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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

If one coating could do everything, coating selection would be limited to color and gloss choices and specification writing would be relatively simple.  Since that magic coating does not (yet) exist, we are left with hundreds of selections to choose from.  Many coatings will indeed perform multiple functions and are quite versatile in their many uses.  These then become very popular.  However real-world situations often demand more specific performance requirements that necessitate the selection of a more appropriate coating or coating system.

This article will address the key elements that influence coating selection.  These elements will center around “needs” … Performance Needs, Application Needs, Budget Needs (Restrictions), and Other (Special) Needs.  To uncover and define the “needs” we will approach the coating selection process through a series of four basic questions that the specifier, engineer or owner need to provide answers.  Only in this way can the proper selection be made that will narrow down the hundreds of coating choices to the “best fit” options (assuming one exists).  Sometimes however, the specific need or requirement exceeds the existing coating technology and compromises must be made to ensure a proper application.

Question #1: 

What is being coated and why is it being coated?

The question sounds pretty basic, but answers can be surprisingly deceptive. In one example, the reason for painting a vessel could simply be because the CEO of the company is making a plant visit next month.  Appearance then means everything and no one is really interested in the benefits of a 25-year corrosion resistant coating system.  The answer to this question exposes the real reason for painting, the scope of the project and the expectations of the owner.

Question #2:

What exposure will the item see?

This is perhaps the real “meat and potatoes” question to be answered.  It tells us what the real environment the coating will be exposed to.  There are many parts to this question which include;

  1. Is the item exposed to an exterior (weathering, marine, industrial) environment or inside (mild, moderate or harsh exposures such as shower rooms or food process areas)?
  2. Are there any elevated temperature conditions?
  3. Are there any harsh chemical fumes or anticipated splash and spills of chemicals?
  4. Will the coating be covered up with insulation?
  5. Will there be any thermal cycling/shock?
  6. How frequent will the coating be cleaned and with what chemicals?
  7. Will the coating see any abrasion? What type (cutting or small particulate)?
  8. What is the existing condition of the substrate (new steel, contaminated steel, rusted steel, old coatings)?
  9. What is the condition of existing coatings?

 

Question #3:

How, when and where will the item be painted?

Answers to this question will define how the painting project will be handled logistically; whether shop applied, field applied or in-situ at an operating plant.  It may uncover the need for a coating to handle early rain exposure or cold temperature cure. Certain coating systems will handle shop application better than others and will have less shipping damage to deal with later. If spraying the coating is not possible (overspray problems) then coatings that can be easily brush or rolled must be selected. If the speed of completion of the project is critical (most of course are) then fast dry/fast cure products will be preferred.  In many operating plants, open abrasive blasting (for optimal service cleanliness and profile requirements) may not be possible. While this restriction is fairly common, products that have surface tolerant properties must be selected. And while these products are technologically advanced, products that require higher degrees of cleanliness are preferred for longer service lives. Compromises must be made depending on what can’t be done.

Question #4:

What are the owner’s expectation in terms of service life?

On its face value, one would think that the answer should be “as long as possible”.  This is not always the case; especially with limited budgets.  In the earlier case where the CEO was to visit the plant, the need to “freshen-up” a vessel could be done rather inexpensively using a coating system with a minimal design life at minimal cost.  The argument makes even more sense if the vessel is to be dismantled in say 5 years.  It makes no sense to select a 30-year paint system for that vessel.  On the other hand, it may indeed make perfect sense to select a long-term service life system for say an elevated water tank with a design life of 90 years … and one that has the local high school mascot painted on its exterior.  Long term corrosion protection and long term appearance are vitally important.  In the end, one can choose a 3-5 year system, a 10-15 year system or a 25-30 year coating system.  The longer service life systems will cost more in terms of material costs and labor (surface preparation and application).

 

Summary

In the end, it is best to discuss your coating needs with a coating professional; one that will walk you through the basic needs analysis outlined here and match the right coating system for your specific set of circumstances and expectations of service life.

