Inorganic pigments are typically used to meet high performance requirements but typically include fewer bright colors.
Many designers want longer-lasting coatings without compromising aesthetics. When a long term warranty is required, the color options may be more limited. This is because not all pigments have the durability to perform for decades.
Organic pigments are made from petroleum compounds and come in bright, vivid colors. Inorganic pigments have greater resistance to light and heat but include fewer bright colors and are more of the “earthtone colors”. Inorganic pigments are typically used to meet high performance requirements.
“Sometimes architects will request a color from a book of swatches, and that can be problematic when you are looking for warranties that last for 30 years,” says Mike Churchill, technical manager for extrusion coatings with Valspar in Garland, Texas. “To coat a piece of paper, you can essentially use any pigment you want because there are no durability requirements for the pigment. It only needs to be a particular color that can be realized on a piece of paper. When it gets back to us, we have only a very limited palette of pigments that have the requisite durability to meet those kinds of warranties.”
Early planning helps ensure that both aesthetic and performance goals are met. In some cases, it is helpful to bring the material manufacturer to the table early in the process.
“Color choice can be a critical component,” says Jay Register, a group project leader in Valspar’s Coil Group Laboratory in Garland. “At times the design requirements are in conflict with each other in terms of color and performance requirements. It helps to have a knowledge of what the coating system can and cannot do when establishing or meeting specifications for a given project.”