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Shipping Container Makes an Amazing Underground Shelter/Wine Cellar

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If you have the space and resources, you can turn a shipping container into an amazingly effective underground shelter.

This particular project, from Wayne Martin on YouTube, is a great example of how a 20 foot container can be buried, reinforced, and have utilities added to make a shelter that has everything you’d need in an emergency. And it doubles as a cellar for food storage – or in this case, wine. 🙂


First, the hole is dug 2 feet deeper than the height of the container and gravel is added to the bottom and leveled.


Wayne Martin | YouTube

A septic tank company is hired to place the container in the hole.


Wayne Martin | YouTube

A space for a sump pump is placed at the bottom of the hole next to the container door to help keep water out, and concrete steps are built going down into the hole.


Wayne Martin | YouTube

I-beams are placed on each side of the steps level with the container, then heavy sheet metal is placed over the top and across to each of the side banks. Blocks are set to create the entrance down into the container. Air vents are installed, along with PVC stubs for utilities, then a rebar framework is built over the whole unit.


Wayne Martin | YouTube

Next, concrete is poured and leveled.  A total of six inches of concrete covers the container.


Wayne Martin | YouTube

Everything but the entrance is covered in soil so the surface of the ground can be replanted with grass or trees. The entrance can be left as is, or have a small building built over it.


Wayne Martin | YouTube

The steps taken to build this shelter by installing the concrete cap and keeping water and dirt away from the walls will ensure it will stay relatively rust-free and last for many years. See Wayne’s step-by-step building process in the video below.

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