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Old 05-16-2009, 01:15 AM   #1
 
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Default Low VOC products for a tough environment?

I'm new to the forum...just lurked a bit so far to get the lay of the land.
Here's my problem...

As part of a larger exterior job (our main business), our best commercial customer asked us to paint a small lunch room w/smooth cinder block walls. The existing coating is semi-gloss and I'd guess an oil. The room is in the middle of a large industrial facility operated 24/7 so I need to keep fumes down. The walls are in generally good shape except for some minor scratches from tables and equipment in one section and scrubbing (prolly greasy hands). The cleaning staff apparently has a habit of hitting it with some pretty potent chemicals

I'm figuring a chemical deglosser would be easier since the surface is irregular, especially in the grout lines, but the fumes...? Anybody know a low VOC deglosser they like. There are a few alkali agents out there but I have no experience with them.

Same fume problem runs through the whole job...I've used low VOC paints a bit but none that'll hold up in this environment. I'm considering putting 2x clear epoxy over it to protect against those chemicals.

I'd love to hear your ideas. This company has a truckload of facilities like this and if I can come up with a good low VOC system that can work in this environment, it would make a nice annuity.

Robcarl
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:59 AM   #2
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Default Rob...

Interesting subject. I'm anxious to hear replies from persons that have experienced this type scenerio.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:08 AM   #3
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I would think given those surroundings that it is an epoxy that was used for the existing finish. most schools, jails, industrial areas are painted with epoxies.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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Can you use a Green 3M Scotch pad and a degreaser to abrade the surface? Anything that would be a de-glosser is a solvent more noble to the coating that is being de-glossed. For example, if there is an alkyd semi-gloss on the wall, you would need to degloss with a solvent that cuts alkyd, like a Xylene. To de-gloss an epoxy such as an acyrlic, polyamide, or amine, you would have to really soak the epoxy to get any effect. Mechanical abraiding is the best method, and 3M pads create the least amount of dust, but will impart random scratches needed for adhesion of you topcoat.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:44 AM   #5
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Have you confirmed that the existing coating is oil?
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:26 PM   #6
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To my knowledge there are no low VOC products that can handle excessive abrasion or chemical application.

The answer is to instruct people not to use unnecessary harsh methods to clean.

If they are going to be hitting the surface with chemicals and abrasive pads than oil industrial enamels or epoxies will hold up the best.

Mechanical abrasion will probably be your best bet. Use a large circular random orbital with a vacuum attachment.

If you use a low VOC bonding primer make sure you read the label, some say don't use after washing with an ammonia product, and some say don't use after washing with a TSP product.

Any low voc primer is not going to perform as well in this situation as a solvent based primer.

Let them know in advance that non-toxic no smell options will not provide as much longevity in this setting, and note it in the invoice that less durable products were used for the comfort and safety of the workers in the facility.

This way if anything happens with the paint, no one will be able to think it was your fault.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:31 PM   #7
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If you have a commercial paint account with some of the larger companies, they may test and recommend a produt for you.

Then (following thier system/instructions) you will may be able to offer a low voc option and have the backing/warranty of a manufacturer.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:08 PM   #8
 
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New cinder or never painted blocks should be wet with water first and then before dry put a coat of latex paint and let the block draw the first coat in and dry then recoat with paint. last a very long time..
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:22 PM   #9
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I use the KrudKutter deglosser and it's violent and brutal for a water base product! Or Paso, but that stuff stinks. I have used the SW macropoxy in new jail construction and it is also some mean and violent business...for an epoxy.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WisePainter View Post
I use the KrudKutter deglosser and it's violent and brutal for a water base product! Or Paso, but that stuff stinks. I have used the SW macropoxy in new jail construction and it is also some mean and violent business...for an epoxy.

I second Macropoxy. Easy to use.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:43 AM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nEighter View Post
I would think given those surroundings that it is an epoxy that was used for the existing finish. most schools, jails, industrial areas are painted with epoxies.
Interesting point...I'll have to get back inside and take a closer look. The engineering project manager has a lot of balls on the air at 20-30 different sites so I have to make an appointment and I don't think this is the biggest fish he has to fry so it may take a few days. I'll post again when I know more.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:55 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NACE View Post
Can you use a Green 3M Scotch pad and a degreaser to abrade the surface? Anything that would be a de-glosser is a solvent more noble to the coating that is being de-glossed. For example, if there is an alkyd semi-gloss on the wall, you would need to degloss with a solvent that cuts alkyd, like a Xylene. To de-gloss an epoxy such as an acyrlic, polyamide, or amine, you would have to really soak the epoxy to get any effect. Mechanical abraiding is the best method, and 3M pads create the least amount of dust, but will impart random scratches needed for adhesion of you topcoat.
I like this idea. I went with the chemical deglosser idea at first to keep the cost down on the uneven surface since I'd have to clean it first anyway. But the more I think about it and listen to you guys, it seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Do you mean to wet sand, degreaser and pad at same time?

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Old 05-17-2009, 02:52 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last Craftsman View Post
To my knowledge there are no low VOC products that can handle excessive abrasion or chemical application.

The answer is to instruct people not to use unnecessary harsh methods to clean.
Yeah, mentioned that...apparently there's a bit of a running battle between the maintanence staff and some other employees who seem to delight leaving some pretty gross mementos behind. I was told stories about what happens in the rest rooms and the maintenance staff has become used to just blasting whatever they see with ammonia/bleach/God knows what. Secondly, this is a union shop with different unions involved between both sides and a management that doesn't see this as an issue they want to deal with.

What management does care about is the union using the fumes issue to make an "unsafe workplace" claim and creating hoopla around that.

But, your point is well taken. Not my problem per se. I can lay out the choices for them but it'll be their decision to deal with the fumes/longevity tradeoff.

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Old 05-17-2009, 04:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robcarl View Post
I like this idea. I went with the chemical deglosser idea at first to keep the cost down on the uneven surface since I'd have to clean it first anyway. But the more I think about it and listen to you guys, it seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Do you mean to wet sand, degreaser and pad at same time?

Robcarl
Degrease first so that any grease, oil or contaminants to not get imbedded into film when abrading.
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