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What Happens When You Bury a Shipping Container

16.08.2013 - Posted by Updated On 16.08.2013    

Lots of people get the idea to build a storm shelter or bunker by burying a shipping container – it's fast, relatively inexpensive, and durable, right?  Step 1) Dig a hole. Step 2) Put a shipping container in the hole.  Step 3) Backfill around the container.  And by now you can probably guess where this article is going.

The latest example of what not to do showed up in the email last night, and comes from an undisclosed location (for reasons of security and therefore insecurity).  It appears to have originally been a solid 20' container that the owner dropped it into an 8' deep hole with the intention of burying it.  As you can see from the pictures below, the weight of the ground caused the curb side walls of the container to buckle in (no idea of how the road side walls looks). The corner posts appear to still be straight, but it's hard to tell without getting inside and looking around.  Unfortunately, that could be hard as another issue that's apparent in the pictures is a high water table, a topic that we haven't discussed in the past.

Rather than rehashing an article that we previously published about using Gabion baskets to bury a shipping container, we strongly recommend that if you're going to bury a shipping container it's good idea to reinforce the sides with Gabion baskets.  They're relatively inexpensive, and you can invite your friends over for a rock gathering party.

If you need a new or used 20' or 40' container we're more than happy to help you find one.  If you want help burying it in the ground you're on your own.

Buried Shipping Container 1
Buried Shipping Container 2
Buried Shipping Container 4 Buried Shipping Container 5

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