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A Shipping Container Paint Guideline

Have you ever wondered why shipping containers come in an array of colours? Are you undertaking a cargo container modification and want to give your unit a new lease of life? Paint is one of the most important aspects of container maintenance, helping to keep them protected from the elements and extending their lifespan.

In this blog, we thought we would take a closer look at why these containers come in different colours and why painting forms such a vital part of your cargo container modification.

Shipping Container | Modification | Paint | Australia

Why do shipping containers come in different containers?

Each year, around 1.85 billion metric tons of cargo are shipped around the world in containers. This is a huge logistical process, and the longer these logistic companies are able to continue using their containers, the more cost-effective the process becomes.

Containers are made from a particular grade of steel alloy, which over time will begin to corrode with exposure to the seawater and sunlight. Painting the exterior of these containers provides a long-lasting barrier that prevents this from happening and boosts their lifespan.

However, painting them is not just about protecting them. With millions of containers in use across the globe, being able to quickly identify which containers belong to which organisation is essential. That is why one of the most common reasons for the differing colours is to ensure that they indicate which leasing company each unit belongs to.

Colours can also impact the products being stored inside. Darker colours will absorb the heat from UV rays, increasing the temperature of the container. On the other hand, white units are able to reflect that heat, keeping the interior cooler.

How to paint a shipping container

Whether it is extending the longevity of your unit or you are looking for cargo container modifications, painting the exterior of your shipping container is essential. When it comes to painting your shipping container, there are certain things to remember:

1. Inspect the exterior

Before you can think about painting your shipping container, you will first need to conduct a thorough examination of the exterior. You should be looking for signs of wear and tear and areas that will need repair, completing all these works before you can consider painting.

2. Remove any decals

When you are confident the exterior is free from damage, then then next step is to remove any stickers and decals. You want to ensure the surface is completely free from these; otherwise, it can cause issues when painting.

3. Sand it down

With the exterior free from decals, the next step is to sand down the entire surface to create a smooth finish that is free from flaky paint or rust. For the best results, you should utilise a sanding machine to clear all debris.

4. Wash it down

After you have finished sanding the exterior, the next stage is to conduct a thorough wash down using a commercial cleaner. This will ensure all residue, dirt and chemicals are thoroughly removed.

5. Commence painting

Once your container is fully dry and the weather is sunny, the only thing left to do is to paint your cargo container. Rather than picking up a paintbrush, you should opt for a professional airless paint sprayer to ensure the very best finish.

Shipping Container | Modification | Paint | Australia

What kinds of paint should you use?

When it comes to choosing the right paint for your cargo container modification, there are many things that you should consider. This will depend on the purpose of your shipping container. For example, if it is going to continue to be used in logistics, then you will need to ensure that you are using marine-grade paint.

However, if you are planning on cargo container modification so that you can use the unit for residential or commercial reasons, then there is a wider range of options available to you. Whatever you are planning, your shipping container will still be exposed to the elements, so you will need to ensure that paint you are using is water-resistant and capable of protecting the steel from corrosion.

When it comes to a finish, you should opt for a satin finish. This is because glossy options tend to reveal blemishes, while matte options will tend to showcase dirt and dust more prominently.

What if your container falls victim to graffiti?

Unfortunately, vandals are just as likely to target your shipping container as they are any permanent structure. This can be a very frustrating time, but thankfully removing it can be a simple process. The first thing is to use a high-powered pressure washer to remove the graffiti; this should lift the vast majority of the painting off, leaving your container behind.

However, it might also remove some of the original paint, or you might find residue from the graffiti is left behind. In these instances, you will need to repeat the steps listed above, sanding down the affected area, preparing it and then repainting the exterior.

How to maintain your shipping container?

When it comes to cargo container modification, effective maintenance is crucial in keeping your unit in the very best condition possible. Maintaining the paint on your container begins at the same time that you start adding your first coat.

You want to start painting on a dry and sunny morning, as this will prevent dew from settling on the surface and causing blisters on the paintwork. These blisters can reduce the lifespan of the paintwork, meaning you will need to keep adding new coats. If you are planning on adding primer as part of your cargo container modification, then make sure you use a thick coating and ensure it is fully dry before spraying the paint.

Finally, you also want to ensure that you are keeping a regular eye out for signs of corrosion. The earlier you are able to catch this, the lower the impact it will have and the easier the repairs will be. If you have spotted areas of rust, then mask of the surrounding area with tape and scrub the area thoroughly to remove any corrosion. Once the area is clear, you can then sand it down and repaint it to create the perfect finish.

Shipping Container | Modification | Paint | Australia

Cargo container modification with Modulate Containers

If you are looking for cargo container modification, then Modulate Containers is here to help you. For over twenty years, we have been working with individuals to help them create the perfect unit, no matter whether they’re looking for commercial or residential spaces.

To guarantee that all of our finished products are able to last for as long as possible, all of our cargo container modifications include complete repainting of the exterior. Our expert team carefully paint the entire outside with high-quality paint that will keep your unit protected from the elements and looking fantastic.

Want to find out more about our modification services? Get in touch with our team today!


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