A shipping container storm shelter can provide adequate protection against natural disasters. Read this blog to learn how to build a storm shelter from a container and its benefits. 

A standard steel shipping container is manufactured to withstand wind, rain, and snow. In fact, containers can easily withstand wind speeds of up to 180 miles per hour, making them an excellent choice for storm shelters. 

However, sourcing high-quality ISO certified containers is crucial when building a storm shelter. You also need to pay attention to the price of the container to make sure the shelter is affordable. 

On the Container xChange trading marketplace, you can easily buy containers at low prices from vetted sellers. Browse through 100,000+ containers in 2,500+ locations by using the public search below!

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            Find containers for your next shipping container storm shelter project

            It’s very important to source quality containers to build shipping container storm shelters. This will not only protect you from natural disasters but also protect the container from elements like wind and water. 

            While you can rely on your local sourcing network to buy shipping containers, you may not always find the right type for the right price. That’s where an online container marketplace like Container xChange can help you. 

            You can choose from 100,000+ containers in 2,500+ locations to build a storm shelter. All sellers on our platform are vetted, so you know that you will only find high-quality containers and purchase them without worrying about container scams

            Moreover, we’ve implemented standardized definitions for container conditions to enhance the accuracy of our listings. Sellers on our platform use these definitions in their contracts to describe the condition of containers.

            After the release of the container(s), you’ve 7 days to inspect the condition. If a container doesn’t meet the agreed criteria, we offer support and mediation, making xChange the marketplace with the most predictable and reliable container quality.

            Find the containers you need and browse through offers available in your preferred location by clicking on the banner below.

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            What is a shipping container storm shelter?

            A shipping container storm shelter is a container designed to protect against severe weather, such as tornadoes or hurricanes. These Conex shelters are typically buried or anchored securely on the ground, often equipped with additional insulation, ventilation, and emergency supplies to ensure safety during storms.

            Shipping container storm shelter

            4 types of container shelters 

            There are mainly four types of shipping container storm shelters:

            • Above-ground
            • Underground
            • Shelters for tornadoes
            • Container shelters for hurricanes

            Let’s explore them in detail below. 

            Above-ground shipping container storm shelter 

            An above-ground shipping container storm shelter is a structure made from a shipping container designed to withstand severe weather while remaining above the surface. 

            When setting up this type of storm shelter, you need to make sure the container is properly secured to the ground to withstand high wind speeds. This involves placing sturdy anchors in concrete and using steel cables to cinch the container down. A shipping container above-ground storm shelter will have fewer issues with moisture build-up and will also require less maintenance.

            Shipping container underground bunker 

            An underground bunker made from shipping containers is a protective structure that is buried beneath the ground. This type of shelter is designed to provide a safe refuge from severe tornadoes and hurricanes. 

            However, a shipping container needs to undergo several modifications before it can be used as an underground storm shelter. 

            While shipping containers can be stacked multiple stories, their strength is primarily in the corners, not the walls. But when placed underground, the pressure from the earth can damage the container’s walls and roof. Thus, you’ll need to reinforce the walls and roof to withstand this pressure. Additionally, laying a foundation and installing a secondary door are necessary to make the container a functional shelter. 

            We’ll discuss more about the process of burying a shipping container and modifications later in the blog. 

            Shipping container hurricane shelter 

            You can also modify shipping containers to protect yourself from specific natural disasters, like hurricanes. Shipping container hurricane shelters are specially adapted to provide robust protection against the high speed winds and flying debris typical of hurricanes. These containers are reinforced with additional steel and anchored securely to prevent movement. 

            Shipping container tornado shelter 

            Tornadoes have the strongest winds at the lowest points near the ground. As a result, it’s often advised to seek underground shelter in case of tornado warnings. Underground shipping container tornado shelters provide safe havens during tornadoes by utilizing the earth’s natural insulation and stability.

            It’s important to keep your container procurement costs to a minimum if you want to invest in modifying shipping containers into storm shelters. Use the Container xChange marketplace to choose from 100,000+ containers and buy them at wholesale prices!

            How to build a storm shelter from shipping container

            To build a storm shelter from shipping container, check the structural integrity of the container, choose the right size, check the zoning laws in your area, and then modify it to ensure it’s safe during natural disasters. Let’s look at it in detail below. 

            How to build a storm shelter from a shipping container

            Check the structural integrity of the container

            One of the most important aspects to consider when building a storm shelter is checking the structural integrity of the container. Containers in subpar conditions, like WWT or As-Is are not suitable for shelters. Look for a cargo-worthy container and ensure that it’s made of heavy-duty corten steel with thick walls and securely fastened doors. 

            Also, inspect both the interior and exterior for any signs of corrosion or rust. Reinforce the walls to ensure the shelter withstands the force of storms and other natural disasters effectively. This involves strengthening the sides and possibly adding additional support to distribute the pressure evenly. 

            Choose the right size 

            Consider the different sizes of shipping containers and evaluate the space required for your storm shelter. Determine how many people and supplies the shelter needs to accommodate. Larger groups may need to invest in a bigger shipping container or consider using multiple containers for their shelter needs. You can choose from standard container sizes of 20ft, or 40ft or consider high cube containers for more space. 

            Check the zoning laws in your area 

            Another important thing to consider before building a container storm shelter is the shipping container zoning laws in your area. Check with your local authorities to see if you can build a container shelter. 

            Once you get clearance, make sure to build a storm shelter as close as possible to your home or business. This will allow you to quickly access the shelter in the event of an emergency. 

            Set up the foundation 

            Strong winds, moving water, and shifting earth can potentially move or damage even the strongest steel shipping containers. For above-ground shelters, start with a concrete foundation to secure your storm shelter in place. For an underground shipping container storm cellar, build a platform that evenly distributes the weight of the earth across all four posts to prevent damage from the pressure of the surrounding soil.

