How To Paint A Shipping Container Home

The following information will help you understand the methods used in sanding down, priming and then finally painting a shipping container


The first step when the shipping container has arrived at its destination is the washing down of the unit. We have discovered that a high-powered spray brush does the best job. These ISO shipping containers can be quite dirty upon arrival. Now, besides the obvious dirt, grim and grease that you will find, you must clean the floor and all the hidden corners. During the wash and scrub of the shipping container you will discover most if not all, the rusty spots. Some rust spots will be worse than others and you may even have some holes in the container. No worries, this is a heavy gauge steel shipping container that probably has a long seaworthy history and many dents from shipyard brawls. The repairs required on the rust spot and holes are very easy with the welding. My advice is to have a can of spay paint handy and spray all the newly discovered rust you find during the cleaning process.
During the wash down do not be afraid to spay the insides of the shipping container and create puddles of water on the shipping container floor. These floors have seen worse and are seaworthy heavy-duty plywood that is impregnated with chemicals and treated to sustain water damage.
After the washing of the shipping container then you will turn your focus to sanding down the rust spots. This can be done with any sander you use for wood, even though a more heavy duty sander would get the job done quicker.
Makita 7 In. Electronic Sander-Polisher
Model # 9227C Internet/Catalog # 100594840 HomeDepot
After we spot rust then we begin to spot prime the shipping container. We do not prime the entire shipping container, just the areas we sanded. These steel shipping containers already have a solid primer and several coats of protected paint.
Now we are ready to paint.
We use a:
Wagner Project Sprayer Optimus
Model # 0525009 Internet/Catalog # 100661262
Store SKU# Home depot
This is a small inexpensive spay gun that does an excellent job and is easy to clean.
Here is a video of the actual painting on a shipping container: VIDEO
We learned that the spay painting of a shipping container worked best with to people and quick even strokes under a strong sun.
We also discovered that two coats were required. This was perhaps because in most spay guns you have to weaken the pain with some thinner so the flow is quick. Regardless, two coats is always better than one.
What about rust and corrosion?
Shipping Containers are used for international ocean transportation where there is plenty of humidity and saltwater. The shipping container is made from a special, non corrosive “Corten” steel. Standard ISO shipping containers are coated with a ceramic insulation paint which makes these steel boxes virtually rust proof and also prevents mildew and mold.When paiting the outside of your shipping container you will want to research some of the latest high R-Factor paints on the market.What is an R-Factor Paint? Also know as R-Rating paints and ceramic paints.

BOOK on Container Home Construction. 

“Learn about the step by step process” “Includes designs and floor plans”