Are Shipping Containers Good for Storage in Salt Lake City?

Posted on:
May 03, 2022

shipping container turned into storage shed

The new trend is to turn shipping containers into homes, cafes, workshops, and even swimming pools. But, in our eyes, one of the best uses is shipping containers for storage.

Shipping containers are unrivaled in Salt Lake City for short-term and long-term storage options. We’ll give you the knowledge to choose the most secure shipping containers that match your criteria.

So, let’s delve into why shipping containers are the best for residential, commercial, and construction storage.

How You Can Use Shipping Containers for Storage

You can store most items in shipping containers. But you’ll need a few tricks to make sure they stay in tip-top condition. By following these simple rules, shipping containers make excellent storage options in Salt Lake City.

Storing Household Items

Do not store flammable or perishable items in a standard shipping container. If required, you may be interested in refrigerated shipping containers for storage. Otherwise, you can prepare items as per below.

  • Make a full itinerary and box similar objects together
  • Use color-coded labels and a floor plan
  • Use stacked plastic boxes with flip lids for easy access
  • Cover wood furniture with protective oil and dismantle
  • Rent specialist moving boxes for art
  • Store mirrors and pictures frames standing up in bubble wrap
  • Storing household items in a shipping container is perfect for renovations when you still need access to them

These items above will survive well in storage. However, there are more delicate items that you might want to store.

Storing Documents and Books

Temperature changes can cause paper to turn brittle and ink to fade over time. Therefore, we recommend keeping them in modified shipping containers for storage long-term. At the very least, follow these quick storage hacks:

  • Put loose papers into file holders
  • Place kitchen towel between books and store in plastic boxes
  • Add moisture packs to manage temperature changes and mildew

You can also add extra protection with ventilation in your shipping containers for storage. We’ll talk in more detail about vents later in this article.

Storing Clothes and Shoes

While you can store most clothes in garment bags, some pieces need extra care. For example, if you don’t keep leather shoes correctly, they’ll have permanent creases or cracks. So, here’s how to avoid issues:

  • Divide and wrap silk and wool clothing
  • Include de-humidifier packs
  • Cover shoes with a leather protector before storing
  • Invest in a shoe tree to keep their shape
  • Or, use acid-free paper inside shoes and store them in an airtight container

People often think that throwing shoes in a box will suffice. It won’t. If you don’t want ruined shoes, store them with care.

What Shipping Container Size You Need

The standard shipping container sizes are 8ft 6inches high and 20ft or 40ft in length. Small shipping containers are rarer and will be around half the size. At the other end of the scale, high-cube shipping containers are over 9ft tall and 40ft long.

When looking at shipping container sizes, there are two key points to consider. They are how much you need to store and how much space there is for your shipping container.

If needs be, you can always stack containers on top of one another. But we’ll talk more about that later. Here is a list of shipping container sizes and what you can expect to fit in each one.

10ft Container

A small 10ft shipping container is perfect for household items and select pieces of furniture. People often use these smaller shipping containers for storage in business.

In addition, gardeners and construction workers can use them to keep their tools safe. The smaller size results in much lower transport and delivery costs.

20ft Containers

This size will equate to a single garage, so you can store a car alongside a few household items. Twenty-foot shipping containers for storage are also excellent options for motorbikes. A 20ft container is ideal if you are a small business looking to store excess stock. Or, a small family relocating.

We often see 20ft containers used in schools or event spaces for surplus chairs, tables, props, and equipment. They can hold between four to six rooms worth of belongings.

40ft Container

Long or high-cube 40ft shipping containers are ideal for business storage or customized living spaces. For example, you can fit desks and computers for a medium business into one container.

You can also store items from a detached three-bedroom family home in a 40ft container. Knowing that these items are safe will make your relocation or renovation stress-free.

Shipping Container Modifications

tiny home gray shipping container

There are various ways to change your shipping container to better suit your needs. These changes could be internal or external. Creating modifications will ensure that you have the ultimate personalized storage.

Doors

People often change the doors from traditional cargo doors into more stylish versions. The most popular door modification is a roll-up door. At Dry Box, we install steel outer frame heavy weather roll-up doors so that no water can seep in. The shipping container will look like a stand-alone garage.

Another popular option is the 18 gauge steel man door with a deadbolt and tamper-proof hinges. They are designed to be heavy-duty and yet offer easy access to personnel. They are ideal for long-term storage on your property.

Windows

Inserting windows would depend on what items you plan to store in your container. Harmful UV rays cause over 40% of furniture fading and color wastage. So, avoid windows if you plan to store antiques or other furniture in your shipping container.

