10 Things to Consider When Buying a Conex Container

3 minute read
Jul 17, 2019
10 Things to Consider When Buying a Conex Container

Conex container structures – also known as shipping containers, intermodal containers, ISO containers, or sea/ocean containers – were originally designed to store and transport materials and products on ships, rails, or trucks. Today, their features and characteristics make them ideal for uses beyond just shipping – as portable storage units, industrial equipment enclosures, workspaces, living spaces, and more. 

Because these structures are remarkably sturdy, cost-effective, and easy to install (they require no foundation in most cases); they eliminate the need to build from scratch and thereby reduce cost and waste. They also protect against the elements and can be easily modified to suit specific needs. Made of strong corten steel, they’re even stackable, which means you could use them to create a multi-level structure!

Many people are relatively new to the concept of modified shipping containers, so naturally they have questions about conex containers’ characteristics and utility – and we have the answers! 

1. What size is the standard conex container?

Shipping containers come in a few different sizes, but the standard sizes are 20-ft. and 40-ft. Common heights are 8-ft. 6-in. and 9-ft. 6-in. (containers of this height are known as high-cube containers).

Interested in learning more about
shipping container dimensions? 

2. How much does a standard shipping container weigh?

A 20-ft. container weighs about 5,000 lb and can hold about 27 tons; a 40-ft. container weighs a little over 8,000 lb and can hold about 30 tons.

3. What is the life expectancy of a shipping container?

The typical service life of a container is about 10-12 years, depending on where it’s placed (the climate), how it’s being used (how much wear-and-tear it sees), and how many times (if any) it’s been moved to other locations. Consider this a conservative estimate, though; we’ve seen our containers maintain their structural integrity for 15+ years. Containers also maintain 50% of their original buying value for 25 years!

4. Are the conex containers Falcon Structures modifies new or used?

Containers are typically categorized as “one-trip” (used, but having only made one cargo trip) or used (making multiple trips across the ocean) . At Falcon we use both to create our modified structures depending on the customer’s needs. 

5. Are conex containers wind- and water-tight?

“Wind and water tight” is a phrase typically reserved for unmodified containers making trips across the ocean, and therefore the container must be impenetrable to wind and water. Falcon modifies it’s container structures to withstand normal wind and rain conditions, and can be further enhanced with climate controls that heat, cool, and remove humidity. Their weather-resistance makes conex containers ideal for  living, working, and even storing sensitive documents. 

6. If I purchase a used container, should I expect obvious wear-and-tear? 

One-trip shipping containers may have some minor “scuffs and scratches” since they’ve been loaded and handled by machinery, but they should appear in almost-new condition.  Used containers may have more visual damage. However, our strict quality control measures eliminate any worry that used containers are somehow less structurally sound than new containers. In other words, we do not accept damaged or weakened containers. 

7. Can a conex container be painted? 

Yes – almost any color under the sun. We’ll even apply graphics if you’d like, like a brand logo or other identifying marks.

This video is no longer available

The file cannot be accessed or has been deleted

8. What site preparation do I have to do before my conex box arrives on site?

Very little prep is necessary. Shipping containers usually don’t require a foundation (and, because of that, are easily moved from one spot to another if needed). However, in some instances, you may want to install a cement slab or purchase railroad ties to support your box. Among other features, this flexibility makes shipping containers a cost-effective solution for a variety of needs.

9. What types of features can be customized to fit my needs?

Common container modifications include type and placement of entry/exit doors, window types and placement, insulation, climate control, electrical, plumbing, and more. When it comes to floor plans, we offer a number of standard floor plans, and can also collaborate with you to design a custom solution that addresses your unique needs and preferences.

10. What is the cost comparison between building a temporary structure from scratch (like temporary workforce housing) and a conex container modified for that purpose?

Companies can reduce the cost of building by up to 50% when using modified shipping containers. This is because very few raw materials are used – containers are an existing asset. Site prep is minimal too, often eliminating the expense of a foundation. Not only that, but modular construction projects can be completed 30-50% faster than traditional construction!

Have a question that we haven’t answered here? Check out our FREE shipping container guide: What You MUST Know Before Buying a Shipping Container Structure. And, be sure to check out our complete catalog of field-tested solutions!

New call-to-action

If you'd like to learn more about why shipping containers are a great choice for functional space, we’re here to help. Contact Falcon Structures at 877-704-0177 to talk with a knowledgeable sales representative today.

Think Inside The Box®


Get everything from shipping container basics, to detailed how-tos and industry news in our weekly blog. Stay inspired and subscribe!