Innovations in Protective Coatings for Construction

Innovations in Protective Coatings for Construction

Introduction

In the ever-changing construction and industrial realm, support elements are vital to ensure commercial buildings and industrial structures’ safety, longevity, and aesthetic appeal. Brackets are one of the familiar construction elements that provide many uses, ranging from supporting overhangs to lending a decorative touch to any building.

In this article, we delve into the crucial role that brackets play in a commercial building’s overall structural health, as well as painting them. While applying paints and protective coatings to brackets seems insignificant at first glance, it can be seen as a critical step in building construction and maintenance protocols.

This article explores the purpose, benefits, challenges, and best practices for painting brackets in commercial settings, highlighting its impact on the project’s success and the building’s lifespan. In addition, it looks into the latest innovations surrounding protective coatings for commercial and industrial uses.

Custom Painting, Inc.’s bracket painting project

Custom Painting, Inc.’s bracket painting project

About the project

Custom Painting, Inc. recently completed a bracket painting project in Milpitas, CA. In this project, our crew painted a total of 76 horizontal brackets. We do similar work a few times a year, making us a reliable company for this painting job.

The painting process

Our crew first primed the brackets with Sherwin-Williams Macropoxy 646 – a high-solid, high-build, fast-drying polyamide epoxy designed to protect steel in industrial environments.

After priming, our crew used the Sherwin-Williams Pro Industrial DTM Acrylic as a finishing coat. It was tinted to match the adjacent metal rails to which the brackets were welded. 

The project took two days to finish. The first day was for prepping and priming, and the second was for finishing coats.

Challenges faced

Throughout the project, our crew only encountered problems with the weather due to the frequent rain this time of the year. That is why we had a 4-day window (one day before, two days for application, and one day following) to complete the work. Luckily, the weather cooperated, the team had excellent primer and finishing coat adhesion, and the custom color match was perfect.

In general, the project was a success. Read on below to learn more about the importance of painting brackets in commercial construction.

The role of brackets in commercial construction

What are brackets and their types?

A bracket typically refers to a structural or decorative element that supports or connects a building or structure’s various components. They play a crucial role in providing stability, strength, and support to different structural elements within a building, helping to ensure its integrity and durability.

Brackets come in various shapes, sizes, and materials depending on their intended purpose and the project’s specific requirements. They can be made of metal, wood, or other materials, and they are often designed to bear loads, provide reinforcement, or serve as a decorative accent.

Common types of brackets in construction include:

  • Shelf brackets – These are used to support shelves or countertops.
  • Angle brackets – Also known as corner brackets or L-brackets, these are typically used to reinforce joints at right angles.
  • Joist hangers – These metal brackets attach floor or ceiling joists to other structural elements like beams or walls.
  • Beam brackets – Brackets connect beams or trusses to columns or other support structures.
  • Rafter brackets – Used to secure rafters to the supporting structure, such as walls or beams.
  • Post brackets – These are used to attach posts to foundations or other supporting structures.
  • Decorative brackets – These brackets serve primarily aesthetic purposes and are often used as architectural embellishments or to add visual interest to a building façade.

Examples of bracket application in structures

Brackets play a vital role in construction, contributing to the built environment’s strength, stability, and functionality. They find their use in various applications, including:

  • Support – Brackets are often used to support structural elements such as shelves, countertops, beams, or joists. They help distribute the weight and load-bearing forces effectively, ensuring stability and safety.
  • Connection – Brackets are utilized to connect different components or materials. For instance, they can join wooden beams in framing structures or attach metal elements in steel constructions.
  • Reinforcement – Brackets can reinforce weak points or areas of stress concentration in a structure. Adding extra support through brackets can enhance the overall strength and durability of the construction.
  • Alignment – Brackets help align and position elements accurately during construction. They ensure that components are properly aligned before being secured, which is crucial for the structural integrity and aesthetics of the finished product.
  • Adjustability – Some brackets are designed to adjust or fine-tune the position or angle of connected elements. This flexibility can be valuable during construction or for accommodating variations in building dimensions.
  • Aesthetics – Brackets can also serve aesthetic purposes, adding decorative elements to a structure or providing a visually appealing way to support or connect components.

