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Prime and Paint a Rusted Propane Tank

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jim in North Dakota who needs some help with a propane tank.

    JIM: What I have, I have a 1,000-gallon propane tank and it sits under a tree and it’s been years. I just figured it out, it’s about 15 years since it’s had paint on it. And of course, the sap and things – it hasn’t been washed in that many years, either – so there’s some rust spots that are fairly deep in a lot of places. Most of it on the top; not so bad on the sides and bottom.

    But what I was wondering is what would be best to take the rust. Do I need the – could I use Naval Jelly or is the wire brush the only way to do it or what would you suggest?

    TOM: A wire brush is definitely the best way to do it. You say it’s very deep. Do you feel it’s impacting the structural integrity of that tank?

    JIM: No, it doesn’t. I had the guy that I get the propane from come look at it and he said, “You need to do it now, though, because if you go any longer, it’s going to start eating right into the metal itself.”

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.

    JIM: Right now it’s just through the paint and bubbling and the paint is flaking off.

    TOM: Alright. So here’s what you want to do. You want to try to abrade as much of that paint off as you possibly can. So wire-brush it very, very carefully, getting all that loose stuff off and then, before you paint it, you’ve got to prime it. And you want to use a primer that’s rated for metal; Rust-Oleum or a product like that.

    Make sure you pick a nice, dry day, when you have plenty of time to let it dry. And I bet a 1,000-gallon tank, that’s probably pretty big. You may even want to use a roller on this. And then do a really good solid coat of primer, let the primer dry very well and then do two coats of top coat and I think you’ll have a surface there that’ll last you a good 10 years.

    But take your time on the prep. Get rid of that loose stuff and prime it very well. The primer is key, because what that does is that’s going to stick to whatever is left behind, so to speak. But if you have any loose paint, well, you can’t put good paint over bad paint, so you need to get that off first.

    JIM: OK. Alright. Why, I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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