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Jay Helsel

Use of Fire Resistive Coatings in Building Construction

Fire resistive coatings generally refers to a broad group of materials known as sprayed fire resistive materials (SFRM).  These coatings provide protection to structural steel in buildings and other structures by serving as an insulative layer in the event of a fire.  The coatings are rated by how long they provide such protection, typically from …

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Poor Specification Language

Avoiding Poor Specification Language

The success of a coatings project depends on many factors, none more important than the painting specification document.  A complete, clear and concise specification will give a project a solid foundation that can serve as a basis for success.  Unfortunately, poorly worded language in many specifications does not provide sufficient detail to ensure the success …

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steel intumescent coatings

Intumescent Coatings: A Review of Current and New Technologies

A commercial building’s structural support steel may not have exterior exposure, or even be visible inside the building, but in some cases — such as The New York Times building in Manhattan — it is part of the exterior facade. Visible or not, building codes generally require that structural steel be protected by a fire-resistive material, …

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pinpoint rusting

The Case of Improperly Cleaned Surfaces: Failures in Preparation or Specification?

What happens if coatings are applied to an improperly cleaned surface? The simple answer might be to expect premature coating failure, but what exactly is an “improperly cleaned” surface? Was a contaminant left on the surface? Was cleaning not otherwise sufficient to meet the specified standard? Or was the specified coating not appropriate for the …

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coatings for hospital

Selecting Coatings for Hospitals by Service Area

Coatings used in hospitals and healthcare facilities must be kept clean, which typically requires frequent scrubbing and disinfecting. These coatings must therefore be resistant to abrasion and to the chemicals used in cleaning products. Meeting these requirements typically indicates the need for high performance coatings. But there are often other requirements for coatings used in …

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Fireproof Coatings

Diagnosing Failure in Fireproofing [Intumescent Coatings]

The project specification for a recent building addition at a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility required that much of the structural steel be fireproofed. Fireproofing in this instance meant the application of a fire-resistive or intumescent coating. Intumescent coating products are designed to passively protect substrate materials—typically steel—from reaching combustion temperatures. These coatings function by charring and …

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propane tank

The Case of the Compromised Propane Tank Coating

The exterior coating system on six propane tanks was delaminating after only one year of being stored under cover in Mexico. Could the system be repaired? Or was it a total loss? A gas transmission company had all six of the propane tanks fabricated and coated in Mexico for a U.S. facility. The specified surface …

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peeling paint on concrete

Why New Coatings Fail on Old Concrete Floors

While it’s hard to put an exact price tag on what concrete-floor coating failures cost building owners, contractors and retailers each year, two things are clear. First, these failures, nearly all of them avoidable, happen a lot. Second, if it happens to you, it costs too much. Concrete is a complex material and many issues …

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