FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: Can you suggest a heavy-duty paint for painting the floor of an Industrial building? The current paint lasted only a few months.
A: We recommend heavy-duty ArmorSeal 1000HS from Sherwin-Williams. This is a floor epoxy that withstands forklift traffic after 72 hours of cure time at 77 degrees. Surface prep is important. For best performance, remove the old coating using a shotblaster. This will remove the old paint and give an excellent profile which the new finish can adhered to. If you are unable to do this prep, there is ArmorSeal water-based epoxy primer that can be used as an intermediate coat. We suggest you test both products in a small area to assure no lifting of the old coat. Apply the base coat of primer, topcoat, wait 24 hours, and then check the adhesion. Always follow the manufacturer’s label instructions for mixing and application.
Q: What are paint and coatings made of?
A: Paint is a group of emulsions consisting of pigments suspended in a liquid medium. Today, contemporary paints and coatings consist of countless compounds uniquely formulated to fulfill the varied requirements of hundreds of thousands of applications.
Q: Why are coatings used?
A: Generally, coatings are applied to products to protect them from environmental corrosion, and improve their consumer appeal. In some cases, coatings are actually an elemental part of a product’s use, such as the coatings that protect food and beverages in metal cans from contamination and spoilage. Or, think of an automobile. It not only has a coat of paint for visual appeal, its coating also prevents rusting — adding to the value and longevity of the vehicle.
Imagine what the world would be like without the color and excitement added by paints and coatings. What would we do without little red wagons, bright yellow school buses, or brilliantly painted whirling carousel horses? While their value is hard to put a price on, the colored paints and coatings of our world add incalculable value and beauty to everything in it.
Q: What types of companies are included in the U.S. paint and coatings industry?
A: The U.S. paint and coatings industry consists of approximately 800 companies. These include manufacturers of architectural coatings (i.e., house paint) and a diverse collection of other coatings, comprised of industrial coatings that include product coatings applied as part of the original manufacturing process, and special purpose coatings for ships, offshore oil and gas rigs, and highway and traffic markings. Suppliers and distributors of the raw materials that go into paint and coatings production are also part of the industry.
Q: Can you tell me more about architectural coatings?
A: Architectural coatings are paints and coatings applied on-site to new and existing residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. Some architectural coatings include:
> Exterior waterborne (latex) paint
> Interior waterborne (latex) paint
> Exterior solvent-borne (oil) paint
> Interior solvent-borne (oil) paint
> Architectural lacquers
> “Do-it-yourself” wood and furniture finishes
Architectural coatings reach consumers, contractors, builders and the government via retail or wholesale distribution channels and outlets. Most architectural coatings today are water-based. Water-based paints first became popular in the 1950s. They were non-flammable and easy to clean off brushes, rollers and the painters themselves—especially compared to organic solvent-based (oil) paints.
But cleaner air emerged as a more compelling reason to use water-based paint in the environmentally conscious 1970s. As paint dries, the liquid portion evaporates. If the liquid is an organic solvent, the result is the emission of volatile organic compounds, which react with sunlight to form smog. Increasingly stringent clean-air regulations have resulted in improvements in water-borne technology and ever-increasing use of water as the liquid medium in paints and coatings. This development, plus ease of clean-up, accounts for the popularity of water-based coatings in the consumer market.
Q: What are industrial coatings?
A: Industrial coatings are coatings that are factory-applied to manufactured goods as part of the production process. They are also known as OEM coatings (for Original Equipment Manufacture). Industrial coatings decorate and protect virtually all of our manufactured goods. Some OEM coatings include:
> Automotive finish Truck and bus finishes
> Other transportation finishes (aircraft, railroad, etc.)
> Wood furniture and fixture finishes
> Metal decorating finishes (can, container coatings)
> Wood composition board flat-stock finishes
> Paper and paperboard coatings (not ink)
> Appliance finishes
> Sheet, strip and coil coatings on metals
> Machinery and equipment finishes
> Electrical insulating varnishes
> Metal furniture and fixtures finishes
> Magnet wire coatings
A good example of OEM coatings is the U.S. auto, truck and bus industry. Without that low-cost protection of paints and coatings, a car body would rust after less than one winter’s driving in most parts of the country.
Industrial coatings also provide sealants against leaching in food and beverage cans. Nearly 100 billion beverage cans are shipped each year in the United States; and every one of them requires a coating inside, to form a barrier to prevent the contents from reacting with the can’s metal.
