Choosing an Exterior Door for Your Shipping Container
Oct 2020

Choosing an Exterior Door for Your Shipping Container

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All ISO shipping containers are designed to be airtight and water-resistant, and even the door positioned on one of the ends will seal completely when closed, which is necessary to protect cargo from damage by the elements, insects, and pollutants while at sea. This feature is also important when using your repurposed container for storage or other business applications like a kiosk, office, pop-up store, and so on.

However, if you’re planning on getting one of the containers for sale in Toronto, adding another entry point into your unit can provide you with a myriad of benefits, including quick access, professional looks, and aesthetics. That said, different types of doors can be installed in your modified shipping container. The type of door you choose will determine how accessible your unit will be; so, finding the right fit is vital in the design process.

To find the best type of door for your storage container, consider the following:

  • How you will use the container
  • Whether you plan on storing bulky items in the container
  • How often your workers need to get inside the container
  • Whether your workers will be working or living inside the container
  • The amount of foot traffic you expect through your container

These questions will help you think more clearly about how accessible your container needs to be for optimal operations. Here are some door options that may work for you:

1. Cargo doors

These are the standard heavy-duty, secure, and weather-tight double doors located at one end of ISO shipping containers. They swing open outwards and generally force you to access your container in only one way. These doors feature a cam and lock system that protects the items inside the container against environmental threats and theft. Cargo doors are ideal for businesses that want to use the container for storing heavy or large items that may require moving with dollies, forklifts, and similar equipment. You also won’t require an extra door if you don’t need immediate or frequent access, because opening and closing this door takes some effort.

2. Additional double doors

If you would like to access the contents in the container, and there’s a possibility that other materials may consistently block your path, then you may consider modifying your unit, so it has another set of double doors on the opposite end as well. This will allow you to load and unload your container from both ends. This approach is particularly convenient if you want to store odd-shaped or extra-long items inside the container, like in the construction or mining industry, where efficiency has a big impact on the bottom line.

3. Roller doors

These doors can be added to the opposite end of the container or on the side. A Roller door is a metal door with horizontal slats hinged together, so it’s light and flexible enough to lift from the bottom and roll up inside the container when opening. They’re most common in home garages and storage facilities because they don’t take up any space—inside or outside the unit—when opening. This allows you to access the full opening of the entrance without having to save some space inside and outside the container to swing the door open. They’re also easier to open and close than the standard container cargo doors, especially since this process can be automated with a remote control.

Roller doors are versatile and can be made in both standard and custom sizes for installation on any wall of your container. They’re typically fitted with a special rain pan to prevent rainwater from entering. These doors are also made of steel, giving you the same sense of security as the standard cargo doors; plus, they have a reliable locking mechanism that is easy to unlatch. Roller doors can be added to containers used for storage, like garages, shops, kiosks, canteens, and other applications for easy and convenient entry. For special needs or operation in a harsh environment, you can opt for wind-rated or extreme-duty roll-up doors for extra security.

4. Personnel access doors

These doors are similar to the entry doors of your home in terms of size, measuring 820 mm by 2040 mm, but they’re made from steel. Personnel access doors are easy and cost-effective to install for convenient, frequent human access to a modified container office, bathroom, toilet, or accommodation unit. They’re easy to operate, and their solid construction makes them safe, durable, and resistant to wind and water.

They also offer multiple lock options, including a deadbolt, steel lever handle, and a keypad entry depending on your security or access control needs, so your valuables and important documents are safe. They can be installed to swing inside or outside or both for optimal space savings. Personal access doors also offer many customization options, including materials, colours, security options, insulation, and luxury features such as awnings and overhead drip ledges.

5. Sliding glass doors

These doors typically have the same measurements as double-wide personnel access doors, except that they’re made of durable glass with vinyl framing instead of steel. Sliding glass doors feature secure locks for optimal security, though they’re not as durable or secure as their steel counterparts. That said, their transparent design maximizes natural lighting and aesthetics, which is necessary for a modified living space, office, or storefront.

6. Door combinations

For multi-purpose containers that serve as storage, office, and/or living space, you may need to design different entryways for convenient access to each.

Final Note

Extra doors are one of the most common design modifications for shipping containers. After all, it’s important that your unit’s design be customized to fit your project’s unique needs. Whether you want to provide convenient personnel access, make the space more friendly and approachable, or facilitate inventory or material movement, there is a door that can meet your needs.

For more information, please contact Sigma Container to find the right container for your applications.

Tom Bray is a freelance writer with over five years experience writing for online publications and over ten years in business and sales. He studied journalism and media and has written for various online outlets on multiple topics. His specialty subjects are shipping containers and transport logistics.

Tom’s passion for writing and transport logistics motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that can show you how a shipping container can be effectively utilized and modified to each person’s needs.

You can connect with Tom via email at