The ability to customize a shipping container to fit a variety of applications has given homeowners a great opportunity to maximize space. Plumbing, electricity, insulation, and more can be added to almost any container. Those looking to turn their backyard into an income property have a ready-made dwelling.
Upcoming holidays or national events mean increased production or extra inventory for companies. Shipping containers offer a no-fuss, no-muss way to store extra materials. For years, schools have been using shipping containers to store hurdles, pole vault pits, and other track and field equipment.
No matter if it’s used for stockpiling tires or used for building a container home, there needs to be a solid foundation, however. While the flooring of the container may be near indestructible, settling underneath may make shipping container buildings unstable and even unsafe over periods of time.
Types of Foundations for Shipping Containers
Most permanent structures use some kind of concrete foundation. Even if the building, plant, or facility uses metal framing, pouring concrete is what will give it stability. While shipping containers homes may not need as much reinforced concrete as more traditional homes, level ground that can handle the weight is required.
Let’s take a look at a few options for shipping container foundations. Before planning to build a foundation or bring a shipping container on-site, make sure to check with local jurisdictions. You may need to have certain soil types tested for stability or if you’re even able to place such a large structure on your property.
Perhaps the easiest way to make sure your shipping container is on solid ground is to pour a slab foundation for it. Concrete foundations may not be the most cost-effective in terms of labor and materials (forms, gravel beds, etc.). But if poured by professionals, you can be confident in the finished product.
It’s also the easiest foundation to place a container on. With a larger slab, there is no need to line things up perfectly. When using a tilt-bed trailer, it’s as easy as laying one end down in place and slowly driving away. Concrete is also able to stand up to anything Mother Nature has to offer.
Although they go by a few different names – concrete piers, concrete blocks – concrete footings are placed at specific intervals to provide support for the shipping container. These pier blocks may come with brackets to hold 4×4 cross beams or crosses molded at the top. They are often used as wooden beam footings for decks.
Depending on how many you use, you may not need to use wooden beams. However, make sure to check the underneath section of the container will hold steady. These containers can weigh close to five tons. All of the weight being held up by several points, instead of a continuous point like a slab, could damage it.
You’ll also want to make sure that the footings don’t sink into the ground once the shipping container is in place. The weight will switch even more once materials, equipment, etc. are loaded in, too. Shifting weight could make the ground below shift as well, leading to an uneven container.
Often seen in marinas and other shoreline structures, pile foundations are circular beams made of metal or wood. These beams are driven into the soft earth around water or in the sand until bedrock is reached. From there, a deck of sorts can be built and the container placed.
Measuring and installing these piles at the correct intervals is very important for overall balance. You’ll want to be sure the weight is evenly distributed along the pilings as well as being the same height. This is probably the most labor-intensive foundation and costly, too. Special equipment is needed to drive the pilings.
Work With Professionals
At Container Stop, we want to make sure you get the most use out of your container. Especially if it will be used as a home for a parent or even yourself. That’s why we stress installing the right kind of foundation and making sure the ground is level. Talking with construction project managers or city workers will make sure your foundation is up to snuff.
When the foundation or site is ready, we’ll show up with your new ADU, storage structure, or construction office. We’ve delivered containers all over Southern California and as far away as Texas. If there’s a road – we’ll get to you! Take a look at what we offer and then contact us for a free estimate on your container.