Steel and cladding coatings

steel and cladding coatings on building exterior

Cladding coatings for shop fronts and commercial buildings

Cladding is a cover which protects exteriors of buildings and improves their looks. It is common on shop fronts and on other commercial buildings but is also becoming more and more popular on residential buildings. Cladding has both decorative and functional purposes: it protects the underlying material from corrosion and other environmental hazards; and at the same time improves the appearance of the facade. Cladding, as any other material, also deteriorates when not maintained; therefore, there is a wide range of steel and cladding coatings on the market for cladding maintenance and repairs.

Cladding is available in many looks and materials. The most common cladding material is metal (steel or aluminium). However, metals in general are very corrosive and not suitable for facades without pretreatment. Metal cladding is most common in shop fronts and other commercial buildings. Other cladding materials include stone, brick and wood of which wood is the most popular.

Professionals and amateurs can both benefit from cladding paint

Also in the UK, cladding is a common decoration and protection material for buildings. Consequently, there are numerous businesses which provide high quality cladding such as Wickes. Cladding UK, for its part is specialised in cladding repairs and installation. There are also businesses which devote to maintaining the cladding.  These are often wood or metal protection specialists who offer cladding coatings and coating services.

Even though many coating services are available, non-professionals can also easily apply cladding paint. Therefore, many online and physical hardware stores offer a wide range of metal cladding paint and paint for wood cladding.

Steel and cladding coatings

As metals (such as steel) are usually sensitive to corrosion, metal cladding often requires coating prior to installation to provide extra protection and increase surface durability. The most common metal cladding materials include steel, aluminium and zinc. However, when looking for a repairing paint for cladding, the metal does not play as important a role as the pretreatment coating. The repairing metal cladding paint must thus be suitable for the coating that is already on the surface. The primary metal cladding coating can be:

  • Plastisol: colour fast and durable with up to 40 years life expectancy. Non metallic coulours available;
  • Polyester with acrilic beads: “greener” than plastisol and up to 40 years life expectancy. Metallic and non metallic coulours available;
  • Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF): very coulour fast with high gloss retention: up to 30 years life expectancy. Available in metallic and non metallic colours;
  • Silicone polyester: budget solution with life expectancy of 25 years.

The pre-coated cladding types have rather long life expectancy. However, proper maintenance and appropriate protection (steel and cladding coatings) can extend it. Cladding is always subject to weathering and environmental corrosion, which may  lead to sooner attrition. Therefore, it is crucial to protect the metal surface with suitable coating. Metal cladding paint alone is often not enough; a suitable primer application maximises adhesion and protection. The best paint for metal cladding is dependent on the pre-coating on the surface.

Plastisol cladding paint for repairs

steel and cladding coatings

Crown cladding finish for repairs of coated metal cladding

One of the most common cladding materials is plastisol corrugated metal. Plastisol is an emulsion of chloride particles which is heated in order to make it solid.

Even though plastisol the most durable cladding pre-coat, it also needs occasional maintenance. Plastisol is a steel cladding paint which effectively protects the surface from rust; however, any damage on the plastisol layer may lead to rapid corrosion.
A new layer of paint for plastisol cladding prevents rusting and gives a fresh look to the facade. It is also possible to apply a different colour of coating to change the appearance. When choosing a paint for plastisol cladding, keep in mind that,  regular latex, acrylic and oil-based coatings are not suitable for plastisol.

The colour of the regular paints tends to fade and the layer may crack or peel off. Applying a incompatible coating may lead to removing and re-application costs. There are however, plenty of steel cladding paint products suitable for plastisol on the market.


How to apply cladding coatings?

Cladding repairs are rather simple to conduct by oneself when the surface in question is easily accessible. The basic plastisol cladding repair consists of the following steps:

  1. Remove all loose or degraded coating from the surface. If large areas of cladding are in bad condition, grit or soda blasting is applicable;
  2. If any cladding edges have damage, repair the edges before further treatment. Damaged edges are sensitive for corrosion;
  3. Apply an anti-grease product on plastisol. Any oil or other stains will prevent the new layer from adhering;
  4. Wash off the anti-grease product and make sure the surface is dry;
  5. Sand the surface;
  6. Remove any dust resulting from sanding and let the surface dry;
  7. Mask areas near the cladding so they do not become exposed to the coating;
  8. Apply a suitable primer on the surface and make sure it is dry before further treatment;
  9. Bring on the layer of coating suitable for plastisol and let it dry according to instructions. Note that regular latex, oil based or acrylic paints are not suitable;
  10. If another layer takes place, lightly sand the painted surface before bringing on the second layer;
  11. Apply a layer of the same topcoat onto the surface.

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