Tank Coating

tank coating and tank liner applied on a storage tank

Suitable tank coating and tank liner saves time and money

When it comes to protection, tanks present a series of difficulties. Not only does their exterior need to be protected from the environment, but their interior needs protection too – both from and for the cargo or substance being stored. These substances can be anything from petrochemical to water to beer, and the coating needs to combat the specific adverse conditions that accompany the substance while not contaminating it. To achieve this, tank liner (internal protection) and tank coating (external protection) are formulated to be chemically resistant, hygienic, functional in high temperatures, and capable of application over previously damaged substrates.

Starting off with the right coating and liner will save you expensive problems down the line, and re-coating a tank is only 10% of the cost of replacing a tank. Whether you need tank coating for a new project, or need to recoat one that is no longer functioning optimally, there is a coating to match your need. In this article we will outline the many benefits of industrial tank coatings and linings, and how to choose the right one for your project.

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The purpose of the tank determines the tank coatings and linings

The purpose of your tank will be the shaping influence on which coating you choose. This is particularly important for:

  • WATER TANK COATING – Tanks for both potable water and other kinds of water (waste, raw, etc.) make up most tank usage in Australia. For potable water it is of vital importance that the tank and the coating do not contaminate the water, just as it is important that the coating protects the tanks from corrosion. In Australia there are regulations for the coatings used for potable water. For wastewater tanks, the water tank coating needs to be highly chemical resistant, as well as preventing the pollution from within the tank seeping into the environment, especially where the tanks are underground.
  • CARGO TANK COATING – For cargo tanks, the storage changes with each new job. Because of this, the lining chosen needs to protect your tank against harmful or corrosive cargoes while also reducing maintenance and ensuring a long service life. A tank lining system should reduce turnaround times between cargoes, allowing a quick switch and eliminating contamination between cargoes. It is important for cargo tanks to have chemical resistance, so common cargoes such as petroleum or oil do not damage it.

How to choose the best tank liner for your project

tank coating on petroleum tank

Tank coating protects cargo and storage tanks from the elements; tank liner is applied internally.

An internally applied tank liner needs to match both the substrate and the storage. They form a barrier, protecting the substrate from corrosion, chemicals, and heat, and protecting the contents from contamination.  In order to determine the suitable coating for your project, you need to be able to answer these 5 questions:

  1. What is the tank storing?  Chemicals, foodstuffs, water, each store has different needs.
  2. For how long will it be stored? Coatings can be formulated and applied to provide longer protection against constant exposure.
  3. What temperatures will the lining be exposed to? Both the environment and the cargo need to be taken into account.
  4. What is the maximum possible downtime during application? Different coatings have different application and curing times.
  5. What are the local regulations regarding tank linings? The lining needs to comply with local standards.

When it comes to choosing the externally protective tank coating, the substrate material and surrounding environment define the best coating.

Choose your tank lining coating – the 3 options

In Australia the most tanks are used either for storing or transporting a spectrum of substances. Mild steel tanks are the most common but also other materials such as fibreglass and concrete are becoming more and more popular. So, let’s look at the different tanks and the tank lining coatings they require.  The incorrect choice of tank lining and coating may lead to softening, contamination or even failure of the coating.

  1. EPOXY TANK LINER – Epoxy is a versatile coating type with many applications. It can be solvent-free to reduce VOC emissions, and protects against corrosion in aggressive and high temperature environments. Fusion bonded epoxy is also used for tank coatings.
    Uses: Water tank coatings (potable and other), steel tank linings, concrete tank coatings/linings, chemical tank linings, high temperature tank linings, cargo tank linings where protection against chemicals, oils, waste water, high temperature crude oil is needed.
    Disadvantages: Not a very flexible coating, slow curing, impermeable so water vapour may cause blistering.
  2. POLYURETHANE TANK LINING – Polyurethanes are, like epoxies, a very versatile coating, and they have the benefit of being able to be modified so they are more or less flexible/brittle. They can also be solvent-free, and have faster return-to-service times than epoxy.
    Uses: Water tank linings, steel tank linings, concrete tank coatings/linings, chemical tank linings
    Disadvantages: Not vapour permeable (possible blistering), and very moisture sensitive when applied.
  3. POLYUREA TANK COATING – Polyurea is a hot spray applied coating which dries in seconds to minutes, with the shortest cure time of all the options. It has great strength and flexibility, and the highest tensile strength of the coatings – allowing for stretching with a substrate under temperature extremes. Polyurea is solvent free (no VOC), moisture insensitive (unlike the other two), has a long service life, and is also abrasion resistant.
    Uses: Water tank linings (not potable, but excellent for wastewater), steel tank linings, concrete tank linings, chemical tank linings
    Disadvantages: Not vapour permeable.

Industrial tank coating products and tank lining companies in Australia

For quality assurance and expert application, we advise you to have your tank coating and internal lining coating applied by trained, experienced professionals. The risk of a coating failure due to poor or wrong application is too costly a gamble. We have compiled a sample of the products used by applicators in Australia, to give an idea of the products available.


Offers the following product lines:

  • Amercoat for steel and concrete (also available for low temperature applications)
  • Novaguard for resistance to a wide range of chemicals, solvents and refined fuels and even biofuels.
  • Sigmaguard for resistance to crude oil up to 140ºF (60ºC), aliphatic petroleum storage with pit filling properties

International (AkzoNobel)

Offers the following product lines:

  • Ceilcote for concrete and steel structures
  • Devoe chemical resistant lining system for multiple substrates
  • Polibrid for steel and concrete ( excellent for water and wastewater applications)
  • Interline corrosion protection and reducing cross cargo contamination.


Offers the following product lines:

  • Tankguard Plus chemical resistance at high temperatures
  • TG Storage  made for long term storage of chemicals
  • SF is solvent free.  Film thickness as low as 150µm and up to 500µm
  • Chemflake  is a glass flake reinforced unsaturated vinyl ester coating, fast curing

Fortunately, considering the importance of a professional tank coating, Australia has many companies which specialise in applying tank lining coatings and external tank coatings. If you would like more information about tank lining and coating, or have a tank lining project that requires coating expertise, get in touch! Our experts are here to help, and ready to connect you with one of our coating partners to best complete your project. Just click the “Request a quote” button at the bottom of this article and take advantage of our 100% free quote service.

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2 replies
    • Ayold
      Ayold says:

      Dear Kennedy,

      Thank you for your inquiry about the different types of tank coating. We have numerous resources on our pages about the different resins involved. If you have a more specific request, please get in touch with us through our contact form “request a quote”.

      Best regards,
      Sofia – Coating.com.au


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