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Community and Q&A

How do I bury a container in a hill (with needed drainage around it)?

Steve Young | Posted in General Questions on

I am not planning to have a basement in my new passive house, but I do want a place to store my vegetables and a place to go if there is a tornado. I am considering a shipping container

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  1. Ken Cohenour | | #1

    Shipping containers have a myriad of problems when it comes to being underground. They are not made to withstand backfill pressure. They can be expensive by the time they are delivered. Some kind of serious waterproofing would need to be applied.

    The drainage should be fairly simple with best building practices- gravel and perforated pipes to daylight or sump with pump.

    Welding a door/ bulkhead on a used oil field tank is a fairly attractive solution around here. Build a small subfloor to make a flat walkway and build shelves, seats in the "unusable" round sides. Small side benefit of building your own is that the floor of a shipping container will perpetually smell of insecticide

  2. Malcolm Taylor | | #2

    Ken wrote: "Shipping containers have a myriad of problems when it comes to being underground."

    I don't know much about burying them, but the weed growers around here used to do so successfully.

  3. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Ken is right. You don't want to bury a steel shipping container.

    If you want a root cellar and a safe room, you want to build an underground room with concrete walls. The most convenient place to locate this room is directly under your house. It's called a basement. If you want these features, include a basement in your house plans.

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