New coatings are solid alternatives to house paint

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Homeowners trapped in an endless cycle of house painting should put down their brushes and sprayers long enough to check out an alternative known as textured coatings.

Textured coatings look like paint when applied to siding but the similarity ends there. Residential versions of commercial coatings last indefinitely, offer UV ray protection, resist fading and can span small cracks.

According to a firm that manufactures home-use coatings, most homeowners aren't aware the coatings are an option. "People paint and repaint their homes every few years because paint doesn't last very long," says Jay Haines of Textured Coatings of America. "Coatings are their way out of this labor intensive cycle."

Textured coatings contain far less water than latex paints and once applied are five to 10 times thicker when dry. Haines says typical latex exterior paints are two to four millimeters thick and up to 70 percent water. In contrast, textured coatings are 17 millimeters thick and contain 60 percent to 70 percent solids.

This high concentration of solids is key to the durability of textured coatings. "It's the amount of solids that matter because the greater the solid volume, the longer results last." says Haines. "Consumers don't recognize the high amount of water and low solid ratio in off-the-shelf paint."

According to Haines, most consumers are attracted to the emphasis paint companies place on color choices and ease of application. Many homeowners don't consider the labor-intensive surface preparation and the need for frequent repainting. The very nature of thin high water volume latex paints means that it is easily applied by do-it-yourselfers.

In contrast, the thicker nature of the resins and solids in the textured coating make for a product consumers cannot apply with a brush, roller or standard sprayer. Haines says the heavy coatings require the higher-powered sprayers used by professionals. Such sprayers jet the liquid on at a pressure of 2,600 pounds-per-square inch, nearly double the pressure of sprayers available to homeowners.

Consumers can pick from the same array of color choices made available in paint products but pigments are custom mixed at the plant rather than at a local store.

The cost of textured coatings applied to a home is about one-third more than paint. Specialized material and labor account for most of the increase, but reduced homeowner labor over the long term is a trade-off many consumers see as worth the difference. Textured coatings seldom need reapplication, won't flake, peel or fade, are impervious to UV rays and are warranted while most paints are not. Some coatings also provide your home with additional insulation.

"For the homeowner who doesn't want to scrape and paint every couple of years, textured coatings are the way to go," says Haines. "These coatings have been around a long time in both the residential and commercial markets."

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