A complete guide to shipping container floors

Shipping container floors are one of the most important parts of cargo containers. The shippers, business people, or homeowners must give due attention to them when buying shipping containers. Freight units are known for transporting and storing huge amounts of goods for longer durations. They are heavy-duty, reliant, and durable and this is what makes them appropriate for longer-term usage. There are different cargo units for different purposes like for dry cargo is a dry van, for tall cargo is open top and hard top open top container. Same for food items and other perishable goods is insulated shipping containers and reefers and for out-of-the gauge goods is flat rack and platform units. There are other different shipping boxes that are giving huge options for the movement of merchandise. They are in vogue for home furnishing solutions as well. But every time you are using the freight boxes you should give prior attention to the flooring. And if you are buying used containers then checking the floor is of utmost necessity.

Shipping container floor- An Important Point to Consider

If you are interested in buying new shipping containers or want to get old containers then you must look thoroughly at all aspects of them. From exterior to interiors, from walls to roofs, and flooring, everything should be given due consideration.

Now, you might be thinking about what to look for or how to inspect it! Then you should look for any permanent damages, holes, the strength of the floor and other such things in detail. You must be an expert or take a specialist with you. And if you can’t get an expert then you must get the maritime containers from a reputed shipping container supplier.

What are containers floors made of?

Shipping container floors are usually made of plywood made from tropical woods like Keruing or Apitong. Their wood provides the highest resistance against higher temperatures, humidity, and other such issues. The woods are the most perfect but come with a bit of baggage. The wood attracts pests. And to fight it, the floorings need to be infused with pesticides. And this point has to be well thought before buying them for the home option. As the pesticides turn shipping container floors toxic and are harmful to humans.

Other than this, the floor can be made from steel or other materials. But basically, they are constructed from steel cross sheets and thick marine plywood to give it durability for longer periods.

What are the different types of container floors?

Seeing the different shipping containers sizes and types, there are different types of shipping container floors. Let’s look at them one by one.


Plywood comes from the tropical woods Keruing or Apitong. They are sturdy and provide resistance against higher temperatures and weather for longer time periods. Where they are so strong, they have one great weakness. Plywood flooring attracts pests. To get refuge from it, the flooring is infused with insecticides and pesticides. This may seem like a problem to you if you want to get them for home building solutions. But for transportation of goods, it does not create any issue.


Bamboo is a good alternative for plywood. Along with being stronger and providing resistance against harsh weather and temperatures, you will not have to worry about treating the floor with harsh pesticides. As they don’t attract the pests to such extent as plywood. The bamboo flooring is protected with a sealant like epoxy paints to increase its longevity and protect it from any damages.

Imitation Wood Vinyl Planks

Vinyl or imitation wood is one of the alternatives to plywood flooring. The companies, offices, homeowners who want steel shipping containers as their homes are choosing it a lot as it gives them multiple trendy and gorgeous floor options. Vinyl provides resistance against water, needs very less maintenance, comes at very cost-effective prices, and is highly durable. They don’t require extra effort during the cleaning process.

One of the reasons people are loving them is that you can easily install them. They are flexible in nature and don’t need any extra manpower. The vinyl flooring consists of small planks. The planks conjoin with the small grooves that are present on the sides. This gives you the ease of removing damaged planks and replacing them with good ones.

Aluminum and steel flooring

They are one of the favorite choices for refrigerated containers or insulated containers. As it locks the temperature inside. Both of them are easy to maintain and can provide a variety of perks. It doesn’t let odor stay and you can easily clean it without the fear of scratching. The flooring provides safety from harsh weather and is resistant to any deep wear and tear. The most important benefit of steel or aluminum flooring is that they don’t need any pesticide treatment. After long-term usage like plywood floors, they are not useless. One can easily recycle them and use them again that is why they are a sustainable option in comparison with other floorings. The other benefit is that the insulating shipping container floor keeps the temperature inside the cargo units cool.

Epoxy Coating

Epoxy coating is a mix of resin and hardener. This is what makes the epoxy coating the perfect solution for wooden flooring. The epoxy coating seals the plywood or bamboo flooring fully. Thus, the harmful effect of pesticide coating on wooden flooring mitigates. This saves from the harmful effects of chemicals. The sealant doesn’t let water seep inside, is scratch-proof, and saves the flooring from any type of corrosion or damages.

Coin Vinyl

Coin vinyl flooring is water, liquid, and slip-resistant. They are easy to maintain and the cleaning process is super easy and fluid for them. The installation process is easier and offers top-floor grip. That is why they are in vogue for dance floors, garages, metal shipping containers, and others. Coin vinyl is durable and provides resistance from any type of wear or tear. Though the look is very classy and industrial type, you have to suffice with limited colors. And the limited color options are silver, grey, black, and sandstone. Other than this, there are not many options when it comes to color.

