Home > What is surface preparation? Why is surface preparation considered a “must-do” step before coating?

What is surface preparation? Why is surface preparation considered a “must-do” step before coating?

Surface preparation is essential before coating any surface; what is this method, and why does it matter then? All information related to cleaning and getting the first layer ready will be explained in this content to help you know deeply about one of the most critical processes of protection solutions. 

The main keys of surface preparation. Is it a crucial step in the process of preparation?

We might hear surface preparation many times, but how many percent do we know what it is and any fantastic things we have not learned about it yet. In this post, we will be trying to find everything about this subject but not-so-new topic.

The definition of surface preparation, and what is the purpose of it?

Surface preparation refers to the many methods for treating a material’s surface before coating application, the use of adhesives, and other operations. And it is a required procedure before painting, coating, or lining steel and other materials. This step usually can be done chemically or mechanically to remove pre-existing layers, residue, surface defects, organic matter, oxidation, and other pollutants from the surface. While there are several ways of for various materials and applications, they tend to follow a similar progression.

This cleaning method guarantees that a surface is ready for coating, adhesion to another material, or surface-related applications. Also, it helps to achieve the highest possible mechanical bonding, adhesion, weld quality and prevent future issues like corrosion and mechanical damage. Moreover, all types of refuse, such as liquid and solid waste and damaged surfaces, can significantly limit the fresh coating and induce adhesion failure.

Why is surface preparation needed for the performance of the coating process?

Surface preparation is the most critical aspect of a coating system’s performance, in which coating performance is determined by the coating’s ability to adhere to the substrate material. Surface preparation removes uncontrolled impurities like mill scale and grease to create an appropriate coating profile.

Before coating, welding, and other procedures, preparation is a critical process to ensure efficient performance. There is a wide range of surface preparation methods with the difference of effectiveness and cost. In general, the more detailed cleaning steps, the more expensive the technique. In other circumstances, multiple surface preparation techniques should be used, including solvent cleaning to remove oils before abrasive cleaning, then jet washing to remove any remaining dust particles.

How many steps for surface preparation? Does each step have any special roles?

To complete the process to prepare for the surface, we do need to fulfill specific things with various purposes. In general, there are six steps below.

  • Step 1: Surface Assessment

It’s critical to check the status of the surface before doing any preparation by following many international standards, such as BS EN ISO 8501-1, which specifies rust grades for steel surfaces classification from A to D. These grades might aid in determining whether or not surface preparation will be successful, and the methods that will be necessary. Surface profilometry is also used to see if the existing surface could supply the mechanical key for following processing processes, though most of the time, some types of surface preparation are necessary.

  • Step 2: Remove Old coatings

Before applying a new coating to a surface, it is usually necessary to remove any previous coatings. Using a new coating over an old, failed coating will allow pre-existing problems like bubbling, flaking, or peeling to continue beneath the covering layer. Stripping coatings back until a clean surface, such as white metal, will help to mitigate problems like corrosion and lengthen asset lifespans.

  • Step 3: Clean the surface of oils, chlorides, aids, and other contaminants

The removal of old coatings is one of the necessary steps of the surface preparation process for any top layer. Many surfaces in industrial environments come into touch with oils, grease, and other lubricants, which should be cleaned so that the bonding strength between the substrate and the new coating is not compromised. Chlorides can boost metal oxidation rates, causing corrosion damage to occur quickly; this is called chloride-induced corrosion.

  • Step 4: Clean loose parts of the surface

Any loose portions that may flake or crumble will need to be cleaned from the material’s surface. This step can be accomplished by abrasive blasting, which effectively removes rust, mill scale, and other loose components from the substrate’s surface.

  • Step 5: Profile the surface characteristics

Following removing any loose materials and other items from the surface, it is necessary to profile the surface. New coatings may require a different surface profile than previous coatings. Improved adhesion and mechanical bonding can be achieved with an appropriately shaped surface tailored to the coating process/material.

  • Step 6: Dry the surfaces

Coatings perform best when the surface is dry. Pinholes can emerge as moisture evaporates between the surface and the coating during the curing process, generating microscopic holes. Moisture can affect drying times, even if some coatings use a second layer to cover these pinholes. Once water is present on bare metal surfaces, flash corrosion can occur, which can continue beyond the surface of a recently placed coating. Humidity also plays an important role, so it’s worth seeing if a coating can be applied at the humidity level in the environment. The requirements are usually spelt out in the coating and application manuals.

Different forms of surface preparation are required depending on the substrate material and the adhesive employed. It is strongly advised that the surfaces to be bonded be well cleaned with a lint-free cloth dipped in a suitable solvent or cleaning solution, which removes loose particles and organic deposits such as grease. If you wonder which provider gives the best services, do not hesitate to contact VIVABLAST – the one with years of expertise in this kind of protection solution.

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