10 Common Mistakes When Selecting a Metal Finish
10 Common Mistakes When Selecting a Metal Finish
Metal products make for excellent roofing and siding solutions. They provide excellent durability, offer long warranties, and offer a variety of vibrant and versatile colors. Selecting the right finish for a metal roof and wall project is one of the most important decisions in the project journey. The metal finish is critical to aesthetic appeal, corrosion resistance, and solution longevity.
As experts in the development and production of painted metal, we often see designers and homeowners make common mistakes when selecting a metal finish. This list outlines several common mistakes, strategies to avoid them, and where to go for more information. If you need further assistance with the selection of an appropriate metal finish, contact us via Steelscape.com today.
1) Selecting the wrong paint system relative to project needs
A paint system refers to the combination of different coatings applied to the metal, this typically includes a primer and a topcoat. The paint system is engineered to provide a mix of durability, performance, and affordability. There are three prominent paint systems for pre-painted metal. Awareness of the different attributes of these paint systems is important when assessing the suitability of a paint system for a specific application. Paint system selection can significantly impact a project’s cost, performance, and warranty coverage. The three common paint systems include; standard polyester, silicone modified polyester (also known as SMP or enhanced polyester), and fluorocarbon/polyvinylidene fluoride (also known as PVDF or under the trademarked names Kynar 500® and Hylar 5000®).
Paint systems range in performance from good (polyester), to better (SMP), to best (PVDF), although modern paint system development has narrowed the differences between a high-end standard polyester system and an SMP system. Polyester paint systems are typically the most economical paint system and offer the lowest level of UV resistance when compared to SMP and PVDF systems.
2) Not understanding the impact of color pigmentation
Pigments impart color to paint and are either organic or inorganic. Organic pigments are typically derived from plants, whereas inorganic pigments are metallic compounds or oxides that are further processed to provide improved color stability.
Organic pigments are usually brighter than inorganic pigments and can provide a cleaner or more distinctive look. However, organic pigments are less durable and fade faster when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, a key consideration for exterior building design.
For certain colors, namely bright or exotic colors using organic pigments, a clear coat is an optional (final) layer that can be applied over the top to provide another layer of protection and fade resistance.
To learn more about pigments, take our online class here
3) Not reading the warranty coverage of the finish selected
Installers or product manufacturers often market a headline ‘30-year warranty’ without providing complete details of the warranty coverage. Typically, headline warranties refer to a finish warranty. Finish warranties cover attributes associated with the paint, including that it won’t delaminate and come off, or that the color won’t fade excessively. Finish warranty coverage will vary based on the type of paint system selected. Finish warranties do not provide coverage for the weather-tightness of the installed solution, panel consistency, or installer workmanship.
Always ensure you ask your contractor the warranty package being offered and read the coverage and exclusions of the warranty proposed. To see the finish warranties that Steelscape offers, explore our Documentation Library.
4) Not taking into consideration the environment in which the solution will be installed
Pre-painted metal is a highly versatile material for roofing and siding applications. However, certain extreme environments can prematurely reduce the lifespan of a metal product and additional paint modifications may be required to provide robust protection and long-term warranty coverage.
The two key extreme environments include coastal environments, which expose a building to excessive salt spray, or industrial environments, which may expose the metal to chemical spray.
Product options to prepare for these environments include high-build primers or the application of clear coats. These additional paint layers provide an extra barrier of protection. Not only are these systems more durable, but they may also enable the creation of a warrantable finish despite the environmental extremes.
The best way to understand if the finish will require modification for the installed environment, look at provisions outlined in warranty documentation or speak to a knowledgeable supplier such as Steelscape
5) Not accounting for batch sensitivity when ordering material or when building a project in stages
Certain paint options are batch sensitive in nature due to their complex finishes. These include metallic or mica paints, translucent resins such as Steelscape’s Vintage®, or printed designs such as Steelscape’s Rustic prints. Due to the unique way in which these colors are produced, their size and orientation cannot be completely controlled during production, creating slight variations from batch to batch. While in isolation the difference is difficult to identify, when installed directly next to one another, the minor differences can become apparent, distracting observers, and detracting from the clean, uniform look of the surface.
Product manufacturers will identify on a color card or color samples if the identified color is subject to batch to batch variation. If you need further assistance identifying batch sensitive colors, contact Steelscape.
6) Not being aware of all the different finish options available
Metal has expanded beyond the handful of standard colors from yesteryear. The diversity of colors and versatile palettes available today are designed to complement a variety of structure types, geographic regions, and emerging building trends. Finishes have also expanded to include more than solid colors. New finishes include textured paints, ultra-low gloss matte products, unique printed designs that recreate other finishes, or translucent resins that provide dynamic interaction with light. These new finishes still carry the same long warranties and high-end performance that has made metal a popular roofing and siding material.
Inquire with your product manufacturer as to the premium finishes that they offer or explore Steelscape’s innovative products today.
7) Thinking that metal is painted like a wall inside your house
Unlike other building products, metal is painted before it is formed into a finished product such as metal roof and wall panels. For field applied paints, such as stucco, paint consistency is determined by the individual painter. By comparison, metal paint is applied using huge, specialty lines. This process creates a quality, highly consistent finish that contributes to metal’s unparalleled finish consistency, longevity once installed, and resistance against the elements.
To run efficiently, these lines run at hundreds of feet per minute in large production batches and these optimized manufacturing processes can restrict the number of color options available. This is why the color card of most metal products is defined, compared to the thousands of options available for interior paints. Metal can still be coated in any color, or modified to meet a project-specific needs, but these custom requests may incur additional charges, order minimums, and longer lead times.
For more information on the custom color matching and development process, contact Steelscape.
8) Off put by industry jargon and complex terms
Metallic coating, gauge, polyvinyl difluoride are just some of the common terms a specifier or homeowner may encounter when trying to determine an appropriate finish for a project. Despite this perceived complexity, many of the terms are straightforward and can be demystified by spending a few minutes reading or listening to the right educational content.
If you have questions not answered online, contact Steelscape.
9) Making decisions based on a computer screen
The perceived difference between individual colors on a color card may look minor, however, the impact once installed can be significant. Given this potential impact, obtaining samples before making a color decision is very important. Digitized colors can be influenced by several factors including the settings of your monitor and the settings used when the digital swatch was created. This variance can make digital comparisons difficult. There is not an industry standard for color naming conventions, which can further make color comparisons difficult. For example, one manufacturer’s ’dark bronze’ may be the same, or different, to that of a competitor.
To help alleviate the risk, Steelscape has a fully stocked sample fulfillment center. Request your samples here.
10) Not asking if the color is ‘cool’
Most modern metal colors today use ‘cool’ pigmentation. ‘Cool’ pigments refer to paints with specially developed pigments that reflect infrared UV light. This light, generated by the sun, leads to the build-up of heat within structures. By reflecting this light, buildings can remain cooler in summer, reducing cooling costs. Cool pigmentation is available across all the common metal roof and wall colors and in most instances does not come at an additional cost to the end-user. So why wouldn’t you want a more efficient color?
When selecting a color, identify if it uses ‘cool’ pigmentation. To learn more about ‘cool’ colors download our Paint 101 document.
These are just some of the common mistakes made when selecting a metal roof and wall finish.
To learn more, or to ask a question, visit Steelscape.com.
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