Commercial Style Carpet Tile

Commercial carpet tiles are cost-effective, slip-resistant, durable, and can withstand heavyweights. Along with it, they are available in different colors, shapes, sizes, and styles. They provide safety from heavy wear and tear, are scratch-resistant, and are easy to clean. One can easily change the damaged tiles if there is some great issue or damage to them. As you don’t have to replace the whole flooring, you just have to remove the culprit tile.

How to treat the plywood flooring?

The plywood floor though one of the used and better solutions presents one bigger problem. They attract insects and pests towards them. But the problem is not unsolvable. One can treat plywood floors by infusing them with strong pesticides like Aldrin, Dieldrin, Chlordane, Lindane, and others. They can also seal them with sealant or coat them with epoxy coating. This increases longevity, provides resistance against any wear-tear or scratch.

But, in the course of using pesticides, one has to keep in mind that they are harmful to us. So, to avoid the after-effects one must leave them for a longer time. But if you don’t have time then go for sealants after infusing process. It helps in masking the odor.

How to remove the container plywood floor?

Removing plywood floors is not much of a tedious task if you have an expert’s help at your hand. You just need some relevant, good-quality tools and voila, your floor will be easy to remove. Though the process may seem easier but get ready for some dirty hands.

  • First and foremost never sand the flooring as though it may not be harmful as asbestos, the dirt is still harmful if it settles in your lungs.
  • Then gather your tools like a hand saw, crowbar, pry bar, hammer, etc.
  • Use a hand saw to cut around the bolt holes and cut the bolts at the floor out.
  • After it, use a crowbar or pry bar to remove the plywood.
  • Then go for fire retardant insulation as it helps in saving the cargo unit from the fire along with maintaining airflow, and temperature inside the box.

Alternatives to plywood flooring

Like mentioned before, bamboo, imitation wood vinyl planks, aluminum, and steel flooring, epoxy coating, coin vinyl, commercial-style carpet tile are the alternatives to plywood container floors.

How a bad container floor can cause problems?

A bad container floor can be a reason for huge agonies and also be a cause for extra expenses. For example- you got the used freight container in California and you have to transport huge items to China but when it came to the time of transfer, you saw that the container’s floor is monumentally damaged. In this case, you will have to send it for repair that takes time and till then you may have to incur losses. And as you have bought so many goods that you are going to transfer, they will also turn bad in the wait. Thus, you should always see that the container’s floor is in optimum condition so you never have to bear losses.

How do I check the longevity of the floor of the container?

Make sure that you go for sustainable floors as they will not only work for longer time periods, you can reuse them after the recycling process.
Go for steel, aluminum, or such type of floors that are sustainable when buying new cargo containers.
In case of getting used shipping containers for sale, you must inspect, and if there is another flooring ask the shipping container company to change to a better sustainable substitute.
Look for the CSC (Convention for Safe Containers) Plate. You can find the plate outside the shipping container door. It contains all information regarding the timber treatment component the shipping container goes through. The information that one can see on the plate is IM- Immunity, Treatment Chemical, and Treatment date. With this information, you can decide what to look for when you go to buy second-hand containers.

When do I need to replace the shipping containers floor?

  • The answer to this depends upon the length of time duration for which the shipping box was in use. Also, it depends upon your preferences. If you are someone who likes to keep changing the flooring from time to time then it totally depends on your own wishes.
  • But according to the situation, you need to change the flooring when you see severe damages happening like a big hole, a broken plank, pests inside the planks, and other such causes that makes it impossible for you to transport the merchandise.
  • Other than this, you can also change them when your shipping box floor is showing some signs of damages and is going for a long journey. At that time you must check the condition of the floor as if the floor has abrasion signs, in the course of the journey it may incur you huge losses.
  • Also always check what types of loads you are going to put into the box as more than heavier loads may damage the floorboards.
  • When you see the signs of wear and tear, it is necessary that you must search for a container supplier near me and then visit them. You can also go to container depots as they also are adept in providing maintenance services to the cargo units.

How do I fix a damaged container floor?

For fixing the damaged floor, you can follow different measures:

  • Patch, cement, or seal the damaged area.
  • Go for the epoxy coating to give the damaged floor sturdiness.
  • Keep the regular tools like screws, hammers, and other things handy so that minor damage can be rectified easily.
  • And if the container is beyond repair and doesn’t pass through cargo-worthy, IICL-5, wind, and watertight quality tests, it is time to reconsider and buy a new steel shipping container or get a used cargo container.

Ready to buy shipping containers of good shipping container floor quality?

Thus, you saw the importance of shipping container floor, the way to detect the damage, and the measures that you must give attention to before buying them. So, if you are looking to buy shipping containers for sale in USA, Spain, China, Germany, or any other place in the world, LOTUS Containers offers you one of the best and different choices.

We are one of the prime container providers and have been providing shipping containers for sales for decades. From dry van to pallet wide to flat racks, we have a wide array of freight containers. So, choose us to fulfill all your container-related needs and take your business to new levels.

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