The Finished Foundation

Completed foundation

Completed foundation

I wasn’t able to be there when they poured the concrete for the walls, so I only have pictures of the finished product.  I’m usually a little worried when I’m not there to supervise, but everything worked out OK.  I had come this day to lay down landscape fabric and stone around the foundation.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be a mistake.The soil had not settled all the way, and several weeks later what once sloped away from the foundation sloped toward it.  We had to redo much of the work.  Anyways, here’s a few pictures from that day.

Here’s a view to the southwest.

This is one of the steel plates embedded into the concrete wall.  These is where the shipping container corner blocks will be set and welded.

Landscape fabric and rock are being placed around the foundation.  You can also see my neighbors dump truck and skid steer – very convenient.

This is a view to the south, and will be the view out of the picture windows in the cabin – minus the dirt pile of course.

7 thoughts on “The Finished Foundation

  1. david

    so far it all looks good. my question is where is the reast of the foudation? I assume you will block in the sides and some type of support for the florring. given the span won’t there be sway at some point in your floor? i would think at least two or three ibeams spanning the width of the structure. the containers aren’t built with a strong floor. it’s just a metal box.

    it would seem that the floor will have bounce or dipping otherwise. one person might get away with it, but 4 or five people in there and something’s gonna dip.

    just a thought. great idea!

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      David:

      The base of my 20′ shipping containers have two large I-beams running the length of the container. These I-beams are also welded to the corrugated walls which are then welded to the upper box beams. The container base also has a series of box beams, which are welded to the I-beams, that span the 8′ width. On top of this is 1 1/2″ of marine grade plywood bolted into the box beams. This structure, if unmodified, is entirely adequate to span the full length of a loaded shipping container (48,000 pounds max) without any additional support, other than at the ends.

      The problems you are concerned with will only occur if the shipping containers are modified, usually by removing part or all of a wall. The engineer who designed the structural reinforcement for my cabin took into account my removed walls, span, loads, and deflection. The roof of the cabin is reinforced with two 6″x3″x20′ box beams welded lengthwise along the removed wall seams. The base of the cabin is supported in the middle by two 16″ concrete piers under the I-beams.

      I assure you that the floor of my cabin is both sturdy and safe.

      Regards.

      Steve

      Reply
  2. James Hankins

    You are leaving the space below the containers, open to the environment. Why not use the metal (from the removed walls) to fashion a skirting below the cabin? It’d help keep the plumbing from freezing during winter; serve as a therma/insulation barrier for cheaper utility costs and make it harder for ground hogs, coyotes and other critters, from building dens under your structure.

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      James:

      I may do a skirting someday, but it would be more for extra storage than anything else. I don’t have anything living under there now, nor would I expect it – it’s just too high off the ground for anything to want to nest there. In fact, animals would probably be more likely to want to be under there if I tried to enclose it.

      BTW, I don’t have any utility costs as I heat with wood and get my electricity from solar. I haven’t felt the least bit cold in my cabin even at -10F outside.

      Steve

      Reply
  3. Randy

    Very cool idea, Just out of Curiosity, how well do you think this type of foundation would work in an Arctic Climate? is it even possible with permafrost,etc..

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi Randy:

      I don’t think you could go deep enough in your soils to make my type of foundation worthwhile. I would probably go with a floating slab or floating concrete blocks. The floating blocks have the advantage of allowing shims to be inserted each year to adjust for the shifting soils. I have seen a lot of cabins in northern Minnesota that use this method successful.

      Steve

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Foundations for the container home - High Cube Industries

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