What Are Some Common Repairs to Shipping Containers?

Posted on:
Apr 28, 2022

the interior of a drybox shipping container

When you think of a shipping container, you picture a steel box that looks like it’s indestructible. But while they are certainly durable and strong, they are still vulnerable to wear and tear, rust, and other forms of damage. Here’s a look at some of the more common repairs that people have to make to their shipping containers.


Older containers can show signs of rust, especially in areas of damage like dents and scratches. Anywhere the paint job has been compromised, rust can take hold. Once rust is present, it can actually grow underneath the paintwork. It just needs an entry point. That’s why protective paintwork is so important.

Certain sections of shipping containers are more vulnerable to rust, such as:

  • Welds
  • Seams
  • Bottoms of doors
  • Container sides at the ground
  • Damaged sections

Flaking paint on containers that have been exposed to the sun and sea will quickly develop rust patches. It’s usually just surface rust that can be removed with some sandblasting, followed by priming and repainting.

But for deep rust and holes, those will have to be cut out so the rust doesn’t spread to healthy areas. A new piece of steel can be welded onto the container to patch up the hole. Always inspect your container periodically for rust so you can perform touchups.

Damaged or Rotting Flooring

Shipping container floors are usually comprised of one-inch-thick marine grade plywood that is quite durable but that will experience wear and tear over the years. Flooring takes the brunt of punishment because it sees a lot of foot traffic and machinery traffic – not to mention it has to carry the loads placed in the container.

Container floors experience a lot of gouging, scraping, pressure, and weight, which can lead to water damage if not sealed properly. You can replace the flooring fairly cost effectively.

Replacement of Door Seals

If you are storing goods in your container, you want it to be airtight and watertight to protect the items from weather, dirt, dust and pests. While the rest of the container could be in great condition, if the rubber seals on the doors are worn out and old, your container will be compromised.

In this case, you will have to replace the rubber seals. Check the doors themselves regularly, as they could get warped if they have been knocked or dented. You may have to repair or replace those warped doors so they close properly. Lubricate the hinges regularly too.


Freshly painted containers look great. But they can also add another layer of protection. Along with rust removal, hole patching, and sandblasting flaking paint, your container could be looking like new in no time. The exterior isn’t the only thing you should paint – don’t forget about the interior too.

You may also want to repaint your recently purchased shipping container so as to cover up previous branding and markings from the company before. Once it’s repainted, you can add your own branding and logo to the sides of the container.

Refrigerated Containers

The same repairs that standard containers fall victim to are the same ones that refrigerated containers – or reefers – need as well. Refrigerated containers are kept cool to preserve anything from food to flowers to pharmaceuticals. The walls, ceilings and floors of refrigerated containers need regular care and repair. But with reefers, they have extra components that can require some TLC – mainly to the refrigeration unit.

If you are experiencing issues with refrigeration, you will have to call a professional to troubleshoot and diagnose the problem. Don’t attempt to fix it on your own. Reefers need to be sealed well at all times, so always make sure the door seals are tight. Address any rust spots as they crop up, which will enhance energy efficiency and reduce operational costs.

If the container doesn’t stay cool, your refrigeration mechanic can make the necessary repairs or replace the whole unit if it is old.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is your best bet when it comes to caring for your shipping container.  Regular inspections, repairs and touch-ups can keep a small issue from becoming a large one with a lot of expense and hassle. It’s not difficult maintaining a shipping container. It just takes patience, diligence and time.

Contact DRYBOX

To get a free quote on your new or used shipping container, contact us toll free at 866-549-9823.




    Corporate Headquarters

    132 Estep Rd
    Chehalis, WA 98532

    Office: 360-262-1841 (Local)

    Branch Manager, Kirk Vigre

    Tacoma Container Yard

    2021 E Marc St
    Tacoma, WA 98421

    Branch Manager, Aaron Norlin

    Portland Container Yard

    10400 N Burgard Way
    Portland, OR 97203

    Office: 503-946-9744

    Branch Manager, Kyla Matthews

    Coeur d’Alene Container Yard

    3175 W Seltice Way
    Post Falls, ID. 83854

    Branch Manager, Ryan Earle

    Salt Lake City Containers

    2820 W 500 S
    Salt Lake City, UT 84104

    Branch Manager, Clarence Wright

    Spokane Container Yard

    8414 W Geiger Blvd
    Spokane, WA 99224

    Office: 509-606-2699

    Branch Manager, Ryan Earle