An Introduction to High-Performance Coating Systems (Article Course)

High-performance coatings add to the structural integrity, soundness, and health impacts of buildings, building sites, and structures
[ Page 4 of 4 ]  previous page Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Sponsored by Benjamin Moore & Co.
By Andrew A. Hunt

Factors That Influence the Choice of High-Performance Coatings

In addition to the different types of high-performance coatings and the various conditions that can affect performance and service life, many factors can influence the choice of coatings. These factors are important in terms of understanding certain aspects of health, safety, and welfare of the site, particularly in terms of exposure. The factors presented in this section can serve as a springboard for discussions with coating experts.

Anticipated Use and Exposure

Two of the most important questions to ask at the start of a project are “What is the intended use of the space or structure?” and “What kind of exposure is expected?” For example, will the coating be used for an interior or exterior space? What level of physical use and abuse is expected? Will the coating be exposed to any chemicals in any form (dry, liquid, or vapor)? If the structure is outdoors, what weather conditions might it have to endure? These questions, as well as questions about any other potential factor, can help ensure that the correct high-performance coating system is specified to ensure optimal performance.

Owner Expectations

Building owners can also influence coating selection depending on their budget expectations and the expected longevity of the coating, desired color, and many other factors. Some owners understand that a high-performance coating is an investment that will save them time and money over the long term; a lower-performance architectural coating may cost less but will require frequent repaints. Other building owners may want to focus on the short term and wish to save costs up front. Owner expectations will vary from project to project, and the best way to ensure that the optimal coating is specified is to discuss expectations from the start. Other key stakeholders such as engineers, architects, and coating manufacturers’ reps, can provide valuable input to help make sure owners have realistic expectations.

Project Limitations

We touched on project limitations in the previous section in regard to performance and operation issues. The same issues apply when it comes to specifying coatings, and it is important that all limitations be reviewed prior to deciding on a high-performance coating system. Factors such as whether odor or VOCs will be a concern during preparation and application—and whether either will linger during and after the coating cures—all can impact whether a particular coating is appropriate for a space. In some cases, a coating may meet the environmental and physical performance requirements, but some aspect of a project may limit what can be used. In short, project limitations may require some tradeoffs on coating selection.


As we have noted throughout this course, the world of high-performance coating systems is complex. A good starting point for entering this world is to recognize that the same benefits high-performance coatings provide for large-scale industrial projects can be applied in more localized commercial projects and industrial sites. High-performance coating systems are designed to protect substrates, improve performance, and enhance project aesthetics, all of which make them an excellent coating choice anywhere durability, safety, and longevity are important. Projects can include everything from cooling towers on the tops of buildings, warehouse and parking garage walls and floors, chemical tanks and pipes in building maintenance and operational facilities—the possibilities are endless.

Given the vast range of applications and the different requirements that surfaces and service environments have for preparation, priming, and applications, it’s good to remember that there are not only well-defined standards in place but also specialists from product manufacturers who can help building professionals navigate this world. Selecting a high-performance coating system can be a complicated task, but done with the proper guidance, it can result in safer, more durable structures and surfaces that are capable of resisting the wear and tear of everything from construction machinery and corrosion to chemical spills and foot traffic.

Andrew A. Hunt, vice president of Confluence Communications, has 16 years of experience in green building and has produced more than 100 educational and technical publications.

Benjamin Moore & Co., a Berkshire Hathaway company logo. Benjamin Moore & Co., a Berkshire Hathaway company, was founded in 1883. One of North America’s leading manufacturers of premium-quality residential, commercial, and industrial maintenance coatings, Benjamin Moore & Co. maintains a relentless commitment to innovation and sustainable manufacturing practices. The Benjamin Moore premium portfolio spans the brand’s flagship paint lines, including Aura®, Regal® Select, Natura®, and ben®. The Benjamin Moore & Co. Family of Brands includes specialty and architectural paints from Coronado®, Lenmar®, Insl-x®, and Corotech® High-Performance Coatings. Benjamin Moore & Co. products are available primarily from its more than 5,000 locally owned and operated paint and decorating retailers.


[ Page 4 of 4 ]  previous page Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in June 2018