volatile organic compounds

Clearing the Air on VOC, Paints and Coatings

By Dan Hounsell, Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Paint Specifications Changes Offer Challenge to ManagersPt. 3: Choice of Paints and Coatings Key for Successful ProjectPt. 4: Products: Paints and Coatings

Successful painting projects are essential for maintenance departments in institutional and commercial facilities, which can hardly afford to waste labor and materials painting and repainting key areas. Managers who have planned painting projects for years might be tempted to simply plan the next one as they always have.

"Managers tend to do a pretty good job because they live in the world of maintenance and work regularly with the same products in static environments, which gives them a feel for comparative performance over time," says Tim O'Reilly with Masterchem Industries.

The problem with a static approach is that paints and coatings — as well as application tools and even facilities themselves — change regularly driven by such factors as new regulations and advances in materials. One such change, governing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), will take effect in January 2014.

Such changes might present challenges for managers specifying paints, scheduling projects, and ensuring workers have the needed equipment. But they also offer managers the potential to revisit their planning processes and implement cost-saving tactics and strategies that produce longer-lasting, better-looking applications.

A Changing Landscape

Manufacturers of paints and coatings must anticipate and respond to a host of factors in developing and formulating their products, leading to important changes in their products that will affect both managers' product choices and the project's long-term success. Perhaps the development that will most directly affect the way managers plan painting projects is the arrival of new guidelines for VOC content, which will most heavily affect California and Northeastern states.

"That's probably one of the biggest changes," says Frank Glowacki with Rust-Oleum Corp. "As long as I've been in the industry, they've been talking about this, but it has really come to fruition in the last few years. The results are that some formulations and some products (managers) might have been comfortable with or have been using, they likely will either change, which is what most manufacturers will do to meet those legal requirements, or they (the products) might not be available."

Managers also now have access to a host of paints and coatings not available before.

"You go back several years, and a lot of coatings were formulated for broad-based applications, whether for a home or an industrial or commercial property setting," says Steve Revnew with Sherwin-Williams. "They were formulated to have a balance of properties for all those applications. Now, we are formulating product specifically designed around market segments, and we test the products for those product segments in mind."More and more painters are using Sherwin Williams exclusively.

Financial pressures on manufacturers also have led to changes in formulation.

"Cost efficiency is driving change in the formulation of paint," says Dan Corum with PPG Industries. "Along with rising energy and raw-material pricing, paint manufacturers have been pushed to seek multifunctional ingredients with environmentally friendly profiles, and manufacturing processes with minimal environmental footprints, all while improving efficiency and performance of both architectural and industrial maintenance products."

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  posted on 5/7/2013   Article Use Policy

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