Do you know how to choose the right kind of industrial paints or protective coatings for your job? Making the right choice is the secret to a smooth finish on a great job. There’s a variety of different materials you can choose from, and a variety of ways these are applied and maintained. If you’re not sure, or just want a second opinion, then our specialist paint teams at Ultrimax have a few tips for getting the job done right.
Your first option is to choose from the wide selection of epoxy paints currently available. These products come in two parts that need to be mixed before you can use them. When you put these two together you’re triggering a chemical process which allows the paint to catalyse. That means an epoxy produces a resistant and solid finish that work for materials like steel and concrete.
On the upside, an epoxy is hard-wearing as it’s resistant to all sorts of adverse conditions and processes, such as acids, water, chemicals and some fairly heavy-duty abrasions. However, thanks to their substantial constitution (and their solvent base) they can cause irritation and inflammation if their fumes are inhaled without proper protection and ventilation.
It’s also important to note that they have a short shelf life (once mixed) and can be highly flammable. As such they are a useful and practical addition to the professional painter’s toolbox, but they should be handled with care.
Like epoxies, polyurethane coatings also come as a two-part product which needs to be carefully mixed before it can be used. It’s an attractive option for a professional finish as it leaves the painted surface with a high gloss, thin film look that copes well with the hard-wearing impacts of the weather through the seasons. Because of that glossy look, it is often used as a topcoat to slide over either an epoxy or zinc primer.
The benefits of polyurethane coatings are that they are versatile. This type of product can be used on many common surface materials, including wood, metal, plastic and the large majority of flooring used in modern building or renovation projects. Once dried, polyurethane doesn’t emit any harmful vapours, and keeps its colour well. This product is good for providing a resilient barrier against the elements.
It’s also important to know that although polyurethane doesn’t release the same amount of vapours as epoxies, it can irritate the skin. And there are still some respiratory concerns with this product so masks must always be work when applying these coatings. Again, there is a short shelf life to these when mixed so you need to work quickly. If you leave it too long then these become difficult to be applied with a brush.
The next category of paints also capitalises on a chemical reaction. Alkyd, or oxidative paints, react with oxygen to create a hard enamel film that coats and protects the surface underneath. Although this allows for a smooth and slick finish, this can take some time to happen so this would not suit a job that needs an extra-fast turnaround.
The benefit of these paints is that they are safe and simple to use as there is no significant mixing or hardening to be done before use. However, as mentioned above, the pay-off for that is that the product takes longer to be ready. This extra time means using a brush for these is fine and it can be used alongside any primer. This means it’s a cheap and durable coating – as long as you have the time to devote to finishing it properly.
The downside of these, however, is closely connected to the benefits. Yes, it takes some time for these to dry so application is straightforward, but you may need to use extra heating to achieve the optimum finish in cold weathers. You should also consider that the gloss and colour of these products will decrease quickly over time.
Water-based products are popular within the industry as they are easy to use and cost-effective. They are also good choices considering they’re environmentally friendly and provide good adhesion but are also affected by the weather on application.
The general benefits of choosing a water-based product are that alongside their simplicity they are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) which contribute to harmful environmental pollution. However, they will also dry slowly, particularly when the weather is humid. They are not a good choice for coating metal.
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We hope you find this advice useful. Call 01302 856666, or drop by to see us today for more great hints and tips for getting the perfect finish for your job!
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