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Catching up with Current Coil Coatings

Trends, innovations and new developments in today’s coil coatings

Connor Group Dec17 1

Coil coating provides beautiful topcoats, durable surfaces, innovative applications, green benefits, and cost savings as compared to other substrates and other coating options. Coil coated products can be used not only for building exteriors, but also for a variety of interior finish applications including walls and ceilings. Coil coatings have come a long way from being simple commodities and today they are highly engineered, specialized products that can be formed into many shapes and angles for diverse applications. Advancements continue to improve their performance and recent trends have emerged that enhance architects’ designs to expand building options.


Fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) resin technology has become more prominent in coil coatings. FEVE matches the performance level of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). FEVE fluoropolymers, according to Scott Moffatt, market manager of coils and extrusions, PPG Industries Inc., Springdale, Pa., when applied as a clear coat over PVDF coatings have two distinct advantages over PVDF: high-gloss finishes, and improved hardness and scratch resistance. “FEVE coatings also have the advantage of adhering direct-to-metal to provide a durable one-coat finish,” Moffatt says. “For example, PPG DURABRITE coatings can be applied directly on brushed aluminum as a clear or as a transparent, tinted clear coat to simulate annodized or natural metals.”


One of the biggest trends in the industry is the increased use of textured painted metal products. These products emulate a wide variety of building materials.

Chris Johnson is executive director of National Coil Coating Association (NCCA), Cleveland. He believes that there is still a place for the classic, clean lines of traditional prepainted metal building products; these traditional materials still account for the bulk of the prepainted metal used in buildings today. However, “The newer textured prepainted metal products make use of prepainted metal and all the attendant advantages a great option for those applications in which the traditional, flat products are not well suited,” he says. “Textures have been used for metal roof products, such as tiles and shingles, for many years, but the use of textured products has expanded to other applications. Public buildings, churches, firehouses, retail and many other types of buildings are using textured paints to recreate the rustic feel of wood, stucco, brick, single skin metal panels.

Another trend in coil coatings similar to textured paints, though not especially new, is print coat patterns. Patterns are etched into rollers and then applied to a metal surface to create different designs and patterns. “These products emulate other building materials, such as wood or slate, but instead of using textured paints, layers of a base coat, a PVDF ink and a PVDF clear top coat are applied to the metal substrate,” Johnson says. “These products have been expanding in access products such as garage doors and in metal building panels.” Adding mica flakes to clear coats to promote enhanced styling of coil coatings is another industry trend. These formulations produce an impressive array of sparkling that is especially dramatic when seen in direct sunlight. “In addition, because they are ultraviolet (UV)-durable, FEVE and PVDF clear coatings can incorporate micas for application over color coats to create metallic effects, a trend that started about three years ago and has become increasingly popular,” Moffat says.

Valspar Coil Coatings, now part of Cleveland-based Sherwin Williams Coil Coatings, continues to research trends and demands within the industry to produce additions to its architectural exterior coating product offerings. Its Fluropon Effects line gives architects new and more dynamic colors. “The three coil coatings in the Effects line provide a wide variety in aesthetic options including Nova (luxurious sparkle and rich colors), Rustica (antique shades ideal for urban and rural projects) and Kameleon (shade-shifting pigments generated by mica flakes within the formulation),” says Jeff Alexander, vice president of sales–coil & extrusion, Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings.


In addition to growing aesthetic advantages, perhaps one trending area that is less well understood is the environmental benefits provided by prepainted metal building products. Sustainability focused innovations within coating formulations can be seen across the industry, including coatings that meet LEED v4 standards and are compliant with Living Building Challenge’s Red List 3.0.

The Red List contains the worst-in-class materials prevalent in the building industry. This list has primarily been developed by green building rating system developers and architecture firms. Developed from chemical hazard lists published by government agencies, commonly used chemicals on the Red List are:
• Polluting the environment
• Bio-accumulating up the food chain until they reach toxic concentrations
• Harming construction and factory workers

Coil coating trends regarding sustainability include, “The removal of Hexavalent Chromium, lead, phthalates and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), added transparency in the manufacturing process, the incorporation of solar pigments into coating formulations and more,” says Alexander. “By implementing these exterior architectural coatings, architects are able to bring their projects closer to their desired sustainability goals.” Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings has responded to sustainability trends with its Fluropon Pure product. This exterior architectural coating’s material transparency makes it an attractive choice to those hoping to achieve LEED and other environmental certifications.

Sustainability benefits start with the high-speed application of coatings in an environmentally friendly process available and extend through the recyclability of the material. “Designers who use these products can help buildings earn credits and tax savings for LEED, Energy Star, and cool roof compliance,” Johnson says. “In the context of LEED, using prepainted metal materials on roofs can earn points toward certification by reducing the urban heat island effect through the use of solar-reflective materials that reduce the temperature of the building and lower the need for air conditioning. Reflective coatings protect the substrates used for roofs from harmful UV radiation. This extends the life of the roof, which saves on costly replacement needs. Buildings that use prepainted metal products can see reductions in the roof surface temperature by up to 50 percent.”


With the variety of growing coating options and innovations offered, architects should take time to explore selection and applicability. Alexander suggests architects take location, conditions, aesthetics, construction guidelines as well as many other factors into consideration before choosing an exterior architectural coating to determine the best product for their project.

When specifying coatings, Moffat suggests architects request a coil coating color chip when selecting color for a panel, and a spray color chip when specifying color for an extrusion. “Because of the differences in application methods (coil is roll-coated; extrusions are spray-coated), matching the color of an extrusion coating to a coil application is difficult,” he says. “Likewise, matching colors between a powder-based extrusion coating and a liquid-based coil coating is equally problematic.”

As the prepainted metal industry has dramatically expanded the exciting solutions that it provides to architects, NCCA has increased awareness among architects and others that specify building materials that these solutions exist. Johnson acknowledges that the companies that provide these materials have their own marketing and educational efforts, but NCCA also works to provide educational and awareness-enhancing opportunities. It develops informational documents, selection guides and seminars. Also, “We will be hosting an Architect Day in conjunction with our spring meeting next April in San Antonio,” Johnson says. “At this event, we will hold seminars that provide CE credits and we will demonstrate the new textures and applications that will help the architects meet the needs of their clients.