tank linings coatings surface prep

How To Use FRP for Tank Refurbishing, Coating, and Tank Linings

Fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) are used for tank linings due to being corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant. Still, sometimes it can be beneficial to coat the surface of an FRP tank.

Why Is FRP Coated?

  • Protective coatings protect the surface from UV damage and degradation.
  • Coatings of FRP tanks are a maintenance strategy.
  • Color coatings identify equipment and piping, for example – yellow coatings could indicate natural gas, blue could indicate cooling water.
  • Coatings also provide a nice appearance for a clean look.

How to Prepare the FRP for Coatings

You can’t just apply a coating to an FRP tank. Whether you’re making tank leak repairs or just updating the surface for aesthetics, the tank must be clean and dry before application. There can be no dust, dirt, oil or other surface contaminant. Pressure washing is recommended. Add detergent as necessary. Low pressure is generally sufficient, but in some cases pressure washing is not practical. In that case, scrub the surface with detergent and rinse clean.

FRP has a smooth finish, which does not lend itself well for adhesion. The surface of the FRP tank needs to be roughened before the application of the coating. Hand or power sand to remove the gloss to roughen up the surface. Before applying the coating, remember to remove the dust that was generated by the preparation. Some coatings have specific preparation requirements, so read the instructions. There may also be limits for temperature, humidity and dew point for the coating, so check the ambient conditions as well.

Coating Materials

When choosing a coating, make sure that it does what you need. Gel coats do not provide any additional structure but can have UV protectants added to the coating. Water-based acrylic coatings are good for places that have strict VOC emissions restrictions. Check the label for specific product requirements. Epoxies resist chemicals, but they fade in sunlight exposure. If you’re using an epoxy coating, you may want to use a finish coat that prevent UV exposure and degradation. These types of coatings can be applied by spray, brush or roller, depending on the material and manufacturer specifications.

FRP and Steel Tank Linings, Repairs & Refurbishing

PICON can help you with a tank refurbish in California, whether you’re making repairs or updates. Contact us for more information.