Painting Industrial Silos

Tanks and silos are common structures found adjacent to many facilities.  And just like every exterior structure, it can become weathered and corroded when exposed to the outdoor environments.  But commercial painting contractors have the experience and knowledge to specify which industrial paint will prevent further corrosion, and withstand constant exposure to rain and sun light.

Due to their placement, tanks and silos can take a beating from mother nature.  The constant water can cause coatings to de-laminate from the surface.  The heat and cold cycles can cause the metal to expand and contract, which could cause the coatings to separate.  And the relentless pounding from the sun’s ultra-violet rays can accelerate coating deterioration and chalking.

And despite this relentless exposure to mother nature’s wrath, there are industrial coatings that can withstand her abuse.

But not every coating is designed for exterior use.  So here’s the best application to consider when considering a paint system for your industrial silos.


The key to every good paint job is preparation.  And the required prep can vary from silo to silo.  Some silos might be corroded.  And others might just need a good cleaning.  So the current condition of the silo will dictate the necessary prep work.

If it’s corroded, the painter should expect to hand tool the entire unit.  Hand tooling will remove the oxidized rust.  Rust is not a sound surface, so it is important that the rust be removed prior to applying any coatings.

Loose coatings are another common problem that can deter acceptable adhesion.  The paint will only be as strong as the surface it is sticking to.  And if the surface is peeling paint, then that new coating will not last.  So if there are loose coatings, it’s important to remove them.  Scraping could work, but might become tedious and time consuming.  So turbo tip pressure washing is optimal solution to remove the loose coatings.

But if the existing paint is sound, then the silos might only need to be washed to remove any dirt and contaminants.  But if a washing is all that it needs, then there’s a chance it probably doesn’t need to be painted.

Industrial Paint Systems:

After the surface has been prepared, and all the loose coatings have been removed, it’s time  to apply the coating system.  As with all paint jobs, the applicator will want to start from top to bottom.

But before they begin painting, the estimator will need to assess which coating system to apply.  If the silo is corroded, then applying a rust-inhibitive primer is a good idea.  Rust inhibitive primers can lock in corroded areas, and protect them from being exposed to corrosive elements.

And once the rust inhibitive primer is applied, the applicator will need to apply 2 coats of a surface tolerant coating.  Mastic urethanes are an excellent product.  They offer great adhesion, and their color retention resists fading from constant UV exposure.

But acrylics are good outdoor coatings as well.  However, the customer should know that an acrylic does not offer the surface tolerance that a mastic urethane can provide.   Meaning that a challenging surface with some contaminants or corrosion will be very difficult for the acrylic coating to adhere to.

In Conclusion…

Painting silos is challenging but a common industrial painting project for painting contractors.  And although these silos are challenging, when the applicator makes the proper assessments, and applies the proper products, he can expect a great result.  So although they may look intimidating and difficult, it is possible to get great results if the appropriate steps are applies.