Q: Can you tell me more about special purpose coatings?
A: Special purpose coatings include marine paints, high performance maintenance coatings, automotive refinish paints, traffic and highway markings, and aerosol (spray) paints. Coatings in this category are used, primarily, where durability is a key objective. Some special purpose coatings include:
> Industrial maintenance paints (interior, exterior)
> Aerosol (spray) paints
> Marine coatings (off-shore structures, marine refinishing coatings)
> Roof coatings
> Metallic paints (aluminum, zinc bronze, etc.)
> Multi-color paints
> Automobile refinishing coatings
> Traffic paints
Marine Coatings: The marine coatings market consists mainly of coatings used to protect new and existing commercial ships; offshore oil and gas rigs and equipment; and pleasure craft.
High Performance Maintenance Coatings: High performance maintenance coatings are formulated to meet performance requirements in specific environments. These coatings are used in a range of industries to combat, largely, the corrosion of exposed steel found in structures, tanks, pipes, industrial equipment and tank linings. Some of the largest consumers of high performance maintenance coatings include: on-shore oil and gas exploration; production and transmission operations; petrochemical plants and refineries; public utilities; and food and beverage processing plants.
Highway and Traffic Markings: Roughly 90 percent of these paints and coatings used for roadways and are purchased by state highway departments and city and county road authorities; the remaining 10 percent are for parking areas and airports. Traffic paints are specially formulated to dry quickly, in order to reduce roadway delays and exposure of highway workers to traffic. They are designed for high visibility, durability and adhesion.
Aerosol Paints: Coatings packaged in aerosol cans are used mostly for appliance touch-up, corrosion inhibition, and hobbies and crafts. The typical aerosol can holds about 10-12 ounces net weight of liquid, usually at a very low-solids level to facilitate spraying. Common propellants for aerosol paints are based on hydrocarbon gases like n-butane, isobutane and propane. Chlorofluorocarbon propellants were used at one time, but were phased-out in 1978, due to their harmful effect on the ozone layer.
Q: What is powder coating?
A: Powder coating is the process of coating a surface in which a solvent-free powder material is applied using a powder application gun that imparts an electrostatic charge to the powder particles that are then attracted to the grounded work piece. Once the work piece is fully covered with the powder, it is then introduced to heat (generally 350° – 400° F) where the powder melts, flows and crosslinks, forming a fully cured continuous film.
Q: What is the proper method for applying paint over new stucco surfaces?
A: Prime the stucco with a primer designed to handle a high pH, such as Sherwin-Williams Loxon Masonry Primer. Then follow with a premium quality exterior paint, like Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint.
Q: What factors are most significant in determining paint quality? We are about to paint a Victorian home and are looking for the highest quality exterior paint. Longevity without shrinking, cracking or loss of luster are our primary concerns.
A: The main factors are the type and amount of resin (the binder that holds the paint together), type and amount of pigment, volume solids and film thickness. A paint like Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint, which is 100 percent acrylic resin, has mostly Titanium Dioxide pigment, and has enough volume solids for applying two topcoats of 1.3 – 1.5 mils DFT per coat, will last the longest.
Q: Does pre-primed hardboard siding have to be primed after it is installed on the house?
A: It is always a good idea to check the siding manufacturer’s recommendations before painting. In most situations, a coat of exterior alkyd primer before applying two coats of an acrylic latex topcoat enhances the paint job. A coat of primer will promote better adhesion of the topcoat and assure that the hardboard, particularly the bottom edge, is adequately sealed from the elements. A good primer choice is Sherwin-Williams PrepRite Quick Seal Exterior Alkyd Primer, which lets you topcoat in one hour.
Q: How can I tell what kind of wood I am painting? If there is rot, does this mean it is cedar?
A: Sand some exposed wood until it looks almost new. Cedar and redwood usually have a reddish color (or gray if exposed to the sun). Cedar usually does not rot because of its acid content. Pine will look yellow, is very soft and can easily be dented with a fingernail. Cypress is also used in some areas, but rarely see cases of rot. Make sure you replace any decayed or rotted wood and fix the cause of the damage before proceeding.
Q: We’re ready to work on a 20-year old house with cedar siding. The problem is the nail heads are all rusted, and the areas around them are bleeding. Is there a sure-fire way to seal in rusted nail heads?
