Paint Application

Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
Proper application of the paint is a critical part of the
complete paint system. High performance paint systems
are especially sensitive to misapplication and may
fail drastically, even more so than conventional paint
systems, which are much less sensitive to application
variables. Therefore, it is imperative that instructions be
followed explicitly, particularly when applying expensive
and sensitive high performance paint systems.
Brushing is ideal for small areas, edges or corners. Roller
coating is most effcient on large, relatively fat surfaces.
Spraying is most suitable for large areas but works just
as well on irregular shapes such as bridge steelwork.
Each method of application has a different effect on dried
coating. Brushing tends to leave brush marks and rolling
may cause stipple marks. Spraying, when done properly,
gives the smoothest and most uniform paint flm, though
sagging can occur if too heavy a coat is applied. The
degree of training and experience of the personnel may
infuence the choice of method of application. Spraying
requires the greatest degree of skill. Rolling is the easiest.
Paint Preparation
Protective coatings generally consist of resin, pigment,
and solvent. When coatings are manufactured, these
ingredients are in a uniform mixture, but because their
densities differ, separation and settling can occur during
storage. Solvent-based coatings tend to separate more
than water-based emulsions. Ìn order to ensure the
coating performs in its intended manner, the coating
must be mixed to regain the original homogeneity of the
When using two-component coatings, the base
component, usually pigmented, should be thoroughly
mixed before adding the activator. If both components
are pigmented, then they should be adequately mixed
separately before being combined. After the two
components are combined, they need to be mixed for
one to two minutes to ensure complete incorporation of
the material. Some two-component coatings require an
induction time after they are mixed together and before
they can be applied. Refer to the label or Technical Data
Sheet for directions and product information.
Be sure to use the paint within the pot life recommended
by the manufacturer. Discard all paint beyond that time.
The most common method of mixing is simply stirring
with a wooden or metal paint paddle. Stirring can be very
effective, provided it can lift and reincorporate settled
material from the bottom of the container. Stirring a full
container without spilling over the sides can be diffcult,
especially if there is heavy settled material on the bottom
of the container. When this is the case, it is a good
practice to pour off some of the liquid material into another
container to create some headspace. This makes it easier
to remix the settled material into the remaining liquid
portion. Once this is accomplished, return the removed
liquid material to the original container and fnish the
mixing process.
Hand stirring should be limited to one-gallon size
containers or less. Attempting to hand mix larger
containers is not effective and can result in incomplete
Power Agitation
Mixing by power agitation includes the use of both power
mixers and shakers. Ìt can be used with any container
size, but there are some key points to remember.
Page 1
Paint Application
Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
Power mixing is generally done at the job site by using
some type of propeller or paddle mixer mounted to an
electric or pneumatic power drill. The size of the mixer
should be in proportion to the size of the container and
capable of mixing at a moderate speed. A mixer that is
too small for the container will not be able to turn enough
material to mix the product; increasing the speed of the
mixer cannot offset this. The power of the drill must also
be increased with larger mixers. A typical 3/8” electric
hand drill will work well for gallon containers, but may not
be able to mix a full fve-gallon container of a high solids
Care must be used when power mixing to ensure
that excessive air is not pulled into the coating. The
entrainment of air is dependent on both the speed of the
mixer and the blade confguration. Propeller type mixers
are more likely to entrain air, especially when run at too
high a speed. This can lead to problems like pinholes and
bubbles when the coating is applied.
Power mixing should not be used for mixing leafng
aluminum pigmented coatings. The action of the power
mixer can damage the pigment fakes, and this can result
in a dull fnish.
The use of shakers is generally limited to coating dealers,
mostly for the incorporation of colorants into tint base
products. Shakers can take longer to mix a coating and
should be used on full containers only to minimize air
Page 2
Do not thin the paint unless recommended by the supplier
or needed for spray application. If the paint is cold, do
not add thinner to make application easier. Instead, bring
the paint to 50°- 90°F. When thinning the paint, frst be
sure that it is well mixed before adding the thinner. Then
continue mixing until the paint is uniform in consistency. Be
sure to use a thinner that is recommended for the product.
