Finishing Lines  
Color Variations Happen, So Here’s  
How You Can Ensure Better Consistency  
by Ellen Rogers  
magine a perfectly color-coated contract glaziers say can be a major in Los Angeles, agrees.  
world, where everything matches. concern.  
The greens are all the same greens,  
“Color matching is a very big issue.  
“The consistency of painted and an- Painted finishes can vary in color  
I
the blues are all the same blues, odized finish types is an increasingly and sheen depending on batching,  
and so on and so on. One super-pow- important topic of discussion in our varying alloys and/or temper of alu-  
ered factory churns out perfect industry, given the use of high-per- minum, various materials other than  
match after perfect match for every formance metallic coatings and the aluminum and finishers,” he says.  
part and piece. In this magical place, range of product types available, and  
When it comes to architectural met-  
color variation never happens—not each with its own surface-coating als, there are many considerations for  
even when it comes to architectural practices,” says Elias Tovar, a senior contract glaziers as they approach  
metal.  
And then you wake up and remem- Glazing in Minneapolis.  
project manager with Brin Contract each job. They all come with their own  
challenges, but options and solutions  
ber that color variation does happen,  
Bob Linford, vice president of the are available to help ensure everyone  
and it happens a lot. It’s an issue that Giroux Glass California operations involved is happy with the end results.  
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Painting and finishing  
architectural metals  
after fabrication can help  
ensure a quality product.  
The unique design of  
the Sound Transit Angle  
Lake Light Rail Station  
in Seattle features a  
blue anodized coating  
from SAF and is meant  
to celebrate falling  
rain.  
and if it’s thick material, they usually laminated panel systems, etc.,” he says.  
have to wait on someone else to fab- “All these cladding manufacturers have  
ricate it,” he says. “Then the issue is different shades of stock colors.”  
getting extrusions from one supplier  
and the fabricated break metal from Finishing and Fabricating  
another, so the finishing is done at two  
different facilities.”  
Issues can also arise when contract  
glaziers feel rushed to finish a project,  
Scott Moffatt, architectural sales and choose to have break metal prod-  
manager,industrial coatings,with PPG, ucts finished locally, rather than work-  
says having many different suppliers ing through an applicator that’s been  
involved can lead to color variations.  
approved by the paint supplier to do  
Building components are often so. By working locally, they can get the  
sourced from various applicators and products quickly and avoid longer lead  
coating suppliers and eventually put times,but this can come with challenges.  
side-by-side on a building,”he says.“It’s  
“They’re trying to get the building  
important to maintain color control so sealed up, and the last thing that goes  
parts can be mixed, matched and har- in is the glass,and the next-to-last thing  
monized throughout the project scope.” is often the aluminum extrusions or  
David Landis, manager, technical break metal/cladding, and they have to  
Multiple Concerns  
One of the common concerns when  
it comes to metals is that multiple services and field inspections with Pe- wait on getting field dimensions. After  
metal suppliers are often involved. tersen Aluminum in the company’s that, they’re ready to install in a day or  
John McClatchey, sales manager with Acworth, Ga., location, says sometimes two,”says McClatchey.“Most have a local  
Atlanta-based Southern Aluminum bid drawings and specifications don’t mom-and-pop shop they work with or  
Finishing (SAF), says contract glaziers allow for coordinated colors for exterior can do it in their own shop in order to  
sometimes get their curtainwall extru- cladding, which can cause problems. install within a couple of days. That’s  
sions from one manufacturer, which “In the commercial construction busi- fine for thin-gauge material (.04 inches  
they then fabricate in the shop or ness, no single manufacturer will man- thick). You don’t usually have crazing  
field, while their break metal/cladding ufacture all the cladding systems on with something that thin, with the ex-  
comes from another source.  
a building. Many have niches they’re ception of mica and metallic paint. But  
With the latter, contract glaziers good at,such as factory-insulated metal  
have to wait on the field dimensions, panels, aluminum composite panels,  
continued on page 68  
www.usglassmag.com  
July 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
67  
Finishing Lines  
Continued from page 67  
The Arlington Community School  
in Jacksonville, Fla., features  
metal panels supplied by  
Petersen Aluminum.  
the best thing for quality product is to similar components in close proximity all these products—and says, ‘here  
have it finished after it’s been fabricated.” to one another,” says Tovar. “In most are the color choices for the glazing,  
Tovar says his company takes certain cases, this color shift is not a cause for the aluminum composite materials,  
steps to ensure a favorable appearance. dismissal or rejection, but needs to be the metal siding, the brake metal. Tell  
We work to address the consistency viewed as unique to these paints. It’s us how close we can get it; and, the  
in color matching across various material the inherent and unique characteristics use of the tried-and-true mock-up at  
types and finishes by taking the required of the paint selected that makes them a the jobsite can also solve many color  
time to question and understand the desirable finish.”  
issues.”  
Tovar adds that production runs  
“Even if they say they understand it, and sample runs can and will differ,  
which is important to note with con-  
Linford adds, “these finishes are tractors and designers early in the ap-  
component of the project,” he says.“The some of the hardest to match, are proval process.  
project’s aesthetic goals,order samples to  
meet these goals and assemble mock-up  
The key is to educate the customer.  
parts to accurately demonstrate and es- take them back over it again.”  
tablish how they will appear as a finished  
goal is to understand and then demon- usually directional and often three-  
“If this is going to be a cause for  
strate how the product will be perceived coat finishes. They also tend to be later concern, then other arrange-  
and judged in the final project and to more expensive than a standard-color, ments should be made to observe the  
production run material before it’s  
know who the decision-maker will be.”  
Linford adds that at his company  
they handle concerns case by case.  
non-metallic two-coat finish.”  
To help ensure the best color consis- finished and installed,” he says, adding  
tency, McClatchey advises that all mica that involvement with metal suppliers  
Each job is unique and requires and metallic paints should be applied can also be helpful for contract glaziers.  
varying levels of involvement with after fabrication to reduce the chance  
“Have a conversation as early as you  
our fabricators and metal suppliers,” of cracking or crazing at the bend. “If can with design team to find out exactly  
he says. “We give the special attention you’re going with a mica/metallic, it what they want,” adds Landis.“The [in-  
that is necessary to ensure the utmost should be fabricated first,then painted. dustry] spends an inordinate amount  
quality of metal products used in each Otherwise you run the risk of the paint of time trying to figure what architects  
job we perform.”  
Also, many painted finishes are di-  
rectional, meaning that if you put two Help Me Help You  
parts together that are painted oppo-  
site directions, they will not look the challenge with metal coatings. How- one that’s involved. s  
same even if they are the same color.”  
ever, working closely with the  
Probably the biggest color consis- project team can help.  
cracking off.”  
want and how to best bid the job.”  
Starting out on the same page with  
an understanding of what’s possible is  
Color consistency may always be a a step in the right direction for every-  
tency issues arise, however, with mica  
and metallic finishes.  
herent color shift and light refraction, sign the architect gets with the  
which can cause them to appear either manufacturer—or the contract  
lighter or darker in nature—even on glazier who has to pull together  
“It can be very convoluted or  
it can be very easy,” says Landis.  
Metallic and mica paints have in- “The key is that early in the de-  
E l l e n R o g e r s is the  
editor of USGlass magazine.  
Follow her on Twitter @  
EllenGRogers and like her on  
Facebook at usgellenrogers to  
receive updates.  
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