping Container House – Assembling and installing the trusses.

Assembling and Installing

I wanted to have cathedral ceilings in the shipping container house and I also wanted the ceiling to have the look of a log cabin with wood planking not drywall. My dilemma was that with conventional trusses I couldn’t achieve that look. After doing a lot of research, I decided to use steel trusses like the ones used for open air pole barns.

image from google search

I contacted a few companies and settled on one that was extremely helpful. I told them how I was planning on using the trusses and they let me speak with their engineer. The trusses are normally spaced between 10-12 feet apart and are rated for 140 mph winds on an open air pole barn design. After calculating the weight load of the plywood and roofing materials and a few other things I don’t know much about he said that I should space them at most 8 feet apart. I decided to place them 7 foot apart.That spacing coincided with the vertical supports on the pony wall which is where the trusses were going to be placed.

The trusses are normally built in even number distances like 20, 30 ,40’, but I needed a 29’ span so they only charged me $150 to reset the jig to meet my span. It was supposed to take about 3 weeks and they were done on time.
I decided to go pick them up myself because they were a little behind on delivery times. The good thing was that they are designed in 2 pieces which you bolt together to make the full distance so I didn’t need a 30’ trailer to go get them. I did have to borrow a trailer fro a good friend who had one that was 20’ since mine is only 10’ long.


Now that I had them I needed to assemble them and figure out a way to place them up on the pony wall which stood about 15.5’ in the air. I decided that for extra piece of mind that after bolting them together I also welded them together.


As for lifting them into place I didn’t want to call the crane company to come back out with a smaller one for the day not to mention how much it would cost so I decided to build a boom pole to attach to the front of my tractor which has a removable bucket system.

I also needed to devise a way to attach the trusses to the boom pole and came up with what I call a double hook made out of rebar I had left over from the piers.

I kept my bush hog attached to the back of the tractor to act as a counter weight and it worked perfect. I had help from both my 2 youngest kids and 2 of my good friends and the trusses were lifted and put in place quickly.

I worked my way from inside out. We temporarily attached them with clamps. I went back later and welded them in place after checking level and plumb.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment. Please don’t forget to subscribe to be kept up to date on the build.

10 thoughts on “Shipping Container House – Assembling and installing the trusses.

  1. great idea.. was researching building a work shop using the same trusses and container.. any update.. subscribing as you are ahead of me on the build..

  2. I love the pony wall and trusses. I’ve been planning on doing the same thing for my shop build.

    Where did you get the trusses from? What is the rated snow load? What is your span?

    1. I got the trusses from a company that builds them for open air pole barns. They are rated for that use at 140mph winds. My span was 29’. I don’t know what the snow load is because thats not a factor in the southeast where I’m at..sorry.

  3. I am building a similar project with 4 – 40′ containers. I have my trusses and roofing metal.
    I’m curious of how you made and attached your “knee wall” or “stub columns”

    I’m also located in the SE (FL)

    1. I made the knee wall out of 2″ square tubing and welded them to the top of the container and used the secondary roof trusses which are a triangle shape as support for the wall.

    1. There are no plans I designed the house myself. There are no permits or building codes required in the county I live in other than for the septic system. I consulted licensed contractors (plumbing and such) and followed codes when building.

  4. I’m very excited to see how this turned out for you. Covid has been a thorn in everyone’s side since it all began. I imagine I’m not the only one following this project. I would love to know. Thank you for posting the idea.

    1. Hello, I am much farther along than the current blog posts. Between work and building I have fallen behind. Thanks for following along.

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