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Care & Maintenance

Care and Maintenance of Pre-Painted Metal Siding and Accessories

General Information

The factory applied finish is a premium quality weatherable coating, which will retain its uniform appearance for many year of normal service. Proper installation and maintenance are extremely important in obtaining the best service and appearance from pre-painted metal sheets. The following information should be read carefully before installation and cleaning.

Installation and Storage

Pre-painted formed sheets must be protected from moisture until installation.When metal sheets are tightly nested together and exposed to moisture and heat, oxidation (rusting) of the metal substrate can begin. In the case of galvanized steel, a white powder will form which is the normal sacrificial reaction of the zinc coating. Oxidation of this type can take place underneath the paint film.
The following steps should be taken to control this type of storage damage.
  • Keep exterior storage time at job site to a minimum.
  • Use metal cover panel or wrapping and slant bundles of sheets to insure drainage of rainwater. Make sure no sags exist.
  • Do not use plastic tarpaulin to cover panels as they trap moisture.
  • Minimize temperature inside bundles by protecting from direct sunlight.
Proper handling and stacking should be observed in transit to prevent abrasions. During installation, a common cause of damage is the dragging of whole sheets, edges, and corners across other sheets. Here the sacrificial action of the zinc coating will retard red rusting, even if both the paint and galvanized coatings are cut through. If the appearance is damaged sufficiently, a touch-up operation may be necessary. Touch-up paint is available in matching colors.
Improper cutting and drilling of pre-painted sheets can cause rust spotting. Hot chips from drilling operations, and saws or cutting discs, may embed in the paint finish. Even though sheets themselves are not cut, chips from adjacent steel work may embed in the paint surface. These chips rust and form unsightly red spots on the painted or unpainted surface that may become larger than the original chip.
Shearing is recommended to eliminate this problem wherever possible. When saws, drills, or cutting discs are used, the paint surface should be protected temporarily with a plastic cover. Prepainted sheets should be turned over while being cut so that the chips fall on the inside surface.
Brush off any chips of steel from the paint surface. If chips are embedded they should be dislodged mechanically. Brushing with a stiff fiber brush may be adequate. Care should be taken to avoid stepping on or exerting pressure against any steel chips which would tend to embed them further into the paint film.
Do not install sheets so they are in contact with soil, or allow soil to be pushed against installed sheets for final grading. All dirt, oil, grease, fingerprints, or other contaminants should be removed after installation to assure proper service life of the paint film.

Cleaning Paint Surfaces

Though the factory applied finishes are very durable and will last many years, eventually it may be desirable to thoroughly clean or repaint.
Dirt pickup may cause apparent discoloration of the paint when it has been exposed to dirt laden atmospheres for long periods of time. Slight chalking may cause some change in appearance in areas of strong sunlight. A good cleaning will often restore the appearance of such surfaces and render repainting unnecessary. An occasional light cleaning will help maintain good appearance.
In many cases, simply washing the building with plain water using hoses or pressure sprays will be adequate. In areas where heavy dirt deposits dull the surface, a solution of water and detergent (1/3 cup Tide per gallon of water for example) may be used. A soft bristle brush with along handle may be useful. A clear water rinse should follow.
Mildew may occur in areas subject to high humidity, but is not normally a problem due to the high inherent mildew resistance of the baked finishes. However, mildew can grow on dirt and spore deposits.
To remove mildew the following solution is recommended:
  • 1/3 cup detergent (e. g. Tide)
  • 2/3 cup tri-sodium phosphate (e. g. Soliex)
  • 1 quart sodium hypochlorite 5% solution (e. g. Chlorox)
  • 3 quarts water
Strong solvent and abrasive type cleaners should be avoided.
Caulking compounds, oil, grease, tars, wax, and similar substances can be removed by wiping with a cloth soaked with mineral spirits. Wipe only contaminated areas and follow with detergent cleaning and thorough rinsing.

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