Choosing the right coating for an application all comes down to your knowledge of the surfaces it will be applied on, and the finishes you want to create in a building project.
There is a wide variety of waterproofing, painting and plastering coatings that you can choose from that is readily available on the market. When selecting a coating for a specific application, keep in mind that it should complement and enhance the features of the finished project.
Walls & Roofs requested selected role players in the industry to list the most frequently asked questions they receive from architects and specifiers when it comes to the application of coatings.
What should I know about surface preparation for interior walls?
Shane Weeden, Cedar Paint’s national sales & marketing manager says, for surfaces that are in good condition, a thorough wash-down with a suitable paint-friendly detergent will remove dirt, stains, grease and nicotine stains. He says that painted surfaces in a poor state will need a lot more remedial action before any paint can be applied. “Badly plastered walls, surface grooves and indentations can create shadow effects, which will, in turn, result in adverse and compromised visual colour effects on the original paint hues chosen.”
He further adds that cracks should be filled with a flexible ready-mixed filler to create a smooth and even surface before painting. “If dampness is noted on the room’s walls, the source of the moisture must be traced before consequently filling and applying the correct damp sealer and the decorative paint coating.”
According to Weeden, one should scrape away loose flaking paint and any other irregularities of old paint. “Ensure that all bare surfaces have been primed with a water-based alkali-resistant primer and that glossy surfaces have been sanded down with sandpaper. This will provide good adhesion for both a universal undercoat and the final coats of the specified matt or velvet decorative coating.” He adds that one should remember to apply at least two topcoats for an appealing paint finish.
What roof coatings are durable and waterproof?
Cassandra de Iongh, a marketing assistant at Cemcrete, says it is extremely important to keep the the outermost layer of the roof in a pristine condition. “This part of the structure is continuously exposed to harmful UV rays, rain, hail and general weather abrasion.”
She says it is important that roofs are waterproof, as well as aesthetically pleasing. “Many roof paints wear down quickly and do not provide sufficient waterproofing leading to leaks and delamination of the product.” According to her, Cemcrete focused on developing a product that has been adapted to meet these needs by presenting a roof paint that contains mica and silica for maximum film protection against UV light and weather abrasion. “This super-durable coating is suitable for application on cement/concrete and new/old corrugated iron roofs, providing a top of-the-range coating that serves as a primary waterproofing system.”
De Iongh further explains that for additional durability and waterproofing, a complementary roof-seal product can be used, which provides an exceptionally durable membrane system that is extremely waterproof and easy to apply. “It is suitable for use on concrete, bituminous felt, timber, galvanized iron, asbestos cement and foam cement.”
Are there wall coatings that are durable enough for external use structures?
According to De Iongh, Cemcrete has a range of products that is suitable for external walls. “They are extremely durable as they are cement-based, UV stable products which are also fade-resistant.” She says these products are waterproof, with standard SABS rate penetration, making them age well when exposed to natural elements. “A fine example is the recently finished Yamaha building, which is situated along the M1 close to Sandton. This architectural gem was coated in Cemcrete products, illustrating the aesthetic effects as well as its strength and durable qualities.”
Consistency with colour
Are there any useful tips on ensuring colour consistency?
Cedar Paint’s internationally accredited colour design consultant and resident architectural colour specifications specialist, Helen Gurura says you have to make sure that you observe the colour sample under lighting conditions that are identical to those under which the paint will be applied. “Lighting variances will naturally alter the appearance of any given colour.”
Another tip one can apply is to accurately measure the area to be painted before placing a paint order. “A correct estimation of the paint quantity will not only ensure that you start and finish your project uninterrupted, but (it) will also aid in colour accuracy and the consistency of tinted products.”
She says plaster finishes of different textures will make the same colour look different. “Always keep in mind that the same colour in varying sheen/gloss levels or when tinted in different bases will give you observable colour differences.”
How can I optimise the implementation of colour trends in architectural spaces?
Gurura believes that every colour has a space and a place. “If people were to understand that colour has a functional aspect that supersedes mere decorative objectives, then perhaps consumers’ and specifiers’ attitudes to colour and applied colour within the built environment would change”, she says.
Gurura, who is also the executive vice-president of the International Association of Colour Consultants (IACC), agrees with the IACC president, Frank Mahnke’s, take on trends as highlighted in his book, Colour-Communication in Architectural Space. She quotes a paragraph from his book: “Trends in fashion and consumer goods might in fact be prepared and strategically planned for the economy, but this would be erroneous in the field of architecture or interior design. Responding to a trend would not respect the need for effective colour design, which is based on applied psychology. Short-lived variations in interior design follow a hasty, disposable mentality, and contradict serious and fundamental design philosophies.”
She says it is the goal of the professional colour specifier/designer to create places and spaces that will not unnecessarily burden the mental and physical well-being of the inhabitants. “Trend colours should not be the primary specifications priority determinant when it comes to selecting colours for the architectural environment.”
What factors should one consider in this functional approach to colour design specifications?
Gurura says various areas within the architectural space can be used to induce user supportive sensorial colour experiences. During this process, human psycho-physiological reactions need to be taken into consideration before colours are selected.
She further explains that the use of colour in creating a psychological mood always has to fit the function of an architectural space and not entertain the senses. An educational setting has a different function to a healthcare facility, an industrial assembly line, a corporate work space or a residential environment.
According to Gurura, the neuropsychological aspects experienced when perceiving colour should be taken into account. “Colour specifiers should know about the research done concerning the presentation of two perceptual sensory extremes within the environment known as sensory deprivation (monotony) and sensory overload (overstimulation).” She says that in any situation of colour design, a balance must be struck between these two extremes.
Gurura also explains that visual ergonomic effects play a role when selecting colours. “In the design of a space, concern must be shown for conditions that will affect visual efficiency and user comfort.” She adds that the role of light-reflectance values (LRVs) in design settings ought to be factored in amongst several other colour specification variables.
Gurura says the last aspect that should be taken into account in the selection of a colour is the emotional effects of colour and the role of psychosomatics. “The emotional content of an environment is one the most important goals of appropriate architectural/environmental design.” According to her, colour plays a major part since it determines the overall mood or ambiance of an interior space.
Which colour system is available to specifiers?
According to Lynette Jackson, communications officer at Prominent Paints, they use the Natural Colour System (NCS), an international colour system for colour selection, specification and communication. “The Swedish government developed the NCS colour classification in the 1950s. This system has now evolved to become the international standard of colour classification and it offers 1 950 colours to choose from.”
She says that the South African Standard (SANS 1091), which adopts NCS, was enabled in 2004. “Prominent Paints supports the colour selection process by offering colour advice from our trained colour consultants.”She adds that Prominent Paints also provides a brush-out service to clients. “Colour samples may either be applied on site or colours are applied and demonstrated on A4 cardboard sample sheets.”
Is there any eco-friendly coating available that contains low VOC levels and adheres to sustainable compliancy?
According to Jackson, Prominent Paints offers a comprehensive range of low VOC coatings which adhere to strict sustainable guidelines endorsed by the Green Building Council. “All our non-solvent based products are green compliant,” she says. “This has no effect on the price of the paint system.” She further explains that Prominent Paints also ensures that chemical waste is disposed of in a responsible manner and that the factory runs at optimum energy-efficiency.
Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to Prominent Paints, Cedar Paints and Cemcrete for the information given to write this article.
Written by Nichelle Lemmer