Indinspect Blog - Pros and Cons of Epoxy Coating Types for Maximum Tank Protection

Choosing the best epoxy coating for your storage tanks takes time and effort.

To speed up the selection process and ensure you make the right choice, below, the Industrial Inspection & Consulting team weighs the pros and cons of solvent-based, water-based, and 100% solids epoxies.

Facts About Solvent-Based Epoxy Coatings: The Classic Choice

Solvent-based epoxies have been around since the mid-20th century. They use organic solvents to dissolve epoxy resins and hardeners before application. Once applied, the solvents evaporate, leaving behind a durable, cross-linked epoxy coating.

Solvent-based epoxies have excellent adhesion and chemical resistance. They can withstand exposure to hydrocarbons, acids, and alkalis. Formulations with high solids content also have abrasion and impact resistance. – Not NSF Approved for Potable Water

Will it meet your requirements?

For industrial storage tanks subject to harsh conditions, solvent-based epoxy is a good choice. However, the organic solvents present safety hazards and necessitate special handling. They require adequate ventilation, emit a strong odor during application, and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during curing. These factors can pose environmental concerns. This epoxy coating also requires more rigorous surface preparation for proper adhesion.

Facts About Water-Based Epoxy Coatings: A Safer Alternative

Water-based epoxy is a balanced choice: They provide exceptional performance while reducing environmental impact.

Many water-based epoxies contain little to no volatile organic compounds, which makes them an environmentally friendly option compared to solvent-based epoxies. They produce minimal hazardous air pollutants and have a nearly non-existent smell. – Not used in Potable Water or Industrial Coatings

Will it meet your requirements?

In terms of performance, water-based epoxy coatings provide excellent adhesion and durability. They are highly resistant to abrasions, stains, and various substances stored in tanks, including oils, gasoline, acids, and other chemicals.

As for the downsides, water-based epoxies typically require more coats to achieve an equivalent dry film thickness as solvent-based coatings. They have smaller application windows, slower cure times, and less tolerance for surface moisture during application.

Facts About 100% Solids Epoxy Coatings: The Most Durable Choice

Solids epoxy coatings provide superior protection for storage tanks. They contain zero VOCs or solvents, resulting in a highly durable, chemical-resistant finish.

Will it meet your requirements?

100% solids epoxy coatings have a high volume of epoxy resins and hardeners, guaranteeing a tough coating. Plus, without solvents, there is no evaporation. This eliminates the risk of coating thickness reduction.

These coatings meet NSF 600 regulations for potable water tank linings, meaning they are ideal for tanks storing consumables (e.g., drinking water and food). The dense, cross-linked structure of 100% solids epoxy coatings blocks the ingress of moisture and chemicals, preventing contamination.

Now, you might be wondering, are there any disadvantages? In truth, the one minor “con” is that 100% solids are more difficult to apply than solvent-based and water-based alternatives. They have a short pot life of only 30 minutes, so they must be applied promptly after mixing the resin and hardener. The coating’s high viscosity also requires more advanced spray equipment for precise application.

Solvent-Based vs. Water-Based vs. 100% Solids Epoxy: Which Should You Choose?

Are you still undecided? Let the Industrial Inspection Group help you make the right choice. To identify the appropriate epoxy for your coatings project, our meticulous process involves an on-site assessment of your tanks and a comprehensive analysis of their intended uses. Get in touch with us today to request a quote. With the right epoxy and independent coating inspectors by your side, your tanks will remain in service for decades to come.