Everything you need to know about shipping container painting
Painting the body of a cargo container is of great importance in terms of its durability. If you're planning on painting containers yourself, follow these guidelines to make sure you're doing the job right.
The best paint for your shipping container depends on its intended use. We recommend using water-based paint, which is significantly more environmentally friendly and, with proper preparation and quality control, provides equivalent or better rust protection than oil-based paint.
An industrial grade alkyd enamel paint can also be used. This hard, shiny finish will last five to ten years. In addition, alkyd enamels are relatively inexpensive and unpretentious in work.
Polyurethane paint lasts for many years, but is more suitable for use in harsh industrial environments than for the basic functions of transportation and storage. The chemicals used are generally more hazardous and require special procedures for mixing and application.
Preparing the container for painting
We do not recommend sandblasting your container for several reasons. First, sandblasting the entire container is quite expensive. Secondly, sandblasting removes much of the original protection. Sandblasting not only removes very high quality marine paint, but also removes the protective zinc coating that prevents rust. It is unlikely that self-painting will provide the same protection as the original coating. Instead, it is recommended to prime and paint over existing marine paint.
Prepare the shipping container for painting, paying special attention to rust stains and pressure washing off any dirt and dust. Sand off the rust spots with a sanding wheel, and then apply an anti-corrosion primer to the affected area.
We highly recommend painting the container on a dry, sunny morning. Cool, damp weather can prevent the paint from setting properly. Even containers painted on a warm afternoon risk getting dewy before the paint sets. In some cases, water can even get under the surface of the paint, creating swollen, blister-like pockets.