Paint heaters can be used to reduce viscosity for spray
application, thus avoiding the addition of thinners. Observe
safety precautions. Do not apply warm paint to cold steel.
Results are best if both are similar in temperature.
Paints should be strained after mixing if there is any
evidence of skins, lumps, color particles or foreign
materials. Straining is especially recommended if paint has
been previously used and allowed to stand for any length
of time or if the paint is going to be sprayed. Strain after
completing all mixing, thinning, tinting or boxing. Strain
through a fne sieve (80 mesh) or a commercial paint
Temperature of paint may be excessively high or low
depending on storage or shipping conditions. Ìf so, warm
or cool the paint to a temperature of 50-90F before mixing
and use.
Application Methods
There are fve methods of paint application: brush, paint
pads, roller, mitt and spray. The choice of method to
be used depends on the type of coating being applied,
adjacent areas that might be damaged by overspray and
degree of skill of the personnel. Whatever method is used,
Paint Application
Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
tools should be of frst quality and should be maintained in
top condition.
Brush application requires the least amount of preparation
before use and cleanup afterwards. Only the brush has
to be cleaned. However, brushing is slower than other
methods and should be used mainly for small areas and
for cutting in corners or edges. Brushing is also useful to
improve wetting of primers on diffcult-to-paint surfaces.
Brushes are available in different shapes, sizes, and
quality levels.
The biggest mistake made with brush application is using
a poor quality brush. Ìt can have a defnite effect on the
appearance of the fnish. A good quality brush can be
expensive, but with proper cleaning and care it can be
used for years, and it will help ensure satisfactory results.
Brushes are made with either natural or synthetic bristles.
A brush with natural bristles is best for applying solvent-
based coatings, but there are some synthetic bristles
that can also be used. For water-based coatings, only a
synthetic bristle brush should be used; natural bristles will
absorb moisture and swell.
The following points will help ensure the best results with
brush application.
• Load the brush by dipping it into the coating
/3 –
the length of the bristle. Tap lightly on the side of the
container to prevent dripping.
· Flow the coating on evenly. Long smooth strokes
produce a better fnish than short choppy strokes.
Paint in approximately 2 square-foot sections at a
• Overlap each section slightly. Brush from unpainted
areas into freshly painted sections. Finish the stroke
with a light lifting motion toward the last wet edge to
help prevent brush marks.
• Hold the brush at approximately a 45° angle to the
surface. Do not press too hard on the brush. The
coating should be applied with the tips of the bristle,
not the sides.
• Fast-dry coatings are not usually applied by brush,
but if necessary, limit use to small areas and minimize
strokes to prevent brush marks.
Brush application is used frequently for spot priming
rusted areas or strip priming welds, inside corners,
and edges. Particular attention should be given to the
thoroughness with which the coating is worked into
crevices, welds and rough surfaces. Coatings will tend to
pull back from sharp edges or points, so they should be
rounded off during surface preparation to ensure an even
flm thickness.
Paint Pad
Paint pads hold more paint and are faster than brushes.
They are almost as versatile for covering small areas but
require a tray and are more diffcult to clean. Because of
their relatively low cost, they can be discarded after use.
Their use on structural steel is limited. They consist of
roller type synthetic fabric attached to a foam backed fat
Page 3
Paint Application
Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
Just as brush quality is critical to the success of brush
application, the quality of the roller can determine the
success of roller application. A roller consists of two parts;
the roller cover which actually applies the coating, and
the roller frame or handle. The quality of both of these
components infuences job results.
Application by roller is a very effcient method for coating
broad, fat surfaces. Just like brushes, rollers are available
in different sizes to best suit the job, ranging from small
"mini rollers¨ that ft well behind pipe hangers and
brackets, to large 18-inch wide rollers for coating foors.
There are also specialty rollers available, such as ones
made for coating round surfaces like pipes and round
When selecting a roller cover, there are several properties
to consider. A roller cover consists of three parts:
• Core - The base of the roller cover. It can be
cardboard, plastic, or phenolic. In some cases a
phenolic core is the only one, which can resist the
solvents used in high-performance coatings. The
solvent can deteriorate cardboard or plastic and the
nap will begin to shed.
