In the wake of COVID-19, building managers must deal with greater scrutiny over the cleanliness of their facilities. There is also a need to mitigate the effect of harsh cleaners on building assets.
Jeff Large, Midwest Regional Technical Support for Mid America Specialty Services (MASS), has over 25 years of experience in the metal refinishing business. He says clients are especially worried about elevator buttons, signs and other high-touch areas needing to be disinfected more frequently.
Large points to a growing interest in antimicrobial coatings for metal, plastic and other architectural surfaces. Commonly used to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections in healthcare facilities, antimicrobials are now showing up in multiple industries. They are ideal for protecting high-traffic and high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, switches, buttons and railings.
Benefits of Antimicrobial Surface Coatings
Managers often turn to alcohol-based cleaning chemicals that are so harsh they strip the lacquer off. To address this problem, metal refinishers from MASS use alcohol-resistant antimicrobials that stand up to powerful cleaners. This reduces exposure to pathogens while also preserving facility appearance.
The coatings inhibit the growth of microbes including bacteria, fungi, algae and mold. They may also deter staining, odor and degradation. This reduces the need to clean as often.
When coupled with a routine, preventive maintenance plan, antimicrobials may help to increase surface lifespan. They can also reduce the time, money, and labor required to keep surfaces in good condition.
Antimicrobial coatings are available in lacquer and laminate applications to meet the requirements of different surfaces. Managers can also choose products designed for indoor or outdoor use, and which provide either a gloss or satin finish.
Lacquer is useful on assets that cannot be wrapped with a laminate coating, such as revolving doors, Formica, countertops and glass. Stainless steel surfaces will need to be primed before application.
The lacquer forms a protective barrier against chemicals and other substances, and antimicrobial benefits last as long as the coating remains on the surface. The life of the coating depends on the amount of wear the surface receives from touching, bumping, pollutants and other sources. Neutral, non-abrasive cleaners are recommended for best results, while harsh disinfectants may reduce service life and result in more frequent reapplication.
Antimicrobial laminate coatings are a good alternative for metal and plastic surfaces that can be wrapped, such as elevator buttons. A silver ion coating similar to a decal is placed over the surface. Antimicrobial benefits last for up to 5 years in areas not subject to frequent handling, as long as the coating isn’t peeled off. High traffic areas may require more frequent reapplication, depending on the amount of handling the surface receives.
Outdoor coatings include UV protection and are designed for surfaces that receive less wear over time. Interior coatings are formulated to resist sweat, frequent touching and high-traffic conditions.
Now more than ever, building managers must balance the need for frequent cleaning with preserving the condition of architectural assets. Antimicrobial coatings are an important tool for meeting both needs.
If you’d like to learn more about metal refinishing services, please reach out to us at Mid America Specialty Services. Our experienced, professional refinishers will help you maintain the cleanliness and appearance of your facility.