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Old 01-22-2010, 08:37 PM
Dr.prepper Dr.prepper is offline
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Default Shipping container bunker



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I have read many posts about how you cant burry a shipping container because they wont support the weight of the dirt above them. This is true to an extent. Forum member "Temu" has proven there are ways around this.

I think I have found another way to make a bunker out of these shipping containers.

What if you dig a hole deep enough to drop a container into, where the roof of the container is say a few feet below ground level. Then instead of burrying it you stack another container on top of it. The second container on top would be filled with dirt half way, or more if possible. These containers are built to be stackable, and the 4 corners support tremendous amounts of weight.

My thinking is you now have a container burried underground by a layer of steel and several feet of earth.

Anyone have any feedback on this idea?
Old 01-22-2010, 08:43 PM
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you can burry them no problem think about how much weight is in each container and how much is on the ones on the bottom
a few feet of dirts nothing

Old 01-22-2010, 08:46 PM
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you can burry them no problem think about how much weight is in each container and how much is on the ones on the bottom
NO! The four corners allow this type of structural stacking.

Old 01-22-2010, 08:50 PM
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hmm I guess i stand corrected wonder if you braced it by welding I beams in it if that would work.
how did you get around that problem
Old 01-22-2010, 08:50 PM
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you can burry them no problem think about how much weight is in each container and how much is on the ones on the bottom
a few feet of dirts nothing

Ya like Temu said the strength is all at the 4 corners. Thats why I thought of stacking another container filled with dirt on top.
Old 01-22-2010, 08:55 PM
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I've researched the same thing because my husband and I were thinking of buying steel containers here and just burying them. But, I began to realized most sites say it's not a good idea unless it's massively reinforced internally with additional posts and 2 x 4's, in addition, in the case of an earthquake, the steel box structure could collapse like a house of cards with the intense shifting and shoving of the thousands of pounds of dirt against it. We're trying to research on an arched/quad structure of the ones you see made by Utah Shelters.

I'm not sure if you've seen the site about "Ark II" in Canada, but the guy reinforced old yellow school buses and buried them in the ground.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:58 PM
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i saw that was something like 40 schoolbusses
Old 01-22-2010, 08:59 PM
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You can't find a "square" container. All the cheap ones that people buy for storage sheds and what not are so far away from being "true" that they won't stack anymore.

And buying a new one where everything's nice and square would make it much more expensive than concrete blocks.

If you really wanted to bury a shipping container it could be reinforced by welding in a cage support system. It would be expensive and hard to do though.

Why not bury a container level and then build a "tool shed" over it. That would be really cool.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:59 PM
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I've researched the same thing because my husband and I were thinking of buying steel containers here and just burying them. But, I began to realized most sites say it's not a good idea unless it's massively reinforced internally with additional posts and 2 x 4's, in addition, in the case of an earthquake, the steel box structure could collapse like a house of cards with the intense shifting and shoving of the thousands of pounds of dirt against it. We're trying to research on an arched/quad structure of the ones you see made by Utah Shelters.

I'm not sure if you've seen the site about "Ark II" in Canada, but the guy reinforced old yellow school buses and buried them in the ground.
I dont live in an earthquake zone, so i have been thinking about using these shipping containers since I can purchase them very cheap. $1000 for a 40 footer.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:04 PM
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I dont live in an earthquake zone, so i have been thinking about using these shipping containers since I can purchase them very cheap. $1000 for a 40 footer.
Since you can get them cheap, the top stack idea will work....BUT:

You WILL need to brace the sides of the one buried if you do this or they will buckle in almost as bad as the top would! There is more than just gravity at play here.

Old 01-22-2010, 09:06 PM
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You can't find a "square" container. All the cheap ones that people buy for storage sheds and what not are so far away from being "true" that they won't stack anymore.

And buying a new one where everything's nice and square would make it much more expensive than concrete blocks.

If you really wanted to bury a shipping container it could be reinforced by welding in a cage support system. It would be expensive and hard to do though.

Why not bury a container level and then build a "tool shed" over it. That would be really cool.
I have a reliable source in Texas who will sell me 40ft ISBU one trip containers for $1000. My family has already bought a bunch from him to start a rental storage company.

Thats why I started to try and find other uses for them.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:09 PM
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Since you can get them cheap, the top stack idea will work....BUT:

You WILL need to brace the sides of the one buried if you do this or they will buckle in almost as bad as the top would! There is more than just gravity at play here.

I have considerd that. What do you think about something around the bottom container? Like a hesco barrier, a home made version to save money. They used them in desert storm as protective walls and bunkers.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:14 PM
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for what you are going to pay for the container, you can buy 12 inch block, drystack it, surface bond it , and fill the cores with cement, and feel alot safer
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:19 PM
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I think these would be cool to have for a storm shelter slash storage container, or a secure cabin.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:20 PM
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We have used shipping containers to construct bunkers in the Marine Corps on many occasions. The floor of the container (at least the CONEX boxes we typically use) are stronger than the roof. Thus, we set them in a hole upside down in order to better handle the load of the dirt or sandbags. Fill dirt should then be mounded over top. It can then be either covered with a layer of sandbags or seeded.

Just keep in mind that storage containers aren't a permanent bunker solution. Metal is subject to corrosion when burried and the rubber seals will dry rot below ground.

There are a few military publications that mention the use of shipping containers for bunker construction. Try the FM 5-34, Engineer Field Data or the FM 5-103, Survivability
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:21 PM
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for what you are going to pay for the container, you can buy 12 inch block, drystack it, surface bond it , and fill the cores with cement, and feel alot safer
Is this underground? And how many sq ft would this be? Thanx.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:24 PM
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We have used shipping containers to construct bunkers in the Marine Corps on many occasions. The floor of the container (at least the CONEX boxes we typically use) are stronger than the roof. Thus, we set them in a hole upside down in order to better handle the load of the dirt or sandbags. Fill dirt should then be mounded over top. It can then be either covered with a layer of sandbags or seeded.

Just keep in mind that storage containers aren't a permanent bunker solution. Metal is subject to corrosion when burried and the rubber seals will dry rot below ground.

There are a few military publications that mention the use of shipping containers for bunker construction. Try the FM 5-34, Engineer Field Data or the FM 5-103, Survivability
Were you in desert storm? If so do you remember the Hesco barriers filled with sand? I think these would be great to surround an underground container with. Just dont know the cost?
Old 01-22-2010, 09:31 PM
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Is this underground? And how many sq ft would this be? Thanx.

I got a tractor trailer full of 12 inch block for 2000, used 50 bags of surface bonding cement, and 50 yards of cement and have just around 900 square feet

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Old 01-22-2010, 09:31 PM
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Were you in desert storm? If so do you remember the Hesco barriers filled with sand? I think these would be great to surround an underground container with. Just dont know the cost?
No brother. I was in highschool during Desert Storm. Sounds like you were there. However, we still use HESCO like mad in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Its funny that you mention using HESCO in conjunction with container bunkers. I've actually seen that very thing done. On top of that, HESCO can actually be filled with concrete if they're buried.

Either way, the Marine Corps pays about $4k per four bag section of 4' HESCO (sixteen total feet in length). I don't know what they cost on the private market, but they're probably not much less.

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Old 01-22-2010, 09:33 PM
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