• Bonding Agent – The adhesive used to hold the fabric
to the core. Generally an epoxy is used in order to
resist the solvents in the coating.
• Fabric – The material that carries the coating. It
can be a natural fber or a synthetic. Just like with
brushes, natural materials should not be used with
water-based coatings. Better quality roller covers
have a high fber density as well as varying fber
diameter/ This gives the roller cover higher capacity.
The last consideration in selecting a roller cover is the
nap length. It can range from a very short
/8 inch up to
1½ inches. The general rule for selecting the nap length
is “the smoother the surface, the shorter the nap.” This
rule doesn’t hold true for application of high build coatings,
which require a longer nap, usually ½-inch, even on
smooth surfaces.
A common mistake in roller application is overspreading
the coating. Each time the roller is loaded, the application
should be limited to approximately one-square-yard.
Saturate the roller cover with the coating. The cover
should be fully loaded, but not dripping. On large fat
surfaces, the coating should be applied in the following
1. The frst strokes should be a "W¨ pattern, within a one
square yard area. The "W¨ should then be flled in with
successive strokes.
2. Do not try to squeeze the last amount of coating from
the roller by pressing it hard to the surface. This can
cause visible variations when the coating has dried.
3. Work from dry areas back into wet areas to provide a
more uniform flm thickness.
4. Attention must be given to working the coating over
crevices, welds, rivet heads or on sharp edges. Ìn
some cases, these areas cannot be properly coated
by roller and may require a brush application frst.
5. Most coatings have a stipple fnish when applied by
roller. Ìf a smoother fnish is desired, a fne bristle
brush can be used to smooth the rolled out material.
The brush-over should immediately follow the roller
Page 4
Paint Application
Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
Paint Mitts
A paint mitt is ideal for painting odd-shaped objects, such
as pipes and railings, when spray painting is not feasible.
Ìt consists of a lambskin glove with or without a thumb. Ìt
is dipped in paint and applied to the surface.
Spray application utilizes atomization, the process of
breaking a liquid stream of material into a distribution of
fne particles or droplets, to apply a coating in a smooth
uniform manner. Spray application can be the fastest
way to apply a coating, but the application rate will vary
depending on the type of spray equipment being used.
There are many types of spray equipment available for
industrial maintenance coatings. Most fall into one of
three categories: air atomized spray, also referred to as
conventional spray, airless spray or air assisted airless
spray. In recent years, there has been an effort to improve
the transfer effciency of spray equipment to help reduce
overspray and wasted product. This also benefts air
quality concerns by reducing the amount of free paint
particles released into the atmosphere.
Air Atomized Spray
Air atomized spray equipment uses compressed air to
atomize the paint and shape the spray pattern. The most
commonly used air atomized spray gun for industrial
maintenance coatings is an external mix gun. This
type of gun brings the coating and the compressed air
together just outside of the spray nozzle. This is where
the atomization takes place. Additional controllable air
streams just beyond the point of atomization form and
shape the spray pattern. Air atomized spray does not have
the highest production rate, but it gives the greatest control
of the spray pattern and delivery rate.
The coating is delivered to an air-atomized spray gun by a
siphon action, gravity fow or pressure feed. Siphon and
gravity fed spray guns are usually limited to a maximum
of a one-quart supply of coating. Pressure fed spray guns
has a supply source ranging form one quart to drums. The
coating supply is pressurized and forced to the spray gun.
It has little effect on increasing the production rate, but
reduces the downtime of reflling the supply source.
The most common mistake when using air-atomized
spray is setting the air atomization pressure too high.
This causes excessive overspray and can affect the fnal
appearance of the fnish. The air atomization pressure
needs to be only as high as necessary to get complete
atomization of the coating. That pressure will differ
depending on the type of coating being used, the viscosity
of the coating, the fuid fow rate and the size of the spray
A sub group of air-atomized spray is High Volume Low
Pressure (HVLP) spray. This type of spray equipment was
developed to help reduce overspray and increase transfer
effciency. There are now several different equipment
designs in use, but they all function on the same principle.
The equipment limits the air pressure at the spray tip to
no greater than 10 psi. A higher volume of air is used to
complete the atomization of the coating. This results with a
softer spray that doesn’t produce much bounce-back from
the surface, but the production rate is also decreased.