The importance of brackets in ensuring structural integrity

Brackets are integral components in commercial building construction. Here’s why they’re important:

  • Support and stability – Brackets are often used to support structural elements such as beams, columns, and trusses. They help distribute the load and stabilize the building’s framework, especially when additional support is required.
  • Connection and attachment – Brackets connect different structural components, ensuring they are securely attached. Properly installed brackets help prevent separation or movement between structural elements, which is essential for maintaining overall stability.
  • Load distribution – Brackets help distribute loads effectively throughout the building structure. Transferring loads from one component to another prevents localized stress concentrations that could lead to structural failure.
  • Reinforcement – In areas prone to high winds, earthquakes, or extreme conditions, brackets can reinforce structural connections, providing additional strength and resistance against forces that could compromise the building’s integrity.
  • Flexibility in design – Brackets allow for flexibility in architectural design by incorporating cantilevered elements, overhangs, and other features that contribute to the aesthetic appeal of commercial buildings. They provide support for these design elements while maintaining structural integrity.
  • Compliance with building codes – Many building codes and regulations require specific types of brackets and fasteners to ensure structural safety and compliance with standards. By using approved brackets and following code requirements, builders can enhance the structural integrity of commercial buildings and ensure they meet safety standards.

The purpose of painting brackets

The purpose of painting brackets

Protection against environmental damage

A new layer of paint or protective coating shields metal brackets from environmental damage. This section explores how painting can extend the lifespan of brackets used in construction.

Protection against corrosion and rust

Paint or protective coating creates a physical barrier between the construction brackets and the environment, preventing moisture, oxygen, and other corrosive agents from reaching the metal surface. This barrier inhibits the oxidation process, which is the primary cause of corrosion, thereby extending the lifespan of the brackets.

Additionally, some coatings contain corrosion inhibitors or sacrificial compounds that further protect the metal substrate from chemical reactions that lead to corrosion.

The impact of weather conditions on metal brackets

Various weather and environmental conditions can affect metal brackets in many ways:

  • Salty air – In coastal areas, salty air can accelerate corrosion.
  • High humidity – In areas with high humidity, moisture can facilitate rust.
  • UV exposure – Prolonged exposure to sunlight can degrade certain materials used in brackets, leading to brittleness and reduced strength.
  • Wind – Strong winds can impose additional loads on structures, affecting the brackets’ load-bearing capacity and potentially causing failure if not properly designed and installed.
  • Freezing conditions – In cold climates, freezing temperatures and ice accumulation can exert additional stress on brackets, leading to cracking and failure.

Painting brackets help to protect them against such diverse weather conditions, ensuring their durability and functional integrity over time.

Aesthetic considerations

Other than the practical benefits of protection against environmental damage, painting brackets are also vital to the aesthetic integration of these elements into the overall design of the building.

  • Contribution to the overall look of the building – Painting brackets on a commercial building can contribute to its overall look by enhancing architectural details, adding visual interest, and creating a cohesive aesthetic. Brackets can be painted to complement the building’s color scheme, highlight architectural features, or provide contrast for a dramatic effect. Additionally, well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing brackets can contribute to the overall impression of professionalism and attention to detail, positively impacting the building’s appeal to potential clients or customers.
  • Compliance with design and architectural standards – Many commercial buildings are designed with specific architectural standards, including color schemes and finishes. These standards establish that painting brackets ensure they contribute favorably to the building’s appearance and comply with relevant regulations or guidelines. This compliance is crucial in projects that achieve certifications or architectural design accolades. 

Benefits of painting brackets

Benefits of painting brackets

Painting brackets can be a cost-effective way to improve their performance, appearance, and longevity, contributing to the overall success of a commercial or industrial construction project. Painting construction brackets can offer several benefits, including:

  • Corrosion resistance – Painting brackets can provide a protective layer that helps prevent corrosion, especially in environments where the brackets are exposed to moisture or harsh weather conditions. This can prolong the lifespan of the brackets and ensure structural integrity.
  • Aesthetic enhancement – Painting brackets can improve the overall appearance of a structure. You can create a more visually appealing finished product by choosing a paint color that complements the surrounding environment or matches other building elements.
  • Identification and safety – Painting brackets in distinct colors can help with identification, especially in large construction projects with numerous brackets. This can aid in the organization and safety protocols of the construction site.
  • UV protection – Certain types of paint offer UV protection, which can help prevent degradation of the bracket material due to exposure to sunlight. This is particularly important for brackets installed in outdoor or exposed areas.
  • Ease of maintenance – Painted brackets are generally easier to clean and maintain than unpainted ones. Dirt, grime, and other substances are often easier to remove from a painted surface, making routine maintenance tasks simpler.
  • Customization – Painting brackets allow for customization options, including color and finish. This flexibility enables you to tailor the appearance of the brackets to suit specific design preferences or project requirements.
  • Enhanced durability – Depending on the type of paint used, painting construction brackets can enhance their durability by providing an additional protective barrier against wear and tear, impacts, and other environmental factors.

Challenges of painting brackets

Painting brackets in commercial construction can present several challenges. Here are some common ones:

  • Accessibility – Brackets may be located in hard-to-reach areas, such as high ceilings or tight corners, making it difficult for painters to access them safely and effectively.
  • Surface preparation – Proper surface preparation is crucial for achieving a durable and aesthetically pleasing paint finish. Brackets may have irregular surfaces or be made of materials that require specific preparation techniques, such as cleaning, sanding, or priming, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
  • Material compatibility – Brackets may be made of various materials, such as metal, wood, or plastic, each requiring different types of paint and application methods. Ensuring compatibility between the paint and bracket material is essential for achieving adhesion and longevity of the finish.
  • Durability requirements – In commercial settings, brackets are often subjected to heavy use and environmental factors such as moisture, heat, or chemical exposure. Choosing a paint that can withstand these conditions and provide long-term durability is essential to prevent premature wear and corrosion.
  • Safety concerns – Painting brackets in commercial construction may involve working at heights or confined spaces, posing safety risks for painters. Proper safety measures, such as scaffolding, ladders, or personal protective equipment, must be implemented to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Time constraints – Commercial construction projects often have tight deadlines, requiring painters to work efficiently to complete the painting process within the specified timeframe. Coordinating painting schedules with other trades and project milestones is essential to avoid delays and disruptions to the construction timeline.
  • Quality control – Maintaining consistent paint quality and finish across all brackets is essential for achieving a uniform appearance and meeting client expectations. Regular inspection and touch-ups may be necessary to address imperfections or discrepancies in the paint finish.
  • Cost management – Balancing the quality of paint materials and application techniques with budget constraints is important for commercial construction projects. Opting for cost-effective solutions without compromising the durability and aesthetics of the paint finish is crucial for project success.

Overcoming these challenges requires meticulous planning, material science, and paint technology expertise, and ongoing maintenance commitment. The selection of high-quality materials, skilled application, and regular maintenance are essential to maximizing the protective and aesthetic benefits of painting brackets in commercial construction and maintenance projects.

Best practices for painting brackets

Best practices for painting brackets

Painting brackets in construction involves many steps to ensure the brackets’ longevity, structural integrity, and aesthetic appeal. Here’s a detailed list of best practices to consider:

Pre-treatment and surface preparation techniques

Pre-treatment and surface preparation are crucial in ensuring the durability and quality of painted brackets in commercial construction projects. Here are some common techniques:

  • Cleaning – Begin by thoroughly cleaning the surface of the brackets to remove any dirt, dust, grease, or other contaminants. This can be done using water, detergent, and degreasers. For stubborn contaminants, solvent cleaning might be necessary.
  • Degreasing – Especially important for metal brackets, degreasing removes any oils or grease that may interfere with the adhesion of the paint. Solvent-based degreasers or commercial degreasing solutions can be used for this purpose.
  • Abrasive blasting – Abrasive blasting, such as sandblasting or bead blasting, is highly effective for removing rust, old paint, mill scale, and other surface contaminants from metal brackets. It also creates a profile on the surface, which enhances paint adhesion.
  • Mechanical cleaning – For smaller brackets or areas where abrasive blasting is not feasible, mechanical methods like wire brushing or sanding can be employed to remove rust, paint, and other surface imperfections.
  • Chemical treatment – Chemical treatments such as phosphating or chromatin can be used to create a protective layer on metal surfaces, improving paint adhesion and corrosion resistance. These treatments typically involve applying a solution containing chemicals like phosphoric acid or chromates, followed by rinsing and drying.
  • Priming – After the surface has been cleaned and prepared, a primer is essential for promoting adhesion and corrosion resistance. Choose a primer suitable for the material of the brackets and the environmental conditions they will be exposed to.
  • Masking – If any areas of the brackets should not be painted or need to be kept clean, such as threads or mating surfaces, masking with tape or other suitable materials is necessary before painting.
  • Drying – Allow the brackets to dry completely after cleaning, degreasing, and chemical treatments before applying paint or other protective coating. Proper drying ensures that the coatings adhere properly and achieve the desired finish.

