Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

November, 2007

Repainting Fuel Tanks

Q: We have above ground fuel tanks that the paint is oxidizing. What prep is necessary before repainting these tanks? Thanks

A: Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer without seeing the condition of the tanks.  If the paint is still in good condition, you can lightly abrasive blast the top surface of the existing coating to remove the aged paint. If the paint is in poor condition and corrosion of the underlying steel is extensive, you might need to abrasive blast the tanks to bare metal and remove the old paint altogether. A SSPC-SP-10 near white blast finish should be adequate. 

Economics also play a role in deciding what to do. If the paint is in OK (not great) condition but you have the budget to do it properly, you might decide to bight the bullet and properly repaint the tanks.

One last thought.  The environment plays a critical role. If the tanks are located in a rural non-corrosive environment, the first procedure that I described above might be suitable; however, if the tanks are located in a corrosive or humid environment you might decide to go whole hog and redo the tanks from scratch.


Ron Joseph

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