Choosing the Right Coating for Use

The application of coatings has come a long way in recent years, but it can still be tricky to choose the right coating for your needs. With so many options out there, choosing the right coating can be overwhelming. Fortunately, following these tips on choosing the most suitable coating for your application, will help you land the best option. You can use these tips to determine whether your project requires a paint or an industrial coating, along with other factors to consider when selecting the best option.

Type of Substrate

This is an important one! Not all coatings work on every substrate. For example, water-based (aniline) dyes can be used on almost any substrate, but solvent-based (urethane) dyes are only recommended for nonporous substrates like glass and stainless steel. Likewise, solvent-based vinyl coatings will only stick to clean surfaces; if there’s dust or oil present, they won’t bond properly. Water-based polyurethanes require no mixing, simply apply them over your concrete surface in a single step. Solvent polyurethanes have to be mixed with a catalyst and then used in multiple stages.

Surface Preparation

When choosing a coating, surface preparation is one of your most important considerations. Grinding and sanding aren’t cheap, or quick, so you want to ensure that you’re using them as sparingly as possible. One rule of thumb, polish what needs polishing and sand what needs sanding. Don’t polish or sand everything just because you can. If a part looks good after blasting and/or wire brushing, don’t waste time or money trying to make it better. Remember that when it comes to surface preparation, more isn’t necessarily better, especially if more work means an increased risk of particle contamination. Spend 10 minutes on something instead of five hours—you may be surprised by how long 10 minutes is!

Application Process

You will need to make sure that you are choosing a coating system that fits your application process. How do you plan on applying? Are you planning on brush application, dip application or spray-on application? Knowing how you will apply your product will help you determine what material and equipment to use when developing your product. Another thing to consider, is that different coatings have different drying times. Also, check out how quickly it’s allowed to be installed before it cures completely. Does it have to cross-link or cure relatively fast? You want your application process to go as smoothly as possible, so knowing these basic things about coatings will help get you started on choosing the right one for your needs.

Service Environment

Choose your coating based on your service environment. It would help if you considered temperature, moisture, chemicals, abuse, and how it will be used. More hostile conditions require heavier duty coatings. Calmer environments need fewer durable coatings. If you’re dealing with aggressive elements, make sure they can be removed or neutralized before applying a layer to an item. Some chemicals are impossible to remove; others can be thoroughly cleaned off, depending on the type and application method used to apply it in the first place.

Service Life

Make sure that your coating can handle your application’s service life. In many cases, it doesn’t matter what a coating looks like after you apply it. It needs to hold up to whatever abuse comes its way. Coatings with a long-term service life tend to cost more, but they can be less expensive over time because you don’t have to replace them or repair surfaces as often.