Can I Paint My Above Ground Propane Tank?
While propane is an efficient and safe fuel source, an above ground tank is not the most appealing decor. If you want an attractive landscape, a bulky tank is not ideal.
For that reason, many homeowners wonder about painting their propane tank. Before you attempt to paint, decorate, or conceal your propane tank, learn about safety regulations so you can transform your home in a safe and legal manner. Continue reading to learn about the relevant regulations as well as helpful tips when painting or otherwise decorating your tank.
You Can Paint Your Propane Tank—With Regulations
The short answer is yes—you can paint your propane tank if you own it. However, there are federal and state regulations regarding the color and type of paint you can use.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states in its handbook that “a light-reflecting color paint is preferred unless the system is installed in an extremely cold climate.” Be sure to check with your propane supplier for advice on painting your tank safely and in accordance with local regulations.
What Paint Do I Use for Propane Tanks?
It is important to choose the right type of paint for covering your tank. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Choose Light-Colored Paint
Since propane is a gas, heat affects its behavior. A light color will deflect heat, while a darker color will absorb heat. If your tank absorbs additional heat due to a dark paint color, the propane will expand, causing leaks or other issues.
The most frequently used colors for propane tanks are light gray, white, and silver. However, pastels and light tans or beige paint could also be used.
Use a Paint Made for Metal Surfaces
Metal surfaces require a specific type of paint that will adhere properly to the metal and will inhibit rust. This will ensure that your tank stays in good condition longer.
Don’t Forget Primer
When painting it’s always best to begin with a coat of rust-inhibiting primer. Again, be sure to use a primer specifically formulated for painting metal surfaces. Beginning with a coat of primer will create additional protection for your tank and will create a smoother and longer-lasting result.
How to Paint a Propane Tank
Begin with a rust-free tank
You will need to address any rust before beginning. You can remove any rust with sandpaper or a wire brush. If you have a considerable amount of rust on your tank, it may be time to get a new one.
Cleaning your tank
Use water and dish soap to clean the outside of the tank thoroughly. Let the surface dry before you begin painting.
Prepping for painting
Use painter’s tape to cover the data tag and any other items on the tank’s surface that should not be painted. It is best to lay tarps or drop cloths on the ground around the tank to prevent paint from dripping onto the area.
Painting your tank
- Begin by applying a couple of coats of your primer. Follow the directions on the can, and then allow this to dry.
- You can use a roller or brush to apply paint. A spray can is also a good option.
- Apply the number of coats of paint you need to reach your desired color. Be sure to allow paint to dry thoroughly between coats.
Modifications to Decorate Your Tank
Some homeowners want to go a step further to make their propane tank blend in with their landscape by using decorations like shrubbery or fencing to obscure the tank.
Use a Decorative Item
If you’re concerned about people looking at the tank from the front, you can create something to hide it behind. Create or purchase a faux door, shed, or bush could be an attractive option that hides your tank from view.
Be sure not to cover your tank completely so that it can still be accessed by your propane service provider.
Put Up Fencing
You can build a fence to hide your propane tank. However, there are guidelines for doing so. Your tank needs proper ventilation and space, so do not enclose it completely.
Enclosed spaces can fill up with snow in cold months, which will make it hard for a propane delivery person to get to your tank.
Hide with Landscaping
Another option is to obscure your tank with shrubs, flowers, or other plants for a look that will blend in more naturally with the rest of your landscaping.
- Choose plants with shallow roots to ensure they do not make contact with any propane lines. For this reason, trees are not a good option.
- Plant your chosen greenery or flowers a few feet away from the tank to avoid interference.
Consider Safety & Accessibility
When choosing decorations to conceal your propane tank, your top two considerations should be safety and accessibility.
- Ensure that any flammable materials be at least five feet away from your tank in accordance with the New York Propane Gas Association mandates
- Additionally, if you find that your tank needs attention, do not try to repair or move your propane tank yourself.
- Your propane supplier will survey your tank on every visit. If the tank area is not up to code or the supplier cannot access the tank, you may experience service delays or complications.
Be sure to check with your supplier to ensure that your project will comply with all relevant state and local regulations.
Skip the Paint, Install an Underground Tank
If decorating or hiding your tank is not possible or if you would prefer the extra space, consider installing an underground propane tank. While above-ground options are less expensive, an underground tank is invisible and won’t affect your yard’s appearance.
Underground propane tanks do require an excavation process, but installation can take longer. Consult a propane tank supplier like Propane Depot to find out which solution is best for you. We can determine the appropriate placement and size for your property.
Talk to Your Supplier About Improving Tank Aesthetics
Can you paint propane tanks? Yes. However, you want to clear all modifications with a professional before you start painting a propane tank. Your supplier can help you make sure your tank is attractive and working safely.
At Propane Depot, we offer propane solutions for residential and commercial needs in New York. Check out our list of services to find out how we can help you today.