Can I Paint My Propane Tank?

Can I Paint My Propane Tank?

The answer to the question, “Can I Paint My Propane Tank?”, is yes. However, can you paint it any color you want? No, you cannot. NFPA 58 states that you must paint propane containers a heat reflective color. The majority of state regulatory agencies have their own rule addressing this specific issue but the national code declares that you must paint LP Gas containers a heat reflective color unless installing in an extremely cold environment.

Can I Paint My Propane Tank?

What Color Can I Paint My Propane Tank?

Too frequently our propane customers take it upon themselves to paint their tank a color that complements the colors of their home or landscaping. This presents a safety issue as well as a serviceability issue if the tank color is dark or non-reflective. Dark colors absorb heat while light colors reflect it. Have you ever worn a dark colored shirt on a sunny day? A dark shirt on a sunny day will give you a lot more warmth than a white shirt will. This principle is the same with LP Gas tanks as the last thing any propane tank needs is to absorb heat.

A better example may be walking barefoot on the concrete sidewalk and stepping onto the asphalt street on a sunny day. Concrete sidewalks are fairly light in color (heat reflective) while asphalt streets and roads are dark in color (heat absorbent). The sidewalk is typically much more bearable to walk on while asphalt road can be quite painful. Propane tanks need to reflect hit, not absorb it.

The whole reasoning behind propane tank color involves pressure and some simple laws of chemistry that apply to the heating of fluids and gases. The law “as temperature increases, volume increases” applies and can be seen in this explanatory animation from NASA. Propane exists as both a liquid and a gas within the tank, so the absorption of heat due to a non-reflective color creates the possibility of a high pressure situation that may result in the safety relieve valve opening. The bottom line is:

Dark (Non-Reflective) Propane Tank = Absorbs Heat = Propane Expansion = Relief Valve May Not Open

Rust Colored Paint Tanks

Rust is, in fact, a color and will contribute to the absorption of heat. Rusted tanks pose another issue as well—pitting. Pitting happens when a tank has excessive rust and the surface of the tank is compromised. The rust will actually eat away at the surface of the tank. Before painting, tanks that are rusty often require sanding or a wire brush.


Don’t hesitate to contact Texas Propane with the link below if you have any questions or concerns about painting your propane tank!

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