            Add insulation and safety features 

            Adding insulation to your shelter is crucial to preventing excessive heat buildup. Installing waterproof membranes around the base creates an airtight seal and provides extra insulation. To enhance safety, incorporate features like window shutters, locks, and carbon monoxide detectors, ensuring the shelter meets safety standards. 

            You’ll also need a robust plan to ensure proper ventilation inside the shipping container bunker. Install vents on the container walls and cover them with mesh to keep out flying debris. This will maintain proper airflow, ensuring the safety and comfort of everyone inside.

            Add essential supplies and interiors 

            Once the exterior of your shipping container storm shelter is secure, focus on the interior. Ensure there is seating so everyone can rest comfortably. Equip the shelter with LED lights to maintain visibility even during blackouts.

            Stock your container with storm shelter accessories, including:

            • Non-perishable food
            • Extra blankets and clothing
            • First-aid kits
            • Flashlights and batteries
            • Water bottles
            • A radio with extra batteries
            • Whistles or other signaling devices

            It’s important to choose the right container for building a storm shelter. Talk to our experts to find out which container is most suitable for your needs and how you can source it easily on xChange.

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            Now that you know how to build a storm shelter, let’s look at its advantages. 

            What are the benefits of a shipping container shelter? 

            Shipping container shelters are easy to set up, portable, can be used for storage, and are also quite affordable. Let’s explore their benefits in detail below. 

            -Easy to set up: It’s easy to set up a shipping container as a storm shelter. Shipping containers provide a ready-made structure, requiring only modifications to transform them into safe, secure shelters.

            -Portable storm shelter: Shipping container shelters are highly portable, allowing them to be easily transported and set up in various locations. Their robust design ensures they can be relocated without compromising structural integrity.

            -Storage container bunker: A shipping container shelter is versatile, providing secure protection during emergencies and also serving as an underground storage container. Their spacious storage space makes them ideal for keeping various items, from household goods to tools and equipment.

            -Customization: Another benefit of container shelters is easy customization, allowing for modifications such as insulation, ventilation, and interior layout adjustments to suit your specific needs and preferences.

            -Inexpensive storm shelters: Container shelters are affordable options for emergency preparedness and storage, offering cost-effective solutions compared to traditional structures. 

            You can build a cheap storm shelter by buying a container at a low price. We’ll explore more about it later in the blog.

            Drawbacks of using a shipping container as storm shelter 

            While shipping container shelters have many benefits, they come with a few drawbacks as well. 

            Firstly, using containers underground can be problematic due to their design not being inherently suited for burial—they can deteriorate over time when exposed to moisture and soil pressure. Additionally, containers require substantial modifications to provide adequate insulation and ventilation, which can add to the overall cost and complexity of installation. 

            However, you can reduce the cost of building a storm shelter by acquiring containers at low prices. Here’s how.   

            Shipping container storm shelter cost 

            The price of a shipping container shelter depends mostly on the cost of the container. This cost varies based on factors like size, condition, and whether it’s new or used.

            For building a storm shelter, you should either look for new containers or at least cargo-worthy ones to ensure they’re structurally strong enough to withstand a natural disaster. 

            The average price of a new 20ft container in the US is $1,849. For cargo-worthy, you’re looking at $1,440 on the xChange marketplace. 

            The average price for a new 40ft container is $3,500, and for a cargo-worthy container, it’s $1,590. 

            The prices of shipping containers fluctuate based on market conditions as well. Keep up with what’s happening in the shipping industry and how it affects container prices through our monthly detailed newsletter

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            Get shipping container for storm shelter at the wholesale price 

            Now that you know the prices of shipping containers, it’s time to see how you can buy containers for storm shelters at the best prices. 

            By using the Container xChange marketplace, you can choose from 100,000+ containers in 2,500+ locations globally. Here are the simple steps for buying containers on Container xChange: 

            -Browse and compare offers: Hop onto our trading platform to browse and compare multiple offers from vetted sellers.

            -Negotiate wholesale prices directly with the seller: Once you find the perfect offer, reach out to the seller directly to negotiate and finalize the deal.

            -Make safe payments: When everything is finalized, pay for your units using our secure payment feature. Additionally, reach out to our support team easily if you have any questions or concerns 24×5.

            -Check the quality of the containers: We understand how important it is to get good-quality containers for your storm shelter. That’s why we provide a 7-day window after you receive the containers to inspect their condition. If any container fails to meet the agreed-upon criteria, we offer support and mediation to resolve the issue promptly. You will either get your money back or your containers will be swapped with the right container condition. 

            xChange makes it easy for you to buy containers for your business. Click on the banner below to find out how xChange can significantly reduce your container procurement expenses!

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            Shipping container storm shelter: Common FAQs

            How to bury a shipping container?

            To bury a shipping container for a storm shelter, excavate a hole deep enough to accommodate the container, reinforce the container walls and roof to withstand soil pressure, ensure proper drainage and ventilation, and consider burying it upside down for enhanced stability and protection.

            Are shipping containers storm-proof?

            Shipping containers are not inherently storm-proof but can be reinforced and modified to withstand severe weather conditions such as high winds and flying debris, making them suitable as storm shelters with proper preparation.

            How safe is a shipping container during a tornado?

            The corrugated steel walls and roof of shipping containers are rated to endure high wind speeds, providing shelter even during powerful hurricanes and tornadoes. However, make sure the container is properly reinforced and there is proper anchoring.

            How much wind can a shipping container withstand?

            The ISO standards require shipping containers to withstand high winds of up to 180 miles per hour without buckling or taking off into the air. However, it’s still important to reinforce the containers on the ground to make them safe during tornadoes and hurricanes.