Sealing leaking tanks, containers and vessels

Collage of images with our corrosion, pitting, and crack sealing of water tank projects with metal glue or plastic glue

We extend the utilization time of water tanks leaking water or waste water due to rusted metal and/or corroded metal by sealing them with epoxy glue. On the side note, we have used the same concept of sealing leaking water in cracked heat exchanger. Water tanks sooner or later start leaking causing argent response. These water tanks are very popular in variety of industries ranging from construction, agriculture, hospitality, to manufacturing. Many of them do not necessary contain water but they contain chemicals that prone rust or corrosion. In an argent situation, the tank’s owner faces a crucial decision either to repair the water leaking tank and seal the leak. Or replace the tank. Both decisions are not easy to make and making such decision in argent situation is not easy. Many industries use custom tanks and that means you can not buy them off shelf and install them right away.

Does the sealing water tank work?

This is a very complex question and the simple answer depends on:

  1. water tank’s material,
  2. wall thickness,
  3. ability to drain the water,
  4. access to the leak,
  5. type of cracks,
  6. size of pitting holes,
  7. size of corrosion area,
  8. weather temperature and many others.

Therefore, the answer is not as simple.

Metal water tank leaking

Most of metal water tanks have walls from steel, stainless steel or aluminum. Although, all these water tanks should hold water, many of them hold caustic water or, in fact, many other liquid chemicals. And all metal tanks are susceptible to corrosion including stainless steel tanks and aluminum tanks. In all type of metal tanks whether it’s a steel, a stainless steel and an aluminum, thickness of the material plays a major role in sealing the leak process and water tank repair.

Leaking waste water tank repair by epoxy glue seal leak. Made by JW Portable Welding & Repair. London, Ontario, 2018 Leaking waste water tank repair by epoxy glue seal leak. Made by JW Portable Welding & Repair. London, Ontario, 2018

Thicker material water tanks make welding easier. Generally speaking, they are easier to weld repair and it is easier to seal the leak on them. Unfortunately,  if the water tanks walls are thin or the corroded metal area is large, pitting severe, and a large patch is causing the water leak then it is impossible to weld repair the tank. Your only option to repair the leaking tank is to seal leak by using epoxy glue.

Welding repairs of metal water tanks

If one considers welding as a method to seal leaks caused by pitting on a water tank, then you need to drain water prior welding. In many situations this is simply impossible due to variety of reasons. Next, we must have a comfortable access to the welding spot. Moreover,  the material of the tank must be thick enough to make the welding feasible. If a wall of water tank is not thick enough for stick welding then we can deploy other welding techniques. But they still do require that the thin metal exists where the welding process will take place. Surely, these other techniques also require  different welding machines and also very skilled welder.

If we consider small cracks on water leaking tank, then welding is usually preferred as a repair method. Unless the tank’s walls are so thin and there is no comfortable access to the spot. Many stainless-steel water tanks have very thin sheet metal, and they crack on edges due to structural failures. Access to cracks on these tanks is very difficult and therefore it is impossible to weld them there.

Large pitting corroded areas prohibit welding

Severe pitting and large corroded metal areas prohibit welding repair for aluminum tanks and stainless steel tanks. The only option possible is to place the patch of metal on the corrosion covered area and seal the leak. However, the patch must be large enough to cover the corrosion affected area with edges of the patch extending to the unaffected metal. These patches could be very large in order to assure the effective leak seal. And sometimes they must be bent to adjust to the shape of the tank’s wall. Keep in mind that even in case of steel tank the patch bending procedure could be risky due to unknown degree of rusted metal on the other side. In case of aluminum tanks patch bending is extremely difficult to do therefore sealing leaks by welding of patches on aluminum tanks is rather ineffective.

Disregarding the many obstacles when welding repair of water leaking tank, this way of leak repair is very costly since

  1. takes time,
  2. requires skilled welder and,
  3. water must be drained.

Using rust converter and epoxy glue  to seal the leak on leaking tanks

Using metal glue and rust converter on the outside walls of a water leaking tank presents itself as a valuable option in emergency situations. And the whole procedure can be done without draining the water from the tank. The outside application of epoxy glue provides a rather semi-permanent solution since it will stop working when corroded metal area will become larger or additional cracks will appear in rusted metal.

Stainless steel leaking water tank has been sealed by epoxy glue. Made by JW Portable Welding & Repair. London, Ontario, 2017 Stainless steel leaking water tank has been sealed by epoxy glue. Made by JW Portable Welding & Repair. London, Ontario, 2017

Inside application

The inside application of rust converter or corrosion converter and the epoxy glue provides a permanent solution to the water leaking tank. Unfortunately, for inside application you must drain water must  and inside application must be feasible. Many small tanks have a very restrictive access and special tools must be used for inside application. These tools, although effective for simple shape water tank, increase the use of epoxy glue and increase the cost of the repair. Large water tanks usually provide enough access to the treatment spots.

The inside application requires more of the metal glue since the application areas are rather large. Therefore, we need to know much in advance how much material we will need to order sufficient volume. We also recommend applying 1/8” thickness of metal glue with specific corrosion resistance properties that will permanently increase prevention of corrosion.

Use of epoxy glue for plastic water leaking tanks

The cracked, leaky plastic water tanks are only accessible from outside and many of them do hold chemicals and water. Based on our experience, welding plastic technology although tempting does not provide proper sealing. The only option left is to apply epoxy plastic glue on the crack of the container if the crack is small. However, large cracks must be stitch welded prior epoxy plastic glue application.