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How Strong Are Shipping Containers?

Structural Strength of Shipping/Cargo Containers

Shipping/cargo containers are much stronger than traditional wood light frame construction, this is simply because shipping containers are made from steel, which is much stronger than wood.

Many are designed to be stacked eight or nine units high. Steel shipping/cargo containers walls are made from 14 gauge, 0.075 inch corrugated sheet steel panels that are welded to the main structure. The top and bottom side rails and end frames are 7 gauge tubular steel. The steel used to build modern shipping/cargo container is a corrosive resistant high-strength low-alloy steel.

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The roof of shipping/cargo containers is constructed with die-stamp corrugated steel sheets with a certain chamber at the center. The roof’s main purpose is to keep out the elements.

The bottom of the shipping/cargo container has 3-4 mm thick cross members that have recesses along the bottom side rails, which allows them to be lifted with special straddle carriers. The floor of the shipping/cargo container is 28 mm thick with 19 ply treated plywood screwed into the structural cross members.

Shipping containers can resist snow, wind, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

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Why Build with Shipping/Cargo Containers?

Using reusable products to build homes reduces waste around the world. Plus, shipping container homes offer notable benefits to the homeowner:

  • Durability. Made with weathered steel, shipping containers can withstand most natural events and heavy weather
  • Ease of Use. Already in block shape, shipping containers can easily be used to create homes. Build a home vertically or expand horizontally. It is like building with giant LEGOs®.
  • Modern Design. Creating a home using shipping containers is creating art. Clean lines, colorful, shipping container homes will be a discussion piece for you and your guests.
  • Shipping containers are self-supporting with beams and stout, marine-grade plywood flooring already in place, thereby eliminating time and labor during the home-building process.
  • Since shipping/cargo containers are made from steel, they are non-combustible. Nationwide, at least 6,000 people die in fires each year, and an additional 100,000 are injured in combustible wood homes.