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How Do You Stabilize a Shipping Container? Easy Steps

Wondering how to stabilize a shipping container? To begin with, shipping containers have come in handy in our lives apart from being a very crucial part of transportation on the sea. People now use them as shipping container homes, offices, and even storage.

However, despite the many uses, they need to be structurally stable enough to be used for a long. In truth, shipping containers can rust, get dents, or even be affected by the temperatures.

This means you must add some stability when using a shipping container for a home or office. It means the foundation should be firm enough, and you should ensure that the body is strong enough. And so let’s take a look at how you can stabilize a shipping container.

Stabilizing a Shipping Container Underground

When shipping containers are used as bunkers or storm shelters and buried underground, they experience immense pressure on their side walls and top. Note that these containers were not designed from the to stand against such great weight and pressure.

Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that sidewalls are strong enough from the inside to endure this great force. By following the additional measures, one can guarantee the stability and durability of the buried containers.

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Step 1: Add Steel Beams for Maximum Strength

Incorporating steel beams is a mindful approach to increase the shipping container’s structural strength when buried underground.

Most important, welding multiple steel posts regularly along the container strengthens the edges and sidewalls, mitigating the risk of collapsing under substantial underground pressure.

This strategic stabilization ensures added strength and resilience, making the container capable of withstanding the challenging conditions below the surface.

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Step 2: Weld Some Steel Posts on the Roof

In order to provide enough support for the top section, it is necessary to weld steel posts at regular spaces, moving from the roof to the floor within the container.

It is important to take precautionary measures as water from rain and soil can add pressure and weight to the top portion of the container.

Cinder blocks or cement blocks can create a watertight environment to avoid such effects. Moreover, I-beams and cross beams offer valuable reinforcement, which adds to the structure to bear the extra load properly.

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Step 3: Add Steel Plates for Insulation

In the event of small openings on the container’s top surface, there is a risk of dirt and water getting into the inside.

Of course, adding extra steel plates to the shipping container is adviced to reduce this risk and ensure enough insulation.

Additionally, when burying the container underground, it is important to refrain from using wooden planks or rail road ties as supporting materials.

These organic materials are likely to biodegrade and will ultimately break apart within the soil. Opting for durable alternatives, such as steel, guarantees long lasting structural integrity and protection against elements from the outside.

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Tips To Follow When Burying a Shipping Container on the Ground

Burry Your Shipping Container Upside Down

Typically, the floor of a shipping container is made with material that is thicker than the roof. When burying shipping containers underground, it is good for the top surface to bear most of the weight.

One approach to achieve this is by placing the container upside down. This effectively makes use of the thicker floor as the protective roof of your bunker.

Finally, this turning of the container upside down increases the structural strength and load bearing capacity. This will ensure enhanced safety and stability within the underground environment.

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Digging a Hole

In order to bury a shipping container bunker underground and have the necessary support, it is crucial to prepare a sufficiently sized pit.

It is advisable to leave an additional four feet of space along each side for enough maneuverability. For example, if a 20-foot unit is used, it necessitates constructing a ditch that measures 28 feet in length and 16 feet in width.

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This ensures ample room for the container and the implementation of reinforcement measures, facilitating a secure and properly installed underground bunker.

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Burial Depth

The desired extent to which the container should remain above the surface determines the appropriate depth for the pit. In most cases, a depth of 7 feet should do it.

However, if you intend to conceal the container from plain sight completely, a hole with a depth of 10 feet will be necessary.

By considering these depth requirements, you can ensure the desired visibility and level of concealment for the buried container.

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Stabilizing a Shipping Container Above the Ground

Stabilizing a Shipping Container

Even if your design if from a single 40-foot shipping container without any internal walls, it is wise to add windows along each side.

Furthermore, while it might be possible to add glazing to each end without needing extra support, it is still adviced to reinforce these areas.

Since relatively thin corrugated steel panels are used for the sides and top of the containers without extra support, they tend to deform or bend.

Point often overlooked, after cutting out the necessary square or rectangular space for a door or window, it is important to construct a frame around. You should do this using either metal strips or flat steel bars.

Begin by welding a strip below and above the window or door opening. Then, weld a strip on each side of the aperture, thus the upper and lower strips become connected as one.

If you are creating an opening that spans the entire container height for a window or door, you should add steel support beams moving from the floor to the upper rail.

Employ 4×4 steel beams for optimal structural strength and stability when adding vertical support.

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Combine Two or More Shipping Containers for a Larger Home

When placing shipping containers side by side, removing the corrugated steel panels on the sides that face each other is usually necessary. This removal affects the structural integrity of the rails that run the length of the containers.

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Steel beams may be required to support the upper rails where the two units meet to compensate for this. Additionally, making sure that the foundation is perfectly level before merging the containers is crucial.

If one container is slightly raised, achieving a proper seal between them may be hard to do. Therefore, it is important to double check and ensure that the containers are properly aligned.

Merging two adjacent containers can also create a gap due to the presence of corner posts. It is necessary to seal this gap effectively to prevent any potential leaks.

Sealing often involves placing rolled roof flashing on the inside, followed by a layer of roofing cement and outside flashing.

This comprehensive sealing method helps maintain a watertight and secure connection between the merged containers.

Please note that merging containers is more complex and requires careful attention. This is true to ensure structural stability, alignment, and proper sealing for successful integration.

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Stacking Multiple Shipping Containers for a Multi-Story Home

On the whole, placing multiple shipping containers is a straightforward process in its original design. The corner posts of the lower container bear the weight of the upper container when they are stacked.

However, cut outs on the lower container for windows or doors may require additional stabilization to the rails. Note that you can use 4×4 steel beams to ensure that the top container does not cause the lower one to buckle.

When putting offset containers on top of each other, steel beams, and supports must be added. Notably, this is to counterbalance the weight of the overhanging part of the shipping container. You should add steel beams to the lower units when stacking shorter containers instead of longer ones.

For example, putting a 20-foot container on top of a 40-foot container in case you want to expand your shipping container.

Typically, a steel beam should be placed on the roof of the lower container where, the shorter container ends.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, stabilizing a shipping container requires a carefully followed procedure to ensure everything works out perfectly.

The above steps, whether for stabilizing a shipping container underground or above the ground, need somebody who can follow instructions and ensure everything is done right.

You can contact an expert who can help you do the work perfectly if you need clarification on following the instructions well.

With the appropriate fortifications in position, you will have the necessary backing to ensure your safety and protection against potential future risks.

Must be remembered, if you intend to partly or fully bury the container, it is crucial to ensure that the frame work remains intact and does not succumb to failure.

Hence, stability becomes a necessary measure to be considered under all circumstances.

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