Page 5
Paint Application
Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
Airless Spray
Airless spray, like the name implies, does not use
compressed air to atomize the coating. Instead, forcing
it through a very small spray tip orifce under high fuid
pressure atomizes the coating. Ìt is the same way a
garden hose sprayer can accomplish this with low
pressure because water has a low viscosity. However,
coatings have much higher viscosities, and require higher
fuid pressures. A typical airless spray unit will operate
with fuid pressures between 1,800 ÷ 3,000 psi. The
orifce diameter is generally between 0.013 ÷ 0.021 inch
for most industrial maintenance coatings.
Airless spray can provide the highest production rate, but
the size of the spray pattern is fxed to the selected spray
tip. Ìf you want to change the spray pattern, you have
to change the spray tip. However, most of the airless
spray guns available today have quick-change spray
tips, which minimize work stoppage. Also, these spray
guns are designed to allow the spray tip to be reversed.
This makes it easy to clear the orifce if it should become
The high fuid pressures used with airless spray present
some safety issues. A risk of hydraulic injection of the
coating under the skin can occur if the spray tip comes
in direct contact with a person while in operation. Guards
and safety lockouts must not be removed or altered.
Users must be fully aware of the precautions to observe
in order to operate the equipment and ensure personal
Airless spray does not produce as fne a fnish as air
atomized spray, but it will apply a lot of coating very
quickly. Ìt is especially benefcial for the application of
high-build coatings where a single pass can result in
much higher flm thickness compared to air atomized
spray application. The high coating delivery rate of airless
spray also requires an appropriate applicator technique to
ensure satisfactory results.
Air Assisted Airless Spray
Air assisted airless spray is a blend of both airless and
air atomized spray. It provides a higher production rate
than air atomized spray and gives more spray pattern
control than airless spray. Like airless spray, the coating
is pressurized to the spray gun, but at about one-half
the typical fuid pressure. As the coating passes through
the spray tip, it is partially atomized in the manner of
airless spray. Atomization is completed by a stream
of compressed air along the face of the spray nozzle.
Additional controllable air streams just beyond the point of
atomization form and shape the spray pattern in the same
manner as air atomized spray.
Acceptable results by spray application are a skill that
can be acquired only with training and experience. Ìt is
strongly suggested the spray equipment manufacturer
be contacted for information on the proper use of the
equipment and the correct methods for cleaning and
Spray Techniques
There are some basic spray techniques, which should be
followed regardless of the type of spray gun being used.
Acceptable spray results are accomplished by means of
proper procedures and motions. The spray gun should be
moved parallel to the surface and kept perpendicular to
it throughout the length of the stroke. Avoid “arcing” the
spray gun, as this will produce an uneven flm thickness.
The movement of the stroke should begin before the
trigger is pulled. The trigger should be released just before
the end of the stroke.
Page 6
Paint Application
Ponderosa Protective Coatings™
The next pass should begin at the same point as the
previous pass. There should be a 50% overlap of the
previous pass. Avoid tilting the spray gun, as again this
will result with an uneven flm thickness and will also
create overspray as some of the spray is defected from
the surface.
The distance between the spray gun and surface, as well
as the speed of the pass, are both very important factors
on how much coating is applied during a pass. The width
of the spray pattern is dependent upon the distance
between the spray nozzle and the surface. The pattern
gets wider as the spray gun is moved farther away from
the surface, but since the coating is more dispersed, less
flm thickness is achieved. The opposite is true as the
spray gun is moved closer to the surface. The general
accepted practice is to hold the spray gun 6 – 10 inches
from the surface.
The speed of the pass also affects how much coating is
deposited with each pass. As the speed of the pass is
increased, the amount of coating deposited will decrease
and the flm thickness will be reduced. Knowing the
correct speed is a skill developed with experience and it
will vary depending on the type of spray equipment being
used. The high delivery rate of airless spray will require
a faster pass speed than air-atomized spray. It is just as
important to maintain the speed and distance throughout
the stroke to ensure the flm thickness is even. This too is
a skill, which only time and experience can develop.

Page 7

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful