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Old 04-29-2012, 10:57 AM
allmightyoz allmightyoz is offline
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Default Concrete block vs shipping container bunker



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Why is everyone so amazed by the shipping container bunker? I just do not understand it. A concrete block bunker is much better in my opinion for various reasons that I will outline.

A shipping container is an awkward size, a rectangle. If you only plan on having a 1 shipping container bunker, your size is seriously impacted once you add stairs going down into the bunker. If you are smart, you would probably add a ladder with a large hatch at the top to load and unload the bunker.

A 2 shipping container bunker does not benefit much from the added container, as it is still a narrow rectangle connected to another narrow rectangle by a door. Basically, an extra $1,500 - $2,000 for a bedroom.

The cost to benefit ratio just isn't there for me with a shipping container. After re-enforcements done and the time spent, I would be better off to build a concrete block bunker.

A 20 foot long x 8 foot high (just a perimeter wall for example) would use 12 blocks for the height and 15 blocks for the length. At $1.50 a block that is $270 for that sized wall. Do a square like that, just a little over a grand.

Add the price for filling the slots with concrete and pouring a foundation, you will come out a little more expensive than a shipping container bunker. If you are lazy or not mechanically inclined, not doing the work yourself will cost you a boatload more than a shipping container bunker.

With a concrete block bunker, you can build it exactly how you like. 1 big room, 2 small rooms, a room in the middle, you name it. A good idea would be to have the stairs to the bunker come down outside of the perimeter, take a turn, and follow a 6 foot hallway to the entrance door. Have the hallway sunken 4 feet below the rest of the structure, and the structure wrapped around the hallway on 3 sides. One could add gunports to hallway, allow you to shoot into the hallway from ABOVE and easily eliminate intruders.

It just sickens me watching doomsday bunkers and seeing someone spend $75,000 on a crappy re-enforced shipping container. Does anybody here have a concrete block bunker / shelter that they would like to share or discuss?
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:49 PM
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It's be interested to hear the answer to this too.
Old 04-29-2012, 01:10 PM
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No matter how well you coat the metal shipping container, with it being in continuous contact with the damp soil it will begin to rust and eventually will fail.

The roof and sides of the container are not designed to be load bearing. They can be stacked because the four corners are load bearing pillars. Given enough soil on the top of the container and/or the added weight of a vehicle driving over it, the container may collapse. Add in the weakening of the metal over time by corrosion and the collapse becomes even more likely.

But I am not a structural engineer nor did I stay in a holiday inn express last night.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:21 PM
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Well, I have direct experience with 20 and 40 TEU containers. Most of the ones I see for sale have been disqualified from the shipping industry for one reason or another. The number one reason is because of corrosion. They spend thier entire service life on a ship or on a pier. By the time they get to the secondary market they are pretty beat, and they only sell for a few thousand dollars. They do not even cost 75K new!
I will say though, they are quick to install, easy to move to the location, and easy to outfit, all you need is a stud welder and you are in business.
They are damn small though, and will continue to rust.
Old 04-29-2012, 01:29 PM
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Concrete blocks is what I had in mind, a lot cheaper in my opinion than those steel container bunkers. Now, I will admit I have no experience at this whatsoever, but it's what I have thought about for years.

Now, I did make a doghouse one time back when I was a kid with blocks. More throw together than anything. If I remember right it was like 3 blocks high and about 5 blocks longs in the back with just a piece of plywood for the roof. No sand, concrete or anything in the holes. My dog sure seemed to appreciate it though.

I have had plans made up for a 25' x 30' x 7' high, but I want 3 blocks thick surounding. I'm still deciding if I want sand to fill them up or pour concrete inside but I hope that would make for better cooling efficiency and harder to shoot through if someone was shooting at me and fire proof. The only thing i'm having problems is with the roof. Like I said I have no experience so not really sure how to use blocks for the roof.

I think if my figures are somwhere in the running I think that will cost around 5000 give or take.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:36 PM
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If I had a choice, and time, and the money, I would pick cement every time. If I was rushed for time and money I would go to a local shipping dock, buy a piece of crap condenmed container for $4000 and drop it in the ground as something short term.
Old 04-29-2012, 01:49 PM
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I have experience with concrete block structures. Personally, I would prefer them to shipping containers; they can be customized to your needs and engineered to take the loads of burial.
Old 04-29-2012, 02:40 PM
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Buried bunker?

No.

Heavy duty storage container that you can drop somewhere and leave it alone?

Sure.

I would coat it with something first, and I would make sure the doors are in good shape and the rest of it doesn't leak.

Personally, I would rather spend a little more money and get multiple mil-surplus comms shelters. Stronger, insulated and mean for human habitation.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:45 PM
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I think the biggest reason for the container bunkers is the instant availability, no masonry skill required.

And yeah the people who order bunkers and pay $75,000-$150,000 are stupid. Just saying.
Old 04-29-2012, 02:59 PM
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Ok you talk about concrete block walls but what do you use as a roof tag will hold the 6 plus inches or soil on top ? And could an average suv drive over it and not know its there ?
Old 04-29-2012, 02:59 PM
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Anybody consider tiltwall instead of going with block?
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth9669 View Post
Ok you talk about concrete block walls but what do you use as a roof tag will hold the 6 plus inches or soil on top ? And could an average suv drive over it and not know its there ?
Eight inch reinforced concrete roof. Check out a storm drainage bow culvert. Those things are usually six to eight feet wide per barrel and up to eight feet high. I have seen them with up to three barrells wide. They can handle a semi with no problem. Just make sure you seal them before you backfill.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:34 PM
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Could a regular joe buy the storm drain that is all poured seal it and bury it ?
Old 04-29-2012, 03:41 PM
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I would definitely go with concrete instead of shipping container. A quality bunker is very expensive.
If you are talking about a 20'X20' bunker, you probably would need load bearing walls in the middle. There would need to be a very good foundation under each wall.
You would probably need 12" block with vertical and horizonal rebar.
If planning on putting dirt on the roof, the top will require a lot of steel in it.
You might want to price pre-stressed double T's. You set it on the walls and weld it in place.
People think building a bunker is built like a basement, it takes much more strengh with the cement roof and dirt covering.
I could see a 20'X20' bunker costing $50,000 easy.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:58 PM
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Have a great supply of 12" used cement blocks and may use them instead of my old school bus. Can sell the bus for scrap for about $1500. That will go a long way towards materials for the block structure.
ETA: a 4" roof properly supported will be ample to handle most any load.
Old 04-29-2012, 04:39 PM
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I don't think a 4" roof would be enough for most applications.
No matter how much or little concrete is used, it takes some good engineering to support the needed weight.
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allmightyoz View Post
Why is everyone so amazed by the shipping container bunker?
They aren't. When most people consider using them it is for a house which is cheaper. Especially if you are going to do some of the work yourself.
Old 04-29-2012, 07:35 PM
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Sloth--you might until it rains and the creek rises.
Old 04-29-2012, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth9669 View Post
Could a regular joe buy the storm drain that is all poured seal it and bury it ?
I believe so. Check with your local precast yard.
Old 04-29-2012, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wootie View Post
Eight inch reinforced concrete roof. Check out a storm drainage bow culvert. Those things are usually six to eight feet wide per barrel and up to eight feet high. I have seen them with up to three barrells wide. They can handle a semi with no problem. Just make sure you seal them before you backfill.
IMPOSSIBLE to move anywhere economically. The ones big enough to live in, I mean.
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