What Are The Best Blocks To Put Under A Shipping Container?

Discover the best blocks to use under a shipping container for improved stability, durability, and ventilation. Concrete, wooden, and steel blocks are explored, along with factors to consider and professional recommendations. Enhance your off-grid living with a solid foundation.

In the realm of off-grid living, the question of what blocks to use under a shipping container takes on crucial significance. As a proponent of self-sustaining lifestyles, I find myself deeply invested in identifying the materials that will most effectively support the foundation of these containers. By exploring the various options available and considering their advantages and disadvantages, I aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the best blocks to use beneath a shipping container. Through this exploration, we can decipher the optimal approach to creating a stable and durable base that aligns with the principles of off-grid living.

Benefits of Using Blocks Under a Shipping Container

Enhanced Stability

When placing a shipping container on uneven or unstable ground, using blocks can greatly enhance its stability. The blocks act as a solid foundation, providing a firm and level surface for the container to rest on. This prevents any shifting or tilting of the container, ensuring that it remains stable and secure.

Improved Durability

Shipping containers are designed to withstand the rigors of transportation across the globe. However, when placed directly on the ground, they can be exposed to moisture, pests, and other environmental factors that can lead to corrosion and damage over time. By using blocks underneath the container, the risk of direct contact with the ground is minimized, resulting in improved durability and extended lifespan.

Better Air Circulation

One of the main benefits of using blocks under a shipping container is the improved air circulation it allows. By elevating the container, air can freely flow underneath, which helps to prevent the accumulation of moisture and condensation. This is particularly important in areas with high humidity or when the container is used for storage purposes, as proper ventilation helps to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Reduced Risk of Moisture Damage

Moisture is one of the biggest threats to shipping containers, as it can lead to rust, corrosion, and the deterioration of goods stored inside. Placing blocks under the container creates an air gap between the ground and the container’s floor, reducing the risk of moisture seeping in from the ground. This is especially crucial in areas prone to heavy rains or flooding, as it helps to safeguard the contents of the container from water damage.

Types of Blocks for Shipping Container Support

Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are one of the most common types of blocks used for supporting shipping containers. They are sturdy, durable, and readily available in various sizes and shapes. Concrete blocks provide excellent weight-bearing capacity, making them suitable for containers of different sizes and weights. They also offer good weather resistance and can withstand harsh environmental conditions.

Wooden Blocks

Wooden blocks are another popular choice for supporting shipping containers. They are lightweight, easy to handle, and can be customized to suit different container sizes. Wooden blocks are typically made from pressure-treated lumber, which enhances their resistance to moisture, rot, and decay. However, it is important to regularly inspect and maintain wooden blocks to ensure they remain structurally sound and free from any potential insect infestations.

Steel Blocks

Steel blocks offer exceptional strength and durability when it comes to supporting shipping containers. They are designed to withstand heavy loads and provide excellent stability. Steel blocks are often adjustable, allowing for precise leveling of the container. While they are more expensive than concrete or wooden blocks, their long lifespan and superior load-bearing capacity make them a reliable choice for heavy-duty applications.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Blocks

Weight Capacity

When selecting blocks for shipping container support, it is crucial to consider their weight capacity. The blocks must be able to withstand the maximum weight of the container, including its contents. It is recommended to consult the container specifications or seek professional advice to determine the appropriate weight capacity required for the specific container.

Weather Resistance

The blocks used underneath a shipping container will be exposed to various weather conditions, including rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Therefore, it is important to choose blocks that are weather-resistant and designed to withstand the local climate. This ensures that the blocks will not deteriorate or lose their structural integrity over time, thus maintaining the stability and support they provide to the container.


Cost is a significant factor to consider when choosing blocks for shipping container support. The price of blocks can vary depending on the material, size, and supplier. It is recommended to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each option while considering the required durability and load-bearing capacity. Balance between quality and affordability is essential to make a cost-effective decision.

Ease of Installation

The ease of installation is an important consideration, especially for those who plan to install the blocks themselves. Some blocks, such as concrete blocks, can be heavy and cumbersome to handle. On the other hand, wooden blocks may require more frequent maintenance compared to other options. It is advisable to choose blocks that are relatively easy to handle and install, taking into account personal capabilities and resources.

Concrete Blocks

Advantages of Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks offer numerous advantages when used as supports for shipping containers. Firstly, they have excellent strength and weight-bearing capacity, making them suitable for various container sizes and weights. They are also readily available, making it easier to source them locally. Additionally, concrete blocks provide good weather resistance, withstanding exposure to the elements without compromising their structural integrity.

