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December 6 - December 12, 2010

Is it sufficient to specify simply that paint should be applied "according to the manufacturer’s instructions?" If not, what kind of detail should be included?

Selected Answers

From Robert Cox of Cox & Associates on December 16, 2010:
I agree with Barry Barman & B. Mosler. Technical specification specific to the project are very important as well as supervision of the painters (See Federal Labor Statistics for the percentage of painters who are ex-convicts and parole violators). On large projects such as schools, hospitals, highrises, tanks, etc., an inspector should be present during application to assure the the correct paint, the number of coats specified, film thickness requirements, and material comply with the approved submittals.

From Paul Archambo of Dunkin & Bush, Inc. on December 14, 2010:
I agree with Charles and Adam. It also may occur that there will be a spec sheet that comes with the job. It almost always says apply according to the manufacturer's specs and those are always on the tech data sheets, and then, if still unsure, we all have cell phones and computers now. Our paint reps are always 1 call away and sometime on the job with us.

From Barry Barman of Barry Barman & Associates on December 10, 2010:
Specifications should be site- specific. The information provided on the typical manufacturer's data sheet, although thorough, is nevertheless too general. It can not take into consideration such things as exiting condition of substrates, environmental conditions during application, anticipated service conditions, the presence of sharp edges or welds that should be stripe-coated prior to the application of the first full coat and any limitations as a result of logistics. In overview, the specification should include a comprehensive treatment of pre-surface preparation, surface preparation and coating application.

From David Grove of Shaw Nuclear Power Services on December 10, 2010:
Wow, such diversity in the responses. There are many things to consider and require more info. If the project can afford a small additional expense, contact a consulting company for either recommendations or a specification for your specific conditions. SSPC is perfect for providing contact info and even guidance.

From Louis Hickman of Marion County School System (MCSS) on December 8, 2010:
I believe it is sufficient if the owner does not require a tighter standard. Any variance from manufacturer's spec would require the owner to agree.

From B Molser of IPCMobile, Division of Line-X of Hagerstown, MD on December 8, 2010:
No;following manufacturer's instructions is critical but insufficient. THE MANUFACTURER'S PRIMARY JOB IS TO SELL AS MUCH PAINT AS POSSIBILE THAT WILL NOT FAIL IN WARRANTEE WINDOW.ONE DAY AFTER THAT WINDOW ENDS,ITS TIME TO RESELL THAT CUSTOMER. The professional applicator is important, but not all applicators are created equal, much less keep current on continuing education in this area of expertise, on products and technologies. Technical Data Sheets provide invaluable assistance, but often fall short in addressing field application in cold weather, humidity, and other enviromental variables. Example: Rarely is there any statement in manufacturer's instructions in technical data sheets as to the acceptable levels of or remediation of salts, ie,chlorides, nitrates, and sulfates on the applicable substrates, whether it's steel, iron, or concrete, or repainting a vehicle or frame, for that matter. Most major application standards NACE,SSPC, etc...cite the remediation of salts prior to most coating application, when longevity and wear is key. Now apply that to a wall, bridge, or concrete application, or a vehicle repaint which occurs on the East Coast or any Coast where calcium chloride (SALT) is used 5-6 months of the year to mitigate snow/ice conditions. This calcium chloride runs off as liquid into the ground where we all know the "earth's water cycle"-- evaporation and precipation-- brings it all back down on everything we own...during the application process. Considering a large portion of the earth's surface is covered in salt water, and a study cited by the United States Coast Guard from 1950-2000 states that the saline surface water withdrawals were approximately 60 billion gallons a day, and fresh water withdrawals were 275 billion gallons per day, now consider many East Coast cities are surrounded by salt sea water. Even the United States Military was re-searching and knew the negative effects salt has on coatings has as far back as the 1950's. But guess what? They have finally addressed and set levels of required salt mitigation(in the last few years) in their Corrosion Protection and Coating Protection Standards. Do you want to wait until the manufacturer of the coating products admit salt mitigation is required for longer term protective coatings results....which will mean they will sell less paint? Next time you have a minor vehicle paint repair done, look at the estimate and see if soluble salts mitigation is required prior to the repaint. I dare say you won't find it.

From charles ditsler of c.ditsler on December 7, 2010:
Yes,it is sufficient. The applicator is also a professional and if quality manufacturers are used, professional information will be provided.

From Adam Backhaut of Diamond Vogel Paints on December 7, 2010:
Technical data sheets should address the method of application for the product. Surface prep, mix ratios, amount of coats required (film thickness), flash times, dry times, and application method (spray gun, dip tank, roller etc…) will be outlined in the TDS (Technical Data Sheet). Paint companies will always be able to take phone calls to walk you through the process. Take advantage of the technical support that is offered to customers…

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