 

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

“The Top Two Considerations of Writing Coating Specifications: Performance-Based versus Specific Named Products”   

A coating specification serves many purposes.

In its basic use, it provides a roadmap for the proper installation of a coating system. Any number of painting standards are often referenced to provide the applicator or end user proper guidelines for carrying out the specified surface preparation and proper application of the specified coating or coating system.  The specification as written already assumes that the coatings specified are suitable for the exposure and will meet the expectations of the owner.

Unfortunately; all too often, specifications are poorly written, can cause ambiguities, fail to account for problems that may come up (example: failing to specify cold-cure products during winter painting) and probably the most problematic (to the end customer) specifying the wrong products.  Those are doomed to early failure.  If the products that are specified are wrong for the application; the rest of the specification is moot.

This article will discuss two commonly used types of coating specifications; one that uses “performance-based” requirements and the other simply calls out “specific named products”.  The assumption (for this article) is that the specification as written will indeed handle the exposure and will meet the owner’s needs and expectations.  A separate article will discuss how to select the right coating system.

Performance Based Specifications

These specifications do not call our specific products by name, but rather list a series of performance requirements (minimum performance) to which the candidate system must comply. It may call out a more general performance requirement or even reference independent (3rd party) specifications such as SSPC (Society for Protective Coatings) http://www.sspc.org/ or MPI (Master Painters Institute) http://www.paintinfo.com/index.asp or others.  Often, each coating (primer, intermediate coat and/or finish) has specific performance requirements listed.

Well written specifications call out specific requirements that will satisfy the needs of the project.  For example, it may call out a certain corrosion resistance for the primer tested to say ASTM B117 (commonly known as the Salt Fog test).  It should spell out the extent of the test (say 500 hours) and then spell out the minimum performance requirement (say no more than 2 mm undercutting at the scribe with no plane blistering or rusting).  A poorly written specification will simply say “tested to 500 hours in Salt Fog cabinet” without any performance requirement.  Testing without performance requirements is meaningless.  Any product can be “tested”.

A finish coating may have performance requirements written around weathering resistance (gloss and color retention) or abrasion/scratch resistance.  In these cases, certain test standards are referenced and minimum performance requirements are defined. Examples of some of the common tests are depicted in the chart below.

A couple words of caution when using or interpreting performance-based specifications:

  1. Be careful that the performance test used actually matches how the coating will be used. For example it makes little sense to call out a weathering performance on a primer that will be topcoated.  Likewise, calling out a Salt Fog test solely on the finish coat makes no sense.  The test must match the intended use of the specific coating or coating system.
  2. Be careful when interpreting submitted coatings for consideration that are “close” to meeting the specification. There are countless examples of coatings that “miss” meeting the specification because of a too strict interpretation of the requirement.  For example:  When comparing two finish coats that have abrasion resistant numbers of 115 mg loss versus 125 mg loss and the specification calls out no more than 120 mg loss (more loss is less abrasion resistance), the one with 125 mg loss does not meet the specification.  From a practical standpoint these two finishes have essentially the same abrasion resistance and their reported abrasion numbers are certainly within the tolerance of the test method. Yet, a perfectly acceptable coating would be disqualified based on a strict interpretation of the specification.  So, a specifier should have a very good working knowledge of performance testing, their meaning, and the significance of reported values when qualifying coatings for use.
Shown below is a chart with some commonly used performance-based standards for primers and finishes used for atmospheric exposure.  This is by no means a complete list.  These referenced methods may change based on end use, such as tank linings, high heat coatings, etc.