Disadvantages of Concrete Blocks

Despite their many advantages, concrete blocks do have some limitations. One of the main disadvantages is their weight. Concrete blocks can be heavy, making them challenging to handle and transport, especially for DIY installations. Moreover, they may require machinery or special tools for precise leveling and placement. Additionally, concrete blocks are not as easily adjustable as some other options, which may limit their suitability for uneven terrains.

Wooden Blocks

Advantages of Wooden Blocks

Wooden blocks offer several advantages as supports for shipping containers. They are lightweight and easy to handle, making them a convenient option for DIY installations. Wooden blocks can also be easily customized to fit the specific dimensions of the container, ensuring a secure and stable foundation. Furthermore, the pressure-treated lumber used in wooden blocks enhances their resistance to moisture, rot, and pests.

Disadvantages of Wooden Blocks

While wooden blocks have their advantages, they also come with a few disadvantages. The main concern with wooden blocks is their susceptibility to decay and insect infestation over time. Regular inspection and maintenance are necessary to ensure the blocks remain structurally sound and free from any wood-destroying organisms. Additionally, wooden blocks may not have the same load-bearing capacity as concrete or steel blocks, limiting their suitability for heavier containers.

Steel Blocks

Advantages of Steel Blocks

Steel blocks are known for their exceptional strength and durability. They offer maximum load-bearing capacity, making them an ideal choice for heavy-duty applications or containers with substantial weight. Steel blocks are often adjustable, allowing for precise leveling and alignment of the container. They are also resistant to moisture, pests, and decay, ensuring their longevity and reliability as supports for shipping containers.

Disadvantages of Steel Blocks

The primary drawback of steel blocks is their higher cost compared to concrete or wooden blocks. The use of steel blocks can significantly increase the overall expense of container installation. Furthermore, steel blocks may require specialized equipment or tools for handling and installation due to their weight and sturdiness. However, the long lifespan and superior load-bearing capacity of steel blocks may justify the higher upfront cost.

Other Considerations for Underneath the Shipping Container

Ground Preparation

Before placing blocks under a shipping container, proper ground preparation is crucial. It is essential to level the ground thoroughly and remove any obstructions or debris that could affect the stability of the container. Additionally, compacting the ground surface helps to prevent shifting or sinking of the blocks over time. Adequate ground preparation ensures a solid foundation and maximizes the effectiveness of the blocks.


Proper drainage is essential to prevent water accumulation underneath the shipping container. If the ground is prone to excessive moisture or flooding, it is advisable to create a drainage system or use permeable materials for the ground surface. Adequate drainage prevents water from pooling around the blocks and the container, minimizing the risk of moisture-related damage.

Leveling and Placement

Accurate leveling and placement of the blocks are crucial for ensuring the stability and safety of the shipping container. Unevenly placed blocks can cause the container to tilt or shift, leading to structural issues. It is recommended to use a leveling tool and take the time to carefully adjust the blocks until they provide a level surface for the container. Precise placement of blocks is especially important for containers that will be accessed frequently or have delicate contents.

Security Measures

In addition to providing structural support, blocks underneath a shipping container can also serve as a security measure. By elevating the container, it becomes more difficult for unauthorized individuals to access the contents or remove the container from its position. To enhance security further, additional measures can be taken, such as installing motion sensor lights, security cameras, or securing the container with locks and perimeter fencing.

Professional Assistance and Recommendations

Consulting Engineers

For complex projects or situations where precise engineering calculations are required, consulting engineers can provide valuable expertise. They can assess the specific requirements and conditions of the site, ensuring that the selected blocks will adequately support the shipping container. Consulting engineers can also provide recommendations on the most suitable block types, taking into account factors such as weight capacity, stability, and long-term durability.

Container Modification Companies

Container modification companies specialize in container-related services and can offer expert advice on choosing the most appropriate blocks for shipping container support. They have extensive experience in container installations and can provide insights based on their practical knowledge. Container modification companies may also offer professional installation services, ensuring that the blocks are correctly positioned and secured for optimal performance.


Using blocks under a shipping container provides numerous benefits, including enhanced stability, improved durability, better air circulation, and reduced risk of moisture damage. Concrete blocks, wooden blocks, and steel blocks are the main types of blocks used for container support, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing blocks, factors such as weight capacity, weather resistance, cost, and ease of installation must be carefully considered. Proper ground preparation, drainage, leveling, and placement are essential for maximizing the effectiveness of the blocks. Professional assistance from consulting engineers or container modification companies can offer valuable guidance and ensure the best possible outcome. By understanding the benefits and selecting the appropriate blocks, one can enhance the performance and longevity of a shipping container installation.

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