Case Histories:


The Case of the Block Coating Failure, or How to Avoid Paint Store Malpractice

August 14th, 2014 by

MPI Level 2 Grads at Work

IMG_20140501_125146Pratt & Lambert’s Carl Burkeen (MPI Maintenance Coating Specialist MCS #R205) from Detroit tells this story: One of my dealers asked me to review a project where one of our competitor’s coatings that had been applied to CMU and brick surfaces on the exterior of an office/manufacturing building was failing drastically after just one year.

Armed with my MPI Coating Specialist credentials and experience, my dealer and I reviewed the job. Our mission was not to play “the blame game” but instead to use our knowledge to examine the facts and give the owner a reasonable explanation and solution.


Solving a topcoat failure on galvanized HVAC units

July 15th, 2014 by
HVACMiller Paint’s Randy Hale (MPI Maintenance Coating Specialist MCS #R210) sends us this story about a project he worked on. Two schools that are only 6-8 years old have galvanized HVAC units on the roof that are the size of school busses. There are 26 of these on one roof alone. They’re experiencing widespread premature failure; the rusting in the picture doesn’t even tell the story..


Two wrongs don’t make a right – But they can turn a $100,000 paint job into $250,000

June 25th, 2014 by
By Clayton Des Roches, Paint Quality Assurance InspectorThere’s a rule that paint inspectors live by: when you look at the exterior concrete walls of a high rise condo or apartment building, don’t assume the paint is planning to stay there. Even though it can look intact to the naked eye, there may be little or no adhesion between the coating and the underlying wall, and any stress applied to the paint film – such as applying a repaint coat – may cause immediate and dramatic failure.


The Pain in Painting Galvanized Surfaces

June 25th, 2014 by

Text excerpted from MPI’s Level 2 Coating Specialist training course and the experience of Paint Quality Assurance inspector Dave Lick

Galvanized” describes steel or iron surfaces shop-coated with a layer of hot-dip zinc. Galvanizing alone can last for decades in mild conditions, but organic coatings may be applied as topcoats to add color, or to extend the life of the structure especially in aggressive environments.


The Perils of Prefinished Steel

June 25th, 2014 by

BC Place Specifying that new steel be prepped and primed in the controlled and predictable environment of the fabricating shop can offer many advantages. However, there are schools of thought that go a step further, postulating that complete prefinishing — a.k.a “total shop painting” of the complete system – is the preferred practice. But is it?


Mondo Condo Failure – An ounce of following the product data sheet can save a ton

June 25th, 2014 by

By Clayton Des Roches, Paint Quality Assurance Inspector

This inspector was recently asked to write a repaint spec for a project that involved a premature (and fairly thorough) coating failure on a very posh condo complex situated in a high-price area of town.


No good deed goes unpunished – The Case of the Laboratory Block Walls

June 25th, 2014 by

From the experience of PQA Inspector Dave Lick

Much has been written about issues with coating exterior CMU walls — but here’s a case involving interior concrete block. File this one under the “no good deed goes unpunished” category: what seemed like a creative and well-founded solution can cause a much bigger problem down the road if all the pieces of the puzzle (e.g. the many ways walls can make paint fail) aren’t considered.

Two years ago, a shiny new laboratory was constructed with concrete block (CMU) interior walls. The architect had consulted his MPI Architectural Painting Specification Manual, which describes the recommended coating system options for 25 different substrates,


When the substrate rejects the coating

June 25th, 2014 by

From the experience of PQA Inspector Dave Lick

A tidy few years ago, the inspector found himself on a project that should have been a breeze: a new Arts Center with four levels of poured-in-place concrete ceilings.

The concrete surfaces were in virtually ideal condition: the concrete contractor had done an excellent job leveling and roughening the walls with no sacking or poor-quality patching work to be seen. This was a LEED job, so the spec called for a water-based primer with a strong track record approved under MPI #3 Primer, Alkali Resistant, Water Based.


What Went Wrong? It’s Not Always the Paint

June 17th, 2014 by

Paint FailureIn many instances, it is not the paint which lags in performance. All too often, the problem can be attributed to flaws in design or construction, or due to poor application procedures. This photograph is a good example.