Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?
Decades of using relatively long-suffering lining paints and coatings have tended to result in bad practices. The general thought was ‘it was only a cheap product anyway’, so if it fails, flakes or wears prematurely, it was not a major drama. How times have changed!
Not only are clients expecting improved lifetime cost, they are less inclined to overlook failures and are also asking for longer life and better environmental credentials
The good news is that great steps have been made in all these areas
- Greater durability
- Waterborne options
- Low solvent/high solids
- Faster cure times
These improvements are tangible and evident – the danger is that the benefits are looked for without the cost involved.
The cost? A readiness to broaden the range of products offered to use the most appropriate product; careful, meticulous preparation of the surface, including priming as necessary; and ensuring that application conditions are suitable. And a smattering of physics!
Yes, boundaries are often pushed, especially in the UK. And often there is not a problem. However, although it is all too easy to ‘blame the product’ when a problem occurs, common sense dictates that it is actually very rare to have a genuine product problem. Consider this – the manufacturing process will be carried out
- in a totally managed environment
- in accordance with a well-rehearsed & choreographed Standard Procedure
- in accordance with Quality Management Systems
In contrast, the install procedure will be carried out…
- in many different environments
- each install will have its own individual considerations
- installs are often carried out under severe time pressures
So, if there are ‘problems’, what is most likely to be the cause?
Of course, there are ways to manage the risk, and there is certainly not an inherently high risk of failure – rather it is suggested with some simple steps it can be managed to an absolute minimum
- Don’t be tempted to ‘push the limits’ with the weather
- Be aware of the impact of the following factors – they are intertwined and indeed a complex subject, but 90% of failures can be attributed to not being sufficiently aware of the following
- Moisture content of substrate
- Dew point/relative humidity
- Temperature of substrate
- Correct preparation of the surface is often overlooked but can make a huge difference to the finished result – use appropriate methods and always remember that time preparing is never wasted time, although it may feel like it. Not only is there the aspect of removing dirt & soiling, it is also critical to ensure correct porosity of the substrate, especially on concrete and other cementitious surfaces. Failure to recognise this is highly likely to result in reduced adhesion
- Primers and other surface preparation products are supplied as part of a system for a reason. If they are recommended, use them!
- Use the right application tools & equipment
- Allow sufficient time for curing before re-opening to users
- A small investment in a few quality pieces of equipment will reap dividends, not only in reduced call-back & remedial costs but also in raising the whole level of awareness with install teams. Items that should be in every line marker and resin installers’ toolkits include:
- Infra-red thermometer
- Moisture meter
- Dew point meter, ideally with data recording facility
- Two handled slow-speed mixer
- An accurate weather forecast facility on smartphone or tablet
- Technical Data Sheets and/or Install Guides for every product installed
Technology is advancing all the time, there have been many improvements over the years, and indeed these will continue. Alongside this, however, there is still a need to be aware of limitations and high-risks, observe best practice and involve the client wherever possible. If a client is pressuring a contractor to work outside of a product limitation it is only right and fair they should accept some of the risks. If nothing else, they will be impressed with your level of professionalism and knowledge, which can only be beneficial.
To come back to the question, it is because we are creatures of habit, and habits are not easily broken!