Architectural Structures have evolved over the years with new materials, coatings and functionality allowing architects to embrace unique designs that are aesthetic, pleasing, and functional. However, designers should not risk or gamble using anything less than protective coatings that meet the highest standards, as defined by third-party organizations such as the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). Any functional or aesthetic deterioration of architectural structures risks requiring extensive repairs or shortening the life span of a building.
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), used in North America and worldwide consider three levels of protective coating performance; standard, super and hyper-durable. Standards established by the AAMA are voluntary and include performance requirements, specifications, and testing procedures for pigmented organic coatings on aluminum extrusions.
Protective Coating for Pool Enclosures
The main component or material of a typical pool enclosure is aluminum. Aluminum is known for it’s a long service life that is expected to last throughout the life of the building. However, the overall system could be compromised by the use of low quality protective coating or sub standard coating by the designer. Also, not specifying the highest standard of protective coating for pool enclosures can result in the following degradation of the protective coating:
- Loss of color retention;
- Chalking (powder residue);
- Loss of gloss retention;
Protective coatings for use on high-end pool enclosures should meet the AAMA 2605 standard and are expected to last the lifetime of the building. After all, the AAMA 2605 standards define the qualities that make the coating performance superior from others. According to the Metal Construction Association, pool enclosures built according to these standards must possess the following qualities:
- Humidity Resistance – Even after thousands of hours of exposure to humidity, the material will have no more than a ‘few’ small blisters.
- Cyclic Corrosion – The material can withstand thousands of hours of exposure to cyclic fog.
- Color Retention – The color will not fade even after a decade of use.
- Outdoor Weather – The coating will stay robust even after a decade of exposure to the harsh outdoor elements.
- Coating Erosion – There will only be about 10% of film loss after ten years of exposure in a humid climate.
- Gloss Retention – The coating will retain a good percentage of gloss even after a decade of exposure to the elements.
It is not surprising why powder coating remains one of the most popular options for metal pool canopies. It is one of the most durable surface finishes used by a wide range of industries, including marine, aviation, and military applications. On the other hand, you may wonder what makes it different from liquid paint.
Comparing Powder Coating and Liquid Paint
Perhaps, what sets powder coating apart from liquid paint is the former does not need a solvent to keep the filler parts and the binder in a liquid suspension form. Typically, the coating is applied via an electrostatic process, and then cured with heat, allowing it to flow and form a ‘skin’.
In some cases, the finished look of the coating is almost as crucial as its performance. There are textures that powder coating and wet paint can achieve equally. However, others are simply easier to attain, using a particular medium. If you’re after textured finishes, powder coating is the more convenient option. You can achieve natural textures with thinner powder coats, and the thicker the layers, the smoother finish you can attain. It may be easier to achieve a high-gloss finish with wet paint, but you can still use powder coating to get the same result.
What are the Benefits of Powder Coating?
Powder coating is designed to have several advantages over conventional paint finishes. Here are some of the benefits you can get from it.
Aluminum pool coverings need to be finished to protect their materials from corrosion and other damages that the elements of the environment may cause. Chips and cracks defeat the purpose of a coating. Once the finish wears out, it does not function effectively as a barrier.
Since powder coating is more resistant to scratching and chipping, it provides better performance than conventional paint. Moreover, it does not wear out as fast because it is subjected to thermal bonding during the curing process. Aside from that, you can apply thicker layers with powder coating.
Powder coating also retains its color excellently. It is worth noting that the resins in both powder and paint coating is affected by long-term exposure to heat, sunlight, and moisture. The result—referred to as chalking—causes the pigment particles and resin to lose adhesion. So, a chalk-like layer starts to form on the surface of the coating.
In its initial stages, chalking only gives the finish a faded appearance. However, the more severe it becomes, the faster it damages the coating, compromising the surface protection. It is worth noting that the resin’s resiliency determines the rate of chalking. Because of the exceptional chalk resistance of polyester-based powder coatings, they are more popularly used as top coats.
Lower VOC Emissions
Solvent paint produces water and air pollutants which can be avoided when you opt for powder coating. As we’ve mentioned, this product does not require thinners or solvents for clean-up or mixing. Moreover, during the application process, powder coating does not generate as much environmental stressors as paint. So, for eco-friendly purposes, it is undeniably the better solution.
Compared to liquid paint, powder coating is more economical and efficient. In most cases, you can still reclaim and reuse powder coating overspray. On the other hand, everything you overspray in liquid paint is lost. That said, even in the best conditions, you can still spill paint. It is also worth noting that you can run some powder coating systems with minimal upkeep and manpower.
Better Coating Quality
You have better chances of applying powder coating evenly. Moreover, drips or sagging are less likely to happen. So, you can expect the curves and the details of pool enclosures to have even coverage and consistent thickness of powder coating. Compared to liquid paint, powder coating can provide better resistance to corrosion under the same conditions.
It is true that the upfront costs of powder coating are generally higher. However, in the long run, you will find that it is more cost-effective. It may offer indirect savings, but they add up quickly and we pass them on to our customers. Here are some of the factors that make powder coating more cost-effective:
Environmental and safety regulation – Paint is more hazardous, requiring more investment in insurance premiums ad mitigation measures. On the other hand, powder coating facilities keep these costs to a minimum.
Lower disposal costs – As we’ve mentioned, powder coating offers a high utilization rate. Only a small percentage of the overspray needs to be disposed of. Moreover, it does not have to go through the same stringent environmental regulations as paint.
Powder Coated Pool Enclosures
Covers in Play ensures that our aluminum pool enclosures are powder coated to withstand harsh environments. Whether you live in a humid area, near the sea, or a cyclone-prone location, you can trust that the finish of your metal structure will retain its quality for many years to come.