6 Maintenance Tips For Your Shipping Container

6 Maintenance Tips For Your Shipping Container

Shipping containers were built to be tough, that’s for sure. After all, they were designed to make it across the ocean and back – sometimes multiple times! But even containers that withstand harsh weather conditions can still benefit from regular maintenance. This will pay off in spades, as you will get the most life out of your container.

If you fail to engage in proper maintenance, you’ll have to replace or repair your unit far earlier than you were planning to. Check out these maintenance tips for your container in general, as well as for its roof.

Maintenance Tips: In General

Looking to maximize the life of your shipping container? Here’s how to go about it.

  1. Clean off the dirt and rust. Do this regularly to extend the container’s lifespan, minimizing the chance of rust. Use a hose and a commercial cleaning agent or bleach to remove most dirt and surface rust.
  2. Make sure your container is stable on level ground. This will help to prevent corrosion if water collects underneath the container. It will also allow you to more easily open and close the doors. Don’t forget to set your container on some railroad ties or even concrete blocks to keep the unit stable and off the ground.
  3. Lubricate hinges on doors. Doors seize up when not in use for a while. Apply grease to hinges regularly so they operate smoothly.
  4. Don’t bear weight on the roof. Yes, your container’s corners are strong and durable, but the middle of the roof is weak. Take the time to brush off debris such as dirt, leaves, twigs and snow.
  5. Replace worn-out rubber door seals. Rubber seals on doors keep the moisture out, but they only last about 10 years or so. When they show signs of wear, replace them – along with weather stripping and caulk.
  6. Store dry goods in the unit, not moist goods. Store only dry goods in your container to prevent the buildup of condensation. While most used containers feature vents that encourage airflow and reduce condensation, you still want to use precautions. As such, don’t open the doors when it is raining out or humid. Don’t put sensitive documents or furniture against the walls. That’s because condensation forms there first.

Maintenance Tips: Shipping Container Roof

Now it’s time for some TLC for your unit’s roof. From weather threats to debris, the roof could cave in or get damaged if care is not taken. Heed these tips.

1.     Research Your Provider’s Reputation

During the buying process, do your homework on the provider as well as the unit’s quality. If you can, view the container in person to make sure the condition is what they said it would be. Your container provider should hand-pick the containers they sell to guarantee 100 percent customer satisfaction. Research the company’s reputation, experience, reviews, and years in business.

2.     Remove Debris, Water, Ice, and Snow

While the roof is resilient, it can’t take the presence of too much standing water, ice, and snow. If you continually ignore these issues, especially ponding water, rust or thinning metal can result. Always be sure to clean off debris after bad storms that can throw tree limbs and other debris on top of your container roof.

3.     Remove Dirt and Surface Rust

All you need is a standard hose and broom, commercial wetting agent, bleach, or anti-mildew solution. For all visible dirt and rust on the roof, scrub it well and rinse it. See any large dents, rusted areas, holes, or scratches? Call a repair professional to repair them before they get worse and more costly. Then, if you want, repaint the container with a fresh coat of paint.

4.     Don’t Bear Weight on the Roof

Your container’s structural integrity is bolstered by the strong corner castings (reinforced corners, not the roof). If you walk on the roof, it will bow and flex. If you know you will need to get up on the roof regularly, see if your shipping container manufacturer can reinforce the roof prior to delivery.

5.     Perform Regular Inspections

Regularly caring for your roof means it’s wise to perform regular inspections. Take notes, snap photos, and make repairs as needed. Be mindful that dents, such as on second-hand containers, will collect rain water that can result in rust spots on chipped paint. Repair dents immediately, followed by a treatment with rust-proof paint.

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