Primers

Performance Need Test Method Example of Performance Requirement
Corrosion Resistance (Salt Fog) ASTM B117 <2 mm UC after 500 hours exposure
Corrosion Resistance (Cyclic Prohesion/QUV-A) ASTM D5894 <3 mm UC after 3000 hours exposure
Adhesion ASTM D4541 Minimum 800 psi

 

Finishes

Performance Need Test Method Example of Performance Requirement
Abrasion Resistance (Taber Abrasion) ASTM D4060 150 mg loss using CS17 wheel; 1000 g weight and 1000 cycles
Weathering (QUV-A) ASTM G53 75% gloss retention after 2000 hours

No more than 2 dE color shift

Hardness (Pencil) ASTM D3363 2H

 

Specific Named Products

One of the advantages of specifically named products in a specification is that the specifier (engineer or owner) has already determined that the products listed will satisfy the intent of the specification and the needs of the owner.  These types of specifications will often list competitive products that may be quite similar to each other (equals) or may in fact be quite different from each other.  While the coatings may perform in service similarly, one coating system may have faster dry times or low temperature cure capability that might be favored for a specific set of circumstances.  It is then left up to the contractor to choose the system that best fits the application needs.

In the end, there are no right or wrong specifications.  There are good specs and bad ones and everything in between.  The best ones are those that are well written with minimal ambiguities and fulfill the needs of the owner for the anticipated exposure and the owner’s expectations.

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

Inorganic Zinc versus Galvanizing

There is an age old debate regarding galvanizing steel versus using inorganic zinc primers for protection against corrosion in exterior environments.  Below is a selection from a NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) publication discussing the subject. The text is widely accepted as the most comprehensive guide to corrosion engineering.

Excerpt from: NACE Publication; “Corrosion Prevention by Protective Coatings” by Charles Munger; p: 153

“Although inorganic zinc coatings are made with metallic zinc, they should not be considered a metallic coating, e.g., galvanizing. There has been considerable discussion and controversy with regard to inorganic zinc coatings and galvanizing, with most of the proponents of either material taking a rather strong stand in favor of their particular product. Actually, inorganic zinc coatings and galvanizing should not be considered competitive. Rather, they should be considered complementary, since both of them provide an excellent corrosion-resistant application under the conditions where each one operates best.

They are two entirely different concepts of coating, even though they both rely on metallic zinc for the basis of their corrosion resistance. Both are chemically bonded to the metal surface, the galvanizing by an amalgam of zinc and iron, while the inorganic coating is bonded by a chemical compound of iron and silica. Actually galvanizing can be considered an inorganic zinc coating, and in many ways, it will do the same things that an inorganic zinc-rich coating will do.

There are also some basic differences. The zinc in an inorganic zinc coating is not continuous as it is with galvanizing. It is made up of individual zinc particles which are surrounded by and reactive with an inert zinc-silicate matrix. This matrix is very chemically inert and except for strong acids or alkalies, is unreactive with most environmental conditions where coatings would be used. This does not mean that in an acid atmosphere the zinc in the inorganic zinc coating might not be dissolved. However, because it is in a chemical-resistant matrix as discrete particles completely surrounded by the matrix, the solution of the zinc is slowed down in a major way. On the other hand, zinc in galvanizing is pure zinc, and any acid in the atmosphere reacts directly with it with no inhibition of the reaction, as in the case in the inorganic zinc coating. This is an important difference between the two materials and is the reason why, under many difficult corrosion conditions, the inorganic zinc coating will have a much longer life than the galvanizing under the same conditions. This has proven to be the case not only in laboratory testing over a number of years, but also in both industrial and marine atmospheres.

… (3 oz/ft2 hot dip galvanized panels) exposed to two years of tidal conditions (immersed and non-immersed) showed almost complete breakdown by pinpoint rusting; compared to (3 mils) of inorganic zinc coated panels with no appreciable corrosion.

Inasmuch as the zinc in a zinc coating is surrounded and interlocked into an inert matrix, the coating has controlled reactivity and controlled conductivity. (Testing) has shown that the metallic zinc was considerably more reactive than the zinc which was protected by the inorganic zinc matrix.

While galvanized surfaces provided a malleable zinc surface, the inorganic zinc coating, because of the hard, rock-like character of the zinc silicate matrix, results in a much harder and more abrasion resistant coating than metallic zinc. All the above differences generally indicate, on an exposure-for-exposure basis, that the inorganic zinc will tend to have a longer life span under more conditions than will the normally galvanized steel surface.”

