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Main Blog How to Build an Underground Bunker Using Shipping Containers

How to Build an Underground Bunker Using Shipping Containers

April 22, 2022
Coast Containers

Building an underground bunker using shipping containers is a great way to protect yourself and your family in the event of a natural disaster or other emergencies. Shipping containers are strong and can easily be buried underground, making them an ideal material for building bunkers. Here we will share some key points to consider during your planning and the main stages of how to build an underground bunker with shipping containers. 

5 Benefits of Using Shipping Containers for an Underground Bunker

If you are looking for a reliable and sturdy underground bunker, shipping containers are great. With their strength, durability, and watertight design, you can be sure your bunker will be well-protected no matter the weather. Storage containers are also easy to transport and cost-effective, making them more affordable than traditional underground bunkers. Also, containers can be easily outfitted with all the amenities you need to make your bunker comfortable and livable. So if you are looking for a versatile and reliable choice for your bunker, you should consider shipping containers.

1. Storage containers are strong and durable

Shipping containers are made of industrial-grade steel and are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and rough handling, ensuring that your bunker will be well-protected. This means that when you are in the building phase of fully covering your container to form a buried shipping container shelter, you do not have to worry about the outside of your container becoming damaged. 

2. Shipping containers are watertight and rodent-proof

If you are worried about flooding or rodents, rest assured that shipping containers are wind and watertight (WWT) and rodent-proof. Using shipping containers to build an underground bunker can help keep your bunker dry during a storm or flooding while keeping rodents from working their way inside. Remember that when you make an underground bunker with a shipping container, you need to reinforce your bunker with the proper equipment and materials to ensure the safety and security of your underground shelter. 

3. Containers are easy to transport

Shipping containers are easy to deliver and move from one place to another. Your container can be transported and delivered to your desired location, so you will not have to worry about building a bunker from scratch. Storage containers also have ideal dimensions for a bunker, which helps reduce the time it will take for you to make an underground shelter. 

4. Sea cans are cost-effective and easy to maintain

One of the main benefits of using shipping containers for an underground bunker is that they are easier to maintain than other types of bunkers. In addition, shipping containers do not require the same level of regular maintenance or repairs, making them a more budget-friendly option over time.

5. Shipping containers are versatile 

Storage containers are also often used for DIY projects, including building your own container home, room, garage, office, bunker, and shed. Shipping containers can be easily modified with vents, insulation, fans, and much more to meet your specific needs, which means you can easily add or remove features as needed.

Underground Shipping Container Foundation & Environment

Before starting making an underground bunker, it is highly recommended that you consult and follow the professional advice of experts within the construction and trades industry. In addition, your bunker must have the correct reinforcements, design, and reinforcements to ensure that it can withstand the pressure, weight, and elements that it will be resisting.  

Having the ideal foundation for your shipping container bunker, which abides and follows all bylaws, building codes, and regulations, is one of the most critical steps in building an underground bunker using storage containers. When creating a safe and solid foundation for your shipping container bunker, it is essential to consider and seek professional advice on the following aspects of your underground shipping container shelter before deciding on the best foundation to create: 

  • The weight and desired placement of your container bunker 
  • The soil type, rocks, and water in the environment of your area
  • The weather conditions common to your location throughout each season
  • The design, size, doors, and modifications of your shipping container bunker
  • Planning permissions, building permits, bylaws and regulations

If you consider these factors, you can create a foundation that will keep your buried shipping container bunker safe and secure for years to come.

Main Stages of Building an Underground Bunker Using Storage Containers 

Here are some critical steps to help you create an effective plan and discover how to make an underground shelter with a shipping container:

Research and planning permissions

Ensuring that you have the correct method and plan for your bunker is essential; however, you must check with your local bylaws, regulations, and building permits. With this approach, you can gain permission to build your underground bunker in a safe place that does not go against any rules or regulations. You should decide where your bunker will be located, for example, either in your backyard or on another piece of land near your house during this stage. 

Purchase your shipping container

The next step is to purchase your container and have it delivered directly to your desired location or the site of your bunker. Many different new or used shipping containers are available for sale from Coast Containers across Canada. You can choose the suitable sea can size, type, and modifications to best suit your needs. 

Excavate the area for your container bunker

Now is the time to dig up the space for your container. Before starting excavations, you must know the container dimensions, design, and plans for your underground shipping container bunker. Another factor is to be aware of the type of soil, rocks, and environment you are digging up and therefore potentially altering during your consturction. This will help you spot potential foundational and structural issues in advance. 

Place and reinforce the shipping container

Since you have created the perfect space for your underground bunker, you must carefully place your shipping container on the foundation and area designated for your bunker. Afterwards, it is critical to properly reinforce the container so that you can ensure its sturdiness and ability to withstand the added weight and pressure of soil and dirt surrounding your buried storage container. 

Add additional modifications and complete your project

During this step, you will need to add any further alterations to your shipping containers that you could not do beforehand. Once you have done this, it is the ideal time for you to cover up the container and then hide your underground bunker. Remember to do your research when preparing for any natural disasters or events which would require you to use your bunker for survival and safety reasons. 

How to Choose a Shipping Container for an Underground Bunker

Choosing a suitable shipping container for an underground shelter can be challenging. Since deciding on the correct shipping container can significantly impact many stages and steps, not to mention the design, safety, stability, and success of an underground shelter made using shipping containers. However, a few things to consider which can help you with your decision are: 

  • What will be inside your bunker?
  • How many people will need to fit inside your bunker?
  • When, where, and how will you need to access your shelter?
  • What size and dimension of the shipping container will best suit your needs?
  • How will you modify your container for ventilation, shelving, doors, storage, safety, and structural reinforcements?
  • Finally, what will you need to store and save inside your bunker?


From their durability to cost-effectiveness, there are many benefits of using a storage container to help you build an underground bunker. However, it is essential to remember to consult professionals within the construction, trades and building industry to ensure the safety and structural stability of your buried shipping container bunker. 

At Coast Containers, we help guide our customers through choosing the correct container size, type and modifications to best suit their specific personal and business needs. To start your journey of making an underground bunker with shipping containers, simply select one of our locations and get a quote.

Not sure if you are ready to buy a container yet? Our partner company, Make Space Storage, offers various shipping container rental services and storage solutions, including self-storage, parking, portable storage container rentals, and moving services across Canada.

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