If you’re transforming a shipping container into a livable space or a functional office, windows are going to be your best friends. They bring in the much-needed sunlight, ensure your space is well-ventilated, and add a stylish touch by offering beautiful outdoor views.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the various aspects of choosing just the right windows for your shipping container. We’ll talk about different types of windows, what materials they’re made of, their energy-efficiency, how to install them, cost considerations, and tips on keeping them in top-notch condition.

Note: Picking windows for your shipping container creation isn’t all about looks and capturing great views. The right windows will enhance the overall energy efficiency and ventilation of your space, directly affecting your comfort and quality of life.

Shipping Container Window A Buying Guide

Types of Shipping Container Windows

Considering different window options for your shipping container transformation project can be an exciting endeavor. The type of window you choose can greatly depend on what the container will be used for, your available budget, the climate where the container will be situated, and of course, your individual tastes. So, let’s dive into the options you have on hand. 

The Importance of Windows in Shipping Container Spaces 

“Windows breathe life and light into your shipping container, whether it serves as a home or an office. Not only do they uplift the overall look, but they can also create an illusion of a bigger space.”

Dual pane windows

If you’re looking to boost the energy efficiency of your shipping container, look no further than dual pane windows. These bad boys are known for their top-notch insulating properties, thanks to their design which features two glass panes separated by a spacer. This cool design significantly reduces heat loss by 50% from your container. 

Dual pane windows
Source: Home Depot

So, what does this mean for you? Less heat loss translates to a much more comfortable living or working environment, and big savings on energy costs for heating. If you’re dealing with cold climates or extreme temperature swings, these windows should definitely be on your radar! 

Just a heads up though – these dual pane windows can be pricier than the average single-pane windows out there. They come with an advanced design and extra material requirements, which explains the higher price tag. However, considering the long-term energy savings and improved comfort they offer, you might find the splurge to be totally worth it!

Standard window with blinds

If you’ve hung out in any traditional home or office, you’re likely no stranger to a standard window with blinds. Perfect for a shipping container, they offer flexibility and control. Here’s why these are a rad choice. 

Standard window with blinds
Source: Amazon
  • Light Control: Ever wanted to play God with the sunlight? With a standard window and blinds, you totally can. Whether you’re a vampire who enjoys a dark room or a sun goddess basking in the rays, you can adjust the blinds to let in just the right amount of light.
  • Privacy: Need to keep your space private or want to dodge nosy parkers? Pull down your blinds, and voila! You’ve got a privacy shield.
  • Versatility: Got a unique color scheme or theme for your shipping container? Good news – blinds come in all colors and designs. Finding a match for your decor is no biggie.
  • Affordability: When compared to the fancier dual-pane windows or other high-tech options, standard windows with blinds are a total steal. They tick off all necessary functionality without causing a dent in your budget.

But remember, these windows might not be champion insulators like dual-pane windows, so if you’re based somewhere with wild weather swings, you might want to bolster them with some solid insulation techniques. 

So there you have it, standard windows with blinds are a budget-friendly, adaptable option that puts you in control of your shipping container space. Score!

Burglar bar windows

Safety is top priority, right? But that doesn’t mean your shipping container has to look like a fortress or block all the sunlight. Check out burglar bar windows. These things have sturdy metal bars attached to the frame, so it’s going to be tough for any intruders. But hey, it isn’t at all bad – you can still enjoy a decent view and bask in plenty of natural light. 

Burglar bar windows
Source: Home Depot
ProsCons
Brings in that extra layer of safetyLight might be a bit restricted
Makes burglars think twice before tryingView of the outdoors might be a bit blocked
Super durable and low-maintenanceIn emergencies, they can be a bit tricky to remove
Compatible with all sorts of window typesPotential to make your place seem less inviting

Just bear in mind, while burglar bar windows do up your security game, don’t let them mess with your emergency escape routes. When deciding where your windows go, always put safety first.

