By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Liquid coatings enhance the durability and appearance of wallcoverings. Before selecting a liquid coating, consumers should consider the wallcovering’s material—vinyl, film, paper, or fabric—and the environment the protective coating needs to withstand. Part one of this series examines when and where wallcoverings benefit from liquid coatings.
Flexible or Rigid
Traditional paper wallpapers are generally the least durable of wallpaper substrates. Davant Davis, director of distribution and coatings, INX International Ink Co., believes paper benefits the most from a top coating and adds integrity to the end product. “Coatings are not often applied to vinyl, fabric, or other substrates due to their elevated durability,” he says.
Mark Goodearl, senior ink product manager, EFI, suggests UV coatings protect graphics printed on rigid media like corrugated plastic, custom countertops, and coated metal and aluminum. It also protects rigid substrates used in thermoforming applications and withstands heat and pressure without cracking, peeling, or discoloring.
Water-based coatings are designed to shield digitally printed graphics from sun and element exposure and harsh solvents and chemicals. Goodearl says UV inhibitors formulated into water-based coatings are proven effective in preventing pigments from fading and protect printed graphics up to three years without cracking or peeling.
Clear roll coatings offer exceptional adhesion to styrene, acrylic, polyester, coated metal, coated cardboard stock, and other rigid materials. “In commercial display environments, it allows for easy cleaning of graffiti sources, such as aerosol or enamel spray paint,” explains Goodearl. Coated surfaces are cleaned with acetone, isopropyl alcohol, or high-pressure water to remove permanent marker and spray paint.
“The coating is also ideal for dry erase applications on rigid printed graphics and will not leave ghosted images on the surface,” adds Goodearl.
Public areas like hotels, healthcare facilities, restaurants, retail stores, kitchens, and commercial buildings benefit from liquid coatings. Chuck McGettrick, sales manager, Marabu North America, believes liquid coatings protect public areas with traffic overflow from chemical abrasion, scratches, and scruffs.
Davis finds that paper wallpaper is often used throughout the recreational vehicle (RV) and manufactured home industry. Coatings that provide protection from cleaning agents like Windex and 409 or tape and glue are best used in these environments. “Water-coated paper wallpaper also has a less chance of mold growth compared to uncoated or vinyl wallpaper,” he adds.
Paper wallpaper also impacts fire safety. “Paper wallpaper emits less toxic fumes and by products when burned compared to a vinyl wallpaper. This makes a huge difference in an RV, mobile home, or hotel fires,” says Davis.
Besides image protection, Lisa Schultz, operations manager, DreamScape, believes liquid coatings extend the life of the ink system being used. Consumers save costs when coatings extend the wallcovering’s durability.
“The advantage of liquid coating wallcoverings includes a much lower cost, the ability to coat vertically after installation, as well as maintaining the original texture of the media,” adds Greg White, director of sales and marketing, Premier Imaging Products.
Rollers and Laminators
Roll coaters are used to apply liquid coatings for an even and consistent coat. Bob Leidlein, VP, sales and marketing, Alliance Technology Corporation, believes liquid coating is best applied with roller coating methods. Roller types include rubber, steel, ceramic, and Meyer bar applications. Water-based coatings may be sprayed or painted.
According to McGettrick, the most effective way to apply liquid laminate is using a liquid laminator. “You can also use a short nap foam roller or an HVLP gravity-fed spray gun,” he says. Liquid laminators are often used for vinyl-based substrates for outdoor applications like fleet wraps, banners, and tent applications.
“Once you master how to use your roll coating machine, you simply have to follow the instructions for each coating,” says Goodearl.
Unlike UV-curable coatings that dry immediately after curing, water-based coatings for wallcoverings take more time. Goodearl says coatings may be force air dried between 120 and 160 degrees in 20 to 40 seconds. “The coating will also dry on its own at room temperature in 30 to 40 minutes,” he adds.
McGettrick warns that if a machine is not accessible for coating, inexperienced users may have difficulty applying the coating by hand. Space also is limited for applying and drying the material.
Liquid coatings offer protection against high traffic areas, sun exposure, and tape and glue. It’s important to consider what type of material will be coated before selecting an appropriate liquid coating. Part two of this series highlights liquid coatings available from leading vendors.
June2017, Digital Output