The UK is moving to the next phase of the COVID-19 response, with more buildings reopening and welcoming staff and visitors through their doors – albeit with strict social distancing measures in place.
But with larger operations, including schools, leisure facilities and administrative buildings yet to return, specifiers and facilities managers have time to consider how they can improve the environment and make these spaces as safe as possible prior to opening their doors to the public. Helene Ball, Marketing Manager at Crown Paints, discusses how washable and scrubbable paints can make a positive contribution to this effort.
High-traffic indoor environments have always presented a unique challenge in terms of their maintenance cycles; the COVID-19 outbreak has only served to further heighten these considerations. There is evidence that the virus can linger on surfaces, which may contribute to the increased risk factor of having groups of people indoors.
Public sector buildings have, by nature, large volumes of different people using them day after day, so procurement teams and facilities managers must consider how to incorporate a rigorous cleaning regime alongside the durability of materials when selecting paints and coatings.
Risk assessments are now de rigueur for all organisations hoping to reopen to staff and the public, with regular and thorough cleaning quite correctly top of the list. However, economic hardships are an unavoidable side-effect of the pandemic, so public sector facilities need a solution that will enable them to implement robust deep-cleaning of all surfaces, without incurring increased maintenance costs on top.
Taking the long view
Investing in a premium scrubbable and antibacterial paint at the outset will cost slightly more, but when considered in terms of whole-life cost, it makes perfect economic sense as well as helping to protect a building’s users from the spread of the virus.
Using a durable, premium paint like Crown Trade’s Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt solves a common problem of regular and rigorous cleaning: namely, that it can wear away the paint finish and leave decor quickly looking tired. Scrubbable paints have been formulated so that they can be repeatedly scrubbed over longer periods without any detriment to the appearance – this is achieved by minimising the amount of paint film that is removed each time.
Based upon the ISO 11998 testing method, which is the industry standard for determining the wet scrub resistance of dry paint film, Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt achieved a Class 1 rating and has a durability level of 10,000 scrubs. This translates to a 400% increase in resistance to wet scrubbing when compared to conventional matt emulsions, meaning that the paint will stand up well to the repeated cleaning cycles that will be required to allow public sector buildings to reopen. This gives specifiers the flexibility to choose a paint that will allow for extra cleaning, but that doesn’t require frequent repainting to counter the wearing effects
that other less durable paints might suffer.
The science behind the formulation of durable paints has come a long way too, with some products offering additional protection against bacteria thanks to the use of silver ion technology, which not only inhibits the growth of any bacteria that comes into contact with the surface but also prevents bacteria from multiplying. In the past, antibacterial paints would have lost efficacy over time due to the organic or chemical antibacterial agents migrating to the surface and being washed away during cleaning. Improved technology ensures that antibacterial protection can’t be washed off no matter how many times the surface is scrubbed clean.
Cleanliness is not the only reason that public sector building managers may wish to invest in premium paints. In the post-lockdown world, colour as a wayfinding and social distancing tool will be more important than ever before, so facilities managers will need to ensure they factor this into their maintenance cycles. Public sector buildings may need to consider not only using a premium scrubbable paint that will not lose its lustre when cleaned frequently, but one that is available in a range of colour options to aid with zoning.
Of course, building managers will also need to consider the performance of the paint in terms of coverage and opacity too: in many cases, maintenance teams will be repainting over existing coatings, which means that there is a need for a paint that offers excellent opacity, especially when using a light colour – in particular white. Selecting a paint with excellent opacity will reduce the volume of paint required for any job and will shorten the time spent, allowing the finished job to cure fully ready for cleaning prior to welcoming staff and visitors back through the doors.
Choosing the right paint for the job will ultimately save time and money, and will offer those working in and visiting public sector buildings the added reassurance that all common areas are being thoroughly cleaned. And with budgets being closely guarded over the coming months, taking steps to enable a proper cleaning regimen without requiring a more frequent maintenance cycle makes sound economic sense too.