PreFab Containers vs Local Shipping Container Modifications

Not Made in China

Storstac does all of its shipping container modification work at its fabrication facility in Toronto, Canada

Shipping container architecture or “cargotecture” as it is commonly refereed to in the shipping container industry has become quite popular in North America over the last few years. Using shipping containers as the frame work to build shipping container houses, bars, kitchens, cottages, offices etc. is currently more widely accepted and is gaining traction in North America. With this increased appeal and demand for modified shipping container structures there are more and more people out there using high end renderings to try and get their foot in the door in this growing industry. Typically, these prefab container re-sellers are small scale operations (1-3 people) made up of architects and sales professionals that use these renderings to sell prefabricated houses and cottages (among other things) to potential buyers. What most people don’t realize is the fact that these prefabricated buildings, although sold locally, are manufactured and prefabricated on an assembly line in China by a few large shipping container manufacturers (these re-sellers will often refer to the Chinese factories as “Their factory” or “Our Factory”). Although the price tag on these prefabricated shipping container projects is usually somewhat attractive (compared to modifying and fabricating the same thing in North America), that’s pretty much the only positive aspect of buying a prefabricated container building from china as apposed to buying it and having it modified and fabricated locally in North America.

  • Shipping Container…think again – Prefabricated Shipping Container Structures (including houses, cottages etc.). ARE NOT made from real shipping containers. They may look like real shipping containers, but they are not. They are built using different grades of steel and different grades of paint because they are not intended to be shipped on the ocean with cargo. Also, they are built with the various openings in place, they do not take a standard shipping container and cut the openings into them (say for windows, doors, staircases etc.). This means that over time, these prefabricated shipping container buildings will not age the same way a standard shipping container will age as they do not use the same grade of Corten steel that they use on their cargo bound shipping containers
  • Build Quality – China is known for mass producing various goods cheaper then anywhere else in the world. This is positive for things like electronics, clothing and other low cost goods, but China should be the last place you want your new home or cottage to be built. Overall building standards and quality of materials are much lower coming from China, then they are if they are sourced and built locally in Canada. China is NOT KNOWN FOR MANUFACTURING QUALITY GOODS, they are known for manufacturing goods for the LOWEST POSSIBLE COST. We have first hand experience with prefabricated shipping container structures and can attest to the fact that the over all build quality is extremely low. Prefab structure from china use only Chinese made products and materials. This means the interior and exterior materials like your siding, insulation, walls, floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures etc. will all be made in China (compared to a local fabricator like us who will source locally made insulation, walls, floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures etc. simply because that’s what’s available for purchase in North America).
  • Material Quality – As mentioned previously, prefabricated shipping container buildings from china are made with Chinese parts and steel. Here at Storstac all of our shipping container modifications use Canadian made parts and steels. Things like our doors, windows, steel (used for things like framing openings and reinforcing when required) are all made in Canada. This is a huge bonus because generally anything Made in Canada/ U.S.A. is usually superior then the same item Made in China regarding overall quality, durability and longevity. Also, if your brand new window has a defect, but its from china, how do you warranty that window for replacement?
  • Standards of Building – Building standards in Asia are vastly different then in Canada and North America as a whole. Door sizes, hallway widths, staircase clearance and even minimum clearances of doors and washroom fixtures are different in Asia then they are in North America and Canada. One overlook on say the size of your washroom or the position of the door, and your door might be opening right into the toilet or sink, (literally, we have seen this happen in the past).

Still not convinced that a locally designed and modified container structure is right for you? Feel free to pass by our office to talk with one of our modification experts on why your next project should be built right here in Toronto, Canada.


china factory

Shipping Container…Think Again.

China Prefab Factory

Prefab containers inside one of the largest prefab companies in China

Storstac to build Hamilton Shipping Container House

Storstac is excited to announce that in just a few weeks we will begin fabrication of Canada’s first shipping container house to be permanently located in a major city’s (Hamilton’s) downtown core right here at our Toronto shipping container fabrication facility. This precedent setting build nicknamed the Hamilton Shipping Container House is already BUILDING PERMIT APPROVED and will consist of eight 40′ shipping containers sitting on top of a solid concrete block foundation. Designed by Toronto Architect Jason Halter of Wonder Inc, the house has been custom designed to suit his clients specific tastes which Jason describes as being “iconolastic”. Although the shipping containers themselves are fabricated in China (as China is the only place in the world where shipping containers are fabricated) all of the modification work and materials used for this project will be made in Canada. Unlike most shipping container homes built around the world, this one will not be clad with any additional materials. Instead, the containers Corten steel corrugated walls will remain naked, and they will be painted brick brown; allowing the house to better blend in with the surrounding Victorian era homes. The rugged industrial look of this shipping container home pays homage to the fact that it will be located in “Steel Town”, but a number of subtle architectural design elements (like the six walk out balconies that will utilize the shipping container doors as the balconies side walls) will make this shipping container home stand out from most others. Until now there have only been a hand full of container homes built in Canada, most of  which have been erected in rural areas as cottages. The vast majority Canada’s shipping container homes/cottages are pre-fabricated builds that are modified and built in china. This is problematic because they use Chinese steel and parts which provides the end user with a low-quality, inferior product that is unlikely to stand any real test of time. As stated earlier in this article, the Hamilton shipping container home will be modified and fabricated at Storstac’s modification facility located at 90 North Queen Street in Toronto and will rely strictly on 100% Canadian steel, paint, windows doors and most importantly local labor. Follow us on Instagram (@storstac_inc) as we will be closely covering and updating followers as this project develops and progresses. Installation of the Hamilton Shipping Container House will take place in June of this year.