SUMMARY

So what does this all mean for my project? An inorganic zinc coating offers both chemical and galvanic protection with that a 1 mil layer pure zinc used in the galvanizing process cannot and does not offer the abrasion and chemical protection of an inorganic zinc primers.

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

Recoating aged and weathered coatings when proper prep is not always an option.

MasticGrip 2500 is a surface tolerant, aluminum flake filled, mastic epoxy which can act as primer or finish.

MasticGrip 2500  is an aluminum pigmented, low-stress, high-solids mastic with outstanding performance properties and offers . It has unique properties over conventional coatings because it wets out existing rust down to the steel substrate. MasticGrip 2500 coating in a number of industrial markets. Today it continues to provide unmatched levels of barrier protection and corrosion resistance over existing finishes and rusted steel; or is suitable for hand or power tool cleaned surfaces.

MasticGrip 2500: What is the Labyrinth Effect?

The Labyrinth effect essentially creates complex maze for moisture to not easily penetrate the coating. This is important because the rate of osmosis is a critical component to premature coating failure. MasticGrip 2500 utilizes aluminum flakes of various sizes which acts similar to a coat of armor for your substrate. The protection is effective against everyday abuse from UV, water, and chemicals.

Why use MasticGrip 2500 as a “everywhere” primer?

The low viscosity formulation enables it to wet out and penetrate rust down to the substrate, yet it’s high solids allows it to bond to a variety of aged coatings without crazing or lifting. In short, MasticGrip 2500 is the most dependable, robust protection for maintenance painting available. It’s the best primer choice for aged, weathered coatings that can’t be mechanically abraded. This primer/finish is the perfect solution for owner you would like to get five to ten more years out of an asset before a complete repaint down to bare steel.

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RustGrip 2300 is designed to minimize prep when time and resources are limited

RUSTGRIP 2300 is a highly cross-linked penetrating primer/sealer with superior wetting properties. Its a 100% solids epoxy, and will not lift existing coatings yet, allows any topcoat to be overcoated. It is highly flexible with good chemical and solvent resistance, and accepts a variety of topcoats. Recommended use as primer/sealer for marginally prepared steel and over aged coatings. Its excellent wetting properties allows it to penetrate rust and discontinuities in existing coatings and provides a firm anchorage for a variety of topcoats.

RustGrip 2300: The primer that breaks all the rules…

Do you have tightly adhered, aged coating, or weathered steel with tight rust?

Scrape it, clean it, and prime with RustGrip 2300. Its low viscosity formulation enables it to bond to surfaces that heavier pigmented coatings cannot. Even an hour after it is applied it continues to wetout and seal down light surface chalking and tight rust.

It’s the only primer choice for aged, weathered coatings that can’t be mechanically abraded. This primer is the perfect solution for owner you would like to get five to ten more years out of an asset before a complete repaint down to bare steel.

Rusting storage tank at a chemicle plant.

RustGrip 2300 Flyer

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

Our free Building Product Specifications have been written by CSI experts and are available in the CSI 3-part and the Canadian CSC formats for building and construction professionals. Our 09 67 00 Fluid-Applied Flooring specifications are available to download in DOC, or PDF format and come complete technical data profiles, applicable ASTM standards, performance features and product attributes.

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

Apellix, the safety partner for the technological revolution, is proud to announce that its Smart Bee™ aerial robot was named an Innovation of the Year award winner at the Materials Performance annual Readers’ Choice Corrosion Innovation of the Year Awards. A software-controlled quadcopter (drone) that tests paint thickness on structures at heights up to 150’, the Smart Bee was selected by corrosion control professionals worldwide as the winner of the Computer Assisted DFT Measurement Drone in the testing category.

Recognizing the most timely and useful innovations in the field of corrosion control worldwide, the awards, sponsored by NACE International, are judged by a distinguished panel of corrosion experts who reviewed innovations developed by individuals, companies, and organizations from around the world.

