JULY 2, 2021
Using the right kind of shipping container paint is essential to your business. Container shops, offices, and even storage containers must look aesthetically pleasing and professional, so nothing less than a great paint job will do. In this article, you'll learn about the types of shipping container paint, the benefits of painting, and best practices.
All shipping containers contain a protective layer over the “weathering” steel designed to rust and protect the body. While functional, it isn’t the most attractive way to present your business.
Fortunately, you can correct things with a generous coat of paint. It will give your shipping container a longer lifespan as well as a more aesthetic appearance. Once you have painted the container, you can create designs or use business colors on the container and brand it with your company logo.
The type of paint you'll need depends on the container's application.
Waterborne paint has resins and pigments that disperse in water. It gives a clean and uniform finish and is environmentally friendly with lower VOC levels. With proper maintenance and quality control, it is better at preventing rust than an oil-based painting system.
Industrial-grade alkyd enamel gives a glossy finish and can last between five and ten years. In addition, it is inexpensive and is easy to work with.
If you plan to paint a mural or need some visual branding for your business, we recommend acrylic paints. They come in various, vibrant shades and make for easier painting over. Apply multiple coats for better adhesion.
Polyurethane paint lasts for many years, but it's more suitable for heavy industrial use than regular retail and storage. The contents in polyurethane paint tend to be more hazardous, and you may need special techniques or professionals to mix and apply the paint.
You could use a simple brush or a paint roller, but imagine the time it would take! Instead, we recommend spray paint for a high-quality finish and excellent gloss.
It is essential to protect the container from wind and dust before doing the paint job. See if you can move the container indoors to paint. If you don't have enough space to do so, you can cordon off the container using plastic sheets and protect it from dust.
Stripping off the rust and spray painting the shipping container can be a messy job. Besides, paint particles and solvents are not safe to inhale, so you’ll need to take preventive measures. You’ll also need to look out for flying bits of steel wire brush, as they can hurt your eyes while cleaning rusted patches.
We suggest using a full-body protection suit, eye protection glasses, and an anti-dust respiratory mask. A regular cloth mask will not suffice.
If you need to paint inside the container, remember to keep the unit open and ventilated. Use a zinc-rich primer first and then a waterborne epoxy high-build coating.
Do not spray shipping container paint on wooden floors.
Maintenance begins right when you start painting the unit.
We recommend painting on a dry and sunny morning to prevent evening dew from setting on the surface. Dew can get under the paint and cause ugly blisters. This can reduce the life of the painted surfaces.
If you choose to apply primer, it is best to use a thick coating and let it dry completely before spraying the paint. This ensures a long-lasting bond between the paint and primer.
Keep an eye out for corrosion. Over time small patches of rust can appear. It is best to remove rust patches before they get too big. You can shield the surrounding surface with masking tape and gently scrub the affected area before repainting.
It depends on the size of the container. Assuming you use DTM waterborne paint, here's an estimate of the amount of paint that you'll need:
Additionally, you will need primer and cleaning supplies.
Solvent-based paints can be toxic with high VOC emissions and may require special permission from the state authorities. It is easier to apply and has less drying time but tends to release lead and asbestos. You can, instead, choose Direct-to-Metal (DTM) waterborne paints that are environment-friendly.
Painting an entire container can be expensive because a 20' size can take up to 4 gallons of paint. If you are short on budget, clean the areas with rust and target-paint them. For better results, apply at least two coatings.
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