An Overview of Warranties
Warranties form an important part of the purchase decision when selecting an exterior building material. They influence product and supplier perception and reinforce peace of mind for the building owner. For typical exterior metal applications such as metal roofing and siding projects, three distinct warranties can be offered, including finish warranties, roof or wall product performance warranties, and installer warranties that cover workmanship. The finish warranty is typically offered by the paint vendor; however, sometimes these may be offered directly by the coater by or end-product manufacturer.
It is important to understand these roles when validating potential suppliers and installers and when pursuing a warranty claim. Building owners must ensure they are aware of the coverage of each individual warranty to avoid coverage gaps in the event of a claim. For example, some products may offer a headline ‘30 year’ warranty, but this coverage may only reflect the adhesion of the paint rather than any other aspects of the installed solution. Steelscape recommends that project specifiers or building owners review all warranty documents to identify who is offering the warranty, what warranty coverage is offered, the appropriateness of the coverage, and remedial actions proposed in the event of product failure.
What warranties does Steelscape offer?
Unlike other building materials, most metal building products are painted before they are formed into finished products. This is done in controlled environment using a dedicated process called coil-coating. This is Steelscape’s specialty. The advantage of this process is it creates a highly consistent, high-performance and long-lasting painted material with long finish warranties. The pre-painted metal that Steelscape manufactures, offers some of the longest finish warranties in the building product industry, with some warranty periods extending up to 30 years! Steelscape distributes this painted material to manufacturers throughout the country to form into finished products such as standing seam roofing and architectural metal panels.
For most standard colors, such as solid hues and mica colors, Steelscape passes through paint supplier warranties, such as those offered by PPG or Sherwin Williams. For our specialty branded products, namely our Design Solutions range, including printed designs (such as Rustic Rawhide®) and specialty resins (such as Vintage®), Steelscape offers its own finish warranties. Sample Steelscape finish warranties can be found on the Design Solutions product pages. Steelscape does not provide warranties for panel performance such as wind performance, or workmanship warranties such as water-tightness.
Finish warranties typically warrant against three different forms of excessive deterioration. They are excessive chalking, color fade, and delamination of the topcoat or primer (called film integrity).
Chalking is caused by the degradation of the resin system of the painted surface, mainly due to UV rays. As the resin breaks down, resin particles along with imbedded pigment particles lose adhesion and take on a white appearance. The physical similarity of these particles to chalk underpins the term ‘chalking’. The amount of chalking that is identified as excessive is determined based on an ASTM developed 0-10 scale. 10 represents no chalking to the product.
An example of excessive chalking
Fading is caused when UV rays and substances in the environment attack the pigments in the paint and cause their color to change. Color change is assessed based on its variance to the base state when new. Color change is measured by delta E (also known as NBS Units), which is a numerical value that represents total color change from a base. A warranty will outline acceptable units of delta E variance over the lifespan of the product. For reference, a human eye can detect a change in color between 0.5 and 1 delta E units.
Change in color between 0 and 7 NBS (dE) units for blue and red colors
Delamination is the loss of paint adhesion to the metal or between the primer and the topcoat. It can be visually apparent in several forms including bubbling, peeling, checking, chipping, cracking, or complete loss of the topcoat. Warranty coverage will ensure that the surface retains a consistent finish without the presence of any signs of delamination for the warranty period.
A visible example of finish delamination
Coverage against these three items, and the length of this coverage, will vary significantly by the paint solution offered. The three common paint systems, from good to best, are polyester, silicon modified polyester (SMP) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Economical polyester systems will generally only cover against paint delamination whereas high-end polyester systems may have warranties that cover color, chalk and film integrity. By comparison, most PVDF systems will offer warranties for chalking, color fade, and film integrity. This highlights that all paints are not equal and the importance of understanding the formulation and paint system that is being offered as part of a project solution. To learn more about paint systems and their differences, take the online Steelscape course ‘An Introduction to Pre-painted Metal’, available in the Steelscape Learning Center or download our ‘Paint 101’ guide from the Steelscape Resource Library.
Finish warranty coverage can also vary based on the proximity to certain environmental factors such as industrial environments or coastal applications. In some instances, in order to obtain a finish warranty, the finish may require modification such as the application of a thicker primer or a clear coat to provide additional corrosion resistance. The excerpt below (a sample PVDF warranty), outlines the variance in coverage and additional product requirements based on the installed environment. The application of additional primers or clear coats is undertaken by Steelscape and may require a custom production run specific to the project. Please enquire directly with Steelscape for these applications.
Excerpt from a PVDF warranty – Warranty Coverage Table
A warranty will also outline other useful information such as the recommended maintenance regime and other important exclusions. For example, Steelscape paint warranties recommend that the surface be washed regularly, either by sweet or tap water or by cleaning with common detergents containing less than 0.5% phosphate dissolved in one gallon of water, followed immediately by a clear water rinse.
Proactive quality management can help avoid warranty claims
A robust warranty is one element of delivering reassurance to end users. The consistent and controlled application of the finish also ensures that the product will last its intended lifespan. At Steelscape we manage quality through a comprehensive quality management program. This includes extensive product testing in accordance with ASTM protocols before it is released to customers. Tests include the validation of color accuracy, gloss and film thickness, and ensuring the paint has cured and adheres to the base steel. These tests also validate that the finish will perform during forming, through bending, impact, and abrasion tests.
Examples of Steelscape undertaking product testing of line samples
Thank you for reading Steelscape’s overview of pre-painted metal warranties. To learn more about Steelscape’s warranties or quality management process, visit steelscape.com
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