Standard versus Premium repainting options for Shipping Containers

Repainting options for shipping containers

Repainting a shipping container is a very popular request. We can repaint both new and used shipping containers in our network of UK depots. Some customers want a smarter used quality shipping container, and a repaint allows for this. Some customers have planning stipulations and want a specific colour to meet their planning application. Others may want the container to match closely their company colour(s) or branding. In this guide we detail some of the repainting options we can offer on storage containers.

Please note if you need to export your shipping container we need to ensure the shipping markings are still in place. This will be a very different job for us so please get in touch if you wish to repaint a shipping container and then use it for export. This guide specifically relates to repainting shipping containers that will be used for static storage use in the UK.

We commonly offer out 2 repainting options, a standard repaint and a premium repaint option. In this guide we detail the differences between the 2 and highlight what we do and don’t do with each of these options.

These are our standard options. We are very willing and able to offer a customised service if you need something slightly different to the below. With a huge range of customers and industries buying repainted containers for a wide range of uses. We regularly need to offer a bespoke service for customers. If you need a different level of service for your container repaint please let us know and we will always be happy to look into this.

Specifications that apply to both repainting options.

Firstly, we always use high quality marine grade paint for all our repaints as standard. This is very hard wearing paint used throughout the marine industry for boats, shipping containers and other marine items that will likely be subjected to the harshest of weather conditions and salt water on a regular basis.

We always spray paint rather than hand paint, given the area that needs to be repainted and the fact we need to keep a close eye on our costs (in order to remain competitive for our customers!) – frankly the labour cost is too high to hand paint any of our shipping containers and remain competitive.

Primer coats are typically NOT applied. the paint is of a quality that it does not require a primer. As we over spray the original shipping container colour and the shipping markings (decals) we do not guarantee exact shade matching without an additional primer coat layer (which will come at an additional cost). We can offer primer coats if required but as most customers simply want a neutral external repaint on a used container to allow it to blend in with the surroundings, we don’t provide it as standard.  We advise a primer coat is not an essential requirement in most cases, unless you need perfect colour matching or unless you need a lighter shade of paint finish on your shipping container, eg pastels

Removal of Shipping Container Decals / Shipping Markings

We do not remove the shipping container numbers and other markings and labels before repainting on either our standard options, but this is included on our premium repaint option.

Put simply we build our offer around what we believe the majority of customers want in terms of balance between quality of finish and price, but we are very able to modify our approach if you need something slightly different. Of course if we do more work,  our costs are higher and we will charge more for this. We believe we can offer a very cost effective solution whatever your needs.

If repainting a used container, our genuine belief is for the vast majority of customers, they do not want to pay for the extra costs of the decal removal before the repaint. Its rarely, if ever, a cost effective exercise.

Here are some pictures of a new side opening container with a premium repaint AND with the container decals or markings removed.

Colour and Shade options when repainting a shipping container

It’s important for us to mention, any paint job is possible but our standard options are refined by ourselves to offer what we believe is a strong balance of quality and cost. If the spec we offer doesn’t match your needs then please let us know and we can look at other options for you.

With custom colours we always recommend darker shades. Darker shades of paint have a tendency to soften the look of cosmetic flaws of the container whereas lighter shades don’t so, flaws will be more obvious.

Also, as we spray directly over the old paint colour and the shipping markings on the container, our standard prices will only apply for darker shades.

If you require a lighter shade we can offer a primer coat in all of our depots but this will increase your repainting cost.

When choosing a colour we have 2 options. If you ask for ‘dark blue’ or dark green’ then your container will arrive in our depots choice of shade that fits your instructions. Different yards of ours will often stock slightly different shades as standard, so a dark green container from our Birmingham depot may come out a slightly different shade of dark green to a container that has been repainted in our London yard.

If you wish to specify a RAL colour code for the paint we buy in you can also do this. On occasions, if that particular shade costs us a lot more there may be a slight change in cost but this usually applies for colours that are earmarked for specific uses or brands and is quite rare.

Also if you already have a shipping container on your site and want us to match this colour, please get us a photo of this and in most cases we can supply a container with the same shade of paint. Please also check any paperwork you have with the old container and let us know if the colour code is listed in your paperwork or on your invoice. Please note all paint does fade, so a new 20ft container in a dark blue RAL 5013 may look like a slightly different shade to a 2 year old container of the same colour.

Unfortunately we cannot work with any other colour coding system.

Basic / Standard Repainting for Shipping Containers

Our basic repaint option is a cost effective option for anyone who wished to smarten up a used container or who wants a cost-effective and simple repaint option on any shipping container.

With the doors closed we simply repaint everything. This includes the door rubbers and vertical locking rods. You can see some example photos here of some used containers that have gone out with a standard repaint. (Please note in one photo you can still see the little metal data plate showing. Some of our yards mask this plate off, others don’t please let us know if this is important for you and we can accommodate this as required)

With a used container, we will rub down any flaking paint or rust, but we will not rub all the surface rust down to a clean surface. The reasons why here are twofold. Firstly the container construction. All genuine shipping containers are made from COR-TEN A grade steel as opposed to mild steel. when COR-TEN steel rusts, the rust layer forms a protective layer in its own right (it won’t let water through the rust layer) so removing the rust layer will shorten the overall lifespan of the container

The other reason for this is cost. With a 20ft refurbished container costing typically around £300-400 less than a brand new one, the difference in quality and value terms is already very tight. If we were to rub down the surface rust on a container it would take so long that it would add a significant cost to our refurbished containers, and make them cost much the same as a brand new container. It’s never going to be practical to sell a 15-year old container for only a few percent less than a brand new one.

However, this basic option gives a cost-effective nice and smart repaint in your choice of colour. If you need something cost-effective and solid to store your goods in and that will also be on display for customers or visitors to your site – then a refurbished shipping container with a standard repaint will serve many customers well.

Premium repaint option for shipping containers

Our premium repaint option offers a neater and smarter finish to the container. We mask off the door seals and vertical locking rods on the shipping container which gives a much smarter finish.

This option is typically very popular with customers with higher end requirements. You may want a very smart and neat container if it’ss to be used at the front of your retail or industrial unit and on display for customers and visitors to the site. We also find these premium repaints more popular with conversion jobs. If you have a container bar or cafe unit, spending a little extra on a very smart finish is exactly what some customers want.

You can see some example photos of 2 side opening container jobs we have done with a premium repaint option. As you can see this the door seals being masked off is much more noticeable on the red container. (A shipping container repainted black with black door seals has less of an effect but this still looks very neat)


Do you need a repainted shipping container. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 5pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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