Epoxy coating and epoxy pastes have several uses when it comes to pipe repair, making them handy tools to consider for pipework maintenance.
On their own, both brushable epoxies increase chemical resistance and offer protection against corrosion. They can be used to repair areas of pitting and damage and some formulations of epoxy paste will seal holes and cracks on pipework.
Of the two, epoxy coating is more commonly used for protection rather than repair. The epoxy comes in liquid form and is painted onto pipework or other surfaces, where it sets to a smooth, metallic, hard-wearing protective layer which is resistant to corrosion and aggressive chemicals.
In industrial settings, epoxy coating is used in factories and petrochemical plants to protect and reinforce pipework. When used in conjunction with a pipe repair bandage, some epoxy coatings can be used as a load-transfer layer.
In a domestic environment, epoxy coating provides protection from the elements for exterior pipes and metalwork. The ease with which the liquid is brush applied makes it suitable for pipework which maybe inaccessible or difficult to repair using traditional methods, such as elbow joints, flanges, tanks, valves, water box ends and pumps.
Because it comes in liquid form, epoxy coating offers a longer working time than other epoxy solutions. Most epoxy coating products will come with a work time in excess of 90 minutes, allowing for more complicated repairs to be carried out. This lighter consistency makes it well suited for pipe repair in warmer climates.
Epoxy paste is the better suited product for repairing holes and sealing cracks in pipework. It works in much the same way as epoxy putty; after mixing the two parts together, you push the epoxy into the damaged area requiring repair and leave it to cure.
While epoxy putty is hand applied, paste is of a lighter consistency. It requires a hand tool to spread it over the pipe or metalwork.
Epoxy paste offers excellent adhesion and will take to metals, wood and most plastics. It is formulated to be water resistant for use in underwater applications and it can be overwrapped with a pipe repair bandage for a permanent pipe repair.
Some preparation is required when using epoxy coating and epoxy paste. Surfaces should be cleaned before the solutions are applied so that they are free of paint, rust and grime. Pipework should also be roughened up first either through grinding or grit blasting.
For some, it is this preparation process that rules out epoxy coating and epoxy paste as a solution for domestic pipe repair. It is certainly found more frequently in industrial settings, particularly in hotter countries where its slow cure time makes it suitable for oil and other pipeline maintenance.
That is not to say it doesn’t have its uses for regular households though, particularly those who are looking to paint a protective layer to surfaces, smooth them over and protect them from corrosion and the elements.