However, windows are an excellent option if you plan to keep workout equipment inside. Skylights are the best modification if you are concerned about people peeping.

Commercial users often insert picture windows to create a bright space for showcasing and storing goods. There are several options, so think carefully about what you will store and whether you will continue using the items.

Paint

Another popular modification is much more about cosmetics than safety. Custom paint jobs on the exterior of your shipping container will seamlessly match the design of your location.

A color matching service will paint your container the same color as any pre-standing building or structure. You could also choose vibrant colors if you want your shipping container to be a show-stopper. For example, if you use it to store showcase products and want to stand out.

Insulation

We all love the hot, dry summers in Salt Lake City but know that the icy winters are just around the corner. Thankfully, the steel exterior makes shipping containers the ideal structure to withstand storms and snow.

However, with such temperature fluctuations, your stored items could become damaged. It will make wood furniture warp, plastic bubble, and documents fade.

Therefore, it is crucial to consider insulation and temperature control within your shipping container. The most effective way to prevent this kind of damage is to insulate against it. There are four different types of insulation available:

  • Fiberglass is the most economical insulation option for storage
  • Closed-cell foam has increased efficiency, reduces airflow, and is water-resistant
  • Insulation foam board is durable and cost-effective
  • Rock wool or mineral wool insulation is for industries required to meet heat and fire standards

By including these modifications in your shipping containers for storage, you’ll reap the benefits for many years to come.

Ventilation

Summer temperatures in Salt Lake City reach 32-degrees, so consider a vent modification if you plan to store items at that time. Heat and moisture buildup can cause mildew damage.

Ventilation will reduce this risk and eliminate musty odors. You will need two vents in the door, front, or sides of your container for optimum ventilation. Louver vents are the most sought-after modification.

Roof-mounted, also known as turbine vents, are leak-free and work wonders in reducing moisture. These are also available with power but are more expensive. However, if you are storing irreplaceable antique furniture, it might be worth the extra cost.

Be mindful of where the modification workshop is for the shipping container company you choose. Otherwise, they might sting you with high transport costs after your modifications.

For more information, our modification workshop is between Portland and Seattle.

Why Shipping Containers Are Better Than Sheds

shipping container turned into a yard shed

Shipping containers are made from highly durable corten steel. They go on long journeys across the seas, so they need to withstand extreme climates. Consequently, they can 100% protect your stored items from the rain, snow, and sun of Salt Lake City.

They also require minimal maintenance. On the other hand, even though sheds are treated with weather-proof substances, you will often need to reapply.

They have a much shorter shelflife, so you will have to replace them after a few years. Sheds often come in flatpacks, and you are left to assemble them yourself. It can be challenging in terms of physical ability and expertise.

A professional will do all of your modifications on shipping containers, and your final product will arrive ready to use. Shipping containers are also better than sheds because they offer more security.

Why Shipping Containers Are Better Than Self-Storage

Firstly, you can keep your shipping containers on-site at your location. So you will have access 24-hours a day, which will be much more secure.

If you are renovating a property, you can reduce the timeframes by removing and replacing the furniture without traveling. Take the cost of removal van hire into consideration, and a shipping container will also save you money.

Salt Lake City has many self-storage sites, but they require traveling to and offer varying degrees of protection. You may also notice that some places aren’t staffed and don’t offer 24-hour access.

Stacking Containers for Large Storage

You could consider stacking storage containers if you have enough overhead space and lots to store. However, the maximum you can stack is seven.

You may also want a professional forklift driver or crane employee to stack the containers. They can cause severe damage if not done correctly.

While most containers are stackable, you should ensure that the corner posts line up. They are the weight-bearing spots to avoid toppling. For example, you could position two 20ft shipping containers on the lower level with a 40ft container on top.

Doing so will provide a much stronger base because there will be eight corners on the lower level. Imagining what stacked shipping containers look like could be challenging.

So if you live nearby, pop down to Box 500 in Salt Lake City. Designers have fitted, renovated, and stacked shipping containers to turn them into apartments.

Best Foundations for Storage Shipping Containers

Although a shipping container is designed to survive many years of wear, there are some simple tricks to protect it from damage. One of the best is building a base or foundation for the shipping container to sit on. It will increase the life span by allowing air to pass underneath.

If your shipping container sits directly on the ground, it can attract moisture damage, rust, and decay on the underbelly. The lowest-cost foundation options include concrete piles, slabs, or railroad ties. You can secure the shipping container with bolts to the concrete for extra security.

But, be warned that companies have standard requirements for positioning your shipping container. Firstly, the land needs to be flat with open access so that the delivery vehicle can put it into place.

