So, it’s been a while since the last post. A couple of things have happened in between, including painting the shipping container. But painting the shipping container was not without problems.

Preparation is Key

I’ve spent a lot of time preparing the container for painting because it was fairly well used since its manufacture in 2001. There were a lot of scratches and minor dents which had caused some surface rust. I wanted to remove all this and overcoat it with a good exterior steel paint.

I started with an orbital sanding machine which made no impact on the rust at all. I found that a steel cup brush on a small grinder work well. For any real tough stuff, a flap disk got the job done. See Floor Preparation for what I did there.

After cleaning the rust off I cleaned with thinners before painting on a red-oxide primer to ensure the rust does not return in a hurry. I started with a short mohair roller for the red-oxide. It went OK, until I got my air compressor serviced. I wish I done that sooner, because spray painting is so much faster and gives a much better finish.  It’s also easier to clean up than rollers and paintbrushes.

Not Without Problems

However, I hit a bit of a problem when I wanted to paint the exterior paint. I decided on using a high quality roof paint, designed for steel roofs. It includes a component that is supposed to reflect up to 30% of radiant heat. But the problem was that the paint was so thick that it could not be painted with a brush (at least not a decent finish with a brush), roller or my air spray gun. I tried to organize an airless sprayer, which would have worked a charm, but the only one I could find in the Durban area was sent on someone else’s project and I never saw it again. I tried tool-hire places, and even looked into buying one. Nobody had any to hire, and purchasing one worked out to be way too expensive. So I thought I’d try looking into an electric sprayer or spray system which uses a blower (as opposed to compressed air). At under R2000 it seemed like a more viable option than an airless sprayer for over R30000!

The paint spray system I bought uses a 1200W electric blower that supposedly one can use any paint, from varnish to thick PVA-based paints. It comes with a choice of 3 nozzles to adjust for various paint thicknesses, and the air speed can also be controlled via a switch on the blower unit. Paint delivery can also be controlled on the spray gun itself. The spray gun container holds one liter of paint.

Using the paint spray system I was able to easily spray the entire container. Not as quick as an airless sprayer, but was more than capable of handling this job. There was not much overspray, and was fairly easy to clean the spray gun in water afterwards. I have not tried solvent-based paint with this sprayer yet. The color I had chosen for the container is called Volcanic Grey.

Last But Not Least

Lastly, I stripped all the hardware off the doors before cleaning and spraying. I wanted to clean up the corrosion on the parts. Although these do not rust because of the metal composition, there was quite a bit of white corrosion. I also chose to spray these with a DTM (Direct to Metal) paint to give a better finish, and to tie in with the color scheme I had chosen for the finished container. The color I selected for these components, as well as window frames, etc is called Hammered Black.

Painting the door hardware with Hammered Black.
Painting the door hardware with Hammered Black.

2 thoughts on “4. Painting the Shipping Container

  1. This is a fantastic soon to be home. Very keen on following your journey. Please keep me posed. Perhaps a future buyer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *