Industrial coatings are formulated to meet the exact performance and aesthetic considerations of the job at hand. While most paints intended for residential use try to be “all things to all people”, those designed for commercial applications closely adhere to the specific requirements defined by the customer.
Building managers and commercial property owners typically have two primary concerns that influence their selection of paints and coatings. The first is how the coating will hold up under the sort of abuse common to the particular facility, and the second is cost.
A paint meant for commercial use must retain its appearance and durability long enough to justify the investment of its application. Unlike a private home whose value definitely increases with a fresh coat of paint, commercial structures depend on function rather than form and appearance for their intrinsic worth. Paint must do more than decorate a commercial establishment to be worth the time and money involved.
The key to choosing a commercial coating is knowing precisely what conditions it will be expected to withstand and what sort of aesthetics are anticipated over the life of the application. Different resin systems produce various results regarding durability and appearance, and their cost reflects those differences.
For environmental and health reasons, most coatings are now water-based. Virtually every type of resin is available as an emulsion that will not give off solvent fumes and will clean up readily with water.
(The resins most commonly used for industrial coatings include:
▪ Vinyl (PVC)
PVC is typically applied to metal and other substrates under extreme conditions of heat and curing by the manufacturers of siding, railing, and ornamental trim. Its performance is outstanding in every respect, and is usually guaranteed by the supplier. After-market use is rare.
Polyester, polyurethane, and acrylic coatings are extremely durable and retain color and appearance longer than any other paints. They are the prime choice for decorative work that must maintain aesthetics despite constant exposure to the sun and other abuse including frequent cleaning with harsh soaps.
Polyurethane acrylic blends produce resilient automotive paints, while polyester is used to finish fine furniture with an extremely durable topcoat that looks like glass.
While polyester remains out of the price range for most commercial applications, polyurethane, although still more expensive than acrylics, can prove cost-effective in floor finishes, particularly for hardwood where it can highlight the grain of the wood beautifully. Polyurethane will withstand an aggressive cleaning regimen for many years and will hold up under severe use. It is the finish of choice for basketball courts, bowling alleys, and other floors subject to heavy traffic.
Acrylic paints are most appropriate for decorative applications such as walls, ornamental fixtures, and virtually any surface where appearance matters. Industrial coatings companies have, over the years, produced hundreds of formulations using acrylic resins because of the ease with which they can be modified to precisely fit the demands of almost any application.
Acrylic latex is the single most popular paint base for commercial applications where appearance and performance must be achieved without excess cost.
Epoxy paints are perfect as floor coatings where appearance is less important than durability. High traffic areas such as warehouses and parking garages demand a finish that will endure physical abuse showing wear. Epoxy will stand up to vehicular use and is resistant to most chemicals including some that will dissolve other coatings.
As a building manager or owner, know the details of your intended coatings application, and speak with the industrial coatings company. Special conditions require special attention, and industrial coatings companies exist to meet your needs.