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Sustainability is just one of the issues driving advance in paints and coatings. Users also are looking for products that apply more easily, cover better, last longer and — perhaps most importantly —address their challenges related to cost. Zimmer points to a specific example of a relatively recent advance managers should be aware of — products that combine paints and primer in one.
Managers "may have thought they needed to use a separate primer followed by a topcoat," Zimmer says, asking, "Are they taking advantage of some of these technologies that can reduce labor costs because you're not applying a primer and two topcoats? A lot of the paint-and-primer products can be used on a variety of already-painted surfaces.
"If you have new construction, new walls, new modulars going up in a commercial building, you probably are going to stick more with a traditional primer followed by a topcoat system. But where you might be changing colors or where you're painting the same basic color, it might be better to just use a paint and primer and have the best of both worlds — primer-like properties coupled with a finished coat that will provide good durability. So maybe instead of needing three coats, you're using two coats. Ultimately, it reduces that all-important labor cost."
Other recent developments related to paints and coatings focus on expanding the role and function of a paint or coating.
"We always say that paint serves two purposes — protection and decoration, but there are products coming out in the market today that we like to call functional — they do something," she says. "This opens up a whole new avenue to paint that can help with some problem within a space.
"An example would be paint products that reduce formaldehyde within a space. So you're doing a new build within some area of an industrial type building, for example. These new products help to actually remove formaldehyde in the space by turning it into water vapor. So the question becomes, what else can a paint be doing? Those are the kinds of things facility managers might not be aware of quite yet."
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