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Preserving Paint at Self-Storage Facilities: Buildings, Doors and More

Teresa Sedmak Comments

Paint is often one of the first considerations of maintenance plans. But did you know annual losses attributed to improper paint maintenance runs into the billions of dollar? Read on to learn how you can save, instead of lose, on your paint upkeep.

One of the most important aspects of paint maintenance is regularly inspecting the paint and taking care of any problems before they become worse. Semi-annual inspections are recommended to identify and solve issues as they occur.

Your paint inspection should include checking for weathered areas, chalking, cracks, loose paint, nail stains, dirt or mildew. Surfaces expand and contract as temperatures change from season to season, causing minor defects such as cracks in caulking or mortar. Keeping up with repairs keeps maintenance costs to a minimum.

As a general rule, you should recoat or repaint when the previous application is just beginning to show signs of deterioration, before it loses its ability to protect the building. The original, baked-on paint can last eight to 10 years on metal before it needs refinishing, but paint on wood, stucco or block may need to be repainted after three to five years.

Exterior Paint Maintenance

A self-storage door with restored paint (right).

For metal doors or buildings, check the paint finish by wetting a small area with a wet cloth or sponge to see if the color changes. If it does, the protective finish is gone. A quality, clear protective coating can be applied to protect the paint before it chalks and oxidizes. Once the paint loses its protective finish, chalking will accelerate. Customers won’t appreciate the mess on their clothes; business customers will likely be upset because white chalk on navy suit is not pretty.

If your facility is within 10 miles of the coast (or even Salt Lake), check for salt corrosion by running your hand over the upper ribs of doors on the north or east side of the building where moist salt air takes longer to dry. Salt corrosion is rough and bumpy. If you use salt for ice or snow control, check the bottoms of doors or metal buildings for corrosion. A quality, clear protective coating with resins that are salt-resistant can protect doors and buildings from further corrosion.

Acid rain can also damage your paint. Even if you’re miles from refineries, factories or power plants, acid rain can etch and ruin metal surfaces. Telltale signs of acid rain are dark-streaked, permanent etchings. Acid-rain damage can’t be reversed but can be prevented. Also, bird droppings are corrosive and should be cleaned off painted surfaces immediately.

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