How to Buy the Right Metal Storage Container

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How to Buy the Right Metal Storage Container

When you are looking for long-term, weather-proof storage for a home or business, a metal storage container is one of the best options. Built to transport cargo across the oceans, these steel containers are equally suited for land-based storage. Generally available in several different sizes, there are five basic types of metal storage containers, and several different quality considerations to make before settling on a purchase. Also consider how and where to place a large metal storage container for optimal long-term storage.

Common Storage Container Sizes

The two most common metal storage container sizes are 20-foot and 40-foot containers. These are the standard sizes used on cargo ships and the most widely available for retail sale. Another less common, though more convenient size for personal and business storage is the 10-foot shipping container. It is important to note that odd or custom-sized storage containers often cost more than standard 40-foot or 20-foot models.


Five Types of Metal Shipping Containers

The highest quality metal shipping container available for sale is the one-trip storage container. Made of COR-TEN weathering steel, one-trip containers resist atmospheric corrosion, feature only one coat of factory paint, are generally rust-free, contain minimal dents, and have no shipping labels. In order of descending quality, the other four options are 'Grade A' wind and water-tight (WWT) containers, 'Grade B' WWT containers, refurbished containers, and as-is containers. In contrast to one-trip containers, shipping companies used the lowest grade, as-is containers for years before putting them up for sale. These containers often present with several aesthetic issues such as rust, contrasting shipping labels, and colours. They may also have problems maintaining their weather-proof seal.


Storage Container Quality Concerns

There are two major quality differences to consider when purchasing a metal storage container: the type of storage it provides and its door construction. Though the most common storage containers are simply made of steel and called 'dry' storage containers, insulated or refrigerated storage containers are also available for those who need to consider temperature regulation along with their other storage needs. In addition, the type of door on the container affects not only the use of the unit, but its weather-proof seal. Though popular, roll-up doors are not as secure as ISO cargo doors and are not resistant to rodent infestation.

Metal Storage Container Placement

Before committing to buy a metal storage container, it is important to consider delivery and long-term placement. Although sizes range from 10 to 40 feet, a 20-foot shipping container needs at least 150 metres of room for proper delivery off of a roll-off style truck or bed-style trailer. It is also important that the space designated is level, or the container's doors may not function properly. As compensation, use wood blocks to level the container. Adequate drainage of the area is also important to prevent water leakage, especially around older, lower-quality storage containers or those with roll-up doors.

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