Springtime is usually a cause for celebration, especially if you live in a temperate region and can finally be free from the dark, freezing winter. For contractors and wall coating specialists, however, spring brings a unique set of challenges, like cool, damp weather, pollen, and other in-born particles.
Wall coating applications in particular require special consideration this time of year, when projects are susceptible to a whole slew of potential setbacks. Colder temperatures and moisture, for instance, can interrupt coalescence and cause aesthetic issues like surfactant leaching. Bond-breaking pollen can weaken the adhesion and lead to inconsistencies in paint color. Additionally, mold spores can be absorbed by sealants and are impossible to remove.
The following recommendations will help prevent seasonal factors such as these from interfering with your springtime application projects.
Warm weather is a must
Ambient conditions are the first factor to consider. Contractors should ensure the surface area is at least 5 degrees above the dew point; otherwise, moisture will start condensing. Acrylic coatings should generally not be applied when the substrate or ambient temperature is 40F or below, or is expected to fall beneath this threshold within 24 hours of application. There may be some exceptions, however, such as BASF's specialized acrylic solutions, which can be applied in lower temperatures. Where possible, installs should begin at the east or south side of the structure, as the sun will hit these surface areas first and warm them.
Keep it clean
Pollen can attach to both vertical and horizontal surfaces alike but is more problematic with the latter. It's important to ensure the surface is clean before coating. Pressure washing, may require up to 24 hours to dry, based on ambient conditions. During this time, more pollen can collect and attach onto the surfaces. In these scenarios, it's advisable to use a leaf blower to remove the pollen. Rags or gloves should additionally be used to wipe down the surfaces. If the primer is still wet and pollen has attached, it may be necessary to conduct adhesion testing to determine whether or not it's a bond-breaker.
Make sure it's dry
Contractors should also be mindful of the curing process, which will be extended by cooler springtime temperatures. To prevent issues arising during coalescence, it's important to maintain a dry surface. Avoid coating surfaces with a surface moisture content above 12 percent; this can be tested with an inexpensive moisture gauge available at most hardware stores. Coatings should also be avoided in the presence of rain, which could prevent materials from fully curing and result in streaking.
Luck favors the prepared
Just because spring poses some unique challenges to wall applications, doesn't mean there aren't any solutions. By ensuring surfaces are dry, clean and the appropriate temperature, contractors can avoid common seasonal challenges associated with spring.