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USDA Service Center Gets Long-Lasting Makeover with High-Performance Coating Systems


Engineered coating solutions containing Kynar Aquatec® PVDF emulsions provide building envelopes with top-notch protection and colorfastness in harsh south Texas subtropical coastal climate.

As an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with landowners, local governments, and civic organizations to improve and protect our nation’s natural resources. NRCS specialists utilize the nationwide network of  Plant Material Centers (PMCs) to  help develop  science-based solutions to sustain healthy natural ecosystems.

The E. “Kika” de la Garza PMC in Kingsville, Texas, selects conservation plants and develops new vegetative technology adapted to the unique climate and soils of 27 million acres in south Texas. Established in 1981, this 76-acre PMC offers technical assistance to restore Gulf Coast prairie and salt marshes and improve pasture lands to mitigate natural resource concerns, such as flooding and erosion.

Intense Climate Takes Its Toll

Situated near the Gulf of Mexico, the city of Kingsville has a subtropical climate characterized by long, hot, and humid summers. With buildings constantly subjected to blistering sunlight, soaring temperatures, and brutal humidity—in addition to salt-water air—the deterioration of architectural metal components is a serious problem that can be expensive and time consuming to repair.

After 25 years of service, the facilities at the Kingsville PMC—encompassing an administrative office, seed laboratory, and storage garage—were showing signs of extreme wear and tear. The original baked-on enamel finishes of the wall panels severely faded from a visually appealing bright blue appearance to a very dull gray color, and there also was significant dirt accumulation over all the buildings.

A thorough inspection of the 26-guage galvanized steel substrates revealed extensive corrosion, chipping, blistering, and holes penetrating the metal roof and wall panels. According to John Reilley, PMC Manager, the building envelopes were clearly in dire need of major repair work soon to ensure structural integrity, mitigate further weathering, and revitalize their aesthetic appearance.

Wanted Long-Lasting Protection

Facing limited budget-allocation opportunities for facilities maintenance, Kingsville PMC personnel wanted to specify a superior architectural coating system that would provide long-lasting protection of the building envelopes in the harsh south Texas coastal environment. “Our investigation of various options made it clear that high-performance topcoat finishes based on Kynar® fluoropolymer resins would provide the ideal restoration solution for meeting long-term durability goals,” said Reilley. “We then reached out to the technical experts at Acrymax Technologies to obtain their input on field-applied waterborne coatings formulated with advanced Kynar Aquatec® emulsion technology.”    

To provide the buildings with long-lasting protection against weathering and keep their appearance looking as good as new for many years ahead, the technical specialists at Acrymax recommended their AF-4400 topcoat finish for the metal roof applications and their AF-5500 topcoat finish for the wall restorations. “These waterborne products provide the ultimate performance in coating technology as they are formulated with Kynar Aquatec® PVDF resins,” said Eric Bennung, vice president at Acrymax®.

Field-applied waterborne coatings containing Kynar Aquatec® fluoropolymer technology provide the similar long-lasting durability, extreme weatherability, and color-retention properties as factory-applied Kynar 500® resin-based coatings. They are easily applied to a variety of substrates and can withstand extended exposure to temperature extremes, ultraviolet rays, and other harsh climate conditions. Kynar Aquatec®-based coatings also provide outstanding resistance to dirt, biological growth, and corrosion.

Restoration with High-Performance Coating Systems

AMG Construction Company, a national contractor exclusively serving federal government agencies, was selected to perform the restoration of the Kingsville PMC buildings. Work got underway with sanding to remove rust and loose paint. Small holes and cracks were then repaired before wire brushing the metal surfaces. As a final preparation step, the building envelopes of the structures were thoroughly cleaned with pressure washers to remove dirt and other contaminants to ensure proper coating adhesion.

After all metal surfaces were properly prepared, the AMG Construction team turned to the Acrymax® engineered coating systems that were specified for the project. Starting with the 2,500 square feet of metal roof panels, work crews spray-applied a gray acrylic elastomeric basecoat (Acrymax AF-130BC) at a minimum dry-film thickness of 15 mils, which was next covered with a white acrylic elastomeric finish coat (Acrymax® AF-130). The roof-coating system was then finalized with the application of a white topcoat of the Acrymax® AF-4400 product formulated with the advanced Kynar Aquatec® PVDF resins.

To achieve long-lasting protection and color fastness of the 3,100 square feet of metal wall systems, the project team first applied an acrylic corrosion inhibitor (Acrymax® PC-125) at a minimum dry-film thickness of 2.5 to 3 mils. After drying, the primer coat was then covered with a uniform, pinhole free, and continuous layer of an ultradurable “Williamsburg Blue” Acrymax® AF-5500 fluoropolymer topcoat based on the high-performance Kynar Aquatec® PVDF emulsion technology. Restoration work wrapped up with coating all the trim and doors with a white Acrymax® AF-5500 protective coating.

According to Dennis Villegas, project manager for AMG Construction, the Acrymax® coatings were very user-friendly and easy to work with. “They were consistent and mixed well, flowed nicely, and were splatter-free,” Villegas said. “I was very pleased with the high-quality application properties of the products and would have no hesitation using them again, especially in projects that require a high-end protective coating system in this type of harsh coastal environment.”

Looking Like New—for Decades to Come

The Kingsville PMC management team was very pleased with the restored vibrant aesthetics of their buildings, as well as the on-going support provided by Acrymax®—from customer service and technical assistance to product delivery. The AF-4400 and AF-5500 coatings formulated with Kynar Aquatec® PVDF 

resins will ensure a long-lasting, colorful, and durable finish with relatively no visible signs of aging despite years of relentless sun, temperature extremes, and harsh environmental conditions.

“It was a real blessing for us that a field-applied waterborne Kynar® coating was available, and I’m glad we went this route in restoring the buildings’ aesthetics and structural integrity for many years to come,” said Reilley. “Based on the return on investment, it was the right choice for the government and us, and I would definitely consider using these coatings in restoring our other buildings in the future.”

Kynar Aquatec® and Kynar 500® are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc.
Acrymax® is a registered trademark of Acrymax Technologies Inc.
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