Often, we forget that their appeal and durability are aided by the heavy materials that they are constructed from and the amount that they can hold. This is why shipping container site preparation is vital to have your shipping container delivered safely so you can use your container for as long as possible.
Our team discusses how to choose the ideal shipping container site and the types of foundations that you might want to consider for long-term use.
The Importance of Site Preparation for Shipping Containers
It is important to prepare a site for your shipping container before it arrives to protect the surrounding land and the shipping container itself.
Standard shipping containers are often too heavy to rest on soft ground without side effects.
Shipping containers that will be used as a permanent fixture (like an office or tiny home) will be sitting in one place for a long time and can experience frequent movement and weight redistribution.
If the site was not properly prepared before delivery, the shipping container might sink unevenly and lean, or the bottom of the container might degrade if there isn’t a way for moisture to evaporate from beneath the container.
Fortunately, there are several ways to prepare for the delivery and installment of your shipping container. Keep reading to learn how!
Prioritize Site Access and Location
The first thing to look out for before having your shipping container delivered is whether there is easy access for the delivery truck, as well as access to the doors of the container itself. This can involve:
Checking for Debris or Potential Obstacles
Preparing the area surrounding your site includes removing or avoiding any overhead obstacles such as power cables or tree branches that could interfere with the container and the delivery driver’s ability to make the delivery.
Make sure there is enough room for the truck to maneuver the shipping container around if you want the doors or windows to face a specific way.
Before delivery, check out our delivery guide!
Inspect the Site to Ensure It’s Stable
Depending on the stability of the ground, you may not need to have a concrete foundation poured for your container. It helps to know what soil type is on your property and how it responds to moisture in the ground.
Survey the Area for Proper Sloping
Be sure to avoid any low areas where the ground can become saturated or pool with water when it rains. Properly graded sites help direct water away from the foundation of your container and other structures.
Leave Space for Growth
If space allows, try to choose a location for your container that allows you to add more shipping containers easily. Many people regret setting up and preparing a site that is too small for their containers only to realize that they wish they could fit in more containers.
Depending on your property or project, keep your focus on the long-term demands of your storage or housing needs.
Preparing the Ground for a Shipping Container
After choosing a site with good potential, it’s time to prepare for delivery. This could include:
Leveling and Compacting
Whether you plan to pour a cement foundation or you plan to use a crushed gravel solution, you will need to ensure that the area is compact and level before delivery day.
You may need to hire a company to move rocks or debris around and level out the ground where you plan to place your container.
Make sure to give the site a little height, allowing for a slight slope for runoff of rainwater. The area where the container is should be flat to ensure that the container is secure and that the doors can open, close, and seal completely.
Install a Foundation if Needed
If you want something more sturdy than a simple gravel or clay foundation, here are some other options to consider:
- Concrete piers: Pier foundations are the cheapest to install and are made of concrete circular or rectangular blocks.
- Pile foundations: Pile foundations are cylindrical, often made from solid steel or concrete tubes that are hammered into the ground through the soil.
- Concrete slabs: Concrete slabs that are poured on the ground to create an even surface. These types of foundations enhance stability since the weight is distributed evenly across the entire surface of the slab.
- Wooden beam/railroad ties: Wooden beams can be used for every type of soil and in virtually any location, though the quality of the foundation is dependent on the type of wood you choose to use.
While You’re Here> Does My Shipping Container Need a Foundation?
Can a Shipping Container Be Buried?
Burying a shipping container can be very risky and can result in significant damage to your items as well as anyone who uses the container.
While fairly durable, without additional support, they aren’t equipped to withstand the additional weight of soil. For reference, a cubic yard of soil weighs 2700 pounds, which would put tons of pressure on your container if it was buried.
While it can be possible to reinforce a shipping container to prevent damage when buried, you’re better off finding something that is designed for underground use.
Think Outside the Box® with A American Container
Shipping containers offer many possibilities for business owners and homeowners alike. If you are looking for shipping containers to use as a mobile office, storage space, or the base for a tiny home, look no further than A American Container. We have been selling and renting high-quality shipping containers in Tampa Bay to businesses since 1998!