Expert Tips

Quick Tips for Working with Industrial Paint Coatings

With over 80 years in the sign paint industry, we are happy to offer our expertise and knowledge in the following quick tips below to help you in the application of Matthews Paint products. Feel free to call us for further assistance at 1.800.323.6593.

Personal Safety Gear

Sanding, Prepping and Mixing:
  • Non-supplied air dual cartridge respirator NIOSH/MSHA TC-23 approved (use approved safety glasses with side shields if using a half-mask)
  • Solvent-resistant footwear or boot coverings
Spraying Sign Paint:
  • Positive pressure, air supplied hood or full face respirator (recommended) NIOSH/MSHA TC-19 approved
  • Solvent resistant footwear or boot coverings
Mixing and Spraying Sign Paint:
  • Solvent resistant coveralls such as TYVEK
  • Solvent impervious gloves, such as TYVEK/SARANEX 23-P, butyl rubber, viton, PE/EVAL/PE or nitrile rubber
  • Solvent-resistant footwear or boot coverings

Safety Tips While Working
  • Keep the workplace clean and tidy and immediately clear up any spillage to prevent accidents.
  • Maintain good ventilation and protect all persons from the inhalation of dust, vapors, and spray mists-not just the individual performing the operation.
  • Do not consume or store food or drink in the workplace or storage areas. Do not smoke in these areas.
  • Protect skin with a barrier cream and gloves. Wash off sign paint splashes with soap and water or proprietary cleanerÑdo not use s solvents or thinners. Wash hands thoroughly before eating or drinking.
  • Wear suitable eye protection to prevent eye damage from splashes.
  • Read material safety data sheets (MSDS) and labels and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Use the protective clothing, masks, goggles, and other safety equipment recommended. 

What is VOC and where is it found?
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound. VOCs are released during application of industrial paint products and go into the atmosphere where they react with sunlight, auto emissions, and dust to cause pollutants known as Photochemical Smog. Oversprays contain VOCs and VOCs contribute to air pollution! VOCs are found in paints, primer, solvents and catalysts/hardeners.

How to Reduce VOC?
The most efficient way to reduce the amount of VOC which goes into the air is to limit the amount of VOC which goes into the sign paint in the first place.
  • Reduce the amount of solvent added to sign paint when mixing and spraying.
  • Make "hi-solids" paint from the factory with resin systems that work with less solvent.
  • Another way is to use more efficient spray application equipment such as HVLP (Hi-Volume, Low Pressure) or electrostatic. This simply requires less paint to cover an area ,which in turn uses less solvent.

The Golden Rules of Success!
Rule #1. Properly Clean the Substrate
Professionals do not even think about priming or painting over any substrate that hasn't been properly cleaned and prepped! Sign paint problems or failures that stem from improper surface preparation (cleaning, treating or removal of defects) are costly. Properly prepared surfaces, be they metals, fiber glass, or organic substrates, must be both sound and chemically clean. These two factors are essential in order for the applied products to obtain their expected adhesion and durability.

Rule #2. Use the Right Stuff
Always use an approved primer or topcoat over a bare substrate or other coating. Always use flexible coatings over flexible substrates. Always use only approved additives, solvents, hardeners or accelerators in any coating. Improper spray gun adjustment will lead to improper film builds, uneven drying, mottling of metallics, uneven appearance of flatted or matte coatings and various drips, runs and errors! Other appearance factors can be orange peel and dry spray. The adjustment of a spray pattern not only involves the fluid nozzle adjustment but also the pressure of the atomizing air. Also, proper adjustment of the spray gun needs to be done after choosing the proper fluid needle and air cap for the coating to be sprayed.

Rule #3. Adjust the Gun Properly
Always perform a spray pattern check prior to painting to insure the equipment is clean and properly adjusted.

Rule #4. Allow Adequate Flash Times Between Coats
Always follow the recommended flash/tack times for the coating being sprayed to avoid trapping solvent. The problems associated with improper flash times (generally, not waiting long enough between coats) are due to the trapping of solvent within a paint film. This leads to long dry times, loss of gloss, solvent popping and other thingsÑall of them bad!

Rule #5. Choose the Proper Solvent for the Conditions
Always choose a solvent (reducer or thinner) and/or catalyst that is recommended for the temperature and airflow in the spray area. Always reduce the sign paint according to manufacturer's specifications. It can't be stressed enough that proper solvent and catalyst selection for the temperature of the spray area can make or break a job. Also factored in is the airflow within the spray area and even the size of the unit to be painted. Reducers are made up of a combination of fast, medium and slow evaporating solvents. These are blended together to give a reducer a temperature range to work within.

Rule #6. The Spray Area, the Sign Paint and the Surface To Be Painted Must Be Warm (not cold and not too hot) and There Must Be Adequate Airflow
The spray area should be between 70 degrees F and 85 degrees F if possible. Under no circumstances should you paint below 60 degrees F. Maintain airflow in spray area at around 100 CFM.
MAP® Finish Maintenance
The maintenance and care of a painted or clear coated polyurethane surface would utilize the basic commercially available non-abrasive cleaners and polishes recommended for finishes exposed to the environment.

It is recommended to wait at least 30 days after painting before any cleaning or polishing is attempted. A mild detergent and water solution with soft cloth toweling is often sufficient to remove most dirt followed with a thorough clean water rinse. Application of polish (liquid or paste) should be done with a wet soft cloth covered sponge and buffed with a soft flannel cloth. This is best accomplished in the cooler hours of the day avoiding direct sunlight if possible. Use of polish over satin finishes may result in an increase to the gloss level.
Any questions should be directed to the manufacturer recommendations.