In previous posts we’ve covered how commercial and industrial facilities can benefit from the right floor covering and how equipment and machinery can benefit from the application of a good fresh coat of paint. Just as these interior elements of an operation need good surface coverings to protect from wear, tear, dirt, and grease, the exteriors of your buildings need paint to protect them from the damaging effects of the elements. As with your other industrial paint and surface covering needs, preferred has you covered. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Exterior Paint is Important
Regardless of if a building’s exterior is primarily wood, concrete block, or metal, paint is a protective shield that will help slow its degradation. Paint locks out moisture and corrosive chemicals, blocks the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and can help insulate against the harmful effects of extreme temperatures.
On wood, paint will seal out moisture which facilitates the kind of bacterial activity that leads to rot while also locking out such wood destroying pests as termites and carpenter ants. On metal, paint will help prevent rust and the kinds of corrosion that can result from exposure to industrial chemicals.
Perhaps surprisingly, concrete (a material that can often withstand tornadoes and nearby bomb blasts) can benefit just as much (or more) from a good coat of paint as wood and metal. For all of its strength and durability, bare concrete is susceptible to a number of forms of degradation including:
Aggregate Expansion: This occurs when the small stones and sand (aggregate) present in the concrete mix absorb moisture and expand, leading to cracking and crumbling. This effect is commonly the result of silica in the aggregate reacting with alkali components in the cement. Since such chemical reactions can only occur in a solution (the presence of water) locking out moisture with paint will prevent or reduce aggregate expansion.
Corrosion of reinforcement bars: This occurs when moisture reaches the metal re-bar framework at the core of most concrete structures. The decay of a building’s metal infrastructure is likely to eventually become a devastatingly expensive problem.
Chemical damage: As the name indicates, chemical damage is degradation resulting from chemical reactions between the components of the concrete and outside agents. Perhaps surprisingly, concrete does not have to come into contact with with any industrial agents to undergo chemical damage. The carbon dioxide naturally present in the atmosphere will react with calcium hydroxide in concrete to form calcium carbonate in a process called carbonation. This process increases the acidity of concrete which in turn, over time, promotes the corrosion of metal reinforcements. It follows that a good coat of paint will seal out atmospheric CO2 and other chemicals, thus slowing carbonation and other forms of chemical degradation.
What Goes into Exterior Painting Prep
As with all other types of industrial painting projects, exceptional preparation is key to a paint job’s longevity.
The first step to exterior paint prep is, of course, to remove loose paint, dirt, grease, and mold from the paintable surfaces. This is vital to proper paint adhesion and curing and typically involves a combination of old fashioned manual scraping, sandblasting, and power washing.
Next, measures will be taken to ensure paint only goes where paint is supposed to go. This may involve a degree of tenting and masking, the placement of drop cloths, and being mindful of wind direction so as to prevent overspray from getting on other buildings and vehicles. In some instances, it may be necessary to keep people and vehicles out of a given area during the painting process.
Timing is Everything
Unlike interior painting projects, exterior painting is, to a degree, at the mercy of Mother Nature’s fickle whims. In order for paint to properly adhere to surfaces and thoroughly cure, it must be applied when weather conditions are likely to be warm, dry, and pose minimal threat of rain. For much of North America, this means painting projects must be started and completed between late spring and early fall.
For this reason, it is important to have funds for a project available during this seasonal window. It is also recommended to have all logistical planning and preparation for project (planned re-routing of traffic, downtime if needed etc.) completed prior to the start of the exterior painting season. September would not be the best month to decide to implement a large exterior painting project.
If the exteriors of your facility could use a good fresh coat of paint to lock out the elements and help keep your buildings looking their best, give us a call today. Our friendly and knowledgeable representatives are happy to assist you in planning your next painting project.