The Smart Bee is the first commercial application from Apellix based on its patented software-controlled aerial robotics platform. It takes dry film thickness (DFT) measurements consistent with SSPC-PA2 standards featuring the Fischer Technology, Inc. DUALSCOPE FMP 40C system. The Smart Bee can record DFT measurements on surfaces up to 150’ above the ground, eliminating the need for scaffolding and cranes, keeping workers safely on the ground, and increasing productivity by 15x, all while automatically recording every measurement with the time, date, photo confirmation, and additional project data.

The Smart Bee is currently available on a limited basis to industry partners who will participate in development of future enhancements, including DFT Measurement on non-ferrous surfaces.

 

Apellix expects to release a beta version of its Worker Bee™ solution – a spray painting drone that can coat between 5,000 and 12,000 square feet per hour on elevated structures up to 100’ – to industry partners in Q4 2017. The company is also working with several construction engineering firms to develop additional applications of the aerial robotics platform.

About Apellix

Apellix, an early-stage software company based in Jacksonville, Florida, develops software and other tools to precisely control and allow its custom-built aerial robots to perform tasks that are otherwise dangerous or difficult for humans to perform.

Please contact US Coatings for more information or if you have possible use cases.

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

Gripcrete 9000 PA Release 2-23

New Product Bulletin

PRODUCT RELEASE DATE: 2/23/2017

GripCrete 9000 PA OVERVIEW:

GripCrete 9000 PA is a high-solids polyaspartic developed for direct to concrete and primed concrete surfaces. This unique polyaspartic material has exceptional adhesion to marginally prepared surfaces because of unique viscosity and adhesion promoters. Its features epoxy type chemical resistance and tenacious adhesion while offering aliphatic polyurethane type protection to UV radiation. This new technology combines the work of three coatings; epoxy primer/ epoxy intermediate/polyurethane topcoat into one coat. This polyaspartic formulation will also have the unique ability to be tinted in the field to enable fast turn projects with unlimited color options. GripCrete 9000 PA will provide a high gloss finish. The material is VOC compliant and offer extended working times (up to one hour in low humidity environments) which is a vast increase from traditional polyaspartic offerings.

WHY WE DEVELOPED IT

GripCrete 9000 PA was developed to offer an alternative to polyurea and traditional polyaspartic floor coating. These coatings offer less than desirable results as working times and adhesion to prepped concrete has left the applicator with few options for fast turn projects. This material has superior application characteristics over competitor products while still providing excellent UV protection, chemical resistance, and same day return-to-service times.

KEY FEATURES

• Smooth, gloss finish

• 75% solids, VOC compliant

• SSPC Level 3 Paint 36 UV resistance performance

• Long working time (40-45 minutes)

• Resists forklift traffic

• Superior chemical and hot tire resistance

• Compliant for USDA applications

• Versatile usage for color quartz, vinyl flake, and metallic pigment applications

• Super fast return to service (2-4 hours for foot traffic)

WHERE DO I APPLY?

GripCrete 9000 PA is perfect for flooring applicators and owners who desire for a material with color matching capabilities and excellent adhesion to bare concrete or other hard to coat surfaces. It is excellent for commercial facilities seeking a solution for a low VOC, quick return to service floor coating that can hold up to consistent abuse from pedestrian traffic and forklift wear and tear.

Additionally, it can be used in most markets where a quick return to service (foot traffic) floor coating is desired. Combined with ease of application, adhesion to marginal prepared substrates, and fast return to service,

GripCrete 9000 is a product you can stand on.

TARGET MARKETS

• Industrial Facilities: Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Oil and Gas, Marine, Conventional Power Plants, Waste Water

• Commercial buildings: Warehouses, Garages, Churches, Schools, Commercial Building, Breweries, Restaurants

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“Selecting the Right Coating – The 4 Basic Questions”

 

To protect the equipment that drives your business, you need a partner with experience developing protective coatings for a wide variety of assets and industries.

At US Coatings, we build relationships that last the duration of a job and then some.

Floor Coatings Brochure

 

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