I have always had an interest in science. My grandfather and my uncle were research chemists at General Electric. I grew up with glass beakers used for flower vases and measuring devices.
Chemical components in paint and how paints are made is valuable information for a color consultant as we specify paint from many manufacturers and for many different types of projects. Our selections are based on the color choices each manufacturer offers. Some paint companies have excellent neutrals, radiant saturated hues, or a wide range of whites. No one fan deck offers a perfect palette.
In addition to color aesthetics we need to be sensitive to environmental concerns. Manufacturers currently offer low VOC products which are better for the environment, the paint applicators, and end users. With concern about our environment most products used are acrylic based. These exterior paints typically enjoy a lifetime of 7 to 10 years on well prepared and primed surfaces. What causes paint to wear out are the UV rays which tend to break down the paint causing it to fade, lose its elasticity, and sometimes peel and crack.
There is one paint system we are interested in trying with our Clients – Keim Paints. They are not for every project but some of the institutional projects could benefit from their chemical composition. The paints are made from inert materials, sol-potassium silicate, and mineral pigment. By using water glass (potassium silicate) as the binder it is possible for Keim to produce products without the use of any solvents, plasticisers, preservatives and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The mineral matte finish radiates light in a dynamic way. The longevity of 20 – 30 years is the typical lifespan of the product, more than double the lifespan of typical acrylic-based exterior paint. The Keim Paints website notes their products have been used on the White House, Buckingham Palace, Sydney Opera House, and the Bolshoi Theater.
On typical paint projects the labor costs exceed the cost of materials. Our Clients tend to be cost conscious and front-end costs are important. Even though using Keim paint will have a higher front-end cost, there is the long-range impact of avoiding costly repaints every 7-10 years. We are eager to find a Client willing to use this product, as this impact may benefit the Client’s long-term approach to building maintenance.
See Keim Paints on their website, here.