Understanding the Difference Between Fiberglass and Steel Storage Tanks

Importance of Fiberglass Tanks

When you’re in the market for a storage tank, one of the first decisions to consider is what sort of material you require your tank to be constructed from. This depends on several variables, including what you’re storing, how durable you need the tank to be and how long you need it to operate. Two of the leading materials for storage tanks are steel or fiberglass, but what’s the difference between a steel tank and a fiberglass tank?

Steel TanksFiberglass Tanks
  • Typically aren’t built and delivered as one full piece and must be constructed onsite in parts.
  • Available in larger tank sizes, but requires heavy-duty machinery and additional manpower to install and move these massive tanks.
  • Less expensive upfront, but will require maintenance and repairs for things like rusted bolts, general wear and tear, leaks, etc.
  • Corrosion resistant and an incredibly strong material, but it isn’t very durable. The steel is welded and bolted together and this causes the tanks to be rigid. These tanks don’t handle wear and tear as well as fiberglass.
  • Resistant to UV rays.
  • Susceptible to rust, particularly around joints, screws and rivets. A protective coating is required to minimize the effects of rusting, but if internally coated and the tank is intended for potable water storage, it can give the water a metallic taste.
  • Steel tanks, particularly steel cartage tanks, are non-combustible and therefore far less prone to going up in flames.
  • Can be difficult to use in industries or environments with intense temperatures.
  • Lightweight, easy to transport and ship and requires less manual labour to install than most competing materials.
  • Favoured as a below-ground option for storage for many industries and is just as useful as above-ground.
  • The initial price may be higher, but the lifespan is years longer! Fiberglass tanks are more labour-intensive to construct, making them more expensive than other options.
  • Will cost you less in repairs if regular maintenance and inspections are conducted to elongate the time between replacements.
  • Built and delivered as one complete product and is more durable and flexible than competitors. Can be customized to your requirements.
  • Rust and corrosion-resistant, fiberglass-reinforced plastic tanks can withstand even the most caustic chemicals and house them safely.
  • FRP tanks have excellent tensile strength to resist potential damage caused by the pressure of the liquid the unit is storing.
  • Fiberglass requires a gel coating to prevent damage from UV rays and to maintain reasonable temperatures.
  • Does not conduct electricity

Choosing a storage tank option should come down to what material will house the product with the most safety and effectiveness while hopefully offering a long lifespan. There are pros and cons to both steel and fiberglass tanks, so it’s up to what fits your needs best. It’s understandable that we’re always looking to save a little money, but consider the cost of repairs and maintenance for a lower-budget option in the long run when looking at cheaper price tags. If you’re in the market for a storage tank and you’re looking for some guidance, get in touch with us today and we’ll find an option that fits your needs!

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