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Old 01-23-2011, 01:46 PM
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Exclamation Do NOT bury shipping containers!



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I have seen multiple posts on this site with people kicking around the idea of burying shipping containers, or suggesting it to other members, for use as bunkers, cellars, etc.

I felt the need to make a thread and warn as many people away from this idea as possible. Shipping containers are built to have a load on their frames, they were never built to have a load on the side or roof panels. If you bury one it might work for a while, but the pressure of the dirt on the sides and top will eventually crush the container.

I am not posting this to suggest I am smarter or above the people who have thrown this idea out there, I just don't want to see anyone accidentally crushed or buried in their shelter made for survival.

Shipping containers make EXCELLENT shelter when they are ABOVE ground.

I put this in the DIY forum because this is where I have seen it mentioned the most, mods please feel free to move it if you feel there is a more appropriate forum for this topic.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:51 PM
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Amen Killface! This thread needs to be stickied!
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:53 PM
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All the posts I have seen where they were used the guys were reinforcing the interior to take the weight of the soil during the burying process.

You are right about the added pressure but as long as you are reinforcing them and dealing with moisture issues there should not be a problem with it.

I would bury one but I would also take the time to reinforce it properly.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ight=container
Old 01-23-2011, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slim69 View Post
All the posts I have seen where they were used the guys were reinforcing the interior to take the weight of the soil during the burying process.

You are right about the added pressure but as long as you are reinforcing them and dealing with moisture issues there should not be a problem with it.

I would bury one but I would also take the time to reinforce it properly.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ight=container
Until this post I had not seen any that suggest reinforcing them, a lot saying you can buy a container for ~$1000 and bury it. Which is almost a certain suicide.

If you plan to reinforce it, good. But the purpose behind most people having the idea is a cheap/fast solution with minimal work. Reinforcing it means welding work and more money for materials, making less of a quick/easy/cheap solution.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killface View Post
I have seen multiple posts on this site with people kicking around the idea of burying shipping containers, or suggesting it to other members, for use as bunkers, cellars, etc.

I felt the need to make a thread and warn as many people away from this idea as possible. Shipping containers are built to have a load on their frames, they were never built to have a load on the side or roof panels. If you bury one it might work for a while, but the pressure of the dirt on the sides and top will eventually crush the container.

I am not posting this to suggest I am smarter or above the people who have thrown this idea out there, I just don't want to see anyone accidentally crushed or buried in their shelter made for survival.

Shipping containers make EXCELLENT shelter when they are ABOVE ground.

I put this in the DIY forum because this is where I have seen it mentioned the most, mods please feel free to move it if you feel there is a more appropriate forum for this topic.
Getting the information out could save lives,and I wasn't aware they were vulnerable,GOOD INFO!!!!
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:01 PM
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I don't understand it either, you can buy 12 inch block and surface bond them for a heck of lot cheaper and quietly, just my opinion
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobzilla View Post
Getting the information out could save lives,and I wasn't aware they were vulnerable,GOOD INFO!!!!
Thank You
That is my goal, help save lives through knowledge. I have done tons of research into container housing and plan on building a container home for myself one day. In my research I have seen multiple warnings against burying them and I thought I would share the warning.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:20 PM
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Even if you reinforce it, you can't do PM for corrosion if it is buried... remember that.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killface View Post
Shipping containers are built to have a load on their frames, they were never built to have a load on the side or roof panels. If you bury one it might work for a while, but the pressure of the dirt on the sides and top will eventually crush the container.
I can attest to this! We purchased four of these at work for some extra storage. We put lights in them and I personally coated to top of the roof with that white roll on coating used for RV's to help keep the heat down in the inside.

The roof and sides on these are very flexible and they would pop and flex when I walked on them. I would never burry one of these without some significant reinforcement and engineering. I would worry about rust and corrosion as well.

When stacked the design of these place ALL of the weight on the four corners where there are large steel pillars. When stacked there is ZERO weight on the roof of the one below. The sides are pretty flimsy as well.

Just some personal observations.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:54 PM
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Good concerning advice, but how do you explain container ships. I've seen shipping containers stacked 30- 40 high loaded with goods. I would be more concered with them rusting out, unless a rust inhibitor was painted on first (like Antifouling paint for boat hulls) and/ or a water resistant membrane wraped around it.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:05 PM
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buy a school bus and bury that!!!!!!!
Old 01-23-2011, 04:08 PM
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I've seen three threads (I think) on them and they were all reinforced with 2x4s.

But it can't hurt to get the info out.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VonGhent View Post
Good concerning advice, but how do you explain container ships. I've seen shipping containers stacked 30- 40 high loaded with goods. I would be more concered with them rusting out, unless a rust inhibitor was painted on first (like Antifouling paint for boat hulls) and/ or a water resistant membrane wraped around it.
See my post above. These are designed to be stacked, when stacked the weight is on the corners where just the corners have reinforced steel pillars. There is no weight on the roof. When buried the roof will have considerable weight on it with the dirt, water, etc.

Rust and corrosion is an issue, this is why they are "retired" and sold into the private market.

The ones we purchased looked great upon initial glance. These are sand blasted and repainted. But if you look close you can see where corrosion exists beneath the paint, like an old rusted car that has been repainted.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VonGhent View Post
Good concerning advice, but how do you explain container ships. I've seen shipping containers stacked 30- 40 high loaded with goods.
When they stack them, they put them corner beam to corner beam...As you can see from this image, other than the corners, not much else touches between them. The actual corner beams could probably take twenty more full containers on top of that first one.

The skin...that's a different matter all together.

Old 01-23-2011, 04:59 PM
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I'd have thought the structure of the ground will determine how much pressure will be loaded on the sides...soil would be dangerous but more rocky ground as in this video with a thick reinforced concrete skim over the top, surely that would be fairly safe???

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Old 01-23-2011, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twisty View Post
I'd have thought the structure of the ground will determine how much pressure will be loaded on the sides...soil would be dangerous but more rocky ground as in this video with a thick reinforced concrete skim over the top, surely that would be fairly safe???

YouTube - Shipping Container As An Underground Shelter
I would assume that putting concrete on top would just add to the weight on the already vulnerable roof panel.

Sure rocky ground would be safer initially, but it would nevertheless settle over time putting to much weight on the sides. Soil just seems more dangerous because it settles faster, I again would assume the danger is still pretty much the same.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:40 PM
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The guy in the video basically dug a hole and dropped a container in. The roof is supported by the framework and sides of the hole.
Old 01-23-2011, 06:59 PM
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You could build a much bigger and better underground shelter for $12,500 than that container turned into.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:11 PM
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Yeah, I would never live in one, but as a concealed storage location? Sure. There are some precautions you can take as well, such as not burying them too deep, welding additional supports (inside and out), choosing your location carefully, and providing adequate drainage.

I talked to someone a while back who was going to bury one, and his plan was to use some old railroad rails to reinforce the heck out of it, and rather than putting the dirt right up against it, he had many levels of stone, gravel, and drainage pipes to keep the ground stable. I seem to remember that the roof dirt was only about 2 or 3 feet deep. I don't know if he ever finished the project, but he seemed to have a sound plan.

He also mentioned that it's best to use an older container since some of the new ones use weaker materials (wood or fiberglass -- I forget) and so would fail under any real pressure. Again, don't know if that's true, but I may look into it.

Anyway, I'm not for or against it, just passing on some thoughts.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:18 PM
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Has anyone seen that episode of Mythbusters where they tried to bury a shipping container? Crunch.
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