Shipping container homes are economical and durable. They are made from shipping containers, which are designed to hold tens of thousands of pounds. Due to the strength of the containers, you may want to know- can container homes withstand hurricanes?
A shipping container home may withstand a hurricane. In fact, shipping containers are often used around the world for temporary shelters. Containers provide shelter from hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
Yet, a hurricane can still cause significant damage. The strength of the winds and the impact from flying debris may shatter windows and destroy exterior features. The frame of the containers may also receive damage and require major repairs.
Here is a closer look at what happens when a hurricane hits a container home and how to increase your protection.
How Strong of a Hurricane Can a Container Home Survive?
A shipping container home may survive a Category 3 hurricane, which poses a serious risk for standard residential homes. A category 3 hurricane can produce winds up to 129 mph.
Statistics on the wind resistance of a shipping container home are not available. However, container homes share many features with steel buildings.
Container homes are made from shipping containers, which are constructed from thick steel frames and heavy panels. A well-constructed container home and a steel building are likely to offer comparable strength.
Steel buildings are known to withstand winds up to 170 mph without collapsing. Standard residential homes built with wood stud frames featuring the latest building standards can survive wind speeds up to 150 mph.
Understanding the Hurricane Ratings
Hurricanes are typically rated on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale uses a 1 to 5 rating based on the maximum sustained wind speed of the hurricane:
- Category 1 – 74 to 95 mph
- Category 2 – 96 to 110 mph
- Category 3 – 111 to 129 mph
- Category 4 – 130 to 156 mph
- Category 5 – 157 mph or higher
As a steel building can withstand winds up to 170 mph, a shipping container home may survive a major hurricane. However, the survivability of the home depends on a variety of factors. For example, if the windows shatter, air pressure from the wind entering the home can wreak havoc inside.
Hurricanes May Damage Windows, Roofing, and Siding
To answer ‘can container homes withstand hurricanes?’ wind damage and flying or falling debris are the main concerns when hurricanes approach. The frame of a container home is likely to withstand hurricane-strength winds. Unfortunately, the windows, roofing material, and siding may suffer major damage.
Wind speeds of 50 to 75 mph may tear off asphalt roof shingles and shatter windows. A Category 1 hurricane produces sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph, which can also damage vinyl siding and gutters.
The windows are often the weakest point of any home or building. If the windows shatter, wind from the hurricane may rush inside and cause the internal air pressure to rise instantly. The pressure builds against the ceiling and roof decking until the roof budges. After the roof is gone, the walls come next.
In a shipping container home, the air pressure may not immediately tear off the roof. The roof is supported by the top of a shipping container, which is reinforced with steel beams. However, after the windows shatter, the wind can still cause extreme devastation inside the home.
Along with wind, you need to worry about flying or falling debris, such as trees or vehicles near your container home. Objects hitting your shipping container home may dent siding or shatter windows.
How to Protect a Container Home From a Hurricane
Here are several ways to shield your shipping container home:
- Install hurricane-resistant windows
- Install hurricane shutters
- Use metal roofing rated for strong winds
- Remove large trees near your property
The windows and exterior elements are more vulnerable to damage during a hurricane compared to the frame. To boost protection against a hurricane, install hurricane-resistant windows.
Houses and buildings along the Florida coast need to have windows with a DP rating of at least 50. The DP rating measures the structural load, water resistance, and air resistance of a window or door.
A higher DP value means that a window can withstand more pressure from wind and water. A DP 50 window or door can withstand 75 pounds of pressure per square foot, which is equal to winds of 200 mph.
Along with strong windows, add hurricane shutters. Installing hurricane shutters guards against wind, rain, and flying debris. You can leave the shutters open most of the year and close them during a threat of severe weather.
The roofing material you choose should also be rated to withstand hurricane-strength winds. Metal roofing typically provides the greatest hurricane resistance, but some of the latest asphalt shingles are also rated to withstand winds up to 150 mph or higher.
Remove large trees and keep vehicles and equipment parked away from the container home. Even a minor hurricane can uproot trees and flip vehicles. The frame of the container should withstand the force of impact from flying debris but may still sustain major damage.
Conclusion: Can Container Homes Withstand Hurricanes?
The bottom line is that a shipping container home is likely to hold up better during a hurricane compared to the typical wood home. Yet, the damage from hurricane-strength winds may shatter windows, peel off roof shingles, and uproot trees.
For optimal protection against hurricanes, use windows, doors, siding, and roofing with high wind resistance ratings. Installing hurricane shutters and keeping trees and objects away from the property can also help minimize damage from a hurricane.