Post 437 – by Gautam Shah
Coatings are applied as Single or Multi coat systems. The choice depends on several factors, such as:
- Opportunity offered by technology
- Emergency or routine application
- Site accessibility in terms of location, weather, and tools available
- First or virgin application or a re-coating job
- Thickness of film required
One-coat system has inherent efficiency, as it requires lesser amounts of material, solvents, curing energy, and takes less time for application. However, in one-coat systems, the coating is required to provide adhesion with the substrate, necessary film build or thickness, and also fully cover up the surface. Single coat systems have to be fail-proof, as there are no remedial opportunities. Performances of single-coat system, depends very closely on the type of (readily available) substrate. If the substrates are large then one has to select different coating system for different substrates or go for ‘All purpose system’.
Multi-coat systems consist of two, three or more layers of applications, such as, Priming-coat (filler or sealing coats), Undercoat (sub coat or intermediate coats) and Finish-coat (top coat or surface coat) These multiple layers are designed to perform specific functions and also take care of any shortcomings of the preceding coats. In multi-coat systems, different coats can be applied at different times and locations, as required. Primer-coat can be a factory application, Intermediate-coat could be part of the installation procedure, while, the Final coat could be applied with other finish systems, just prior to usage. Multi-coat systems have an advantage over many high-build or one coat systems, in that the final coat can be of the same type for different substrates or undercoats. In multi-coat systems, the sub layers could be of economic materials, as it is the final layer that is exposed to the atmosphere, and provides the tangible surface finish.
Single coat systems are applied to save time and cost of application. Very large walls, giant structures (Eiffel tower, pylons, or Bridges), Road side barricades, Road marking signs, Ships, Marine structures, are some of the entities that must be re-coated in one effort. These are re-application systems, so the substrates have some form of existing coating. The condition could be, severely weathered surface, fatigued or peeled original coating, presence of salts and other reaction products, deposits of dust, grime, etc. Some of these extraneous or by-product matters cannot be removed easily or completely from where they exist (height, nooks, corners, etc.). Such structures are exposed to vagaries of weather, such as very high or low surface temperature, condensation, rains, humidity, high winds and environmental pollution. Where the technology of stripping of aged coatings is available, it may not work for such an extensive surface, including undersides.
Multi-coat systems are as varied as their modes of applications are. Multi-coat systems have a prime or primer coat, followed by one or more finishing coats. Multi-coat systems need an interim ‘rest’ or through drying period, before next coat can be applied. Finishing coats are often designed as ‘removable or stripping system’ by mechanical grinding or chemical scrubbing, or both. Primer coats are specifically designed for the surface to be applied, such as wood, metal or masonry. Multi-coat systems are applied by exclusively by brushing, roller, spraying, dipping, or in combinations of it. With brush application final coating is by vertical strokes.