A large enough tree can cause significant damage to a standard house. Fallen tree damage is also relatively common. Falling trees are the leading cause of roof damage.
So, can a tree crush a shipping container home?
A falling tree is unlikely to crush a shipping container, even when the container is repurposed into a home. The corners are reinforced to increase the strength of the frame. A large tree may not generate enough force to crush the container.
Yet, a tree may still cause major damage to a shipping container home. The impact may bend the frame, destroy drywall, and cause damage to plumbing or electrical work in the walls. Doors and windows located near the impact may also break.
How Much Force Can a Shipping Container Home Withstand?
As an answer to the question ‘can a tree crush a shipping container home?’ consider that shipping containers are made to hold a lot of weight. The typical 40-foot container has a max load of close to 60,000 pounds. The strength of a shipping container should help it withstand the force of a falling tree.
The force of a falling tree depends on its mass and height and the force of the winds uprooting the tree. The calculations are complex, but a 30-foot tree with a 2-foot trunk is likely to generate several tons of force. The amount of force created by the falling object is unlikely to completely crush a shipping container home.
Keep in mind that a variety of factors impact the durability of your shipping container home. If the frame is weakened due to existing damage or poor construction, it may not support as much weight.
The area of impact may also influence the amount of damage. For example, the corners of a shipping container can hold significantly more weight compared to the side rails.
If a tree falls on the corner, it is less likely to cause significant damage. However, a falling tree may bend a side rail, which would also lead to damage to the walls and ceiling.
Do Not Use Shipping Containers in Poor Condition
Shipping container homes are made with recycled shipping containers, which is one of the advantages of building this type of home. Unfortunately, used containers typically show signs of wear and tear.
While most containers need refurbishment, some containers may arrive in poor condition. Rust and dents can limit the strength of the container and increase the amount of work needed to refurbish it. You can repair some issues, but a severely damaged container is unlikely to provide optimal support.
Only purchase used containers from reputable suppliers. If you work with a professional, the builder should handle the purchasing of containers and know how to inspect them for signs of excessive damage. However, if you plan on picking out the containers yourself, you should examine the condition of each container.
Look for areas covered in rust and bent corner posts. These issues are harder to repair and more likely to limit the durability of your container home.
Reinforce the Corner Posts and Upper Rails
Reinforce the corner posts and upper rails to increase the overall structural integrity of the shipping container home. Welding additional steel posts to the frame can increase its strength.
Shipping containers are comprised of steel beams and corrugated metal panels. The frame includes four corner posts connected with rails. Shipping containers also typically have wood flooring, but the flooring is removed when converting the containers into homes.
Steel posts are often welded to the rails and corner posts to create frames for windows and doors. Along with the window and door frames, you can add extra reinforcement to decrease the risk of a falling tree bending the container.
You may need to modify portions of the frame and side panels to accommodate doors and windows. However, you should also avoid over-modifying. Removing too many sections of the existing steel can limit the structural strength of the container.
Hire a Professional Builder to Construct Your Container Home
Reinforcing and modifying the shipping container requires welding. The strength of the home depends on the quality of the weld. A poor welding job could make your home more susceptible to damage from a falling tree or strong winds.
Working with an experienced builder helps ensure that your container home is well-constructed. You are likely to avoid many of the issues discussed, including using shipping containers in poor condition or over-modifying the frame.
Conclusion: Can a Tree Crush a Shipping Container Home?
In the end, a shipping container home should survive a falling tree, but the impact may cause major damage. The force of the tree may bend one of the upper rails of a container, which can crush any connected drywall inside your house.
A shipping container home may suffer less damage compared to a standard home in the same situation. However, it is a good idea to prepare for the worst. Start with containers that are in good condition and reinforce the frame. You should also consider hiring a builder who has experience with shipping container homes to avoid any other building mistakes.