Can a Container Home Withstand a Hurricane?

Share

The structural frame of container homes have the capacity to withstand hurricanes, as steel buildings perform better in high winds and the containers were designed to take extreme conditions at sea. However, one must still note its conditions as a home, that it may be susceptible to water damage being permanently placed as a habitable space.

Image from Disaster Resistant Container Homes (stoneandtile.design)

With trying to combat hurricanes for homes, one must be cautious of water damage (through flooding or puddled rain) and the wind damage.

Water Damage

Container homes actually lessen instances for moisture damage and seepage as its walls are built so watertight to ensure rain and strong winds are unable to penetrate the structure..

It is often best to place container homes far from areas that have a high record of flooding. In general it is also best practice to elevate your container home to prevent runoff damage from storms.(1)

In fact, needing to survive weeks to months at sea, these containers can take high winds with waves 50 feet high! (2)

Wind Damage

Wind damage on the other hand can vary between strong storm winds of 160 miles per hour and tornadoes that reach over 250 miles per hour. We cover tornadoes more extensively in our other article, “Can a Shipping Container Home Withstand a Tornado?”. However, these two have several factors in common, like how flying debris causes most damage and injuries.

 “Experiments have shown that items, such as small trees or two-by-fours, can actually penetrate the walls of a concrete block home when hurled at the velocities generated by a moderately strong tornado.  The steel wall structure of homes Shipping container  is inherently secure against intrusion from such debris during a hurricane or tornado.” (1)

The severity of storms are categorized according to their wind speed:

Image from Container homes are Hurricane Resistant | ContainerHomes.Net

As we can see, winds of Category 3 can already cause devastating damage. Intense winds occurring in a storm surge can cause trees to uproot, and power interruption that will cause your container home to either deform and damage from pressure or debris. (2)

How to Have Your Home Hurricane Ready

Not being fully loaded with goods for cross continental transportation, these containers won’t be as heavy and need to be securely anchored down to a solid foundation. This tethers it to the ground and prevents your container from being blown away. Use tie-downs and anchors as prescribed by a building professional. Other precautions you can take on site for your home are: (2, 3)

  • Remove or replant any large trees with shallow roots that could damage your shipping container home in strong hurricane winds.
  • Reinforce your doors and windows with storm windows or shutters that will protect your home from wind, rain and flying debris. You only need to close them when storm warnings have been issued.
  • Opt for hurricane resistant windows with a DP50 rating. DP 50 rated windows can take about 200 mph winds
  • Opt for metal roofing or high rated asphalt shingles as these perform better in high hurricane winds.
  • Elevate your structure and have a solid concrete foundation that is strong enough for flood protection. 
  • Get insurance for your container against storm damage before a storm is forecasted.  (2)

Steel buildings can withstand higher winds than wooden homes, up to 170 miles per hour (mph). However, the weak entry points of any home are your windows. Once these shatter and the wind enters your home, the wind pressure can create a mess and even structural damage in the  roof lifting off, then the walls collapsing. (3)

Yes the structural frame of containers will most likely survive. It is your windows, roofing and siding that need extra attention and reinforcement. Winds as low as 50-75 mph in Category 1 can already cause asphalt roof shingles and some windows to break.

Don’t forget the flying debris can equally smash a window just as easy! This is why it is good practice to keep all loose accessories and outdoor furniture inside when storm signals are issued.

Just see below  how well a container home can be designed and built to withstand hurricanes in style. Check out this home that utilizes 8 shipping containers, totalling to about 250,000 USD. The three storey home has three bedrooms, high impact windows and a terrace to soon have solar panels installed. (4)

Hurricane-proof Container Home by Architect Asghar Fathi – YouTube

Image from Container Home | Fathi Architects

References:

  1. Lee, J. (2021, January 16). Container Homes are hurricane resistant. ContainerHomes.Net | Shipping Container Homes in Costa Rica, Emergency Shelter Projects. Retrieved August 2022, from https://containerhomes.net/articles/container-homes-are-hurricane-resistance/
  2. A American. (2021, July 16). Can shipping container’s withstand hurricanes?: A American rentals. A American. Retrieved August 2022, from https://a-american.com/can-shipping-containers-withstand-hurricanes/
  3. Rose, G. (2022, August 8). Can container homes withstand hurricanes?: 4 best ways to protect a container home from a hurricane. Container Home Hub. Retrieved August 2022, from https://containerhomehub.com/can-container-homes-withstand-hurricanes/
  4. ShelterMode. (2021, June 8). Hurricane-proof container home by architect Asghar Fathi. YouTube. Retrieved August 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0X1odEYazk