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The ultimate guide to different types of paint coatings for commercial use

Nick Higgins |   February 16, 2022 at 4:17 PM

The ultimate guide to different types of paint coatings for commercial use

There are many different types of paint coatings that are used for different materials that need protection from the elements, as well as potential chemical or mechanical deterioration. All commercial paint coatings need to be durable to stand the test of time.

With a wide range of coatings that are fit for a variety of uses, it’s paramount that the appropriate coatings are used with their correct application. We break down some of the different paint coating products available in the market, what materials they work best on and how to achieve a long-lasting, high-quality paint job for your commercial building.

  • Acrylic coatings
    This particular coating provides a textured and protective finish against cracking and staining, often helping buildings look fresher for longer. They are highly effective in preventing corrosion and are commonly the go-to for cement facade rendering, plastic surfaces as well as roof restoration. Acrylic coatings can dry quickly, meaning that you don’t have to wait long to re-coat after the first application which makes them a practical and flexible option. However, while they offer protection for a range of environments, they are not the superior choice for extreme climates. For best results, acrylic coatings should be applied with a roller or brush.
  • Zinc-rich
    These types of paint coatings contain a high concentration of zinc that offsets steel corrosion. It sacrifices its own metallic compounds to protect steel surfaces, rather than providing protection through an impervious, sealed barrier. This is known as cathodic protection and makes these coatings useful for a range of purposes including infrastructure, industrial and automotive. While a zinc-rich product can be used on its own, it is more often used as a primer and is top-coated with paint or epoxy. To get the most out of this coating it should be applied by spray as zinc-rich materials can settle more quickly and because of this, mixing the product well before and during application is recommended. Brushes can also be used for smaller areas but this should be done very carefully to prevent zinc settlement.
  • Intumescent coatings
    The load-bearing capacity of structural steel impacts the stability of a building and if temperatures rise too high, during a fire, for example, the steel will lose its strength and structural features. That’s where intumescent coatings come in. They consist of polyvinyl acetate resins and fillers to help maintain the stability of a building’s structural elements in fires of up to 120 minutes. Spraying is the preferred application of this coating for an efficient and quality finish.

Organic Coatings

With increasing public interest in sustainability, there is now a wide range of coating products available that check the boxes for both eco-friendliness and effectiveness. Organic coatings are also really wash-friendly and this has the added bonus of helping their longevity, protection, and colour retention.

  • Alkyd Coatings
    Alkyd coatings are very durable and can be used in many different environments and withstand intense exposure to the elements. They can be applied interiorly, exteriorly, underground and even underwater and contain corrosion-inhibitive pigment, which makes them usable for power tool-cleaned surfaces. One thing to watch out for with this kind of coating is that it relies on oxygen to strengthen its finish and ensure its longevity as opposed to other chemicals, meaning it can take longer to dry compared to other products on the market. That’s why application techniques may vary from more traditional coatings and are usually spray-applied.
  • Epoxy coatings
    These high-performing coatings are a popular choice for a range of commercial uses as they bond to many different surfaces including zinc, aluminium, and galvanised materials. With their strong adhesive features, they create powerful protective barriers, making them a good option for concrete. This type of paint coating has properties that also allow it to dry and cure quickly. It is suitable for many commercial projects as it withstands normal wear and tear, corrosion, moisture, water, salt, oxygen, as well as fuels and chemicals. Using a bristle brush or nap roller will help you get great results with this type of paint coating.
  • Polyurethane coatings
    Also useful for a range of surfaces but particularly for concrete and floors, this coating is a tough and durable option that is highly resistant to extreme weather, heat, and UV degradation. The key to this product’s strength is a chemical reaction between a polyol resin and a curing agent or ‘hardener’ which gives it a larger molecular make-up. This results in a consistent, higher gloss finish that also acts as a ‘self-cleaning’ mechanism because dirt and dust can wash straight off it with rainwater. Another bonus granted by the polyurethane coating is that graffiti can be more easily removed from its shiny surface. This coating system is usually applied by brush or nap roller over primer for a long-term, protective finish.

Ensuring the longevity of the paintwork of your commercial building will help to satisfy tenants and attract new ones without the need for regular repaints and upkeep. It makes good business sense to have experienced paint contractors apply the different types of paint coatings for your commercial property so you can get the most out of your investment and can rest assured that a professional is on the job.

Your paintwork is an investment that needs protecting to ensure the ongoing appearance of your building and reduce future expenses. Learn how to keep your paintwork looking fresh for longer with our handy guide to painting maintenance.

Maintaining Your Painted Property



Higgins Coatings is Australia's premier commercial painting contractor with over 70 years of experience in providing cost-effective painting and tailored maintenance solutions to a broad range of industries including hospitals, aged care, schools, and strata. If you need quality painting services delivered on time and within budget, contact us today for a consultation.