Care & Maintenance

Protect your Powder Coating from the Environment

Over time with exposure to the elements, powder coatings may show signs of weathering such as loss of gloss, chalking and slight colour change. A simple regular clean will minimise the effects of weathering and will remove dirt, grime and other build-up detrimental to all powder coatings.

The frequency of recommended cleaning will vary depending on;

  • The environment – If it is dry, has minor condensation, has high moisture or has significant contamination (interior); or a city, rural, industrial or coastal environment (exterior)
  • The conditions – If it is a general or moderate condition (interior) or a mild, sever or tropical condition (exterior)

Some of the influencing factors that can impact the life of the powder coating include;

  • Ultra Violet light
  • Levels of atmospheric pollution including salts, dirt, grime that can all accumulate over time
  • Winds carrying air borne debris that can cause erosive wear of the coating e.g. sand causing abrasion
  • Change in environmental circumstances e.g. if rural becomes industrial
  • Microclimates e.g. geothermal, alkaline or acidic
  • Geographical location of the building
  • Environment surrounding the building e.g. marine, industrial, etc.

Also it can depend in part on the standard of appearance that is required and also the need to remove deposits that could cause damage during prolonged contact with either the powder film or the metal substrate (if exposed).

The classification of exterior environments is as defined in AS4312-2008. In environments with very high corrosivity levels, such as industrial or marine, the normal frequency of cleaning should be at a minimum of six monthly intervals.

Environment Conditions Corrosivity Zone Example Environments Recommended Minimum Cleaning
Interior Environments General Interior C1 Very Low Dry Every 12 Months
  General Interior C2 Low Minor Condensation Every 12 Months
  Moderate Interior C3 Medium High Moisture Every 6 Months
  Moderate Interior C4 High Significant Contamination Every 3 Months
Exterior Environments Mild C2 Low Arid, Urban, Inland, City Every 12 Months
  Mild C3 Medium Light Industrial & Coastal Every 6 Months
  Severe C4 High Sea Shore (Calm) Every 6 Months
  Severe C5 Very High Industrial Heavy Industrial Every 3 Months
  Severe C5 Very High Marine Sea Shore (Surf) Every 3 Months
  Tropical Tropical (T) High, Humid and Monsoonal Every 3 Months

*This table references AS4312 and ISO12944 Atmospheric corrosivity zones in Australia to define the environmental conditions.

It is recommended in environments with low salt, low pollutant and urban areas cleaning should take place at a minimum of every 12 months. In areas where salts, pollutants and high corrosivity levels are prevalent, e.g. beachfront houses or industrial areas, it is recommended a cleaning program should be carried out more frequently at a minimum of every 6 months.

Sheltered areas can be more at risk of coating degradation than exposed areas. This is because wind-blown salt and other pollutants may adhere to the surface and will not be cleaned away with rainfall. These areas should be inspected and cleaned if necessary on a more regular basis. Where the atmosphere is deemed to be non-hazardous, e.g. rural or ‘normal’ urban environments, then the period inbetween cleaning can be extended up to a maximum of 24 months depending on the coating selection. However, if heavy soiling occurs, more regular cleaning is required.

Cleaning should start at the time the products are installed, ensuring that construction materials such as concrete, plaster and paint splashes are removed before they have had a chance to dry. Failure to remove these materials at this early stage will require the use of aggressive cleaning materials and techniques with potential damage to the powder coated surface.

Cleaning your Powder Coating in 3 Easy Steps

Care and maintenance schedules are essential to ensure that the life of your asset is maximised whether the project be a residential, commercial or non-habitable project.

  1. Carefully remove any loose surface deposits with a wet sponge by gently rubbing
  2. Clean by gently rubbing the surface with a soft brush (non-abrasive) and a dilute solution of a mild detergent, e.g. pH-neutral liquid hand or dishwashing detergent in warm water to remove dust, salt and other deposits. For stubborn stains use only recommended solvents on the affected area, e.g. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or methylated spirits and rinse off with clean water. Do not use other aggressive solvents.
  3. Rinse the surfaces with clean fresh water after cleaning to remove all residues

The Do’s & Don’t’s of protecting your Powder Coating

Do’s Don’t’s
Protect all Powder Coating joinery X     Use aggressive solvents
When building, renovating, plastering or painting around powder coated assets use approved tapes and films in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction. Do not use turpentine, white spirits, thinners, citrus based cleaners or other aggressive solvents on Powder Coating.
Remove unwanted paints & sealants X     Rub powder coated surfaces excessively
Ensure all paint splatters or excess sealant are immediately removed before they dry. Do not rub powder coated surfaces excessively, especially metallic finishes.
Use recommended solvents for stubborn stains only X     Allow sunscreen to come into contact with coated surfaces
Use only Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or methylated spirits and rinse off with clean water. It is universally recognized some sunscreens adversely affect powder coated finishes.
Regularly Inspect X     Neglect recommended care and maintenance schedules
Inspect your Powder Coating often and clean more regularly if required. To comply with Dulux Alumi Shield™ and Steel Shield™ powder coating warranties the recommended care and maintenance schedules must be adhered to.
Clean in mild conditions  
Clean Powder Coated surfaces when the surface temperatures are below 25°C.  

*Non approved solvents can cause damage that may not be visible immediately and may take up to 12 months to appear

WARNING. Do not under any circumstances use strong solvents such as thinners or solutions containing hydrocarbons, esters or ketones. Abrasive cleaners or cutting compounds should not be used.

Dulux & Interpon recommend nothing stronger than white spirits to assist with stubborn stains. When using white spirits, cleaning should be carried out in shade and during cooler temperatures using a soft clean cloth and gentle wiping only. It is also recommended that prior to use, a small non-visible area of the powder coated article be tested to ensure that no visual colour change or damage will occur, particularly with bright and deep colours. Please contact Dulux or Interpon helplines for any further information.