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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm new to the Forum but I have browsed and read many of the threads here.

Here is my idea of a way to bury a shipping container. Please feel free to criticise or help in any way.

We are going to be building a new house soon and I want a storm cellar/bunker under the house accesible from the inside. The house will be on a slab foundation.

My idea is to take a 20 foot shipping container, remove any rust, paint it and coat it with one of the tar type sealants, and encase it totally in heavy plastic wrap. I will temporarily reinforce the walls and ceiling with wooden supports

I will dig a hole one foot wider, one foot longer and one foot deeper than the container dimensions. Line the entire hole with heavy duty plastic sheeting.

Pour about a 6 inch layer of concrete in the hole, being careful not to tear the plastic.

Lower the container into the hole while the concrete is still wet. Position preformed rebar into the concrete base around the walls. Continue pouring concrete into the hole, gradually filling in the 6" gap between the walls and the plastic line dirt walls.

When the wall cavities are full, tie the esposed wall rebar together across the roof of the container with more pre-cut rebar. Continue pouring the concrete until I have a 6 inch concrete cap over the container.

This give me a monolithic reinforced water proof concete shell around my container. I will have a top entry way with stairs leading down that is accesible from inside the house. I will run 2 six inch ventilation shafts out from one end into the back yard area where they can be camoflaged. One vent in an upper corner and one in a lower corner to encourage natural airflow. A small muffin fan could boost the flow when needed.

After the concrete cures, I can remove all the wooden bracing inside and the lumber can be reused for shelving.

Fill dirt can then be placed over the container to bring the soil level up to the original level and then I can pour the slab of my house over it.

No need to warn me about building inspectors, I don't need one where I live.

Any comments, concerns, or advice would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Boy, you got that first part right. Thanks for the advice, I had not considered load bearing walls. I will check my building plans and position the container accordingly.

Thanks again.
 

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Think about emergency side egress tunnel or boat door that could be used to dig out., and possible waste drainage, maybe additional side room for generator, waste? Just some extras to think about in-case house comes down on top of door.
But.. sounds like a great idea!, Wish I woulda done that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, those are good ideas. I'm not sure yet if I want to plan on it being a long term type bunker. For now I am thinking of it as a combo root cellar, food storage, gun room and tornando shelter. I like the side exit, but that would add a lot to the cost.
 

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Why not just build a regular basement with an egress door?

Skipping the plastic and installing drainage above the footer and outside of the concrete walls might be a better solution. That plastic is going to hold ambient moisture against the metal walls.

Better pour that concrete over gravel and not tamped fill dirt unless you want it to snap when it's under load. Drainage will the the last of your worries then.
 

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Hello, I'm new to the Forum but I have browsed and read many of the threads here.

Here is my idea of a way to bury a shipping container. Please feel free to criticise or help in any way.

We are going to be building a new house soon and I want a storm cellar/bunker under the house accesible from the inside. The house will be on a slab foundation.

My idea is to take a 20 foot shipping container, remove any rust, paint it and coat it with one of the tar type sealants, and encase it totally in heavy plastic wrap. I will temporarily reinforce the walls and ceiling with wooden supports

I will dig a hole one foot wider, one foot longer and one foot deeper than the container dimensions. Line the entire hole with heavy duty plastic sheeting.

Pour about a 6 inch layer of concrete in the hole, being careful not to tear the plastic.

Lower the container into the hole while the concrete is still wet. Position preformed rebar into the concrete base around the walls. Continue pouring concrete into the hole, gradually filling in the 6" gap between the walls and the plastic line dirt walls.

When the wall cavities are full, tie the esposed wall rebar together across the roof of the container with more pre-cut rebar. Continue pouring the concrete until I have a 6 inch concrete cap over the container.

This give me a monolithic reinforced water proof concete shell around my container. I will have a top entry way with stairs leading down that is accesible from inside the house. I will run 2 six inch ventilation shafts out from one end into the back yard area where they can be camoflaged. One vent in an upper corner and one in a lower corner to encourage natural airflow. A small muffin fan could boost the flow when needed.

After the concrete cures, I can remove all the wooden bracing inside and the lumber can be reused for shelving.

Fill dirt can then be placed over the container to bring the soil level up to the original level and then I can pour the slab of my house over it.

No need to warn me about building inspectors, I don't need one where I live.

Any comments, concerns, or advice would be appreciated.
I went the cheap and easy route. Wouldn't have changed a thing. In the mid-70's right now and still holding at 42 degrees with the vents open.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=63219

Fairly quick project as well...holding the 20+ tons of dirt with no problem!

:thumb:
 

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Temu is the only one whom I have seen who has actually used a storage/shipping container to make a shelter. And it works!

If people look at his pics and read his thread they can learn much especially if they might try to use a container.

And here is arisinwind's root cellar which might be cheaper although not especially easy to build, if you dig it by hand > http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=25078

And I also have built a bunker/underground fallout/storage shelter but its not like I have made any pic threads or told anything about it. :confused::eek::D:

People can look at my homepage and see some of the pics if they wish and if its possible they have Not seen those pics.
 

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If your going to want lights, water, air, or sewer as part of this shelter, your going to need to set some part of it up before you pour concrete. Maybe, even before you set the container. I have read of this being done before in an old issue of "Backwoods Home Magazine'. This guy used the container as a storm shelter. He just dug a hole for it in the side of a hill, and covered it back over with the dirt. Its a great idea.
 

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Two things come to mind,

If i was to paint it i would use epoxy paint. You can buy it from boating companies.


Second,

Why would you even use a shipping container if you're going to pour 6 inch walls? Are you getting a container really cheap? Little extra concert isn't going to cost that much more to pour the walls to code without the container.
 

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Do a little research on anchoring your structure. You wouldn't want it to float up through your living room floor during the rainy season. Making the slab a foot wider than the walls on each side might suffice.
 

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Seems to me that it might just be cheaper and easier to pour a concrete basement using forms. You would have more flexibility in size and shape that way too. You may end up being able to have a larger, better designed room for the same or less cost that way. Just something to check into.

You also wouldn't have the worry about the metal rusting. I'm not so sure that the plastic film is a good idea for that very reason. It's going to hold condensation against the metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I read your whole thread, thanks for taking the effort to document it it helped me out and I'm sure it helped others too. I'm going a slightly different route since I want to put it under my house.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, epoxy paint is what I want to use. I was thinking the shipping container would be cheaper than hiring a concrete company to build the forms. I think trying to build the forms for a 8x20 underground room with a roof would best be left to the pro's. The container takes the place of the forms. Maybe I wll ask for some quotes on having someone do a concrete room for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am afraid the cost of hiring someone to form it up would be more than the cost of the container. You may be right about the plastic against the container, I may go with just the plastic lining the hole instead.
 

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Someone on this forum had a septic tank company build a tank and buried it under his house. It was cheaper than a container and made to be buried. It looked like the way to go for a small shelter. Find a local company and ask for the cost of a 1500 gal single compartment tank.

I looked for it but could not find the post. Maybe someone else can find the post.
 

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Have you considered having a fan at both vent. If one is compromised the other is there to step in.


I'd also consider a solar system to power the vent fans in case the electricity goes out.
 
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