There are many reasons to construct a home from shipping containers. Not only are they versatile, they are also a great way to recycle used shipping containers, can be environmentally friendly and are easily portable.
Although in some cases planning permission is not required (a shipping container home could be classified as a temporary building), we advise that you account for planning permission before beginning your project, buying a shipping container, and arranging delivery.
In any case, choosing where to place your shipping container is an important decision, especially as you will need to consider the foundation necessary for it.
Shipping Container Foundations
Unlike the building of a bricks and mortar house, getting the right foundation for a shipping container is a relatively easy task, albeit equally important. A foundation is critical to the stability of your home as land can easily move in instances where there is extreme weather or rain.
Generally, you have a choice of four different foundations that you can use.
The four different types of foundation which you can lay for your shipping container home are:
1. Pier Foundations
A pier foundation is the most common and least destructive way of securing your shipping container home. It typically consists of a concrete block (usually of about 50cm³) embedded into the land on each corner which is sometimes reinforced with additional blocks in the middle if you have a larger container.
The pier foundation will usually give an adequate foundation and doesn’t involve extensive digging to be done. Any DIY expert can do it, so you don’t need to get specialist builders in.
2. Slab Foundations
When you lay a slab foundation, you will lay a whole slab of concrete onto the ground to offer a strong and sturdy base for your home. This kind of foundation is sometimes needed when the ground is especially soft to ensure that the home doesn’t move.
Laying a slab foundation is a lot more labour intensive as you will need to excavate the entire area where you are planning on putting your shipping container. This means that you need to hire specialists to carry out the work, which can mean more upheaval as well as a higher cost.
3. Pile Foundations
Pile foundations are usually only used as a last resort when the land is really too unstable to support your shipping container home. In this case, solid steel tubes are hammered into the ground until they reach a depth where the ground is stable. These rods are then surrounded by concrete for more stability and the shipping container is placed on top.
This is the most expensive kind of foundation for a shipping container as it requires specialist workers, specialist equipment and a significant amount of digging.
4. Strip Foundations
Strip foundations are a less expensive and less work-intensive version of a slab foundation. A strip foundation is where concrete blocks are placed all around the perimeter of where the shipping container would be, or at each end. It will have a similar effect to a slab foundation, except less concrete is used. Digging will still be necessary, however.
Strip foundations are not only less expensive than a slab foundation, but can also be effective if rubble is laid as a water drainage system in areas where there can be a lot of rain.
Laying the right foundation is key to giving your shipping container home a good basis and ensuring its stability for years to come. With the right foundation in place, a shipping container can be converted into a highly functional, stylish and eco-friendly ho,e for a fraction of the cost of a traditional house.