Tips for Taking Care of Your Container
The average lifespan of a storage container is around 25-30 years. That being said, how well a container holds up over time largely depends on the level of care it receives. If a container is left to sit in the same spot with little to no attention, it will likely deteriorate a lot faster than one that is frequently inspected and maintained. “But just what does it mean to ‘maintain’ a container?” You may be wondering. We’ve compiled a shortlist of tips to care for your container to help get you started!
Keep Your Container Protected from The Elements – As sturdy as steel shipping containers can be, they are not invincible. And something as simple as rain, sleet or snow, can cause rust and corrosion if you are not careful. One thing that can help you avoid this type of damage is getting your container on even ground. Whether you choose to put yours on concrete pavers, railroad ties or some other smooth surface is up to you. As long as you elevate the container properly, it should be safe from any water that collects along the ground, thus, making it less prone to damage.
Remove Rust and Other Unsightly Spots – If rust got to your container before you could, don’t stress! There are several things you can do to clean the area and ultimately help lengthen its lifespan. One option is removing the rust via an angle grinder or sandblaster. This method works especially well in instances of medium to heavy rust. When dealing with mild rust patches, however, a scrap of sandpaper, steel wool or a wire brush should suffice. We recommend starting with a wire brush and slowly transitioning to sandpaper for a clean, smooth finish.
After removing the rust, you can start prepping the surface for paint. First, you will need to buy or borrow a pressure washer. Run the water over the affected area to remove any spots you may have missed. Then, take a cloth or sponge soaked in vinegar and rub the solution over the surface. This will remove any remaining rust, grease, grit and grime. Once your cargo container is completely dry, it is ready to repaint! You can cover the area in whatever color you want; just remember to use marine-grade paint. This oil-based paint is known for its strength, durability and water-proof properties.
Conduct a Quick Roof Inspection – Just as the walls of your container need regular care, so does its roof. The best way to make sure it’s in top condition is by conducting a quick inspection. The main thing you’ll want to be on the lookout for are cracks, holes or gaps. These will all need to be repaired. Luckily, you can usually do this yourself using a patch and peel product. However, if you don’t own anything like this, you can also perform repairs using grommets (for smaller holes) or aluminum and roofing tar (for larger holes). Note: all holes will need to be patched prior to painting.
In addition to repairing holes, your roof inspection should also include clearing the area of any leaves, branches or snow. Removing these items will help relieve any unnecessary stress on the structure, ensuring it doesn’t bend or break.
Test Hinges – The walls and roof of your container can be in top condition, but if your doors don’t work as they should, then the container won’t be very useful. That’s why it is vital to lubricate the hinges regularly. Doing so ensures the doors open and close smoothly and don’t lock up.
Check Seals – At least once a year, you’ll also want to check the seals on your doors and windows. It is your responsibility to replace any that have started to tear, dent or warp. Otherwise, they will not be as effective in protecting against the elements. Luckily, this is a relatively easy and affordable fix. And once you’re done, your doors and windows should be set for the next few years.
Watch for Rot – While you’re checking your doors and windows, you’ll also want to take a good look at the floor. In most cases, this part of the shipping container is made out of marine-grade plywood. However, like all wooden surfaces, it is still susceptible to rot. Therefore, we recommend checking for damage and seeking repairs if necessary. A musty smell, splits, cracks or extremely dry or wet spots are all common signs of this issue.
Call in a Heating & Cooling Contractor – If you own a container with a heating or cooling system, such as an OfficeTainer, or one of our other custom containers, you will need to call in a contractor. Typically, these systems only need servicing one to two times a year. However, if you encounter any strange sounds or smells, don’t wait until your next scheduled inspection. Seek assistance immediately!
Have an Electrician Inspect Your Refrigeration – For cold storage containers such as our reefer or Ice-Cubz model, you’ll also need to seek regular inspections. Set an appointment with your local electrician and have them check over all components to make sure they are in top condition. If you happen to find an issue in your search, feel free to call us at (877) 391-4064. We offer 24/7 technical support 364 days a year!
As you can see, a lot goes into caring for your container. But don’t let that scare you! The reward far outweighs the work. And if you follow the eight steps outlined above, your container can have a long and healthy life. Furthermore, we’re here to offer you our support. So if any questions or concerns come up when caring for your container, you can give us a call! Our office is open from 7 AM–5 PM Monday through Friday. And our facility is based out of 1069 Township Road 1950 East, Smithshire, IL 61478. Thanks for reading!