The Ultimate Guide to Repainting a Shipping Container

Repainted & Refurbished used 20ft shipping containersRepainting a shipping container is an easy way to improve the external appearance. It is also popular option for customers looking to match their container to their brand colours. Repainting a container also helps to extend the life of a container.

We offer a range of different repainting options in our depots. This includes the cheap and cheerful full blow over, to more intricate masking of locking gears and removing decals. All our repaints are sprayed, rather than painted by hand.

What Type of Paint is Used?

All our repaints will be with a high quality marine grade paint. It is a very hardwearing paint and used on items that will be subject to harsh weather and salt water on a regular basis. We will generally have stock of RAL6007, RAL5013 and RAL7016 in our depots and ready for orders. More unusual colours (pink, yellow or orange) may need to be ordered in.

Typically we do not apply primer coats. With paint of this quality, it is not necessary most of the time. We do suggest, if you are looking for an exact paint match or a lighter colour you may want to consider a primer. We respray directly over the original paint and shipping markings, without a primer this can affect the shade slightly.

Please be aware, there are no colour match guarantees between fresh repaints and existing paint. There can be small variations between batches. Fresh repaints will not match faded paint. A new RAL6007 will look a shade or two different to a 2 year old container of the same colour.

Basic Repaint

Our basic repaints are our cheap and cheerful option. Our yards will blow over the entire container. With this option, nothing is masked off. Door gears and shipping decals will all be resprayed over. Even with our basic repainting option, the difference a fresh coat of paint can make is huge.

The yard will give the container a quick jet wash to remove any peeling paint, loose rust or dirt. The surface rust will not be rubbed down as the COR-TEN steel construction means that the rust is non-porous and will not effect the ageing of the container in any major way.

We recently repainted a green 10ft container in our London depot. We bought this container from a customer who had it on site for a few years. The paint had faded over time and although still in good structural condition, it wasn’t looking it’s best. A quick blow over in RAL6007 made a massive difference to the appearance of the container and really smartened it up.

We offer this basic option as standard with our refurbished containers. We will also add a lock box to a refurb container to increase security. Our range of refurbished containers are one our best sellers. We offer RAL6007, RAL5013 and RAL7016 as the standard colour options for refurbished containers, but if you have another colour in mind let us know!

Premium Repaint

A premium repaint offers a much smarter finish to your shipping container. Our yard will mask off the door seals and vertical locking bars before respraying and also remove the shipping decals before respraying the unit.

This option is very popular with our customer with higher end requirements. If your container is going to be on display for customers or visitors, you may want to consider this options.

We find most customers opt for this option when they want to repaint a one trip container and keep it looking as neat as possible, but don’t want the original green or blue.

Shipper Legible Repaint

Some companies choose to repaint their container, but still require the container to be suitable for shipping. To ship a container, the CSC and shipping information must be visible. With our other options for repainting we either repaint over the shipping info, or remove them.

With a shippable repaint we mask off the CSC plate and shipping info. Alternatively, we can remove the decals and reapply them once the paint has dried.

If you plan to smarten up your container by giving it a fresh coat of paint in its original colour, masking off the decals is an easy option. However, if you plan to repaint the container a completely new colour, you may want to consider having the decals removed and reapplied after repainting.

For one of our customers, we repainted a 20ft HC side opener for a customer who wanted to ship their container. In this case, we masked off the shipping details before repainting. To keep the unit looking neat, the customer also opted to have a premium repaint, so the locking bars were masked off too.

Internal Repaint

As standard we do not repaint the inside of a container. With one trip containers, the inside is still in good condition and does not require a repaint. Most of our customers who are purchasing used containers do not opt to repaint the inside.

For most uses, the inside appearance of the container is not that important. With storage or export, the container will be full of stuff and the walls will be hardly visible.

You may chose to repaint the inside if you will be converting the container, having customers or visitors in or even just if it is what you prefer.

We recently repainted the inside of a 20ft container in our Birmingham depot. The container had a small fire started inside and had left the walls of the container dirty and smokey. The yard repainted the inside in a neutral colour. This is the standard option for internal painting.

Colour Options

Chart of RAL coloursSuppliers of marine grade paint on work with RAL colour codes. If you work with different colour codes, we would need you to pick the closest matching RAL colour. You can find our list of RAL colours here.

We do recommend having your container repainted in a dark colour. Dinks, dents and other cosmetic damage are much less visible when repainted in dark colour. However, there are lots of reasons why you may choice to repaint your container in a light RAL colour.

White and Light Colours

White containers are not all that common in the UK, but are more popular in Europe. Lighter containers are not the most popular colour choices as any cosmetic damage is more visible. However, white containers do prove popular with rental companies and building companies.

Painting a container in a light colour will cost more than if you were to opt for a darker colour. The container will need more coats of paints to cover the original paint. Many of our customers looking for white containers require the repaint in order to reflect the sunlight and prevent the container temperature rising inside the container.

If you are looking for a white container, why not consider light grey? We have completed a repaint for a customer who wanted white but on a tight budget. We suggested a respray in ‘off white’ grey colour. The container didn’t need as many coats as a white container would require, so costs were kept as low as possible.

Unusual Colours

We can offer almost any RAL colour repaint for your shipping container. Whether you want the colour because it is your favourite, to blend in with the surroundings or to match your brand we can help.

In the past, we repainted a nearly new container bright pink. This customer was creating a roaming art installation using a shipping container. The artist wanted their container to stand out and draw in visitors – bright pink is definitely eye catching.

We do not regularly hold unusual colours in stock. We typically order these colours as and when orders come in. Unusual colours like the above may come at a higher price than the standard colours we offer.

If you are looking to repaint your container in an unusual, unique colour we do ask you to check that the colour is not pearlescent or sparkly.

Brand Colours

Many customers choose to repaint their containers to match their brand colours. It’s very popular with larger companies and sports teams who want their container to match their team colours.

One of our regular customer’s Balfour Beatty often choose to have their containers painted in blue and white, to match their brand. In the past we have supplied a chemical store and a smoking shelter in these colours.

We also produced a stadium seating container for FC Hartlepool. This unit was painted in blue, red and white to match the teams colours.

Matching your container to your brand colours is great way to advertise yourself on your container. It also allows a cohesive look if the rest of your site matches your brand colours.

Repainting A Container Yourself

There is also the option to repaint the container yourself. This is a popular option for our customer who already have containers on site and want them repainting.

Sending out mobile container painters is not cost effective so not an option we offer. Collecting a container from a site and bringing it back to one of our depots for repainting it also not cost-effective.

We offer tins of shipping container paint (available to buy on our website!). With these tins, you can choose any RAL colour you like.

How to Apply Paint

These paints do not require a primer. However, you will need to ensure the surface of your container is clean, dry, and free of any lose paint or rust.

The paint can either be applied by brush, roller or spray gun. Using a spray gun will get the paint to stretch further than with a brush. You will need to add thinners to the paint if you plan to spray it.

You may need to consider how many coats you will need and how many tins you require. If you are repainting a container the same colour you will likely only need one coat. If applying a lighter colour over a darker one, this will likely need multiple coats.

Touch Up Repainting

We also offer smaller 5L tins of touch up paint. These are still high quality marine grade paints and available in any RAL colour.

These tins are ideal for keeping you container looking fresh and protected from the elements. Touch ups can easily be added to you annual shipping container maintenance routine.

Even one trip containers will have the odd scratch from their first journey to the UK. Likewise, a freshly repainted refurbished container may have a small scrape from its journey from the yard to you. Having some touch up paint on hand for small marks is a great way to keep your container in the best cosmetic condition.

Contact Us 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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