Sliding windows

If you’re looking for a solid window option for your shipping container digs, sliding windows are worth checking out. They’re designed with a stationary panel and another that slides along tracks. Sleek, compact, and space-effective – these attributes make them ideal for confined container spaces.  

All About the Look: These windows are great for container settings, given their streamlined design. They won’t eat up any precious interior or exterior space, and their using mechanism is light work compared to cranking casement windows open or shut. 

Natural Light and Fresh Air: With large, clear glass surfaces, sliding windows stream in loads of sunlight, providing an open, roomy vibe. And there’s no shortage of fresh air – when open, they significantly enhance air circulation inside your shipping container. 

Safety Matters: Admittedly, sliding windows may not seem as secure as double-hung or casement types, but certain additions like locks or security bars can resolve that. After all, the safety of your container home should be as important as its comfort and appeal. 

In choosing a sliding window, remember to take into account material and energy efficiency. These two factors can profoundly influence the window’s durability, maintenance needs, overall cost, and your home’s comfort level. 

Skylights

Skylights have a vibe of luxury about them and can dramatically revamp the look of your shipping container home or office. They’re a one-of-a-kind way to let in plenty of light and trick the mind into thinking the space is larger. But they call for meticulous planning and setting up to avoid potential issues, such as leaks or loss of heat. 

  • Flooded with Light: Skylights are a direct gateway to sunlight, flooding your shipping container with an incredible amount of light, which means lesser-dependence on electric lights during the day and increased energy efficiency.
  • Ideal for Small Spaces: The illusion of more space that they create makes skylights an excellent feature in compact shipping container areas.
  • Eye-catching Appeal: They add a unique edge to all designs, providing a splendid view of the sky or stars right from the comfort of your space.

However, every rose has its thorns and installing skylights in your shipping container might have its own set of challenges: 

  • Navigating the Setup: Precision is crucial when making a hole in the roof of the container to maintain its structural strength. It is equally important to get the sealing right to avoid potential leaks.
  • Insulation is Key: While skylights let in sunshine for warmth, they can also result in heat loss during cooler weather if not properly insulated. It’s smart to invest in double-glazed or insulated skylights.
  • The Price Tag: Good quality skylights and the cost of installing them can be on the higher end. However, the benefits they bring in terms of energy conservation and better quality of living often justify the price. 

Considering the complexities of a skylight setup, seeking the help of a professional may not be a bad idea. It ensures a perfect, secure fit and helps you avoid future problems.

Full-length windows

If you’re thinking of sprucing up your shipping container home or workspace, full-length windows can do just the trick. They’re fantastic at making cozy spaces feel roomier. These giant windows keep you connected to the world outside and offer breathtaking views. 

But the magic of full-length windows isn’t reserved for homes alone. If you’ve got a storefront, retail office, or any setup where you’re interacting with customers, these windows can be a game-changer. They can instantly make your space feel more inviting by letting customers take a peek at what’s inside. 

On the plus side: 

  • Natural light? Lots of it!
  • Helps small spaces look bigger
  • You get a complete view of the outside
  • Boosts the look of your setup

On the flip side: 

  • You may have to trade off some privacy
  • Because of their size, they might need extra support
  • They could lose heat in chillier climates due to the extended glass surface

A decision to install full-length windows should never be rushed. But, trust me, the panoramic views they offer are so worth it!

Patio door style windows

Imagine having a spectactular view and tons of natural light streaming into your shipping container. This is what you get with patio door style windows. They connect your indoor space with the great outdoors beautifully, giving you a visual treat. But, remember, they are pretty big and could require some additional fortifying of your container’s structure during installation. 