Recommendations for paint types and protective coatings

Choosing paint types or coatings is crucial for ensuring corrosion resistance, durability, and aesthetic appeal when painting brackets. 

The choice among these types of paints and coatings depends on certain factors. Proper surface preparation, including cleaning and potentially sandblasting, is crucial to ensure the best adhesion and longevity of the coating, regardless of the paint or finishing coat type you choose. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for application and compatibility with your specific materials and conditions.

Here are some commonly recommended paint types and coatings for such applications:

  • The primer ensures good adhesion of the paint. Primers designed for metal surfaces, such as zinc chromate primers, are commonly used for their corrosion-inhibiting properties.
  • Epoxy coatings are recommended for their strength, durability, and resistance to chemicals and wear. They form a hard, protective barrier ideal for metal brackets exposed to harsh conditions.
  • Polyurethane coatings provide a high-quality finish with excellent weather resistance, making them suitable for outdoor applications. They offer good flexibility, impact resistance, and UV protection.
  • Alkyd-based paints are oil-based and offer good adhesion and rust prevention for metal surfaces. They are a cost-effective option for less demanding applications.
  • Acrylic latex paints can be a good choice for less severe environments or when quick drying and low toxicity are priorities. These paints offer good color retention and resistance to weathering.
  • Powder coatings are a dry finishing process that provides a thick, durable finish. They’re highly effective for metal brackets, offering superior corrosion and weather resistance compared to liquid paints.
  • Galvanizing coatings – Hot-dip galvanizing creates a zinc coating that provides excellent corrosion protection for steel brackets. They can be used alone or as a base for further painting.
  • Zinc-rich coatings – Zinc-rich paints are primers containing a high percentage of metallic zinc dust. They provide cathodic protection to the metal surface, making them highly effective for corrosion prevention.

Tips for regular maintenance and inspection schedules

Maintaining and inspecting painted brackets in construction ensures structural integrity and longevity. Here are some tips for establishing maintenance and inspection schedules:

  • Initial inspection – Conduct a thorough inspection of the painted brackets upon installation. Look for any signs of damage, such as scratches, chips, or corrosion, which may compromise the integrity of the paint coating.
  • Regular cleaning – Develop a routine cleaning schedule to remove dirt, dust, and other contaminants that can accumulate on the painted surface. Use mild soap, detergent, and water to gently clean the brackets, avoiding abrasive cleaners that could damage the paint.
  • Visual inspections – Perform regular visual inspections, ideally quarterly or biannually, to check for any signs of paint deterioration or damage. Look for peeling, cracking, blistering, or discoloration, which may indicate corrosion or other underlying issues.
  • Touch-up painting – If any areas of the paint are damaged or deteriorated, promptly address them by performing touch-up painting. Use paint that matches the original color and formulation to ensure uniformity and protection.
  • Protective coatings – Consider applying additional protective coatings, such as clear sealants or topcoats, to enhance the durability and weather resistance of the painted brackets. This extra layer of protection can help prolong the life of the paint and prevent corrosion.
  • Inspect attachment points – Pay special attention to the attachment points of the brackets, as these areas are prone to stress and wear. Check for signs of rust or corrosion, loose fasteners, or any structural damage that could compromise the stability of the brackets.
  • Weather considerations – Factor in environmental conditions when scheduling maintenance and inspections. Extreme temperatures, humidity, UV exposure, and corrosive elements can accelerate paint deterioration, so adjust your schedule to address these factors.
  • Documentation – Keep detailed records of maintenance and inspection activities, including dates, observations, and any corrective actions taken. This documentation can help track the condition of the painted brackets over time and identify any recurring issues.
  • Professional inspection – Periodically enlist the services of a qualified inspector or structural engineer to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the painted brackets. Their expertise can help identify potential issues that may not be apparent during routine inspections.
  • Review manufacturer recommendations – Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for maintenance and inspection procedures specific to the type of paint and bracket material used. Follow their guidance to ensure compliance with warranty requirements and optimal performance.

