Do shipping container homes need a foundation?

stack of shipping containers that can be used as homes

Yes, you will always need a foundation for your shipping container homes. A foundation is an important part of any building. It provides the support that structures need to keep from toppling over. This is especially true for tall buildings, such as skyscrapers or multistory homes. While homes for shipping containers are not extremely tall, they still require a good foundation.

Without a solid foundation, no building can be completely safe. Homeowners who are planning to build a home with shipping containers need to consider the foundation before they even begin construction. The foundation will determine the safety of your home.

Concrete slab foundation for a container home

When it comes to shipping container homes, you can have many options for foundations. Some of the most common options include:

1) Pier Foundation

It is one of the most popular choices for shipping container homes. This type of foundation is a pre-stressed concrete slab supported by steel beams called ‘piers.’ The piers are driven deep into the ground to provide a concrete pier footing. The steel beams are spaced at least 5 feet apart, so they will not weaken or collapse while supporting the concrete foundation.

Example of a concrete pier foundation
foundation for home building

2) Slab Foundation

A slab foundation is a flat, thick, reinforced concrete poured in place. When you look at a slab foundation, it looks like the main floor of the house. The ground is leveled and then contains up to several inches of gravel. A metal moisture barrier is placed on the top, then a layer of Portland cement is poured into the ground. Once it is dry and hard, the floor of the house is placed on top.

3) Spread foundation

A spread foundation is used when you are using a concrete block to support the walls of your shipping container home. This type of foundation will usually fill the bottom of your container. You can then stack concrete blocks or cinderblocks between the floor joists. It allows you to use either wooden or metal flooring. One of the most common problems with this foundation type is that it can be weak and susceptible to damage from water. Waterproofing is another important consideration for this type of shipping container homes.

4) Basement/Crawlspace

A basement or crawlspace foundation is created by digging out the dirt under your home. It provides a lower clearance for basements or crawlspaces. These types of foundations are usually found in older homes. However, they are more common for shipping container homes than other foundation types because they also provide the open space to place your home on.

5) Trench foundation

It is a deep foundation that a container home can fit into. Trench foundations are usually made from poured concrete or soil cement. It is laid flat on the ground. This foundation type is more popular in warmer climates, such as Florida. It is also less expensive than other types of foundations. However, it is very time-consuming and can not support as much weight as other foundation types.

Bottom Line:

Shipping container homes need a foundation that is built to support the structure. Do not forget about this part of your building project because it can be a dangerous oversight. You cannot just set your structures on top of the ground. If they are not properly supported, there is a good chance that they will collapse during a major storm or tornado.

If you feel unsure about your foundation plans, do not be afraid to ask for help from a qualified contractor or architect. Use the foundation that will be best for your location and building needs.