Shipping containers are constructed from sturdy steel and treated with marine-grade paint. The result is that they require very little in the way of maintenance.
However, prolonged exposure to the elements and day-to-day use can eventually take their toll.
To ensure a shipping container stays in good condition for years to come, it’s recommended that you inspect the container periodically and complete any necessary repairs without delay.
Regular container inspection
The number one way to ensure that a shipping container remains in top condition is to inspect it thoroughly at least once every few months, and make any repairs that are obviously needed.
Although most problems develop gradually, it’s always better to catch them before they become serious.
Inspect the floor of the container, the walls, the roof, and the doors for bulges, dents, chipped paint, rust, or corrosion. Also examine the lock-rods, hinges, and seals of the doors to ensure that they’re in working order.
If you have a reefer, it’s advisable to hire a professional to carry out a thorough annual inspection of the refrigeration unit.
Maintaining the roof and walls
Shipping containers that have been stacked often end up with dents in the roof. These can collect rain-water and lead to rust, so it’s best to repair roof dents as soon as possible.
When inspecting a container, also look for any chipped or peeling paint on the roof and walls.
Most shipping containers are constructed from Cor-Ten steel, which is rust- and corrosion- resistant, and treated with water-resistant marine-grade paint. However, the container roof and walls will likely need to be repainted at some point during the course of the container’s lifetime. Don’t neglect to repaint a container when required because exposed steel can rust quickly.
Holes in the walls and roof of a shipping container are a major problem because they may allow cargo to get wet and can lead to rust.
If a hole is small, you can weld it closed. However, panels with larger holes may need to be replaced completely. These repairs require welding skills and, for safety, should be performed by someone who’s suitably qualified.
Caring for the doors
The moving parts of a shipping container door can be affected by dirt and rust, so ensure that you keep these clean and rust-free.
When performing routine maintenance, also ensure that you lubricate the door hinges and lock-rods thoroughly, and check the rubber seals.
The door seals on a shipping container will generally last for around 10 years – but if they are worn, cracked, or not performing their function properly, it’s best to have them replaced.
Maintaining the floor
Over time, the flooring of a shipping container may become marked, dented, or chipped. Unfortunately, any marks or gouges in the wood can accelerate the process of rotting, especially if a container sits directly on damp ground or isn’t sufficiently ventilated.
If the floorboards are showing signs of rot, get them replaced as soon as possible. To further protect the floor, seal it with water-resistant paint every few years.
At Big Box Containers, we specialise in renting and hiring high-quality shipping containers, including containers converted for a range of uses – from offices to ablution blocks. Contact us for a quotation or to find out more.