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Simple Painting and Rust Repair for Shipping and Storage Containers

22.08.2022 - Posted by Updated On 22.08.2022    

Extending the life of a shipping or storage container can be done with a little bit of effort and small investment. Over time, a shipping container parked in on a farm, ranch, or residential or commercial property may begin to succumb to the forces of nature and start to rust or the floors may begin to rot. As with anything, it's impossible to prevent aging of a shipping container, it is possible to slow the process with paint, a wire brush, and some household vinegar.

How to Repair Rust on a Shipping or Storage Container

Used shipping containers will typically being to show signs of rust on areas that are heavily used or areas where the steel was joined together: around the seams and welds, and corners and bottom of the door. Welded seams or where the steel panels are joined together rust because as the container is moved, these areas are weaker under the stress and the original paint can crack or chip away. The corners and underneath of the doors rust because of heavy use and the opportunity for water to collect under the doors for remain there for extended periods of time.

Cleaning up the rust and repaint a shipping container isn't as large of a task as it may appear to be. The largest way to do it would be to sandblast the entire container and remove all of the paint, then remove all of rusted areas, prime and repaint the unit; leaving you with a completely refurbished container. However, for a 15 year old shipping container the costs involved with that type of undertaking may be more than the container is worth. If you simply want to remove the rust and repaint the affected areas, we recommend getting a wire brush and some sand paper, vinegar, and direct to metal, or DTM paint. Sherwin Williams makes a good marine grade DTM paint that sells for around $100 a gallon, and you'd probably need 3-4 gallons for a 20' container. Attack the rusted areas with the wire brush and sand paper removing as much of the rust as possible. rusty shipping container doors
Once that's done rub vinegar on the area that you cleaned and leave it on the surface for a little while. This will halt the corrosion process. Lastly, apply the DTM paint, more than one coat may be desired.

Painting a Shipping Container Floor

Over time, the floor of a shipping container can be chipped, gouged, or damaged in any number of ways; and these scars can expedite the process of rotting. If the shipping container is sitting directly on the ground rotting may occur even faster due to the lack of air circulation and water laying under the container. Along with rotting, many people inquire about the chemicals used in the making of the wood floor. Generally speaking, if you're using a shipping container for a storage unit there's little concern of the chemicals having any adverse health effects. However, if you want to seal off the floor and prevent both water damage and the idea of fumes, a thick coat of paint will do the trick. Any outdoor paint will work, and we recommend Behr Porch and Patio paint. This type of paint is designed to be walked on and withstand the weather of all four seasons.

Getting more life out of a shipping container doesn't have to cost a fortune, and with a little investment and elbow grease you can get a few more years of use out of your investment. Treating any rusted areas with vinegar and repainting the container with DTM paint will help the unit withstand weather, and a thick coat of porch and patio paint on the flooring will help to prevent the floor from rotting or releasing fumes.

If you have any questions about buying or selling shipping containers, or container related projects in general, feel free to contact any of the sellers listed on or our staff directly. Our years of experience in the container industry may save you time and money, and we're glad to help out where we can.

shipping container floor

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