Propane tanks serve essential purposes in our daily life; it helps to heat our homes in winter, save on energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, etc. But having them around can be something of an eyesore, at least for me.
Many people wish there were ways to make their pill-shaped behemoth less obvious by blending them into the surrounding landscaping area.
Fortunately, it’s possible – because you can paint your propane tank in a shade you like to match the surrounding. However, to paint the tank and make it look like a decor piece, you should consider a few things first.
For example, you should always use paint that is designed specifically for use on metal surfaces and is resistant to rust. Also, according to NFPA 58 guidelines, the paint you use for propane tanks must be heat-reflective and light-reflective.
Be sure to avoid using any dark colors on your gas tank, as the ability of dark colors to absorb heat can cause the propane to overheat and expand and even increase the pressure inside the tank. So it’s best to use colors like silver, light gray, or white.
Why Do You Need to Paint a Propane Tank?
Depending on the size of your home, propane tanks can come in oblong sizes ranging from 120 gallons to over 1,000 gallons.
I know from experience that it’s a lot of glaringly white metal to stare at daily just outside my window. So, it’s a common practice for people to paint their propane tanks, and it’s something done to make the tanks less of an eyesore.
Those who have put a lot of work into making their landscaping look its best may even choose to bury the propane tank somewhere to keep it out of sight.
For many, burying the tank is not an option. For others, it is simply too much effort to want to undergo. Painting the propane tank is a good choice in cases such as this. It can help the tank blend into the surrounding area more efficiently and be less noticeable.
Painting Your Propane Tank: Step-by-Step Guide
To safely paint your propane tank, you can follow the guide below…
Step 1. Get rid of debris and rust
Before breaking out, the paint can; you must wipe the propane tank down to remove any surface debris and grease that might be accumulated. Next, address any rust by using a wire brush or sandpaper to scrub it away from the outside of the tank.
Finally, use dish soap, water, and a cloth or sponge to remove any remaining grease, rust flakes, and other residues. Rinse thoroughly with water and let the tank dry completely before continuing to the next step.
Step 2. Prepare the propane tank for painting
Using painter’s tape, mark off any areas on the propane tank you do not want to paint. This also includes the area with the data tag since you will need to be able to read the necessary information regarding the propane tank itself after painting.
After applying the painter’s tape, apply a primer (off-white or white) formulated explicitly for propane tanks. These can be easily found at nearby hardware or paint stores and applied using a sprayer, roller, or brush.
During the primer application, it is best to work in a side-to-side motion to ensure you are evenly covering the whole surface of the propane tank with primer. Allow it to completely dry before you move on.
Step 3: Paint the gas tank and allow it to dry
To apply the coats of paint to the tank, you can use a sprayer, roller, or brush, just like with the primer in the previous step. Use the same side-to-side method of applying the paint to ensure that the paint is evenly applied to the surface.
After applying the first layer of paint, allow it to dry before applying the next layer. Depending on the type of paint used and the temperature conditions outside, it can take up to 24 hours to cure fully.
Once the painting is complete, it’s best to give the tank a light coat of rust-inhibiting paint. This will help protect it from any potential rusting down the line.
If you want to enhance the visual appeal of your propane tank further, you can add some details, textures, and creative designs like images, lettering, stencils, etc. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you use those all-important light shades of rust-resistant, heat-reflective paint.
Why Should You Use Light Paint Colors On a Propane Tank?
I recommend avoiding dark colors for your propane tank since they attract more heat from sunlight and can cause the metal exterior of the tank to become dangerously hot. Instead, opt for light colors that reflect light away, reducing the risk of heat absorption.
To clarify, propane is a type of fossil fuel deemed environmentally friendly and “green.” Although denser than air, it is not as heavy as water and always stays gaseous. Moreover, it can quickly become unstable and agitated, especially when the propane tank gets hot.
This means during the summer days, when the temperature rises, the gas in the tank can heat up and increase pressure, potentially resulting in explosions or combustion.
To avoid the risk of combustion and other such damages, keeping the propane tank as cool as possible by placing it out of direct sunlight and painting it a lighter color is best.
Some of the most common colors you can select for your propane tank are white, light gray, and silver. Pastel colors and beige hues are other options, but they tend to be less common. Brands such as Rustoleum Krylon and Valspar have many of these shades to check at their official sites or stores like Amazon.
If you live in an extremely cold climate with little sunlight, you might choose to paint your propane tank in a darker color than usual, one that is not heat- and light-reflective.
But be sure to look at local and state rules before proceeding. You can talk to your propane supplier for information about this if you want to use one of these less common creative paint colors.
What Else Can I Do to Decorate My Propane Tank and Improve Appearance?
Besides painting, there are several other ideas to hide your propane tank and make them less noticeable.
Fencing in can be an excellent idea that not only disguises the tank but also protects it from being bumped or damaged.
You can use wood, metal, or even a combination of both to create a beautiful fence around your tank and add some landscaping for extra decoration.
You can also use shrubs and tall grasses to cover up your tank and provide some extra privacy.
Planting a variety of plants around the tank will also help to draw the eye away from it.
Adding some decorative elements, such as a trellis or an arbor, can also add a touch of extra beauty to your propane tank.
I also love the idea of how a family disguised their tank into a beautiful animal, a stunning art piece, or a fun painted feature. This can be done with the right artist and some creativity.
For those who are looking to add a more natural feel to the tank, you can consider using pebbles and stones.
Covering the tank with these will help it blend in with the landscape and give it a more natural look.
Finally, you can also disguise your tank with outdoor furniture or other decorations.
Placing a bench, a table, or even an outdoor rug around the tank can help draw attention away from it and make it less noticeable.
The Bottom Line
Propane tanks are an essential part of many homes and properties; having one painted in your preferred color can bring style, character, and extra protection to your outdoor space.
Be sure to take the necessary safety precautions when it comes to handling paint and propane tanks and you’ll have yourself a safe and aesthetically pleasing setup.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.