Paint Product Labels Provide Guide for Smarter Green Choices

By Thomas A. Westerkamp  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Paint & Coatings: Material Safety Data Safety Sheets Provide Additional GuidancePt. 3: Compliance With Paints and Coatings Health and Safety Right-to-Know Laws Pt. 4: Product Focus: Paints and Coatings

Maintenance managers continue searching for paints and coatings that will meet their demands for performance, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. One essential element for finding the most appropriate product for the application is gathering as much information as possible about the specific product under consideration.

The key to ensuring an effective match between paint and substrate is understanding the information provided on product labels and in material safety data sheets (MSDS). These resources, easily available from vendors provide key pieces of information, including volatile organic compound (VOC) content and pigment percentages, that managers can put to use in selecting paints and coatings that can deliver long-term performance, hold down application costs, and enhance an organization's sustainability.

Gathering Information

Paint and coating manufacturers provide label information to ensure successful product applications. Labels contain such information as specified use, coverage, surface preparation, priming instructions, application, drying time, clean up, safety requirements, warnings, and warranties.

Specific uses describe applicable surfaces, such as wallboard, plaster, wood, masonry, and wallpaper, as well as surface condition — for example, primed or previously painted.

Coverage refers to the range of surface areas in square feet or square meters per gallon, depending on porosity and texture.

Surface-preparation information spells out the steps required to clean and dry the surface, as well as to remove grease, dirt, wax, scaling paint, and mold.

Priming describes the use of primers. Certain badly stained surfaces might require special attention and products, such as primers and stain blockers. Some one-coat paint applications might not require primer application

Application information covers mixing methods, such as stirring thoroughly, as well as ideal temperature ranges and thinning methods.

Drying includes the time until the surface is dry to the touch, recoating time, time to achieve a washable surface, and the effects of high humidity on drying time.

Cleanup information covers the tools, including sprayers, brushes and rollers, that workers need to clean thoroughly, along with cleaning methods for surface splash and the proper disposal and recycling of paint and coating containers.

Safety recommendations on the label describe the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, along with proper ventilation, and first aid. Special safety warnings might apply to sanding if the paint or coating contains toxic substances, such as carcinogens.

Warranty information covers disclaimers — for example, satisfactory results if painters use the product according to directions — as well as remedies for problems they encounter, including the proper procedure to follow to return unsatisfactory paints.

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  posted on 5/17/2012   Article Use Policy

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