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Storage Container Foundation Ideas

31.10.2021 - Posted by Updated On 31.10.2021    

Getting the longest life out of your shipping container doesn't require much effort, but like anything a little effort here and there will go a long way. One of the great things about a steel shipping container is that there's no technology involved; so you don't have to worry about upgrades, support settings, out-dated features, or anything like that. However, it does help quite a bit if you put your container on a simple foundation. Once the foundation is in place, you really don't have to think about the foundation again, ever.

We've already discussed three types of container foundations (ascending in terms of cost and effort):

Now, we'd like to add another alternative to the list that is comparable to a wood beam foundation, a simple stone bed.

Just as a wood beam foundation keeps the container slightly off the ground and allows a slight airflow under the container, a stone foundation will do roughly the same. While it will provide a little less ventilation, by removing this space you also remove the small space that rodents could find their way into. Granted, if a mouse or snake wants to make a home under a container they're likely to find a way to do so.


How to Lay a Stone Bed for a Shipping/Storage Container

If you're purchasing a 20' or 40' container you'll want to adjust the stone pad size accordingly, and if you have time, it is best to do this seven days before the container is delivered to allow for natural compaction and settling.
Here's what you'll need:

  • Stone, we recommend the size 2B. It's large enough to allow for adequate drainage and small enough to be able to grade out evenly.

    How much stone will you need?

    • 20' Container: 10' wide x 22' long x 1' deep, allowing for 1' on each side of the container, would require 8.15 cubic yards of stone.
    • 40' Container: 40' wide x 42' long x 1' deep, allowing for 1' on each side of the container, would require 15.6 cubic yards of stone.
  • Shovel or some type of back hoe: Depending on how ambitious you are, you'll need something to dig out the trench for the stone. We recommend that you dig your hole (either with a spade shovel or mini-backhoe) slightly shallower than 1' so that the container will sit slightly above grade, 4” is ideal.
  • Levelling Device/Equipment: Depending on how level you'd like your container to sit, you'll either want to use a laser level or a bubble level with a “string and stake” method. The latter is less precise, but also less expensive.

Let's Get Started

  • Once you've picked out the location where the container will sit you'll want to stake out the four corners, and move them back one foot in each direction.
  • Dig out the staked out area, approximately 8 inches deep.
  • Leaving the stakes in place, stretch the string diagonally across the trench, use the level to make sure that it's flat, then mark the height on the far stake.
  • As the stone is delivered, broadcast it out as evenly as possible throughout the trench that has been cleared out. Occasionally you'll want to stretch the string to the far corner to make sure that too much stone isn't building up in any one area.
  • Repeat this process until all of the stone has been laid out across the trench.
  • Allow a few days so that the stone can settle and naturally compact.
  • That's it – you're ready for the container to be delivered!

Laying a stone bed will allow the shipping container to have a solid foundation, and help to keep moisture away from the base of the container for the length of its life, as well as possibly extending its life by several years.

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