A: You can take care of the rust by counter sinking the nails, spot priming with a rust inhibitive primer, then filling the hole up with an acrylic latex caulk. This will keep the moisture away from the nail head. The staining problem may still continue as the moisture and tannic acid in the wood react with the metal in the nails. I suggest applying a coat of an exterior alkyd wood primer, then two coats of a 100% acrylic latex paint.
Q: We have recommended and used oil-based Sherwin-Williams coatings for all exterior woodwork for years. The paints have changed and so too have the results. Are we too “old school” to keep using alkyd coatings? Should we switch to latex? What are the pros and cons?
A: Acrylic latex technology for exterior house painting has advanced beyond the performance capabilities of most exterior alkyd-based paints. Acrylics exceed exterior alkyd coating performance for fade resistance, chalk resistance, better flexibility, adhesion characteristics and mold and mildew resistance. Surface preparation requirements should be closely followed.
Water-based acrylic latex dries faster and needs cleaner surfaces. Alkyds are more forgiving on less-prepared surfaces and apply to 40’F with better wetting characteristics. Recently, acrylic technologies have developed products to apply down to 35’F, replacing the old standard of 50’F or higher for application and early curing. Your local Sherwin-Williams store can introduce you to all these products.
Q: What is the most efficient method for tackling calcimine painted surfaces like ceilings?
A: Because calcimine paints contain little or no binder, they tend to be very chalky. Clean the surface with a household cleaner to remove as much chalk as possible. Rinse thoroughly. Then apply a primer that secures adhesion on chalky surfaces, such as LOXON Conditioner. Follow with two coats of the topcoat you select.
Q: I have an old deck that my customer would like painted. What is the process for such a project? Will it extend the life of the deck?
A: Painting a wood deck can be the start of an ongoing, frequent painting project. You will be much better off in the long run to take the time now to remove any existing finish, clean the wood, and finish the deck with a deck sealer or stain. When you apply paint to a deck you put a continuous film of paint on the surface. Also, you are usually only able to paint the top and ends of the boards, leaving the sides and underside unprotected and able to absorb moisture. The moisture in the wood is then drawn to the surface by the heat of the sun and gets trapped under the continuous film of paint. The paint then blisters and peels, and you start the cycle over again.
A deck sealer or stain does not form a film like paint, but still protects the wood from the elements and allows moisture to pass through it, lessening the likelihood of blistering and peeling. Most of the sealers and stains are clear or semi-transparent so the wood has to be in pretty good shape to be able to use them. There are some solid color stains designed specifically to handle foot traffic on a deck that can be applied on an old deck after it is prepared according to the manufacturer’s label instructions.
Q: I am getting ready to paint the exterior of a house and am looking for some advice. The house is 35 years old and has aluminum siding that was painted once by the previous owner. It is now starting to peel. I also plan to paint the soffits, which are wood, and the gutters, which are aluminum.
A: The first thing we recommend is a good pressure washing of the entire house. This will remove any surface contaminants that could affect adhesion of the new paint and should also remove any peeling paint from the aluminum siding. We also recommend you have someone at your local paint store look at the peeling paint to determine what caused it to peel so you can correct the problem. Assuming that none of the wood soffits or aluminum gutters are peeling, you shouldn’t need a primer. Primers are usually necessary only when you are painting a bare substrate.
Make sure that any glossy areas are sanded to remove the gloss. Remove any old, cracked caulking and replace with new acrylic latex caulk. The longest lasting paint for exterior use is a 100% acrylic latex house paint. They are usually available in a variety of sheens- flat, satin and gloss. As for application method, it’s up to you. If you have the equipment to spray, it’s certainly the quickest way to get the job done. Rolling would be difficult on the aluminum siding. Brushing is acceptable, but very time consuming.
Q: Does latex paint pose a threat to those who suffer from latex allergies?
A: No, latex paint is not made with latex rubber; in fact, “latex” is really just a decorative way to describe rubber-based paint. Latex paint is a carefully formulated polyvinyl material with acrylic resin and has never contained natural rubber. It is natural rubber that causes an allergic reaction, so people who have sensitivity to latex products are in no danger of having a reaction to latex paint.
Q: How can a homeowner determine whether his or her house contains lead-based paint?
A: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Consumer Protection Agency have published brochures to educate consumers about old lead paint. The National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) have combined these brochures into one easy-to-use publication, Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home and Keep It Clean: An Insider’s Guide to Lead-Safe Painting and Home Improvement,—in both English and Spanish. This brochure is available for download from NPCA’s web site www.paint.org.