A standardized container box is an ubiquitous piece of logistics apparatus, which can be hauled across all types of modalities and used to transport a variety of products. Containers find extensive use in the maritime industry, helping move billions of tonnes of cargo every year.

Today, containers have been repurposed and used across offices and homes, often as cubicles or as portable living spaces. The differentiated use of the containers require an adaptation of the insight used material as the flooring. Selecting the right floor material is crucial, as it needs to ensure safety and also be cognizant of health standards.

The purpose of a container and its floor

To make the right decision regarding container flooring, it is essential to understand the composition of a container and the materials being used to furnish one.

A regular container is made of steel on the outside and a hardwood floor on the inside. This robust construction is essential to withstand long-distance ocean travel. The typical lifespan is around 10-12 years, depending on the number of trips the container makes.

A regular container carries all kinds of load and needs a resistant structure to protect the goods from climate and other external impacts. Using robust and lasting material improves the durability and longevity of the shipping container.

What you have to know about plywood and pesticides

Most of the produced containers’ standard flooring is plywood, a tropical hardwood. The most used varieties are Keruing and Apitong. This material’s advantage is its high resistance to temperature, humidity, and different types of cargo.

Nevertheless, this solid wood comes with a huge problem. Its nature attracts all kinds of pests and therefore has to be treated with crude pesticides. Although the use of highly aggressive pesticides such as Aldrin is banned in its place, others can cause health problems overall for children and elders.

These health impacts are to consider when the containers are used for homely or office purposes, due to the pesticides the floor was treated with. For transportation purposes these concerns can be neglected, since nobody spends a significant time in the container.

A container’s exact pesticide treatment can be found on the front door of the container. The section “Timber component treatment” on the data plate will give detailed information about the applied treatment and the used chemicals. Nethertheless the data plate won’t provide other important information about floor replacements, repairs or any other damage caused by any spilled chemicals inside the container.

Therefore it is always recommendable to change the container floor. By purchasing a new container, it is possible to request an alternative floor such as steel or bamboo or not to apply any treatment on the floor.

Alternatives to the plywood container flooring

More and more container producers are looking for an alternative to plywood. A popular alternative to plywood is bamboo. But depending on what purpose the container is used, the container floor can be adapted to a different use.

The following floorings are the most used and standard when it comes to container flooring:

Plywood and Bamboo Flooring

Both materials are very robust and strong and therefore the most common and resistant option when it comes to cargo shipping
In a difference to Plywood, Bamboo doesn’t need to be treated with such crude pesticides and is, therefore, an excellent alternative to a plywood floor

Steel and Aluminium

Using steel or aluminum floors are a popular alternative to plywood floors. The material is very robust and watertight and is used overall in industrial applications.


Vinyl floors are used when it comes to the transport of oils and acids. It is easy to apply and can be rolled out on the existing floor, and is just glued on the surface. Furthermore, it is water-resistant and easy to clean. It also is a popular choice when containers are used as portable bathrooms.

Homely and office floors – Imitation wood vinyl planks + carpet tiles

In the last years, containers are more often used as offices or for homely purposes. Most commonly, vinyl planks, imitation wood, and carpet tiles are used to cover the floor. The application is straightforward and can be exchanged easily if it’s needed. These floors are not suitable if the container is used for the transportation of goods.

Epoxy Coat

The epoxy coat is an additional option that can be added to most of the floors. Sealing the floor with epoxy increases its resistance. This is interesting if the container is used for the transportation of liquids or acids.

Container Owner looking for Equipment?

If you are looking for the right flooring you’re most likely interested in buying, selling or leasing equipment … right? So if thats an option for you instead of purchasing brand new containers, feel free to get in touch with us. We can put you in touch with 400+ certified shipping companies and help you find containers in 2500+ locations worldwide. Just click on the banner below and submit the contact form and our team will reach out to you as soon as possible.