Considerations for Tanks: How to Evaluate the Best Tank for Your Next Project

When purchasing a water storage tank, the configuration and selection process is frequently required early in the project design process. The timing of construction and overall project costs will be considered when applying for and securing any available funding. Because many municipalities have a single source of water storage, tank design is critical in meeting a community’s current and future needs.

An assessment of community demands for current and anticipated water supply, site conditions, pressure requirements, long-term maintenance, ease of access, and overall costs are some of the key details required for the final selection of the tank configuration process.

For municipal water storage applications, three types of liquid storage tanks are available: glass-coated bolted steel, welded painted steel, and concrete.

1. Manufacturing Process

This equipment’s technology and manufacturing process distinguish it from painted steel or concrete structures. Uncontrolled variables are eliminated when using the factory manufacturing process, as opposed to field-manufactured products such as painted steel or concrete tanks. Worker experience and extreme climatic environmental conditions, which have been shown to have a significant impact on in-field manufactured products, have a negligible impact on the glassing process. Furthermore, because the tanks are manufactured in the factory and only the components need to be assembled in the field, they can be erected all year.

2. Coating

All storage tanks are coated. Coatings available today are made of paint, concrete, or glass. The impermeability and properties of glass are advantageous.

The glass coating process starts with a glass frit, which is combined with other minerals and water to form a liquid slurry. This glass slurry is then robotically sprayed in precise amounts and thicknesses onto steel sheet panels that have already been cut and rolled, punched, grit-blasted, and cleaned.

Different coatings for other tanks rely on a mechanical bond between the coating and the underlying material. The chemical bond strength is many times that of the conventional mechanical bond and prevents undercutting of the coating, which could allow corrosion to spread on the primary steel material. Imagine a scratch on your car to better understand this benefit. Because that coating only has a mechanical bond, corrosion will occur if the steel is exposed. If left untreated, the corrosion will spread and creep beneath the surrounding painted surface, jeopardizing the remaining coating.

This is frequently seen as raised bubbles, spreading rust, and weakened substrate. The chemical bond of the glass-fused-to-steel coating prevents corrosion from spreading if the coating is compromised.

3. Tank Construction

When erecting a glass-coated bolted steel storage tank, a jacking system is used. The tank’s top ring is built on the jacks after the starter sheet (bottom ring) is either embedded in the concrete foundation or constructed using a glass-fused-to-steel floor design. The tank’s roof is then erected, and the ring and roof are jacked up. Each additional ring is then bolted together beneath the top ring and a urethane sealant is applied between the seams.

Tanks are built from the top down, which allows for a safer and faster construction process. The erection process is typically completed in a week or two, saving the owner money if prevailing wages for onsite labor are used. Additionally, the manufacturer requires that all building crews be factory-trained and certified in the erection process, ensuring quality control in the field.

4. Maintenance

Tanks made of glass-coated bolted steel have a long lifespan. Because glass coating is permanent, it never needs to be painted. Glass-coated tanks are frequently used in areas where a long-term pleasing visual appearance is desired.

5. Flexibility

This product’s bolted design and erection provide flexibility. Large staging areas required when a product is manufactured onsite are eliminated because manufacturing is completed in a factory. The tank’s construction can usually be completed with a cleared area of 6 to 10 feet around the tank’s diameter. This small footprint can save thousands of dollars on the overall project, in addition to the cost of the tank. The panels themselves are hand-carried and easily assembled without cranes or special equipment, allowing this tank to be installed in many locations where other tank types would be impossible.

6. Expandability

The glass-coated bolted tank design allows for vertical expansion. If a community or industry expands and more capacity is required, the tanks’ jacking process allows the end-user to gain capacity quickly and affordably. The factory-trained professional construction crew removes the bottom ring from the original starter sheet, jacks up the tank, and adds the number of rings required to achieve the new capacity. When these tanks are expanded, there is no visible difference between the original and new panels.


Initial construction costs, expected life, and long-term maintenance costs are all important considerations when comparing tank designs and materials available today. When selecting the appropriate product for a specific project, the long-term maintenance costs and life cycle must all be considered.

Because project financing can vary depending on a variety of factors, a thorough examination of initial costs and lower maintenance should assist a community in determining which type of product is best suited to its needs.

To discuss any of the concepts described here in more detail, our friendly and experienced customer service team can help. We offer tried and tested services around Houston, Texas and Longbeach, California.

Call American Tanks at +1 800 656 0167

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