Exterior Finish of Container Houses

Exterior Finish of Cargo Shipping Containers

What is The Best Exterior Finish of Container Houses

Characteristics of good paints

Typically, steel components of the Customized Containers Houses (frame, roof, and walls) are galvanized and painted. Galvanization is the primary layer of defense against rust and corrosion. However, paint also adds to the overall level of protection.

When UV-resistant, weather tolerant (rain, scorching sun, and freezing temperatures), not prone to discoloration, resistant to wear & tear process (scratching, chipping…), easy to clean, etc. it may offer long-lasting, easy to maintain coating efficiently sealing underlying layers of galvanized steel from the exposure to weather elements.

The paint’s texture and finesse of color also play a very important role in the structure’s appearance. Smooth and shiny surface, pleasant colors that are blending with the surroundings. It could be a vivid one, contrasting with backgrounds, and can add from soft to strong accents of elegance to the rugged metal structure.

The bottom line – good paint after years from application, should keep its original characteristics and appearance.

How are finished Customized Container Houses


Sidings of Customized Container Houses (walls, roof, doors…) are made from so-called sandwich panels consisting of thick layer of thermal insulation placed between two sheets of metal – usually
Pre-Painted Galvanized Iron (steel), commonly known as PPGI. The paint coating is added shortly after the galvanization in the same type of continuous process used for Coiled Steel.

Usually, there are few layers of paint coating (more robust on exposed to weather elements “exterior” surface (Top). There the others designed for “interior” (Back).

shipping container home paint

Typical composition of the PPGI steel (Source: Courtesy of IndoSteels (https://indosteels.com/ )

Polyester (PE) is the most popular top coating used for PP Coiled Steel. Created by baking, it has favorable characteristics for outdoor applications like strong adhesion. It also has UV resistance, durability, tolerance to a wide range of temperature swings, easy to maintain.

It is available in a variety of colors and what is important, it is relatively inexpensive. Its stability, however, may be affected by the corrosive environment (not only salty moisture but also wet, polluted, city atmosphere).

PE coating is also available in the High-Durability version (HD Polyester). It offers improved outdoor durability in polluted (corrosive) environments and better scratch resistance.

Poly Vinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) known as Fluorocarbon Resin paint is designed for iron exposed to a harsh (corrosive) environment. Created by baking at high temperatures, this super-coating offers high wear & tear resistance as well as stability and durability over time even when exposed to hot, salty moisture. It is more expensive and, it will be the preferred choice for highly “corrosive” regions like Florida, Hawaii, Caribbean islands…
Note that Kynar (also available as a spray), belongs to the class of air-drying PVDF paints and can be easily applied in DIY process.

What are the best paints for habitable steel structures?

When the new top coating is necessary for steel structure, suggested choices are epoxy or acrylic-based paints. Reasons might be: damaged surface, rust, or just an attempt to match colors to the background ambiance. They come in a wide spectrum of colors and are easy to apply in DIY approach.

Epoxy paint is a mixture of epoxy resin and curing components (hardener). It creates a sturdy, water and cleaners-resistant protective layer. So it is often used for floors, countertops (in general “high-traffic” areas). In general, epoxy resins are not toxic, but some curing components may be harmful in larger quantities.

Industrial-grade Acrylic paint is a mixture of minuscule particles of plastic acrylic resin, binder, and solvent (water). Once the water evaporates, particles of plastic resin with the help of the binder components fuse together creating a robust, strongly adhesive protective coating.

Special places in the industry have Polyurethane versions of acrylic paints (usually called “enamel-paints”). Thanks to their anti-rust properties as well as excellent resistance to weather elements, they are often used for the protection of steel structures. Unfortunately, during the drying phase, polyurethane (without mentioning the plethora of other “invisible chemicals) has harmful effects on health, so if possible, we should limit its use to outdoor applications.

Please note that in contrast to “baked” paints, wet-painted air-drying protective coatings (especially those exposed to weather elements and usually more abrasive outdoor environment) can chip, they are prone to scratches and the general “wear & tear” process. This destroys their integrity resulting in exposure of underneath metal to the atmosphere.

Fortunately, in most cases, such wear & tear only tarnishes elegance, because the underlayer of galvanization (if intact) will still provide robust and lasting protection against corrosion.

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