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Storage Container Damage: When Is It Time for Repairs?

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Storage container damage can give any customer worries. Containers are roughed up in typical use, but they can endure a lot of wear and tear. It’s a fact of life. Still, sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between minor defects and severe damages that need attention. Some things, like rust and holes, should be addressed quickly before the situation can intensify.

More minor issues, like floor gouges that don’t affect the wind and watertight condition of the container, can be repaired over time, as required. Still, it is important to observe the damage to your container and diagnose whether it’s minor or needs immediate storage container repair.

You can ensure that your container will last for its entire lifespan by keeping up with essential maintenance. By following these rules, your container will keep its weatherproof qualities and will be able to protect your stored supplies for years to come.

Storage container damage affects the paint and coloring of containers in a storage yard.
Containers are made to last a long time, but you can help them endure the tests of time with regular maintenance.

Basic Maintenance

Maintaining Rust

Firstly, the main opposing force for anyone preventing storage container damage is rust. While containers manufactured from weathering steel are corrosion-resistant, they’re not rust-proof. Rust may spread and diminish the structural integrity of your container. However, a container will not rust independently, even in direct contact with oxygen and water. This is because the paint provides a protective layer.

Even a tiny dent can provide a space for rust to spread. Check your container regularly, ensure you’re aware of any recent dents or chipped paint that may provide space for rust to grow, and repaint as needed. You’ll need to do these checks more frequently if you’re in a humid or seaside climate. Over time, you’ll develop an awareness of what conditions your container is sensitive to and will be able to assess whether a damaged spot will rust.

Maintaining a Level Container

Second, it’s important not to overload your container and ensure it remains level. Overfilling your container can warp the container’s frame, especially combined with an unstable container foundation. Do not load heavy equipment simultaneously; ensure that heavy weights are evenly distributed. The doors can be inoperable in severe circumstances if the container is unlevel.

Warping the frame of your container will require a professional to come to your site and repair it, and everything will need to be removed from the container, taking time out of your busy schedule. Make sure that the arrival and setup process goes smoothly and there is very little likelihood of storage container damage through warping.

Elevating Your Container

Finally, you’ll want to consider elevating your container with railroad ties on either end. Before container delivery, request railroad ties or two-by-fours, which we can provide and install at delivery for no extra cost. Elevating the container ensures that water can’t seep inside and creates a solid base to load the container and keep it level.

With these basics in mind, we can get a broad idea of how container problems can arise. Is the door not opening? It may not be an issue with your door; it could be that the container has been loaded unevenly, twisting the container and making it impossible to open. If you run into a situation like this, give your SMS representative a call, and they can help identify the problem and provide you with a solution.

Storage Container Damage to the Roof

The container roof demands special attention. Though rare, severe indents on the roof can be secret corrosive killers, pooling water and slowly eating away at your container’s frame. If left unaddressed, this can open holes over time in the roof of your container. That can damage your stored materials and break the container’s wind and weathertight seal. Containers have corrugated roofs to negate this, allowing water to run off the top quickly. Check your roof after rainfalls, and address rust spots immediately by repainting as needed.

Roofs might seem like they can bear a lot of weight. After all, can’t containers be stacked nine high? Yes, they can. However, most of that weight rests on the four corner castings of the container. Be careful not to leave excessive weight on your container’s roof. It may lead to a collapse or failure, requiring storage container repair.

An example of storage container damage, with rust on the side of several stacked shipping containers.
Even a tiny dent can provide a space for rust to spread. You should always check your container regularly and repaint them as needed.

Storage Container Damage to the Floor

The container’s flooring is susceptible to damage from heavy, uneven cargo loads, though this is rare. Untreated moisture may eat away at floors, while heavy machinery can gouge wooden slats. Apply weight to check the health of your container floors. See if it flexes too much or reacts spongy. Does it feel uneven and like it has a fair amount of give?

In this case, you may want to consider replacing the wood flooring. If the wood in your container floor loses its wind and watertight quality, your stored materials will be affected. Deal with floor damage before it gets to be a serious issue.

Doors, Gaskets and Hinges

Doors can sometimes have problems, even if the door isn’t the origin of the problem. For instance, in the case of container frame warping, the door can become stiff and inoperable if the container has improper weight distribution. Look at some more likely factors below:

  • Make sure that the hinge pins and blade are free from corrosion. If rust has established a foothold, affected parts may need replacement.
  • The door’s locking bar bracket is not aligned with the cam and cam keeper. In this situation, attempt to open both doors. If the process of opening your container requires significantly more force than usual, call your SMS representative.
  • A damaged gasket can prevent the door of your container from opening or closing. In this case, call your SMS representative, as the gasket will have to be resituated or replaced.
  • Water trapped between the doors has frozen.

Doors can be a concerning place for storage container damage to occur. If damage or a difficult situation presents itself, remember to stay calm. Do not attempt to force the container doors open with a crowbar or other physical means. Otherwise, you may injure yourself or further damage your storage container. To learn more, watch this video about how to open a shipping container correctly.

Storage Container Damage Summary

Storage container damage can be a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. By performing regular maintenance checks and knowing some basics of storage container repair, it’s easy to ensure that you’ll get a full life out of your container. Deal with minor issues before they become costly, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of secure storage for years to come. Need more information? We’re here to answer your questions and provide a free quote for your container needs.

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