Critical Facilities Summit

4  FM quick reads on paints

1. Successful Paint Applications


I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is successful paint applications.

Successful applications of paints and coatings start well before the paint meets the surface. Maintenance managers must make a series of important decisions related to a host of issues, all with the goal of helping workers carry out the task effectively. To ensure success, managers need to combine advances in new-generation paints and coatings formulated to meet growing user demands for performance and sustainability with savvy product specification of items ranging from brushes, rollers, and sprayers to ladders and scaffolding.

Paint jobs that meet performance and sustainability demands result from specifying appropriate products for the conditions. Managers also need to consider proper surface preparation and application practices, based on proven standards, that cover all phases of a project from specifying, purchasing, and receiving to cleanup and disposal. In terms of product specification, managers need to apply product-performance standards related to wet- and dry-film thickness, abrasion resistance, indent hardness, drying time, adhesion, oil absorption, viscosity, electric resistance, anti-foaming, and odor control.

Once managers have identified the most appropriate paint or coating, attention turns to the additional products and equipment that planners and painters need to complete the job successfully. The checklist of items paint planners specify for the preparation and application includes:

  • a measuring tape to measure surfaces accurately in order to minimize material and waste-disposal costs
  • cordless mixers, a true time saver
  • pour spouts and tray liners to eliminate unnecessary cleanups
  • 5-gallon buckets and screens to remove excess paint from rollers and eliminate roller trays
  • plastic drop cloths to cover furniture, as well as less slippery, more porous canvas for floors
  • hole-filling compound, tools and materials.


2.  How to Choose the Right Paint

Dollar for dollar, paint can provide more of an impact within a space than almost any other element.

Of course, paint is more than merely decorative; it's also protective. As a starting point, it helps to know the differences between the types of paints available.

Several decades ago, oil-based paints were more common. Today, they largely have been phased out due to the ease of disposal and reduced application time that most latex paints can offer. In the paint world, latex refers to most water-based paints that use synthetic polymers, such as acrylic or vinyl acrylic, as binders.

Pure acrylic resins cost more than vinyl, but offer several benefits, including better washability and adhesion, along with resistance to water, cracking and blistering.

An all-acrylic paint is more flexible and less prone to brittleness. For exterior surfaces, acrylic paint does a better job of resisting UV-rays, and so won't fade as quickly as vinyl. That means that higher quality paints, which contain more acrylic, tend to cost more.

Along with its cost, facility managers who want to gauge the quality of a specific brand or type of paint can review the lists of products approved by the Master Painters Institute. These are available at the MPI's website, www.paintinfo.com, and are categorized by product type, such as latex interior flat finishes.

Another resource is ASTM International (www.astm.org), which develops international voluntary consensus standards.

3.  Paints and Coatings: Match Substrate and Surface

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor — Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is matching the right substrate to the proper surface.

The type of surface and condition determine the best paint and coatings option. Is the surface concrete or masonry? Wood? Drywall? Metal? Is the surface bare? Is it previously painted? Is the project a touch-up involving color-matching?

The key to ensuring an effective match between the paint and the substrate is understanding label and material safety data sheet information, which is available from the vendor. The paint must protect the substrate while meeting a facility's need for proper air quality and sustainability. Products with high pigment percentages are more costly but offer greater surface protection and better hiding qualities.

Managers might have other objectives, though. For example, with the emphasis on energy efficiency, the goal might be to use paint with a ceramic additive, which provides insulation by adding an invisible, radiant-heat-reflecting barrier. For a high-visibility reception area, managers might need to specify a surfactant to reduce surface tension and smooth out brush marks.

New rheology modifier additives that are free of volatile organic compounds are formulated to improve pigment dispersal, provide good leveling, and resist sagging. They also prevent misting and paint scatter during application.

Biocides — preservatives and fungicides — are additives to latex paints used for exterior or high-moisture interior applications. Manufacturers add defoamers to prevent air entrapment so the surface is free of pinholes. They also are developing multi-tasking additives, such as defoaming-coalescing agents.

Matching the texture of the surface to be painted requires using the same application method — brush, spray or roller — as used originally. Another technique is using clear spray-on sand or orange-peel coating before applying the final coat.

4.  Performance of Green Paints

Low- and no-VOC paints have sometimes had a bad reputation for poor durability and performance. In the past, the sudden push for green products has driven some manufacturers to formulate paints that sacrifice performance and durability for green features.

Paint manufacturers have worked out many kinks however and are now developing better formulas for more durable low- and no-VOC paints. Most of the third-party green paint certifications include stringent performance standards. Look for paints that are certified by the Master Painters Institute, ASTM, Green Seal or Greenguard. All will ensure you're buying a high quality, high-performance, green product.


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paints , paint application , work standards

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