By implementing these tips and establishing a systematic maintenance and inspection schedule, you can effectively preserve the integrity and appearance of painted brackets in construction projects.

The innovations in protective coatings for construction

The innovations in protective coatings for construction

The latest innovations in paints and protective coatings in construction emphasize sustainability, efficiency, and technological advancements to meet the growing demands for environmental responsibility and enhanced performance. Key trends include:

  • Sustainability and Health – There’s a significant focus on developing paints and coatings that are less harmful to the environment and people. Innovations aim at reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), eliminating toxic ingredients, and using renewable materials. This includes antimicrobial coatings, which are growing in demand due to their ability to inhibit the growth of harmful microbes, thus improving durability and reducing the need for frequent replacements and maintenance.
  • UV-curable coatings – These coatings cure rapidly under ultraviolet light, offering low VOC emissions, excellent adhesion, chemical resistance, and insulation properties. Their applications span the electronics, automotive, and packaging industries, with ongoing advancements expected to enhance their performance, versatility, and sustainability.
  • Energy-efficient coatings – Technologies are being developed to improve insulation, reflectivity, and light absorption, contributing to energy savings and reduced environmental impact. This includes thermal barrier coatings, reflective coatings, and light-absorbing coatings, which are particularly beneficial for solar panels and other photovoltaic devices.
  • Lightweight coatings – With an emphasis on reducing fuel consumption and improving performance, lightweight coatings are being developed for aerospace, automotive, and sporting goods. These coatings combine traditional materials with nanoscale fillers, enhancing mechanical properties and performance without significantly increasing weight.
  • Resin developments – Innovations in resin technology are crucial for achieving faster drying times at lower temperatures, improving coverage, reducing emission levels, and replacing traditional materials with bio-based alternatives. These developments not only enhance productivity but also contribute to sustainability goals.
  • Digital and technological advancements The use of digital technology in the production and testing of coatings and in color retrieval processes is revolutionizing the industry. For example, AkzoNobel’s digital color retrieval software, MIXIT, offers access to a global color database, improving efficiency and accuracy in color matching.
  • Innovative products and systems Companies like PPG are introducing the MOONWALK® automated refinish paint mixing system and iSENSE™ exterior can coatings, focusing on sustainability, efficiency, and creating unique sensory experiences. These innovations reflect the industry’s commitment to meeting sustainability goals and enhancing customer experience.
  • Graphene-based coatings – Graphene, known for its exceptional strength and resistance, is being explored in wear-resistant coatings. Its potential for enhancing the durability and performance of paints and coatings makes it a material of interest for future innovations.

These trends highlight the industry’s shift towards more environmentally friendly, efficient, and technologically advanced solutions, addressing the demands of consumers and regulatory bodies alike.

Conclusion

The article has highlighted the role of brackets and painting and the significance of painting them in commercial construction and maintenance. It demonstrates that painting brackets is not just an aesthetic option but a critical protective measure.

The article highlights the key points, including paint’s crucial role in protecting brackets from environmental elements improving the commercial building’s structural integrity and longevity. In addition, the article delves into painting brackets as a positive contribution to the building’s overall appearance, aligning them with architectural design and standards, as well as the latest innovations in protective paints and coatings for commercial applications.

Brackets need care, too, to maintain their functional, protective, and aesthetic properties. Painting offers the brackets essential protection against wear and tear, weather, and environmental elements. This proactive approach ensures the protection of commercial building’s appearance and structural integrity, enhances property value over time, and contributes to reduced maintenance costs. These factors make painting brackets a worthwhile investment.

Prioritize bracket painting in your next project by contacting Custom Painting, Inc. and discover the long-term benefits of investing in quality and care from the beginning. Call us at 925-866-9610 or send us a message by filling out our contact form to get started!