About Storstac: With over 450 years of combined experience in the shipping container modification industry Storstac Inc. is the Oldest, Largest, Most Experienced shipping container Modification Company in Canada. Storstac’s Founder and President has been designing and manufacturing modified shipping containers since 1971. Since then, Storstac has pioneered countless shipping container modifications that range from the very first portable wireless telecommunication shelters for Cantel (now Rogers), Clearnet Communications (now Telus), Microcell telecommunications (now Fido) to the revolutionary Tesla pop up container dealership (made from two 20’ shipping containers). We’ve worked with some of the biggest companies in the world, right down to your average Joe that needs a used shipping container for onsite storage. We fabricate modified shipping containers for a host of applications which include generator enclosures, retail pop up kiosks and retail stores, shipping container bars, fully functional commercial grade off grid shipping container kitchens, and even modular shipping container homes and buildings.

All of the Hamilton shipping container house modification work will be undertaken by Storstac at our Toronto modification facility

All of the Hamilton shipping container house modification work will be undertaken by Storstac at our Toronto modification facility


All of the Hamilton shipping container house modification work will be undertaken by Storstac at our Toronto modification facility

All of the Hamilton shipping container house modification work will be undertaken by Storstac at our Toronto modification facility


For progress on this project and all of our other shipping container projects

Follow us on:

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Twitter (@storstac)

and like us on Facebook


Read more about this Project:

Globe and Mail – Proposed Hamilton container home is a steel building for Steeltown

The Hamilton Spectator – Shipping container house debuts in Hamilton



Shipping Container Markets

Shipping container markets have become quite popular over the last 10 years right around the world… and for good reason. From the DeKalb Market in Brooklyn, to Boxpark in London to the ReStart Container Market in New Zealand; shipping container markets / malls have been “popping” up right around the world. Over the past 5 years Storstac has been pivotal  in helping  Toronto join-in on the shipping container market craze; and for good reason. Storstac has been host to all of Toronto’s Permanent and semi-permanent container markets. The shipping container market at Scadding Court community center at the corner of Dundas Street and Bathurst Street in the heat of downtown Toronto has been supplied wholly by Storstac. This market is precedent setting as it provides tenements with affordable rents that allow them to grow there small businesses that were previously based in their homes to a “brick-and-mortar” location. The market is meant to be both a permanent home for some tenants, as well as a stepping stone that allows other tenants the opportunity to test the marketplace with their products before growing to a larger location.  The market has become famous for its ethnically diverse and delicious “street foods” and for its locally produced hand made goods. Storstac has also been responsible for the Westside market place that was live for the summer of 2015 at the corner of Bathrust and Front Street, as well as the Winter Market Place that is currently ongoing at the Evergreen Brickworks on the north east end of Downtown Toronto. Shipping container markets have a host of benefits that traditional brick-and-mortar and tent markets cannot provide.

Modular: Shipping container markets can be arranged, re-arranged, and relocated in an instant. This modular aspect allows container markets to grow, shrink, and move rapidly depending on current market conditions.

Wind and Water Tight: Another advantage of using shipping containers for markets is that they are solid steel boxes. This means that when its raining, snowing, or windy, retailers don’t have to close down for the day. The container is solidly sitting on the ground and isn’t phased by harsh weather conditions.

Security: Depending on how the individual containers are designed, they can go from having a large glass entrance in the day time when there open, to being a fully sealed steel box at night when there closed. This allows container markets to be placed in more remote locations where land may be under utilized, or placed right in the heat of a city’s downtown core in an empty developers future condominium site.

If you have any questions about starting your very own shipping container market or mall, NO ONE in Canada has more experience at designing, fabricating and deploying shipping container markets/malls then Storstac.

Toronto's First Container Market Supplied Exclusively by Storstac

Toronto’s First Container Market Supplied Exclusively by Storstac


Toronto's First Container Market Supplied Exclusively by Storstac

Toronto’s First Container Market Supplied Exclusively by Storstac


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