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If you have recently purchased a storage container, you may wonder if you should set it on a foundation. In a nutshell, yes, you should. That’s because the ground tends to moves a bit over time, rising, sliding and even sinking. This is why you need a stable foundation to keep the home or other structure on level footing – just like you would a traditional new construction house.

Whether you require a pier foundation or a pile foundation, your shipping container home needs a strong foundation which will act as a solid platform. It doesn’t matter what the use will be; if you fail to secure the foundation properly at this time, the container could separate or split later on. Your container will then become unsafe or unstable, which can compromise your safety as well as the contents of the unit.

You also need to consider a uniform foundation due to the fact that the ground underneath the container is made up of many materials, such as clay and hard rock. Inconsistencies can result, leading to doors that are difficult if not impossible to open.

When you have a solid foundation, you are assured of proper distribution of weight, while at the same time preventing moisture and corrosion infiltration.

Wondering if there are times when you don’t need a foundation? You don’t need one when the shipping container location is only temporary and you plan to move it in a matter of weeks or months. This often applies to construction companies who tend to move from site to site often.

What Kinds of Foundations Are There?

You can choose from a variety of foundation types, such as:

  • Concrete Slab: The most common and the easiest, pouring a concrete slab is not only convenient, it’s cost effective as well and not as labor intensive as other options. Concrete also withstands the elements, so if you can, go with professional concrete pouring.
  • Concrete Footings: These are positioned at various intervals to give more support for the container, with brackets holding cross beams or crosses.
  • Pile Foundations: These are circular metal or wood beams that are placed into the earth around sand or water until bedrock is reached. They are most common at marinas, and can provide support for the construction of a deck-like structure to support the weight of a container on top.  

Regardless of the foundation type you decide on, the purpose is to keep it stable. You will get a longer long life span from the unit, giving you peace of mind knowing that your unit’s safety and structural integrity is well taken care of.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Container Foundations

What is the best foundation for a shipping container?

The best foundation for a shipping container depends on its intended use, site conditions, and local regulations. The most common solutions are:

  • Pier/Foundation Blocks: Ideal for temporary setups or where elevation is needed.
  • Slab-on-Grade: A concrete slab, suitable for permanent installations, offering solid support.
  • Strip Footing: Long, continuous strips of concrete support the container’s edges.
  • Pile Foundations: Deep-set piles that provide stability on unstable soils.

What are the best blocks to put under a shipping container?

The most suitable blocks are concrete pier blocks or specially designed container jacks. They provide robust support, resist weathering, and ensure proper weight distribution. However, ensure the ground is level and the blocks are uniformly placed, especially under corner castings, to prevent structural issues.

What is the structural support of a shipping container?

A shipping container’s structural integrity primarily comes from its corners and frame. The corner posts and corner castings play crucial roles, bearing the weight when stacked or lifted. Containers’ corrugated steel walls provide rigidity and resistance against lateral forces, while steel floors and frames further contribute to their strength and stability.

How do you make shipping container footings?

For container footings:

  • Survey the Site: Check for levelness and soil stability.
  • Mark Locations: Especially under the four corner castings and, if needed, along the container’s edges.
  • Dig: For pier or strip footings, excavate holes or trenches.
  • Install Footings: For pier foundations, place concrete blocks or piers. For strip footings, pour concrete into the trenches and let it cure.
  • Position the Container: Once the foundation is set, carefully deliver or place the container ensuring even weight distribution.

Should I put my shipping container on blocks?

Using blocks for elevation can be beneficial for your container(s). It aids in ventilation, prevents direct contact with the ground (reducing corrosion), and facilitates easy inspection. However, ensure the blocks are sturdily placed, especially under the corner castings, and the container remains level.

Do you need a concrete slab for a shipping container?

It depends on your particular situation and container use. A concrete slab provides a sturdy, permanent base, ideal for long-term installations or when you intend to make multiple container modifications. However, for temporary setups or on stable ground, pier blocks or strip footings often get the job done. Always assess your site and local regulations before deciding on a foundation.

Reach Out to Us Today

To get more tips on securing your shipping container foundation or to get a free quote on your next unit, contact us at 800-243-0403.