How to Stop and Repair a Live Leak with Belzona

 In Belzona Educates, How To Series

Live leaks and through-wall defects are quite common when it comes to the maintenance and repair of tanks and pipes. External and internal corrosion, aggressive chemicals and tough operating conditions contribute to the metal loss and wall thinning. Lack of prevention or timely maintenance might lead to delays in production, leakage of hazardous materials, and health and safety hazards. While conventional methods, such as welding and brazing, have historically been widely used to carry out the repairs on tanks and pipework, they lead to some consequential problems: bi-metallic corrosion in welds and seams, downtime, environmental damage, and hazardous conditions for the equipment and maintenance personnel.

In this blog post we demonstrate how Belzona’s cold-applied repair composites and cold bonding techniques make such repairs an excellent alternative to welding and other types of hot work. You will learn how to stop a live leak, and reinforce the thinning structure of a tank without taking it out of service, damaging its external/internal structure, or creating a hazardous environment for the personnel.

Video: Learn how to stop and repair a live leak with Belzona cold bonding


To carry out a live leak repair and to reinforce the structure of this tank, we used Belzona 1161 (Super UW-Metal), Belzona 9611 (ES-Metal), Belzona 9111 (Cleaner/Degreaser), a preformed metal plate and a few tools from our machine shop. First, we had to stop the flow. After thoroughly cleaning the surface around the damaged area, Belzona 9611, a fast curing paste grade material, was carefully kneaded and forced into the through-wall defect. A 2″ x 4″ stud and a Ratchet strap were used to secure the material in place until it fully cured.

For the reinforcement of the damaged area we used a preformed metal plate and Belzona 1161 as a bonding agent. The damaged areas on the tank as well as the mating face of the preformed plate were roughened using a grinder. Both substrates were then washed down with Belzona 9111 to remove all dirt, grease and other contaminants. Mixed Belzona 1161 was applied to all the prepared areas (on the tank and on the plate) and worked well into the roughened profile with a short bristled brush. While applying the mixed product onto the metal plate we created a build up (approx. ¼” (6 mm) thick) towards the center. This allows for displacing air while positioning the plate onto the tank wall. The plate was then pushed into position and forced down until Belzona 1161 exuded on each edge of the plate. The exuded material was immediately removed and used to chamfer the edges.

Live Leak Repair Drawing


Supplies & Tools Needed for a Live Leak Repair

Belzona 1161 (Super UW-Metal) Belzona 9611 (ES-Metal) Belzona 9111 (Cleaner/Degreaser) File Belzona Mixing Board, Belzona Spatula, Belzona Applicator Short-bristeled brush Grinder 2 Ratchet Strap

Step-by-Step Instructions of a Live Leak Repair with Belzona

Step 1: Roughen the surface around the leak area with a file.


Step 2: Cut off the required amount of Belzona 9611 and knead in gloved hands to a uniform grey color.


Step 3: Using a Belzona applicator, force the mixed material into the through-wall defect.


Step 4: Using a 2″ x 4″ stud and a Ratchet strap, secure the material in place until it is fully cured.

Step 5: Once cured (approx. 1 hour later), remove stud, strap and applicator.


Step 6: Using a grinder, machine down the cured material, and roughen the bond area to remove all existing coating and achieve the best profile possible.


Step 7: Clean and degrease the bond area with Belzona 9111.


Step 8: Clean and degrease the bond surface of the preformed metal plate to remove all surface contaminants.


Step 9: Transfer the entire contents of Belzona 1161 Base and Solidifier onto a Belzona mixing board and mix thoroughly until a uniform color, free of any streakiness, is achieved.


Step 10: Apply the mixed material directly onto the prepared surface, pressing down firmly to ensure maximum contact with the surface.


Step 11: Apply a thin layer of the mixed material onto the prepared preformed plate, pressing down firmly.


Step 12: Form a build up approx. ¼” (6 mm) towards the center.


Step 13: Push the plate into position, pressing firmly in the middle to push the material towards the outside. This will help prevent air entrapment.


Step 14: Remove excess material immediately. Chamfer the edges of the plate with the exuded Belzona 1161.


Step 15: Remove the tape. The application is complete. (2)

Completed repair!


Click here to learn more about Belzona’s cold bonding solutions.

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