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Architectural Coatings

Erin Dickison
Basketball Court with Fans

What will your weekend include? Watching a basketball game? Visiting a football game or department store after taking advantage of a nearby parking garage? Enjoying the comforts of your home’s hardwood floors, balcony, or terrace? Did you know that aliphatic diisocyanate (ADI) chemistry is an important enabler for all of these activities, and much more?

Because of their unique properties, ADIs are essential ingredients in polyurethane (PU) architectural coatings and sealers used to protect a wide range of flooring, roofing, and other applications. These include wooden floors found in gymnasiums, other types of commercial buildings, and residences. ADIs are also used in coatings for concrete flooring used in stadiums, parking garages, retail stores, industrial warehouses, factories, and more. They are ingredients for industrial, automotive, and roof coatings along with countless other applications where attributes such as exceptional durability, color stability, low maintenance, and protection from exterior elements are important.

Proven Success, Exciting Advancements

When considering how ADIs contribute to architectural coatings, it’s helpful to look back at when polyurethane was first used as a coating in the 1940’s. At that time, aromatic hardener-based coatings were introduced but they had shortcomings including a yellowing effect that occurred over time when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. To resolve this issue, aliphatic hardener-based coatings were developed in the 1960’s. They were proven to be tough and more capable of maintaining color stability and preventing yellowing. Since that time, ADI-based PU coating technology has advanced with the introduction of waterborne polyurethane dispersions (PUDs), polyaspartic coatings (with ultra-low volatile organic compound, or VOC levels), waterborne polyurethane coatings, waterborne UV-curable coatings, and more.

Great Looking and Tough – A Powerful Combination

There are many benefits that ADI-based PU coatings and sealers provide. Some of these include:

  • Ultra-durable: Provide resistance to abrasion, impact, weather, and harsh substances
  • Adaptable: Can be applied with anti-slip and anti-static properties as required
  • Attractive finish: Allow for highly decorative and jointless application in a variety of uses
  • Customizable: Properties such as elasticity or hardness can be adjusted to application needs
  • Fast curing: Enable fast curing (hardening), even at low temperatures

When you look more closely at some of the applications where ADI-based PU coatings and sealers are used, you can see why the products’ properties contribute to their popularity among contractors who apply them, and architects, engineers, facilities managers, and others who specify them. Some of these products are intended for professional application, while others are used by non-professionals. It’s essential to follow all product safety and installation guidance.

A Solid Footing in Flooring

Concrete flooring: As mentioned, a common application is floor coatings. For concrete floors, interest in flexible polyaspartic systems is growing because they can be used for both waterproofing and a top color coat all-in-one on concrete surfaces with movement, such as balconies and terraces. Polyaspartic coatings have two components (polyaspartic resins and an aliphatic hardener) that are mixed together at the job site to create the coating. Contemporary waterborne and polyaspartic coatings are available with low to ultra-low VOC levels, as well as low odor attributes.

Due to its fast curing, contractors can benefit from improved productivity and faster turnaround. In many cases, within an hour or two after application, the floor can be walked on and a few hours later, light traffic or a forklift can drive across it. Reduced downtime is important for retailers, warehouses, and other commercial, institutional, or industrial buildings. This benefit also applies to parking decks and garages where leased or “pay by the hour” spaces are sold. Lost time equals lost revenue and inconvenience for users.
ADI-based polyaspartic coatings also provide excellent clarity, longevity, chemical resistance, and enhance color vividness.

Wood flooring: Whether it’s a wooden gymnasium floor or hardwood floor in your home, ADI-based PU coatings offer high quality appearance and long-lasting protection. Quick drying, low odor coatings for wood flooring (new or refinished) are made possible with ADI-based PU coatings. They help protect floors from impact, stains, heavy foot traffic, and harsh ingredients that may be contained in some floor cleaning products. Sustainable water-based one and two-component systems are available. Some of the coatings are UV-curable and harden almost instantly when cured with specialized on-site equipment.

Sports flooring: Indoor and outdoor sports arenas depend on high quality surfaces that offer an excellent combination of properties to support players’ safety and performance. PU coatings provide elastic surfaces with excellent rebound properties and slip resistance. When decorative colors and logos are used, these light-stable coatings are well suited to enhance the floor’s appearance. Stadiums and large venues often use concrete as the floor substrate. PU and polyaspartic coatings provide technology to protect and maintain the concrete, minimizing downtime so the team can remain on the field and fans can fill the stands.

Now That’s Cool

Roof Coatings: Fluid-applied roof coatings can be installed on a new roof or to re-roof an existing deck to prolong its lifespan. These systems contribute to the sustainability of the building by extending the roof’s life, limiting unnecessary roof tear-offs which can contribute to landfill waste. One or two-component PU coatings for roofs provide a unique combination of weatherability, toughness, and corrosion resistance. Aliphatic-based coatings exhibit excellent UV resistance, good color retention, and are well suited for “cool roof” solutions. Reflective roofs keep buildings and their surroundings cooler by reducing the amount of sunlight that the roof converts to heat. This reduces energy consumption in air-conditioned buildings, increases occupant comfort, and improves overall building envelope longevity.

Strong Economic Contribution

Not only do ADIs contribute to the exceptional performance and versatility of architectural coatings, this segment makes a strong contribution to the economy.1 It is projected that the revenue of paint and coatings manufacturing in the U.S. will amount to approximately $27.2 billion by 2024.2 This industry largely relies on skilled workers who often use equipment to mix and apply these coatings and sealers. For these workers, in-depth training and the use of proper personal protective equipment is essential. In 2021, the U.S. paint and coatings industry employed approximately 306,000 workers, adding 51,100 jobs since 2011. There were some 51,400 establishments in operation in the U.S. 3

You’ve now seen that as your weekend activities take shape, there’s a high probability that ADI chemistry will support you every step of the way – literally and figuratively.

1 Statistics reflect the broad paint and coatings industry. ADI-based PU coatings and sealers are an important segment within it.
2 Statistica: https://www.statista.com/forecasts/409489/paint-and-coating-manufacturing-revenue-in-the-us
3 American Coatings Association: https://www.paint.org/about-our-industry/economic-contributions/