Hurricane-Proof Home Protected with Long-Lasting Coatings



When John Pistorino set out to create his “Sandcastle” house 50 feet from the Atlantic Ocean in Islamorada, Florida, he knew it would need to withstand the high winds and storm surges of the hurricanes that plague the Florida Keys.

“Early in my career, I had a contract with the U.S. Coast Guard to maintain lighthouses along the Florida coast,” said Pistorino, principal of Pistorino & Alam Consulting Engineers, Inc. “Some of these lighthouses have been standing since the 1850s, and I was fascinated by how they were designed. I wanted to use some of the same techniques.”

Standing Up to Mother Nature’s Forces

Pistorino designed a three-story elevated structure with curved lines to deflect wind, a concrete frame and round cast-in-place concrete support columns. The support columns — rated to withstand 5,000 psi of pressure — extend down to bedrock, and the foundation is drilled into hard coral rock, keeping it from being undermined and eroded by storm surge and waves. The bottom floor consists of breakaway walls.

Pistorino also specified laminated, high-impact glass for the home’s windows and doors, along with 18-gauge solid steel protective shutters. Interior walls are a special form of drywall that won’t dissolve like gypsum-based drywalls when saturated with water. The home’s roof is a solid concrete slab with no shingles or other coverings.

His design and construction strategy paid off. When Category 4 Hurricane Irma hit the Keys in 2017, most buildings in the area sustained heavy damage. The Sandcastle, however, stood up to the 120-mph winds with no damage.

Durable Coatings Resist Weathering from Storms and Sun

A tough and sturdy house requires a tough and sturdy exterior finish, and when Pistorino wanted to freshen the Sandcastle’s appearance in 2017, he turned to Lazer Distribution and NeverFade Coatings with Kynar Aquatec from APV Engineered Coatings. Lazer serves as master distributor of the product line and of another key product used in the project, Bostik PRO-MS 50 hybrid sealant, which was used for the home’s windows and doors.

“It can be difficult to find an exterior coating that stands up to high humidity, extreme UV rays and the corrosive power of salt spray for more than five years without fading,” said Michael Roberts, Lazer Distribution. “NeverFade has 50 years of accelerated weathering performance in South Florida.”

According to APV, the premium, water-based, weather-resistant coating can be easily applied to a variety of substrates, including metals, plastics, wood, concrete, stucco, EIFS and previously painted surfaces.

“Degraded and faded paint is commonly seen throughout Florida, which is one of the harshest environments in the country,” said Erin Neff, Director of Marketing and Business Development with APV. “The use of Kynar Aquatec and complex inorganic pigments gives NeverFade the ability to resist film erosion, chalking and fading caused by harsh UV exposure.”

APV backs the coating’s no-fade performance by a 15-year product-and-labor guarantee, which is transferrable to future building owners. If the coating fades by a Delta E (ΔE) of five or higher, APV will replace the product and cover the labor cost of re-coating. This warranty, Neff said, is unique to the architectural coatings industry.

APV custom blends each batch of NeverFade to match the customer’s requested shade. For the Sandcastle, APV matched the classic sand-color hue Pistorino specified for the home’s stucco. The aluminum window trim and shutters were coated in white. An ultra-bright white was chosen for the home’s polyurethane-covered concrete roof to give it a high total solar reflectance (TSR) value.

“Because NeverFade contains Kynar Aquatec, it can maintain its high TSR for a long time, with minimal need for cleaning,” explained Ernie Porco, an application engineer with APV. “Other roof coatings — even those marketed as ‘cool white’ — are made of acrylic, which breaks down under UV exposure, allowing dirt, mold and mildew to infiltrate the coated surface and reduce the TSR. Those other roof coatings also need to be applied at extra-high thicknesses because of this erosion; whereas, just one thinner coat of NeverFade provides longer-term protection and higher TSR values.”

“A white roof with high reflectance values makes a big difference in keeping our A/C costs low,” Pistorino said. “The roof shines very bright, especially compared with the other houses that surround the Sandcastle.”

Attention to Detail

The crew from Capital Contractor Services, a NeverFade Certified Applicator, used rollers to coat the concrete, stucco and masonry and spray equipment to apply the system to the home’s exterior substrates, roof and metal surfaces. One coat of primer and one coat of topcoat provided good coverage of all surfaces.

Roberts and Porco were on hand throughout the project, from an initial site inspection to gauge the condition of the home’s exterior substrates, to adhesion- and color-test mockups, checks of mil thickness and film builds, and final inspection of the finished project.

“We paid special attention to all the details of surface preparation,” said Porco. "We addressed areas where corrosion was present and fixed portions of the stucco that required minor repairs. This was a critical step to ensure that the coating system would last more than 20 years.”

“I've been working with Ernie for several years and he, along with the entire APV team, is incredibly committed to making sure the job is done right,” said Roberts. “I don’t see other suppliers with that kind of dedication and integration into the project team.”

Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors. NeverFade® is a registered trademark of APV Engineered Coatings, Inc., sold under a trademark license from Arkema, Inc., owner of the Kynar®, Kynar Aquatec®Kynar 500® registered trademarks. Bostik® is a trademark of Bostik SA.