Rust Encapsulation for Silos and Tanks: How It Works
By Painters USA Team
— Last updated March 15, 2023
Any metal exposed to the air will eventually rust over time. However, proximity to the ocean, high humidity levels, harsh environmental conditions and other factors can hasten the formation of rust and corrosion on tanks and silos. This equipment represents a significant investment on your part, and rust can quickly destroy that equipment’s usability and your return on investment. The good news is that rust encapsulation can help breathe new life into rusted silos and tanks, offering an extended use life and giving you more bang for your buck. How does rust encapsulation work, though?
Understanding the Rust Encapsulation Process
Rust encapsulation might sound a little odd if you are not familiar with the technology, but it is actually relatively simple. The process involves only two steps, although a third can be added if you prefer. We’ll explore each step below.
- Rust Removal: The first step is to remove all the loose rust on the surface of the silo or tank. This is best done with high-pressure water rather than sandblasting, to avoid leaving behind grains of sand that might be encapsulated during the next step. Once cleaned and dry, the metal surface of the tank or silo is able to accept the application of the encapsulator product.
- Application: With a clean, dry surface, a unique primer material is applied. This primer does several things. First, it covers all the remaining rust on the silo or tank, blocking the access of salt, UV rays, humidity and other corrosive agents. Second, it actually penetrates into the rust, providing an additional layer of protection. With the right encapsulation product, the primer coat will provide protection for years to come. It is important to note that applying the primer coat does require that outside temperatures be at least 60 degrees, and that no precipitation be in the forecast while the primer dries.
- Optional Coating: Once the primer has been applied, has encapsulated the rust, and has thoroughly dried, you have the choice to let it remain as is, or you can apply another coat of a different material over the top. Most commercial paints can be used, but you can also use a number of other top-coat options to help you add further protection, or to improve the aesthetics of your tank or silo. However, understand that this step is completely optional – your equipment is fully protected with just the rust encapsulation layer.
Benefits of Rust Encapsulation
By this point, some of the benefits offered by rust encapsulation for silos and tanks should be obvious, but we’ll explore additional advantages.
- One of the more obvious gains is stopping rust in its tracks. Even silos and tanks that have suffered through years of exposure to harsh elements and corrosive salt and humidity can find new life with a professional cleaning and coating of the right encapsulation product for your environment.
- Another benefit here is improved lifespan and a better return on your investment for less than you might think. An industrial painting contractor with proven tank and silo experience can offer rust encapsulation services for an affordable rate, saving you perhaps thousands of dollars over replacing those aging structures.
- Because rust encapsulation can be performed on site, there is no need for your tank or silo to be out of commission. You can continue using it as normal during the process, ensuring that you don’t suffer from lost productivity or access to vital equipment.
In the end, rust encapsulation is a vital technique that allows you to maximize the lifespan of your equipment, remove rust and corrosion and prevent it from returning, and maintain an acceptable appearance of tanks and silos.
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