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Installing Man or Roll Up Doors on a Shipping Container

08.03.2015 - Posted by Updated On 08.03.2015    

The standard doors on a shipping container work great for moving in and out large items, but for daily use they aren't always the best solution. Designed for heavy duty use, the factory installed doors can be unwieldy and cumbersome to use when you just need to go in and out of the container quickly and easily. Over time, they can also become stiff and harder to pull, especially if your container is sitting slightly out of square. The simple solution is to have extra doors installed, and the most common after-market doors that are installed on shipping containers are either man doors or roll up doors. Either can be installed easily, provided you have the right tools and know what you're doing. However, there's probably a local expert that can do this for you at a reasonable price.

Man Doors on a Shipping Container

Standard doors that you find on a house, commonly called man doors, are popular to install on shipping container that's being used for an office or general storage. They swing open and close easily, and are easy to secure.  It's best to use an industrial strength, exterior steel door and steel frame. A steel frame will keep the door from shifting and falling out of frame when the container is moved from point A to point B.

Roll Up Doors on a Shipping Container

Roll up doors can be very useful if you need a wider door space, easy access, and no loss of floor storage space. They require a little additional effort to install, but offer less security as they tend to be made from lighter materials.

shipping container with a man door


Installing an Aftermarket Door on a Shipping Container

Please keep in mind these instructions are basic, and should be considered a starting point and things to consider. Each door installation has unique features relative to the size and type of door, and the condition of the shipping container.

The first step to take when installing any door in a shipping container is to figure out what size door you'll need, and what size hole you'll need to cut for the frame. When determining the size of the door needed, keep in mind the distance between the corrugated points, straddling them is ideal when installing as the door will be easier to mount on if you don't have to work inside of the deeper points.

Once you have the size determined you'll want to mark the outline of the door on the container, still giving special attention to the corrugation. You'll need a cutting torch or heavy duty cross cut saw to make the cut, and once that's complete it's a good idea to take a rough file over the cutout space to knock off any burrs or sharp edges that could cut you later on.
With the rough opening cut, you'll now need to install the steel frame. Making sure it's square and level, you'll need to spot weld several points, especially the bottom and top corners, and a few points in between, to make sure that it's solid and won't move or come loose at a later time.

If you're installing a man door your work is nearly complete. The last step in the process is to hang the door and apply sealant around the edges to prevent any drafts or bugs and rodents gaining entry into the container.

If you're installing a roll up door, it's time to hang the mounting brackets or track that the door will roll on. Again, you'll need to measure the size of the track or brackets and mark the points on the ceiling and walls where the track will hang, and mark the points where holes will need to be drilled to tightly secure the track. Remember to plan for the door to tough the insulation or padding to keep the door secure and tightly sealed.

Many of the sellers on have the ability to install man doors or roll up doors, or they work with local contractors who are able to do the work. If you have any questions about putting doors or other aftermarket parts on a shipping container feel free to contact any of the sellers through their active listing pages, or contact directly.

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