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Will a Coating Adhere to my Commercial Metal? How to Tell

calander Sep 16 , 2020 user-iconAnderson Painting
Anderson Painting commercial painting on handrails

Metal is quite common in commercial facilities, making up structural components and equipment alike. Despite the versatility and durability of various metals, they require proper protection to prevent rusting, impact damage, and other forms of deterioration. Specialty coatings are applied to commercial metal surfaces to provide such protection. However, if these coatings peel, flake, or chip away, they will fail to serve their intended function. So, when it comes to guarding your metal surfaces, you must choose the right type of paint, ensure its proper application, and maintain it. Otherwise, your coatings will not adhere as strongly as they should.

The Best Ways to Ensure Paint Stays on Commercial Metal

Clean Your Metal Surfaces for Painting

As is the case with any other surface you plan on painting, thorough cleaning is key in ensuring the coat goes on evenly and sticks directly to the substrate. Most metal surfaces can be initially cleaned using a wire brush and bleach mixture. For further cleaning, power washing may be in order, as long as the proper detergent and power settings are used (seek professional help if you’re not experienced in operating a power washer).

Pick the Right Primer

The next step in surface preparation is applying a coat of primer. Not any old primer will do, though. Unlike wood, concrete, and other porous surfaces, metal is non-porous, which makes it harder for standard primers and paints to stick to the surface. Water-based latex primers, for instance, will not last long on metal surfaces. Instead, galvanized metal primers should be used -- these primers actively aid in the adhesion of the subsequent coating. Additionally, the primer you choose should be rust-resistant (or “rust-inhibitive”). These primers contain ingredients that interrupt oxidation (i.e. rusting) by absorbing oxygen before it can interact with the metal surface itself.

Choose the Right Coating

Once your metal surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned and primed, the next step is applying the right coating. The coating you choose must depend on the immediate environment and type of metal. An epoxy paint coating works well for most metal painting applications, but polyurethanes and hybrids have also become viable options. Commercial painting professionals can help you understand the difference between these choices and make sure you use the right one for your specific situation.

Paint Adhesion Testing

For metal surfaces that have already been coated, there are also ways to tell how strongly (or poorly) the existing coating is sticking to the substrate. You or a Raleigh painting pro can perform these paint adhesion tests. The best test for metal surfaces is known as the tape test. During this trial, pressure-sensitive tape gets stuck to and pulled off of various cuts (made with a knife in either an X-shape or cross-hatch pattern) in the paint. After the tape is removed, the cut area is inspected to see how much of the coating (if any) was removed in the process. These tests can help you decide whether or not it’s time to invest in new, better coatings.

Hire Commercial Painters to Coat Your Metal Surfaces

Ultimately, if you want to make sure that your coatings will adhere to your commercial metal surfaces, it pays to hire professionals. At Anderson Painting, our experienced contractors know how to properly clean, prime, and coat all kinds of metal surfaces, and test already-painted surfaces for their current degree of adhesion. To learn more about us and all we do, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at info@andersonpaintingnc.com!