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What you should know about the correct paint job

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Engineering Articles

What you should know about the correct paint job

By: Thomas Yoon

As we have mentioned in another article, one of the most common method to prevent corrosion in metals is to cover up the surfaces with a coating of paint. This prevents the flow of current whenever the metal is in contact with water.

To be effective, the first coating on the bare metal must have a very strong bond. This first paint coat is called the primer coat.

This primer paint coat is used to protect the base metal area as well as to provide good adhesion for the topcoat. Surface preparation is of utmost importance. It is useless to have a good primer when the surface itself is covered with loose dust. The primer coat will simply peel off later because the bond is weak.

For heavy-duty paint coatings, the surfaces need to be cleaned by sand-blasting. The idea of sand-blasting is to bombard the surface with abrasives under high pressure to scrape it clean to the bare metal. For less stringent coatings, wire-brushing is good enough.

Choosing the correct paint to suit the environment will ensure good protection for many years.

Choosing the right paint system
Epoxy paints provide very good protection from corrosion. This is because of the impervious nature of the epoxy coating layer. These are excellent for protection against corrosive chemicals, salt and fresh water abrasion and are ideal for steel piles, marine structures, ballast tanks and sewage treatment plants.

Polyurethane paints are used in body paint and auto paint of cars. These produce high gloss and are excellent body repair paints with good durability. These are special paints for special applications.

For architectural paint applications in the homes and buildings there are paints specially formulated for exteriors as well as interiors. Obviously those paints manufactured for exteriors will offer more protection from the effects of weather like rain, sunshine, fungus growth, rot, insect attack, and rusts.

Exterior applications includes masonry walls, brick walls, ceilings, wooden doors and windows, roof tiles, metal gates or other structures.

As before, the surface preparation and the first coat of paint is the most important. For masonry walls, paint manufacturers often have alkali resisting wall sealers or some other adhesion promoting wall sealers. A good surface preparation with a high pressure water jet will often be sufficient to loosen any weak bond.

For wood, there are wood primer sealers available as the first coat. Similarly, there are sealers and primers for roof tiles and metal.

Choose the top coat to suit the application. If your area is humid, probably you will need to have some fungus or mildew protection. For outdoor wood application, you may like to use transparent varnish coatings to bring out the beauty of wood. Just make sure that the varnish contains ultraviolet protection in the formulae. Walls that are often exposed to water may need some sort of silicone water repellent.

Interior applications are not so stringent. For long lasting paintwork, it is again advisable to have good surface preparation, sealers and primer coating as the first coat. The top coat should be formulated for good finishes and ease of maintenance. The surfaces should be easy to clean and the colors should last for a long time. Sometimes special effect patterns can be achieved with a little creativity.

Choosing the right color
Paints can determine the mood of our homes and offices. We can use one color, or we can use a combination of colors. Warm colors are the reds, oranges and yellows. Cool colors are blues, greens and violet. Let the colors of the rainbow guide you.

For those who want to try out combinations of colors, these are the main combinations:

Contrasting schemes - Colors that are opposite to each other, like having a blue wall with a yellow lining.
Blending schemes - Having different shades of one color together. For example you may have dark blue at one place and light blue in another.
Harmonious schemes - Having colors that complement each other by choosing shades that are not more than two colors apart. For example placing red and orange colors together.

By choosing bright or pastel hues, you can achieve further enhance the color combinations above to achieve freshness, vibrant, warmth, calmness.

The suggested steps to choose colors are as follows:
1. Select the preferred mood of each room
2. Select the preferred color hues for each respective room.
3. Finish by picking from the color swatches for the desired tone of the room.

Now that you have selected which paint to use, and what color scheme you want, it is time to start the painting job itself. Should you do it yourself or get a contractor to do it for you? Perhaps you should give it some thought before you start the job. It could be just as important as choosing the paint.

Until next time…

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Many years of working experience in Marine, Facilities, Construction has given the author material for writing e-books and articles related to engineering, and management. Subscribe to facworld ezine at

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