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How To Protect The Exterior Look Of A Commercial Building

June 5, 2019


The exterior of a commercial building is subject to harsh environment, daily wear and tear, and other factors. To protect the exterior aesthetic of a commercial building, finishing coats are necessary. These functional paint top coats offer protection and keep the exterior of a commercial building looking new.


For nearly 200 years, zinc prevents corrosion of steel or iron and keeps these building materials strong and smooth. Often applied at the point of manufacture, galvanization techniques apply a thin layer of zinc to the surface of the metal to protect it from rusting. This prevents the sleek black or gray steel or iron from turning dull orange and deep brown.

Zinc can be painted onto a commercial building years after the initial construction process using zinc-rich paints and sprays. These coatings seal the surface and provide solid protection against corrosion and rust. When a building is protected from corrosion and rust, it remains aesthetically pleasing.


Polyurethane delivers strong performance as a commercial building coating. Used as a sealant or top coat, it delivers strong, durable performance for commercial buildings and works especially well in environments where stainless and high-carbon steels are used extensively.

Polyurethane provides an economical all-weather sealant and protects against scratches, abrasions, impacts, UV, rain, snow, and natural and synthetic chemicals. This prevention protects steel from oxidation, which causes a rust-colored stain and low luster.

Polyurethane also provides a pleasant, durable top coat to a building's finish. This creates a thin, high-gloss texture on the surface of the metal that looks professional and polished.

Powder Coating

Powder coating provides a strong, durable finish that lasts for years. It must be added during the manufacturing and construction process and consists of either spraying an electrostatically-charged powder onto the steel or lowering the steel into a fluidized powder for coating.

After this point, the steel is baked at a high temperature, typically about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing the powder to melt and form a firm, durable finish. Powder coating includes a variety of different formulations, including abrasion resistance, protection from chemical exposure, and UV protection.

Like polyurethane, powder coating prevents against abrasions like scratches and cuts. This leaves buildings smooth and aesthetically pleasing. It also protects from UV exposure, which means that the building won’t lose its luster and shine.

Fire-Resistant Paint

Also known as intumescent fireproof paint or intumescent fireproofing, fire-resistant paint offers an “aesthetically pleasing finish on exposed structural steel members,” according to Archtoolbox. However, to get as smooth as other coatings, sanding intumescent fireproof paint is required after the final coat.

It’s applied to steel in layers to generate a thickness that corresponds to the level of protection mandated by a building code. It’s used as a passive measure of fireproofing a commercial building and “acts as an insulator that keeps high temperatures away from structural members or protected openings.”

Acrylic Waterproofing

Water-based acrylic paint offers a smooth coating that waterproofs the roof of a commercial building. It’s suitable for any environment, from the warm thunderstorms of Maryland summers to the snowstorms of Northern Virginia. It also protects from long-term UV exposure and air pollution.

These coatings work for nearly any commercial roof. Acrylic paint comes in durable colors, like red, green, and gray, to match building materials like metal and concrete. It also comes in white to keep commercial buildings significantly cooler in the summer and to match aesthetically.

In order to protect the exterior look of a commercial building, it’s important to invest in a functional exterior coating like zinc, polyurethane, powder coating, fire-resistant paint, and water-based acrylic paint - all of which Cochran & Mann can help with.

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