3 Easy Steps to Prepping, Priming, and Painting Propane Tanks Safely

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Part of maintaining the furnace is cleaning and painting the propane tank. However, propane tanks are best left alone unless they are malfunctioning. If say, your propane tank is in dire need of a facelift, you can’t just disassemble it, paint it over and re-attach it as you please. There are certain safety standards that you have to adhere to in order to avoid accidents.

But why do propane tanks need a fresh coat of paint anyway? The pressure of the gas inside the tanks increases as they heat up. Painting them is one way to keep the temperature down so the tank won’t explode. Do note that using heat reflective colors is the best way to keep the propane tanks cool. Don’t use colors that absorb sunlight like black, dark blue, etc.

In today’s post, we are listing down the steps to prep, prime and paint your propane tanks safely.

Step 1: Prepping the Propane Tank

Are the tanks rusted? Are flakes of dried up paint peeling off the tanks? You’ll have to clean and prep the propane tanks first before you add a fresh coat of paint. Otherwise, the end result could turn out flaky and unsightly!

Start by getting a wire brush. Brush the rust, dirt, and grime. Then, sand the tank down using a 120-grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough areas. After you’ve sanded down the rust and dirt, wipe the surface with a clean cloth to remove the sanding dust. After a good wipe, wash the tank using a dishwashing detergent and water. The detergent will melt away grease and residue. Rinse the tank very well with water then allow it to dry completely. Now you have a clean area to work with.

Step 2: Priming the Propane Tank

Start by setting up your work area. If you have a large tank, just lay it on the ground and surround it with drop cloths. If you have smaller tanks, just place it on top of the drop cloths. Get a painter’s tape to protect certain parts of the tank from the paint. Make sure to apply tape on the data tag of the tank to ensure that the data won’t be covered by the paint. Some service providers will refuse refilling if the data is not readable.

With a can of rust-inhibiting metal primer, spray it over the tank. You want an even coat of primer so use a steady, side-to-side sweeping motion to distribute the primer. Let the primer dry according to instructions. Once the first layer of primer is dry, apply another coat of primer. Again, let the primer dry completely before moving forward with painting.

Step 3: Painting the Propane Tank

Once the primer is dry, you can go ahead and paint the tank with a rust-resistant metal paint. Start with a light coat of paint. Distribute the paint using a side-to-side sweeping motion. Let the paint dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the first layer of paint, go back and apply several light coats until you’ve achieved the level of opacity you want. Finally, allow the paint to cure for at least 24 hours and you are done!


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