Shipping containers are built to withstand the elements. They are made from COR-TEN steel (sometimes called “weathered steel”), which is known for being durable and resistant to atmospheric corrosion. This is ideal for structures that have to sit outdoors for long periods of time.
For added protection, shipping container manufacturers will add a layer of marine-grade paint over the container walls. The marine-grade paint coats the COR-TEN steel to prevent corrosion when the container is in a high-moisture environment. So, it can hold up against rain, snow and sea spray whenever it’s being transported.
While shipping containers are corrosion-resistant, they are not corrosion-proof. They can still rust over time. Rust patches can make the container vulnerable to damage and water intrusion. Rust can also weaken the container’s structural integrity over time.
It’s a serious problem for anyone who plans on using a shipping container for transporting cargo. It’s an even bigger problem for anyone who plans to live in a container home.
How Can You Keep Rust off of Your Container Home?
Buy a New Container:
First things first, if you’re planning on living in a shipping container for the long term, you’ll want to pick a container that’s fairly new for the construction. A new container is often referred to as a “one-trip grade” container.
Why not choose a used container? Used containers will have accumulated some wear and tear over their time as shipping vessels. So, you’ll have to contend with more damage (like rust patches and holes) from the very beginning. This is not suitable for building a living space.
Remember: your shipping container is the base structure of your home. You’ll want it to be in top condition.
Set a Good Foundation:
You’ll want to make a poured cement foundation for your long-term container home. The foundation will minimize the container base’s contact with groundwater, which will reduce the risk of rusting over time.
Grade the Yard:
You don’t want water pooling around the base of your container. So, you should grade your yard so that it gradually slopes away from your container home. If it slopes toward the container home, rainwater will always collect around the base whenever it rains or snows.
Install a Roof:
Rainwater can pool on top of the shipping container and cause rusting over time. You can stop water from pooling by installing a roof on top of it. If you decide to install a flat roof over the container, you should include a flat roof drain in the design. This will siphon standing water and direct it away from the container home.
Another option is to install a sloped roof. A sloped roof’s design will naturally prevent water from pooling on top of the container. In addition to a sloped roof, you should add gutters and a rainspout to prevent water from running against the exterior walls and pooling at the foundation.
Add Fresh Paint:
If you’re worried that the layer of marine-grade paint isn’t enough protection, you can always add another paint coat to the exterior of your container home. Don’t use any paint to do the job. You’ll want to use paints designed for shipping container homes.
What If You Spot Rust?
You don’t have to panic if you notice a small patch of rust on your shipping container home. You can fix the problem.
Clean off the rust and then repaint the area. If you’ve noticed any leaks or holes, you should call a professional to patch them. You’ll want to call someone who is familiar with converted container homes to do the job.
Rust is not good for shipping container homes. Follow these tips to keep it away from yours.