Your Shipping Container Questions Answered
We’re here to answer your questions on all things containers, anything from the strength of the container to transportation methods and hacks. For more information on how to take your very own shipping container to the next level, chat with our team today!
How strong are shipping containers?
Shipping containers are strong and durable. When a container is manufactured, it must meet stringent guidelines to even be considered fit for transportation. Each cargo container is built to have other containers full of stored items stacked on top.
Due to this, the construction materials used are very important. Starting with 14 gauge corrugated steel sheets, these panels are welded in place, and 7 gauge steel tubing is used to form the top and bottom side rails and the end frames. The container is then sealed to keep out the weather, and the unit is reinforced with structural cross members.
A 20-foot container can hold over 27,000kg and can withstand over 10 years of constant use.
All in all, shipping containers are extremely tough and durable, and even strong enough to resist an earthquake.
Can shipping containers be used underground?
Absolutely! You can use shipping containers to store goods and valuables underground, or build an underground shelter, more commonly known as an underground bunker. When working through the building process, some things will need to be considered and adapted.
Although a shipping container bunker can be placed underground, they are typically not built to withstand the additional weight and pressure of being buried. The shelter will need to be reinforced further with the likes of additional metal and concrete. Therefore, it is important to speak to a building official, to ensure your plans are up to code.
With a buried bunker, it’s essential to ensure your container receives proper ventilation and a fresh form of air supply. This can come in many different forms, including fans, vents, and air conditioners.
These underground shelters are top-rated in earthquake-prone areas as survival bunkers. However, Building code restrictions can come into place for both an above-ground shelter or underground living space. Talk to your local building department to make sure you are in code.
How to reinforce a shipping container?
There are many ways to reinforce a shipping container to ensure it can withstand extra pressures. While these containers are already strengthened by rust resistant corrugated steel panels and steel posts, there are some simple ways to add more strength.
The most important things to remember when reinforcing a shipping container, is to ensure you are sticking to building codes, and to maintain or improve the structural integrity of the unit by adding reinforcement.
Internal reinforcements of your shipping container should include ensuring the container has steel reinforcements and additional strapping to ensure the container’s frame can withstand any external pressures.
Shipping containers should be reinforced if any modifications or cutouts are made. As soon as a hole is cut into the unit, this reduces the container’s structural integrity, creating the need for reinforcement.
Whenever anything is removed, amounts of weight will be redistributed to other corrugated steel panels or steel corner posts. To reinforce the container’s structural integrity and ensure its sturdiness, a heavy-duty RHS/SHS steel frame must be installed. This reduces the likelihood of the shipping container bending out of shape.
If you’re thinking of modifying a container but need some advice or are overwhelmed by information and want to steer clear of bad advice: chat to our team about the reinforcement and how we can help you today.
How do shipping containers lock together?
Shipping containers are typically purchased and stored individually. However, we do have the ability to lock separate containers together and even stack them. Shipping containers have locking mechanisms on their corners – these are known as castings. This allows them to be transported easily and stacked across one another.
The locking mechanisms are called double-ended twist locks, and while this is perfect for use while transporting the container, it might not be ideal if you’re using your container for construction purposes. Double-ended twist locks work similarly to a clamp and hold the two containers together. This method makes it possible to lock two containers together while still preserving each container’s structural integrity.
Different companies have also created ways to lock containers together when they’re being used for construction. Twist lock joiner plates connect directly to each other instead of to the shipping containers themselves. They fit nearly between each container and are very secure.
How do you insulate a shipping container?
Temperatures inside a shipping container are very dependent on the climate around them. If you would like to use your container in comfort year-round, it’s best to look into some insulation. Insulation will not only help regulate the temperature of your container, but it can also keep noise in or out and help your construction meet local building regulations.
There are various methods you can use to insulate your container:
- Foam insulation is a more expensive option and holds itself in place. This type of insulation has one of the best ratings and forms a barrier against air movement and heat transference.
- Blanket insulation can be made out of fibreglass, wool, cotton etc. and works just like your own blanket on your bed does. This is a relatively cheap option and can be very easy to install.
- Non-traditional insulation such as straw bale or hempcrete is also an option you can look into. However, you may need to sacrifice space and performance for these more eco-friendly options.
- Insulation panels have top ratings and look very neat once cut to size and installed professionally.
We offer 50mm (standard) and up to 150mm (specialised) cold room panel insulation (insulation panels) and a range of already insulated shipping containers on our website. Click here to chat with our team.
How do you move a shipping container by hand?
Shipping containers can be moved by hand. However, we do recommend hiring a professional to ensure your container is moved safely. All containers have locking mechanisms on the side, which allows for easy lifting and stacking.
When moving a shipping container by hand, you will want to ensure that other equipment like dollies and rollers are used to ensure the container doesn’t fall over or move around during transportation.
Different movement methods you could use include:
- Container skates – essentially a plastic material that is placed under corner castings to assist in the movement of a container that is on concrete or paved surfaces
- Skid loader and rollers – a manual way to get a container moving with limited resources. Lift the container with a skid onto some rollers and roll along a path to your next destination, replacing each roller from the back to front when necessary
- Castor wheels – heavy-duty wheels that are clamped to each corner of the container with the twist-lock mechanism.
Be sure to submit your shipping container questions to our team, and we’ll be more than happy to answer them and help out with your project, no matter how big or small! Click here to chat with our team today!