Fixing a burnt out shipping container

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Forum topic by 404 - Not Found posted 08-15-2013 11:45 PM 1609 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2932 days

08-15-2013 11:45 PM

I have been a soccer coach at our schoolboys (girls too) football club for the last number of years. We fund raised and bought a steel shipping container for storage of goal posts and other kit at the pitch a few years ago.

Some dipshit with a box of matches got their summer holiday joillies by burning the container out. Accelerant through a cable hole, a naked flame – and poof!, all gone. Everything has been destroyed including the aluminium goalposts, nets, kits, first aid bags, etc.

So now there’s just a burnt out husk of a shipping container. To dispose of this and replace it would cost maybe €1500, which is a lot of money on top of all the kit we have to replace. I could re-plyline it – new floor, walls, ceiling, shelve it and paint the exterior for about €500 in materials, with a couple of volunteers we could probably do it over a few weekends.

So here’s the question part -

Is there anything to watch out for in a job like this? The structure seems straight, just charred, the paint is all burnt off so the body will probably start rusting quickly. How would you go about doing this, is it even worth touching?
Is there a paint that can go over this (I’m thinking along the the lines of an agricultural finish).

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

11 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3106 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 11:50 PM

I worked for a company that did insurance re-furbs. We used something called a Chem Sponge, that is used dry, then sprayed on oil based Kilz. This was all residential, so I can’t tell you about a metal container. Good Luck.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1821 posts in 1932 days

#2 posted 08-16-2013 01:03 AM

Renners I have not done a shipping container though I work for my family’s commercial fishing business. We had a fire on the inside of our fish hole (where we store the frozen fish). After it was put out we scrubbed it down with soap and water. Used grinders and a needle gun to remove all of the larger rust spots and then we painted it using (what we use on our boats) a very good metal boat paint. This paint is a base coat, a middle coat, and then a top coat which is usually the color you want (you may not need this). That paint holds up really well in the harshest of conditions. You may try that. Check with shipyards or places that deal with commercial fisherman, not sport fisherman, they have plastic boats.

Bear in mind this stuff is expensive and really really harsh chemically so make sure that you are using a breather (not trying to treat you like a child, just a friendly warning). Maybe not what you are looking for, but I know this stuff works. Good luck

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3856 days

#3 posted 08-16-2013 01:19 AM

that really sucks. Like wtf ? why would anyone do that.

I’m no expert but my 2 cents.

Scrape as much residue, junk, melted plastic out. Wash with soapy water. Maybe prime metal with zinzer primer ( stops the burnt stench smell…….let dry

cut your panels to fit, use panel adhesive to fasten to walls and floor and hold in place using 1” x 1” sticks, cut slightly longer then wall to wall ….bend them and they act like clamps to hold walls

seal up the holes so shit stick cant burn it down again

sorry for the loss

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2409 days

#4 posted 08-16-2013 01:26 AM

I would rent a powerful pressure washer and wash out all the loose paint,then rent a professional paint sprayer and paint it with a decent exterior paint.those pressure washers can and are almost as powerful as sand blasters.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 2200 days

#5 posted 08-16-2013 01:31 AM

Sorry to hear about that. I’m thinking along the same lines as Kaleb: get the burned areas to bare metal and use a good, metal primer, then topcoat with an automotive grade paint (NOT the rattle-can stuff). I’d try an auto body supply shop. Of course this assumes two things: 1) you have access to spray equipment and, 2) you have the resources to buy this stuff. Here in the states, this stuff goes for around $50 a gallon (whatever that is in Euros/liter). An Ag. finish would be similar. Good luck.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14171 posts in 3946 days

#6 posted 08-16-2013 02:06 AM

I would rent a powerful pressure washer and wash out all the loose paint,then rent a professional paint sprayer and paint it with a decent exterior paint.those pressure washers can and are almost as powerful as sand blasters.

2nd this one

You could do the same in the interior as well.

the red iron oxide paint looks like the right stuff too

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1831 days

#7 posted 08-16-2013 02:43 AM

Third vote for the pressure washer. Also, rust removal where necessary. There is probably a primer/paint that would allow you to paint directly over light surface rust. I wouldn’t try to paint over the charring.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20270 posts in 3068 days

#8 posted 08-16-2013 03:09 AM

I would get it sandblasted , primed and top coated. Some sandblast companies will at least do the priming for you right at after they expose all that bare metal. That would be quicker too.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2932 days

#9 posted 08-16-2013 08:39 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, they all make sense. It’s ironic that in the village where I live and where the football club is, there’s a guy who does shot blasting of large agri machinery – they all get primed with red oxide and top coated with tractor paint. The trouble is getting the container there. Lifted onto a flatbed lorry, unloaded, blasted/sprayed, loaded back on, delivered back will cost about €600. As for pressure washing, we have a pressure washer and a generator but it’s so remote we won’t get water to it – unless does anyone know if a pressure washer would run off a tank of water that could be brought down on a trailer? There’s a lot of farmer’s around here who would probably help out with that if it would work.

View Esko Lehtovaara's profile

Esko Lehtovaara

86 posts in 1708 days

#10 posted 08-16-2013 10:20 AM

One thing came to my mind. Anybody who is gonna paint inside with toxic paints should use aspiralprotection ex. Scott Profile 60 or even a motorised airflow unite with a Promask or similar and apropriate filters like
Scott CF 22 A2-P3 or GF 22 A2. Otherways the fumes will knock you out in seconds! Good luck with the job!!

-- Oisko aika oppia uutta? Go ahead and learn some Finnish at

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1831 days

#11 posted 08-16-2013 11:51 PM

Yes, a tank of water is sufficient for this purpose. Depending on the size of tank, it might require more than one trip, but if you have farmers nearby as willing helpers, that is not likely an issue.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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