Coat of Many Colours

Paint suppliers talk about the coatings that last longer and cut costs

Colour can make a difference to the levels of maintenance required.
Colour can make a difference to the levels of maintenance required.

The old phrase ‘a lick of paint’ connotes a few effortless strokes of a brush to make an old place look new.

And, all too often, developers and designers make rushed decisions over the shade and substance of a coating before carelessly slapping it on a surface and leaving it to dry.

It’s true, paint can work wonders on any surface, be it a home, office, classroom or even a vessel, but go for a cheap product with a short lifespan and you’ll quickly see the cracks begin to show.

And, where there is need for regular maintenance, there will be a need for regular cost. PPG Industries, a manufacturer of paints coatings and chemicals, is regularly called upon by clients who learn about the problems of substandard paints the hard way, says business development manager for industrial coatings Sinan Nader.

“It happens a lot in this region. Clients use less durable products due to financial restrictions, or they have a lack of awareness about the paint and coatings technologies available.”

Sigma Coatings, a brand of PPG, deals with the same kinds of enquiries. “Customers regularly want to upgrade existing coating systems to better performing systems,” says general manager of the company’s Dubai branch Arno Meister.

“Reinstalling a coating system which has failed is always more costly than applying a good system correctly immediately. The cost for removing or reapplying paint does strongly depend on the area of use and it might be very expensive, especially in the case of structures which are difficult to reach, for example a high-rise building, the inside of tanks, or offshore constructions,” he adds.

The first thing to consider before applying paint is the type of surface that will be coated, and its surrounding environment.

For example, protective marine coatings (PMC) should be used for the reinforcement of structural steel, a material that is often exposed to elements such as wind and water. Architectural paint should be used for concrete and industrial paint for aluminium cladding, facades and profiles.

“Each coating has its own formulation and will have its own requirements with respect to the level of protection which is required for the applicator. Coatings should be tailor-made for each substrate and environment in which the coating has to perform,” insists Meister.

Indeed, exterior paint is exposed to harsher environments than interior paints. But, in a region which experiences little rain, should we be worrying about corrosion and deterioration?

“You might not expect it but high humidity is harsher than any rain shower, unless it rains for days on end,” says Sigma protective coatings sales manager in Dammam David Thomas.

It goes without saying that paints which offer UV resistance work best in the Middle East. Not only do they last longer than regular paint, they also decrease heat build-up inside a building, thus saving on expensive cooling costs.

In May, Jotun supplied a whopping 500,000 litres of paint and protective coatings to Meydan City developments. Products such as the Jotashield Top Coat Matt System, a 100% acrylic based paint formulated to withstand harsh climates, and Jotashield Tex Ultra System, which offers protection against UV-rays, were applied to The Grandstand, The Meydan Hotel and bridges, which connect the development.

“Our range of protective and decorative paints and coatings has been tried and tested to deliver its promise of longer life cycles and superior aesthetic value. We have a selection of specially-formulated products available in an array of vibrant hues, which continue to encourage leading master developers to choose Jotun Paints,” says Jotun MENA regional marketing manager Eirik Kristensen.

PPG offers Duranar, which is composed of fluroplymer resin, a protective flash primer and cool technology. This structure enables Duranar to resist oxidation, chemical deterioration, colour fading, surface chalking and thermal degradation.

“Cool coatings reduce the surface temperature, which can lessen the heat island effect as well as optimising the energy performance,” explains PPG’s Nader.

It is also important to remember that the smell of fresh paint, if solvent based, can have damaging effects on both the environment and on our health. Therefore, coatings should always be applied using the proper safety gear, which inlcudes overalls, goggles and a face mask.

It is also worth noting that many paint manufacturers and suppliers are now offering products which contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are harmful gases emitted by various solids or liquids. One such supplier is Balmoral Services, which launched a range of environmentally friendly products last year.

“It doesn’t even need hazmat or warning labels,” insists general manager Kaye Mclone. “In the case of small spills, you can simply wash our product down the sink and it will have no harmful effects on the environment.”

The product, Mythic paint, was developed by researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi and has since been tested and certified as a Green Wise product by Coatings Research Group.

Price-wise, VOC-free paints tend to be more expensive than solvent-based products. “Obviously it depends on quantities, but if you’re selling at retail, then you’re looking at US $58 a gallon.

You can pick up regular toxic paint for about $15 a gallon, but you also have to consider the quality aspect and the fact that you would need twice the amount of paint to do the job,” adds Mclone.

Colour is about more than just aesthetics; it can actually make a difference to the level of maintenance required. Red and blue paint, for example, will fade faster than other hues because of their high level of pigments.

However, some protective coatings, such as Jotun’s Fenomastic Emulsion Matt System, can prevent discolouration.

Colours also have the ability to change moods. It has been said that grey instills boredom, and therefore brings about unproductive employees and disinterested clients inside a workplace. Blue, on the other hand, is said to convey peace, harmony, unity and tranquility, while red conveys passion, strength and energy.

“Colour is a deeply personal thing,” says Amna Saqib, assistant manager and colour specialist for Dulux. “Many people think that colour is purely cosmetic. The truth is that colour is light. It’s the source of life itself and there is nowhere that colour does not exist.”

Moreover, psychologists have proven that yellow makes infants uncomfortable and thus more likely to cry, so it stands to reason that yellow walls in a hospital’s paediatrics ward wouldn’t work.

While it is generally the remit of an interior designer to plan and execute colour schemes, it is important for facilities managers to recognise problematic combinations if they want to sidestep potential pitfalls.

Top Paint Companies to know


PPG Industries specialises in the production of architectural, automotive and industrial coatings. The company operates 110 production and seven R&D facilities in 21 countries around the world and generates an annual turnover exceeding US $8 billion.

Its Duranar architectural coatings are based on a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin that delivers exterior durability. Projects in the PPG portfolio include Ferrari World and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, and the Dubai Metro.

In all cases PPG worked with the architect, consultant and aluminium curtain wall contractor, selling to the applicator and checking the coating process at the applicator site.


Sigma Coatings, a brand of PPG, offers a full range of decorative, protective and marine coatings. The protective coatings unit focuses on development, manufacture and marketing of paint and coatings to meet heavy-duty industrial and commercial requirements.


The company that stakes its claim as the regional leader of the paint business is Jotun. With business segments covering decorative paints, marine coatings, protective coatings and powder coatings, the company has made its mark on some high-profile projects, such as the Burj Khalifa.

Although the company hails from Norway, its business is worldwide, as is its production capability. It has regional manufacturing facilities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Yemen. It is also expanding its North African interests, having recently broken ground on a new 20 million litre manufacturing facility outside Tripoli, Libya.


Berger Paints is among the fastest growing paint companies in the Middle East and has established a presence across UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. The company has bagged key projects like Jumeirah Islands, Dubai Healthcare City, Jumeirah Village, Dubai Sports City, JBR, Baniyas Mall, Ibn Batuta, JAFZA Convention Centre and the Ibn Batuta Gate project. Berger’s selection of paints is available at Colourworld showrooms across the GCC.


Mythic paint is a new product introduced by Balmoral Services’ trading division. The Bahrain-based company launched the range of environmentally-friendly paint in July last year and claims that the product contains no volatile organic compounds or toxins. Mythic paint was developed by researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi and has since been tested and certified as a Green Wise product by Coatings Research Group.

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