Just throwing it out there: These big beauties might not be the best fit for all designs or smaller shipping containers. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Patio Door Style Windows 

Good StuffNot So Good Stuff
Blurs the line between inside and outside, making your space feel bigger.Could be a squeeze if you’re working with a limited space, so it might not work for every design.
Lets tons of natural light flood in, making your container both more attractive and energy efficient.They are big and beautiful, but that also means there’s more surface area for potential break-ins.
Acts as both a window and a door, so you’re saving on the cost of extra fixtures.They could require additional structural support, meaning extra costs on your end.
Makes your shipping container feel more like a traditional home.If your patio door style window isn’t well-insulated, it could let out a lot of heat.

Window Materials

When upgrading your shipping container with windows, the material you choose for the frames plays a big role not just in how the windows look, but also in their durability and ease of maintenance. Here’s a run-down of the most common window frame materials you’re likely to come across: 

  • Vinyl: Vinyl frames offer a great balance between durability, maintenance, and insulating properties, making them a top pick for high-humidity locations. However, they might not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to aesthetics.
  • Aluminum: Lightweight and corrosion-resistant, aluminum frames bring strength without adding much weight to your container. Just bear in mind, they’re not the best in terms of energy efficiency since they’re quite prone to heat conduction.
  • Steel: If you’re after a sleek and modern look with bonus security and strength, steel frames have got you covered. You’ll have to be proactive to keep that rust at bay though, and be prepared to shell out a bit more.
  • Wood: Wood frames bring classic charm to your container and work wonders for insulation. That said, they do require a bit of tender loving care such as regular painting and pest prevention. And if they’re not looked after correctly, they can warp over time.

So when you weigh up your options, remember to factor in the climate, your budget, and just how much maintenance you’re up for. The best choice for you will be a balance of beauty, durability, and functionality. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient windows aren’t just good for the planet: they’re great for your pocket too. By optimizing the energy efficiency of your shipping container, you’ll be creating a more comfortable space absolutely brimming with the good vibes of sustainability. 

There are various strategies to consider when aiming for energy efficiency: 

  1. Insulation: Opt for dual-pane windows with insulated frames for top-notch thermal resistance. You’ll stay cozy in winter and chill in summer, all while cutting down on your energy bills. It’s a win-win.
  2. Passive solar heating: Make the sun work for you. Position your windows wisely to capture or limit natural light, depending on your climate, reducing the need for artificial heating or cooling.
  3. Tinted windows: Living in a sun-soaked area? Tinted windows keep out unwanted solar heat gain, easing the pressure on your air con in summer. Plus, they tone down the light without leaving you in darkness.

Keep in mind, the outlay cost for energy-efficient windows is often balanced out by reduced energy costs down the line. Plus, you get the peace of mind of doing your bit for the environment too. It’s definitely an investment worth considering for your fab new shipping container space. 

Installation Process for Windows in Shipping Containers

Lighting up your shipping container doesn’t have to be a daunting task. A well-placed window can transform your space into a cozy nook that’s both inviting and practical. Here’s a simple guide to help you along the way. 

Step 1: Measurement and Marking  

The first stage is crucial, so make sure you get it right. Determine where to place your window and diligently measure out the dimensions, factoring in room for the frame and insulation. For accuracy, use a level tool to ensure a straight alignment.  

Step 2: Cutting the Container Wall  

Once you have the measurements marked out, whip out your safety gear and prepare to cut into the wall. You can use an angle grinder or plasma cutter for this – whatever you’re comfortable with. However, be wary of removing any load-bearing sections in the process as that could weaken the container’s structure.  

Step 3: Frame and Window Installation  

Next, you’ll need to fix in the window frame. Are you a DIY enthusiast? You’ll love this part! The frame needs to fit snugly to prevent drafts and leaks. Once the frame is secure, proceed to place the window ensuring it fits perfectly. Use screws or weld it into the frame depending on the material.  

Step 4: Insulation and Sealing  

Last but not least is insulating your window. The type of window you select will determine the best insulation method. Foam insulation and insulation panels are fan favorites. Once you’re done insulating, ensure you seal off all borders and edges to protect your interior from the elements.  

