Shipping containers present a unique challenge when using them to build a home. There is even more of a challenge if you intend on burying any part of the container. While the all-steel construction makes it extremely sturdy and able to be stacked on top each of other, they are not designed to be buried underground.
This is because the strength of the shipping containers is at its corners and that makes it better to stack them on top of each other. They are the weakest on their sides with no vertical or horizontal supports in the middle. This means it is vulnerable to the enormous amount of pressure if you are looking to bury them, in the case of a storm shelter. In this case you would want to figure out some way to add extra support.
What is the best way to add support to a SCH?
Reinforcing the structure of a shipping container home
A shipping container home needs to have an extra amount of structural support for a number of reasons. In order to let in natural light into the container home, you will need to cut openings in the sides of the container. Making changes internally to walls also alters the structural integrity of the container as a whole.
To fix this there are several steps you can take to ensure that your shipping container home is well supported.
Step # 1 After cutting the openings for the windows you need to plan on adding extra steel supports.
Step #2 Start by welding two steel posts from top to bottom on each end of the window opening.
Step #3 Weld a piece of steel across the top of the opening and tie it to the two new posts.
Step #4 Repeat this process for all other opens placed on either side of the container.
Reinforcing a SCH for underground purposes
Many people do not realize the amount of pressure and weight that is produced when an object is buried. Even something the size of a shipping container is not designed to handle the enormous amount of pressure on all sides and the top of the container. The relatively thin sidewalls are made of corrugated steel that must be reinforced on the inside to withstand the amount of weight and pressure.
In order to be sure that your shipping container is strong enough structurally you need to follow a couple of steps
Step #1 Weld several steel posts across the edge of the shipping container spaced equally apart
Step #2 Weld steel bars across top on the inside to support he top of the container
Step #3 Weld steel plates on the top of the container in order to prevent the dirt that would be pouring in to cover the top of the container.
More about underground shelters built from shipping containers is here!
All of the extra steel supports will help to prevent the container from caving in under all of the weight and pressure from the dirt all around the shipping container.