What is Coal Tar Epoxy?

Coal tar epoxy is a type of coating material used to protect steel and concrete surfaces from corrosion. It is especially useful in industrial settings, where it can provide long-term protection for machinery and equipment exposed to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures.

In this blog post, we will discuss what coal tar epoxy is, how it works, why it’s an effective protective coating, and the advantages of using this particular type of coating material.

What is coal tar epoxy?

Coal tar epoxy is a type of protective coating made from a mixture of coal tar pitch and other active ingredients such as resins, pigments, amines, and more. The use of this epoxy can also improve the durability of the surface it protects and make it last longer.

It is an incredibly versatile type of epoxy; for example, it can be applied at temperatures as low as 8 degrees Celsius on a dry surface and dries quickly with excellent adhesion qualities, making it particularly suitable for exterior applications that require high-performance protection from corrosive elements.

Benefits of using coal tar epoxy

Coal tar epoxy is becoming more popular due to its many benefits. It can act as a protective coating and will provide long-lasting protection against rust, water intrusion, and abrasion.

Due to its strong adhesive properties, it can also repair voids in concrete or masonry surfaces, making it ideal for bridge, basement wall, and parking deck repairs. In addition to its impressive performance capabilities, coal tar epoxy has a very low vapor permeance compared to other sealers, making it perfect for applications where retaining moisture or avoiding corrosion are key considerations.

Finally, this product is not only simple to apply but also tolerates minor joint movement without cracking or raising, ensuring a long-lasting and durable finish.

Downsides of coal tar epoxy coatings

On the flip side of the coin, there are several disadvantages that should be taken into consideration before deciding to use a coal tar epoxy coating.

One major downside is the strong solvents used in the paint, which may cause physical irritation and create hazardous air quality if not handled correctly. There also can be long wait times during the application and drying process, when compared to other coating options.

And because coal tar epoxy coatings contain carcinogenic ingredients and could potentially create environmental contamination, it is highly important that special care and EPA regulations are properly checked and adhered to.

Surfaces where you can use coal tar epoxy

Many people are surprised to find that you can use coal tar epoxy on virtually any surface. This type of epoxy coating is incredibly versatile and effective at protecting steel, asphalt, concrete, masonry, and even wood surfaces from corrosion.

It’s especially beneficial in marine environments since it is resistant to saltwater and moisture. Coal tar basecoat is also popular because of its flexibility to expand and contract with the surface material, as well as its capability to withstand low and high temperatures with ease.

How to apply coal tar epoxy correctly

Now that we have a decent understanding of the pros and cons of coal tar epoxy coatings, let’s learn about the proper steps to follow when applying them.

Before you apply the coal tar epoxy

These coatings can be applied to many different types of surfaces, as aforementioned – but preparation for the different types of surfaces should be kept in mind when doing so.

Preparation for steel

  • Remove all rust, dirt, and grease with a wire brush or a suitable cleaning agent
  • Sandblast the surface to create an even coat
  • Apply a zinc rich primer as a basecoat

Preparation for concrete, masonry, and wood

  • Remove all dirt, dust, and grease
  • Pressure wash the surfaces
  • Apply a suitable oil or acid-based primer for a better bond

Preparation for asphalt

  • Remove all dirt, dust, and existing coating
  • Pressure wash the surface
  • Apply an asphalt primer for a better bond

Prepping the coal tar epoxy for application

Preparing coal tar epoxy for application to a surface requires several important steps.

Firstly, the temperature of the material should be brought up to at least 90°F before starting the preparation process. This can be done by setting the container out in direct sunlight for 10-20 minutes or submerging it in a pan filled with hot water.

The next step is stirring or shaking the container thoroughly until an even consistency is achieved. Once this is done, if necessary, thin out the epoxy with small amounts of solvent and stir some more until you have achieved the desired viscosity.

Application of your coal tar epoxy

Once you have your coal tar epoxy adequately prepared, it is time to apply it. It can be applied with a brush or roller, but spray application is recommended for larger surfaces and more precise coats.

If you are using a brush or roller, make sure to evenly coat the entire surface with an adequate amount of product.

After spraying the surface with coal tar epoxy

Once you’ve finished applying the coating, allow it to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before touching or walking on the surface. If you’ve applied a sealer coat, you must wait for the epoxy to fully cure before applying it. This typically takes around 48 hours but may take longer depending on the specific product and curing conditions.

Finally, check your work for any possible issues or needed touch-ups once the coating has completely cured. This is especially important if you’ve applied a sealer coat since any imperfections may be more visible after the sealer has been applied.

Common mistakes when applying coal tar epoxy

Applying coal tar epoxy requires the right methods and the right materials.

It is important to use only fresh epoxy, as older batches may not work correctly and can compromise the effectiveness of your application. Additionally, ensure that you are working in temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, as higher or lower temperatures can cause problems with how the epoxy dries.

Lastly, if you’re working in an area with high humidity, consider using a dehumidifier during the drying process to prevent blemishes or paint failure after application. By taking these extra precautions, you can avoid any common mistakes when applying coal tar epoxy and have a successful result for your project.

Important safety tips when working with coal tar epoxy

Working with coal tar epoxy can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken.

It’s important to make sure that you are wearing protective gear such as gloves, glasses, a face mask, and a respirator and avoid skin contact when applying the epoxy.

Additionally, ensure that all areas around your workstation are well-ventilated as coal tar epoxies contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which may cause short or long-term health effects if inhaled in high concentrations.

And last but not least, this one should go without being said: make sure to check the product label for proper use instructions to maximize safety while using this industrial coating.

Maintaining the integrity of your coating with regular inspections

Regular inspections of your coal tar epoxy coating are key to keeping it in excellent condition and prolonging its lifespan.

By performing frequent inspections, you can identify potential issues that could quickly cause damage and even costly repairs. During the inspection, an experienced professional can also make suggestions for proper maintenance and cleaning methods to keep the coating looking great for years to come. They may observe evidence of abrasion or corrosion that should be addressed immediately.

Even if no recent maintenance has been done on the coating, these professionals can spotlight any problems before they lead to greater issues down the road. In the end, taking a proactive approach with regular inspections is essential for maintaining the integrity of your coal tar epoxy coating.

Frequently Asked Questions About Coal Tar Epoxy

How long do coal tar epoxy coatings last?

The lifespan of coal tar epoxy coatings depends on many factors, such as the quality of the surface preparation, climate, and maintenance. Generally speaking, a good quality coating should last between 10-20 years with proper care.

Can you paint over coal tar epoxy?

Yes, you can paint over coal tar epoxy as long as the surface is properly prepared beforehand. This includes cleaning the area to remove any loose debris and ensuring that the surface is completely dry before you begin painting. Additionally, use a primer prior to applying paint for the best results.

Can coal tar epoxy be applied to painted surfaces?

Yes, coal tar epoxy can be applied to painted surfaces as long as the paint is in good condition and free of any chips or cracks. It’s important to prepare the surface properly prior to applying the epoxy by cleaning it with a degreaser solution, sanding down any rough edges, and wiping away any dust or debris.

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