Architectural Coatings Get Expert Assist


LAS VEGAS—Hands-on QC in the commercial sector was the name of the game this week at SSPC 2015, highlighting a daylong architectural coatings track that kept attendees busy.

Wednesday's architectural sessions included "QA/QC Inspections During the Painting of Buildings," a show-and-tell technical workshop led by KTA-Tator Inc. president Ken Trimber.

Attendees were treated to a detailed walk-through of the inspection steps needed to verify the quality of cleaning and painting in commercial buildings. The session included the chance to try out numerous instruments for measuring surface profile, air leakage, moisture content and other factors critical to successful coatings projects.

The presentation was one of three sessions in the "Understanding Building Enclosure Coatings" track hosted by Durability + Design.

And WUFI Makes Three

The other sessions were:

  • "New Construction Coating Design/Specification Workshop," presented by Davis Kyle of Master Painters Institute and Richard Watson of The Sherwin-Williams Company; and
  • "Coatings and WUFI Workshop," presented by David de Sola of 3ive LLC, Kevin Brown of KTA-Tator, and Kevin Knight of Retro-Specs Ltd.

The new construction workship walked users through the MPI decision tree for architectural coating selection and the use of Masterspec to create specifications for new construction. Attendees learned how to address project-specific needs and prepare specifications for doing the work.


Developed in part by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, WUFI is a computer design tool used to simulate the heat and moisture behavior of building assemblies.

"Coatings and WUFI" welcomed participants to the world of WUFI, a computer-based program developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP). The design tool is used to simulate hygrothermal (heat and moisture) behavior of building assemblies.

The workshop showed how WUFI modeling could illustrate how moisture problems are created or mitigated by adjusting the placement of thermal, air and vapor barrier materials, including coatings, based on both micro and macro climates.

High Expectations

Between those sessions, Trimber's workshop tackled how to meet commercial building owners' expectations for the quality of cleaning and coatings work. Those owners expect the paint to met the manufacturer's standards, and the paint job to meet the specification requirements, said Trimber.

His mission: Show the options for determining project quality.

Many standards, visual guides, and instruments are available to verify the quality of the work, but each has to be selected, used and interpreted correctly. 

Recognizing key inspections that should be performed throughout the job is important to ensuring the success of the end result, Trimber noted.

Concrete Challenges

Concrete can be particularly challenging, as its moisture content can result in unexpected coating flaws, according to Trimber.

"That's not the contractor's fault," he added. "That's not the paint manufactuer's fault. That is the building's fault."

SSPC 2015

Recognizing key inspections that should be performed throughout the entire job is important to guarantee the quality of the project's end result, Trimber noted.

Trimber gave a rundown of industry standards for numerous aspects of cleaning and coating steel and concrete in commercial buildings and addressed the visual guides used for inspection.

After an overview of inspection equipment, participants had an opportunity to use tools for testing cleanliness, ambient conditions, moisture content, wet and dry film thickness, and continuity.

Future Developments

According to Trimber, one area that still needs industry guidance is testing for moisture content in concrete walls.

SSPC is working to develop a guide to address the available instrument options, how they operate, and their advantages and disadvantages.

However, Trimber noted, other concerns still remain, including pretest conditioning requirements, the effects of weather and direct sunlight, test site selection and testing insulation.


Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Building science; Certifications and standards; Coatings education; Coatings Technology; Commercial Buildings; Durability + Design; North America; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; SSPC 2015

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