If the ground isn’t concrete, make sure it isn’t soft. Shipping containers are heavy steel boxes and could sink while on your property. Ensure that the final position doesn’t have overhanging branches because this will affect crane access.

If you choose to raise the container, make sure it is level because otherwise, you may have trouble opening the doors. Then, once the container is on-site, check that you can open it before the delivery professional removes the crane or forklift.

Renting Versus Buying Shipping Containers for Storage

shipping container turned into a workshop

There are three types of rentable shipping containers for storage: residential, commercial, and construction. You can rent a shipping container from us if you live in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or Utah.

If you live in a different area, you’ll need to discuss with your chosen company essential rental details such as:

  • Whether they need a gravel base for access
  • Clearance heights
  • Driveway maximum percentage grade
  • Costs
  • Potential charges such as non-delivery
  • Terms and conditions

Renting is a fantastic option for people needing to complete short-term projects. Many companies will allow you to buy your container outright during your rental period.

Or, you could purchase it if you are unsure how long the project will last. In addition, some companies offer buy-back options that are worth exploring.

New Versus Used Shipping Containers for Storage

Let’s suppose you’ve decided to buy a shipping container for your storage needs. The next decision is whether to select a new or used one. First, we should clarify one point because “new” can confuse people.

In most cases, companies will mean “one trip.” As we mentioned before, nearly every shipping container is built in China and then makes one trip to the USA. Therefore, these containers are considered new.

In contrast, used containers have spent time traversing the open sea. As such, they may have external rust, dents, or repairs on them. Used containers are much cheaper, sometimes half the price, of newer versions.

You should check your budget and consider how much the cosmetic modifications to the used shipping container might cost. There are additional classes that we use in the industry; below is a complete list.

  • New / One Trip shipping containers are loaded with cargo once from the manufacturer
  • Wind and Water Tight (WWT) are units that people can no longer use on transport but are suitable for storage
  • Cargo Worthy (CW) containers are still suitable for cargo shipping
  • As-Is depends on the company definition, but they often need damage repair

Talking to a professional about what they have in stock may influence your decision on conditions.

How to Choose a Shipping Container Company

Choosing a company can be a daunting experience when you don’t have complete knowledge about shipping containers. However, we genuinely want you to find the ideal one, so here are the three top points you should research.

Does the Company Have Great Reviews?

A reputable company should be transparent about its work. Be sure to read reviews on their website to check the standard of their containers and customer service.

You should be offered guidance and support in choosing the correct shipping container for your needs. Remember that it might not necessarily be the most expensive one.

So, if the reviews mention pushy customer service, difficulty with pick-ups, or drops-off, we’d recommend choosing elsewhere. Companies will often showcase their latest projects on their website.

You could spend time looking through those pages to see if there is a similar project that you have in mind. This will help the company to visualize what you have in mind and provide more targeted support.

Find a Company That Cares About the Details

You don’t want to be stung by any surprise costs. One of the most costly components in this industry is transportation and delivery. You can trust a company that asks for specific details when offering you a delivery quote.

Make sure you and they are very clear on delivery routes and access. Most shipping companies will use traditional delivery trailers that require a lot of parking space. The other option is a tilt-bed truck which requires half the amount.

Only consider working with a company that gives clear instructions on their delivery requirements. If their delivery team deems your site unsuitable, they will penalize you with non-delivery charges.

For us, we know that our standard 20ft containers need 70ft of straight clearance. You can view our delivery requirements on the website.

Be Wary of the Cheapest Company

Choosing the cheapest company might sound like you’ve saved yourself money. But, there is probably a reason that they are so cheap. We often hear cases of people buying from private sellers without viewing the shipping container themselves.

Then when it arrives, it is not waterproof and requires a lot of work. In addition, some companies offer shipping containers sold “as is.” It’s an industry recommendation to view any “as is” shipping container in person.

However, if you can’t go to see it yourself, ask for time-stamped photos to review its condition. A reputable company will clearly define what they consider “as is.”

For example, some list “as is” to mean that the container is in the same condition as when they purchased it. Others suggest that “as is” equates to the container being in the same condition as a new one.

The Best Shipping Containers for Storage

Shipping Containers make excellent storage options. Builders convert them into secure apartments, so professionals can also modify shipping containers for storage. You can choose the size and the location to best suit your needs.

Your storage will then be safe for decades to come. You won’t have to worry about sudden snowstorms, rains, or decay. These problems only come with storage sheds.

So, choose a shipping container for storing goods and feel safe knowing that they will come out in the pristine condition that they went in.

Our helpful and expert team is ready to offer you guidance in finding a shipping container. Call us today to discuss or get a free quote.

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