Cooling Tower Restoration VS Replacement

Cooling Tower Replacement is a costly proposition. High rise buildings or downtown settings can be especially expensive. Permits for road closures can be difficult to get and fees for cranes or helicopter lifts are out of sight. Cooling tower leak repairs used to mean patching the holes and hoping you could get a few more years out of the tower. That's not the case anymore since Polyurea lining systems have redefined the whole concept of cooling tower coatings. We can do a complete cooling tower restoration regardless of the condition of the basin, sidewalls and distribution pan and it'll be leak free for at least 25 years. The video below covers the steps we take on a typical cooling tower repair, unmute it to hear the narrative. To see our photography portfolio click here.

Cooling Tower Repair & Restoration Services


Poor surface preparation is the number one reason that coatings fail. Our cooling tower repair service starts with removing and discarding the old fill media. Then we Vapor Blast the interior of the tower to remove the rust and corrosion. (Click the image below to see Vapor Blasting in action). Vapor Blasting is sandblasting with water and garnet but it reduces the dust by up to 90%. Garnet is a industrial gemstone that creates a profile virtually free of embedment. It is safe and non toxic with very low free silica levels (generally less than 1%). It is one of the most durable abrasive blast medias available anywhere in the world. It's sharp, angular shape is plenty aggressive enough for tough surface preparation like rusted cooling towers.  Since Soluble salts are a major reason for coatings failure we remove them by adding chemicals to the blasting water. Grinding the rust out of the tower will not achieve surface prep comparable to vapor blasting. Grinding cannot reach into corners and unless the tower is pressure washed with a soluble salts remover the salts could cause a coatings failure.

Cooling Tower Case Repair:

We evaluate the condition of the cooling tower case after we finish blasting the tower. The polyurea lining system will bridge and repair the smaller holes. We repair larger holes and damaged panels with geotextile or sheet metal. Polyurea has about 2,000 psi tensile strength and it gels so fast it can easily bridge holes as seen in this video. As you can see in the video the Polyurea gels in 6-8 seconds. The sheet metal parts needed to repair the tower are custom made by local fabrication shops. It is quicker, there's never a problem with obsolete parts and it saves a fortune on replacement cost. Watch the video below to see an example of the fabricated sheet metal parts installed in a tower.

Industrial Polyurea Cooling Tower Lining:

Before the newer generation spray on linings, like Polyurea,  paint brushes and rollers were used to apply cooling tower coatings. This caused them to be thin on the vertical surfaces and on the edges resulting in cooling tower leaks. We apply the Polyurea at about 60 mils thick.

Since it is a monolithic coating there are no seams or underwater terminations to fail. Polyurea is one of the most rugged industrial lining systems used today. It is a plural component lining that's applied at 165 degrees and 2,500 psi. It cures to touch in about 6-8 seconds, has no VOC's and it's flexible for life. At 60-80 mils thick it has around 2,000 lb tensile strength and it never cracks. The cooling tower is ready for service as soon as we climb out of it. The tower will be much easier to keep clean with the Polyurea lining since it stops rust and corrosion. It eliminates the problems of rust clogging filters and screens and of cooling tower leaks.

We install new modular fill media thereby restoring the efficiency of the tower.

A complete cooling tower rehabilitation will add at least another 25 years useful life expectancy. We can rebuild any cooling tower or condenser regardless of its make, size or condition.

Southeastern Industrial Linings has restored towers in downtown Chicago, New York, Miami and all over the Eastern US. Our clients include WalMart, Sears, JCPenney, Jones Lang LaSalle and CBRE.