Different Types Of Industrial Coatings

Science has given the world an increasingly diverse range of polymeric coatings that improve the performance and durability of concrete, steel and other industrial building materials. With an increased focus on sustainability, there has been a growing demand for high-quality industrial coatings that can be applied to prefabricated and custom-built structures. The technology of long-chain molecular coatings has improved drastically since the 1960s. Today, Houston commercial painting companies use a variety of surface coatings to shield the interior and exterior of important structures. Polymeric coatings protect the treated material from weather, UV rays and corrosion. Nonporous and nonreactive coatings are also used to line tanks that contain water, fuel and toxic chemicals that might degrade metal or concrete.

Polymer Coatings

Most industrial coatings contain several types of long-chain molecules called polymers. When applied to steel or concrete, reactive molecules, such as acids and alcohols, lock together to form a tough yet flexible film. Popular coatings like epoxy, polyurethane, polyester and melamine form step-growth bonds.

Chain-growth coatings include polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These are made up of monomers that join together to form strong double- and triple-bond polymer chains. There are also cross-linked films, evaporation-based coatings and coalescence-based films, such as latex. Some of these coatings have been used for centuries. Others have been engineered recently for specialized applications.

Because most industrial coatings bond molecularly, the various components are combined on-site immediately before application. If you have ever mixed epoxy from two separate gels, you have created a polymer coating. When a Houston industrial painting firm applies resin on a warehouse floor, the same process is used on a much larger scale.

Types of Industrial Coatings

Industry standards define three types of coatings. They are metallic, organic and inorganic. Houston metal buildings are often made from galvanized steel, which is one type of corrosion-resistant coating.

Polyester, polyurethane and plastisol are popular organic coatings. High-tech organic fluoropolymers, including PTFE, PFA and FEP, are some of the most widely used coatings available today.

Zinc, ceramic and porcelain are versatile inorganic coatings. However, most coatings contain a combination of organic, synthetic and inorganic materials, including solvents, pigments, fillers and extenders. These additives improve the application and curing process. Some intumescent coatings contain fire-resistant additives that are intended for high-heat areas.

Pretreatment and Application

Many industrial building materials, such as coiled steel sheeting, are coated in the factory. Concrete slabs, walls, floors and metal building materials can also be treated on site. Depending on the application and the type of material being coated, your contractor will use a multistage process.

  1. First, the material is sandblasted to remove particles and to ensure optimal adhesion.
  2. The material is primed with epoxy polyamides or zinc-based compounds that create a buffer and bond with the intermediate coat.
  3. Impermeable, waterproof and weatherproof polymers are applied to build up a protective film.
  4. After the protective film has cured, a chemical and abrasion-resistant top coat is applied.

Although industrial coatings are intended to enhance the performance and durability of building materials and structures, they can also provide decorative or aesthetic value. Color, opacity and texture are generally determined by the properties of the protective top coat. In warehouses and industrial buildings where safety is a concern, anti-skid and non-slip coatings are preferred.

With so many organic and inorganic chemicals available, there is an engineered coating for every industrial and commercial application. Safety experts trust these materials to protect bridges, offshore drilling platforms, pipelines, storage tanks and critical structures. They are ideal for factories, warehouses, commercial buildings, industrial machinery, water storage tanks and any item that will be exposed to the elements.

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KCS Construction Services is a general contractor focused on commercial and industrial construction in the Houston area.

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