You own a container and you want it to last forever.  We can't do that, but here are some basic tips to extend the life of your container as long as possible.

Maintenance

  • Inspect the container on a regular basis.  Even twice a year is great, but as often as you’d like.   It takes some time for problems to get serious, but catching things early is always good.  When you are inspecting the container, look at the floor to make sure they are in good shape.  They will eventually need to be repaired (see below).  Look at the walls, roof and doors to see that there is no rust developing that seems concerning.  When it does, you’ll need to do repairs (see below) and check out the seals on the doors.  They should be firmly attached to the doors and close into the doors well.  If not, see below for how to repair them.
  • Painting containers.   Containers are made of steel and steel rusts.  One way to delay that is to keep your container painted.  We recommend an industrial alkalyd enamel.  You can find it at Sherwin Williams or anywhere that sells industrial paints.  The paint should not cost much more than standard outdoor paint.  To paint your container, give it a good wash to get all the dirt and oil off.  If there are any rust spots that have you concerned, grind those off right before painting.  If your container still has shipping line markings on it, you may want to consider pulling those stickers off of the container as well.  Once the container is prepped, either use a roller or a sprayer to apply the paint.  Often container yards will only paint the sides, but you may want to also paint the roof.  The paint suggested as a nice shine to it and that should last 10 years if the container is not moving around.  For containers that move around (like in a rental fleet), they will need to be painted more often.
  • Roof rust prevention.  Roofs get the most moisture and are most likely to have issues first.  Some people like to protect roofs.  There are several ways to do this – applying mobile home roofing tar or other similar products.  There are some fancier options now as well, depending on how much you want to spend.
  • Blocking under container
    Blocking under container
    Painted blue container
    Painted blue container
    Painting not only extends the life of a container, it makes it look better
    Painting not only extends the life of a container, it makes it look better
    Container floors are made up of sections screwed or riveted to the cross-members
    Container floors are made up of sections screwed or riveted to the cross-members

    Repair

    1. Doors aren’t shutting right.  This is the most common problem in containers.  The reason is that if you load your container, it can shift the way the container is sitting on the ground ever so slightly.  Just ¼” can make opening the doors trickier.  The easiest fix to this is to either readjust your blocking or add a little blocking under your container.  You can lift up one corner of your container with a car jack.  Once you have the container lifted, rearrange your blocking (or slip some under there).  Be careful not to put your hand under your container in case your car jack slips.  We recommend wood blocking if you don’t have any.  Once you adjust a corner or two, the doors should open more easily.
    2. Underside of container - cross-member span the width of the container
    3. Floors need repair.  The flooring of your container is made of plywood.  The good news is, this is easy to replace.  They have treated plywood to prevent moisture from coming through, so we recommend using that as well.  The flooring sections are attached directly to the cross-members under the floor.  If you look at your floor, you will see where they are attached.  Carefully remove the flooring section and rivet or screw in the new piece, depending on how your flooring is attached.  Be sure to get the same thickness flooring so your floor stays level.
    4. Welded patch on container
    5. You have a hole in your container.  This is a biggie.  You can’t let it be or it will get things wet in the container.  If it is a small holes, you can simply weld it shut.  This works best for pin holes.  However, if you have something bigger on your hands, then you will need to cut out that section and replace it with more corten steel.  Chances are you don’t have that laying around, so you will probably have to call the company who sold you your container to see if they have some they can send you.  Also, this repair requires cutting and welding skills.  If you do not have them, hire a welder to do this repair for you.  The area with the hole needs to be cut out, a new piece added in and welded into place to seal it up again.
    6. Your door seals or lockrods are broken.  It will happen eventually that you need new door seals.  You can get door seal kits that fit perfectly on the door.  You just take off the old seals and put on the new one.  If the lockrods (the piece that goes the height of the door) can bend or break.  Those also can be replaced as well as the keepers that lock the lockrod in place.  If you need help with any of these container parts, let us know.
    Door seals, lockrods and keepers can all be replaced
    Door seals, lockrods and keepers can all be replaced

    This doesn’t solve every problem, but it should cover the most common problems people have with containers.  If you need more help with your repair, give us a call and we can try to walk you through a solution or help you find a way to get your container fixed.