In summation, installing windows in your shipping container needs precision, accurate measurements, and correct fitting methods. Keeping these in mind, you can easily transform your shipping container into a homely and well-illuminated space. 

Cost Considerations for Choosing Shipping Container Windows 

When planning for your shipping container, knowing your window cost implications is key. It’s not all about the buying price; you’ve got to factor in installation, maintenance, and even potential energy savings.  

  • Purchase Price: The upfront cost of your shipping container windows will fluctuate depending on the type, size, and material of the frame. For instance, dual pane windows come with a heftier price tag compared to single pane windows. The same applies to window frame materials like steel and wood compared to alternatives like vinyl and aluminum. 
  • Installation Costs: Getting your windows in place requires effort and expertise, which come at a price. The costs can easily escalate, especially for windows that are larger or more technical. 
  • Maintenance Requirements: Your choice of window and frame material could affect future maintenance costs. Wooden frames, for instance, demand regular upkeep to ward off rot and insect damage, translating to added costs over time. However, vinyl and aluminum frames are easier to maintain, potentially saving you a couple of bucks in the long run. 
  • Energy Efficiency: Energy efficient windows may carry a higher initial cost, but they are worth every penny in the long term. Opt for dual pane or tinted windows that offer better insulation, reducing your heating and cooling needs and hence your energy bills. 

In summary, when shopping for shipping container windows, don’t just consider the initial cost. Factor in installation, maintenance, and energy savings as well. With all these in mind, you can make a savvy investment for your shipping container. 

Durability of Shipping Container Windows

The sturdy factor of your shipping container windows depends hugely on the material you decide to use, how well it’s installed, and what kind of weather they’ll be dealing with. When choosing what your window’s made from, think about how well it’ll hold up over time. Steel windows, for example, are super tough, but they might rust if you don’t take good care of them. On the flip side, vinyl windows might not be as tough, but they’re great at resisting stuff like rot, rust, and corrosion, so they’ll last ages.  

How well the window’s installed can also make a big difference to how long it’ll last. If you get a good professional in to do the job, they’ll make sure everything’s sealed properly which means there’s less chance of leaks and water damage, which could mess up your window over time. Plus, any holes they make in the container wall when they’re installing the window need to be treated right, to keep rust away.  

Your window’s going to be dealing with the weather day in, day out, and some conditions are going to be tougher on it than others. For example, if your container’s by the sea, the window’s going to have to put up with a lot of wind, salty air, and damp, which could all cause damage over time. Cleaning your windows regularly can help get rid of anything that might harm them and gives you a chance to check for any signs of damage.  

“It’s not just about picking a great material and getting a pro to install it. You’ve got to take good care of your windows and think about where you’re putting your container if you want them to stay in good shape.”

Here are Some Quick Tips for Keeping Your Windows in Top Shape:

  • Keep your windows clean to stop nasty stuff from building up.
  • Make sure your window’s seals are doing their job and reseal them if you need to, to keep water and air from getting inli.
  • If you’ve got wooden windows, give them a fresh paint or stain every now and then to protect them from the weather.
  • Do what you can to fight rust around your windows, especially if you’ve just put a new one in.
  • If you’re in a place where the weather can get rough, think about getting some window protectors like shutters or grilles to stop debris from damaging the glass.

Remember, a little bit of TLC and some regular check-ups will keep your shipping container windows looking good and working well, keeping you comfy and safe for many years.

The Bottom Line

Wrapping it up, there’s a bunch you need to think about when it comes to picking out windows for your shipping container home or office. It’s all about what you need the space for, how you want it to look, and how much dough you’re willing to shell out.

There’s a ton of options when it comes to materials, designs, and energy-saving features that can really boost the comfort, style, and eco-friendly factor of your container space. Don’t forget you can always hit up a pro for advice or help with the installation.

After all, the right windows can transform your shipping container into your own custom, cozy live-or-work space.

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