How self-clean paint works

‘Self-Clean Paint’ - you have probably heard the expression bandied around the construction industry over the last few years, and it has been the subject of both interest and scepticism from building experts. Now this nanotechnology is finding its way into mainstream external façade specifications with various European and UK manufacturers taking up the challenge of introducing “Self-Clean” products to the market.

self-clean paintSo, does it work? –  Yes, it does work! You can see for yourself on numerous YouTube videos demonstrating various “Self-Clean” products in action. Even the mainstream car manufacturer Nissan has been prototyping a “Self-Clean” auto-paint with some incredible results.

Where did this come from? - based on some of nature’s finest phenomena, ‘self-clean’ was first discovered in the 1960s when the self-cleaning properties of certain plants and insects were studied. Since then, scientists have been working on replicating the effect with synthetic materials with great success. The future is here and now so don’t be left behind.

How does it work? - Self-Clean paint creates a microscopic textured surface with a contact angle of 140 degrees, resulting in an ultra-hydrophobic surface that causes water to bead up into pearls of water that run across the surface of the facade. As beads of rain water run over the surface of the façade, they collect dirt and contaminants lying on the surface of the paint and remove them, cleaning the facade as it rains.

The Great Western Hotel (masonry paint case study) is an Exeter landmark dating from the 19th century. It needed to be returned to former glory, so the owners chose to finish it in ProRend Self-Clean Masonry Paint. The light colour chosen might have been a problem causing high maintenance costs to keep the grand facade clean as it is located in a high-traffic area close to the main southwest rail link. With self-clean paint it remains clean and white, washing clean in the rain.

self-clean paintWhy use it? - Self-clean paint technology boasts the potential of a much-reduced maintenance schedule compared with other traditional paints and finishes, think high rise and hard to reach rendered areas staying crisp and clean for years after completion. Another benefit is the increased durability and flexibility of a silicone paint with an expected lifespan of as much as 15 years!

How much does it cost? – SAS Europe have a product on the market called ‘ProRend Self-Clean Masonry Paint’ (SCM) which retails at around £3.65 + VAT per square metre, so based on an average sized 3-bed house with 200 square metres of exterior wall to be painted, this works out at £730+VAT to cover the whole house. If it lasts longer and looks better, then surely, it’s worth the extra cost?

Does it apply itself too? – no don’t be silly!

Gerry Gould Technical Consultant at SAS Europe expert advice – “Always make sure your substrate is clean and free from any loose material, ensure the temperature will be above 5 degrees centigrade for the duration of application - including curing times, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and don’t paint in the rain!”


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