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Metalescent coatings bring shimmer to projects

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Metalescent coatings bring shimmer to projects

Jeff Alexander | January 15, 2018

With a sparkling appearance and aesthetic appeal, metalescent coatings contain flakes of materials with reflective qualities. These flakes reflect light from multiple angles, creating the desired shimmering, gorgeous effect.

In the 1960s, a three-coat system was first introduced, containing a primer, metallic base coat, and a clear coat. Aluminum flakes were combined with color pigments to create the desired shimmering effects. In the early days, aluminum flakes were sometimes used without a clear coat, allowing the aluminum to oxidize. This caused the coating color to change and the coating surface to deteriorate.

Metallic coatings have required three coats; a primer, a color coat and a protective clear coat.  That is because the aluminum flake pigmentation used in traditional metallic coatings reacts with the elements, and requires a clear topcoat to prevent the metal flakes from oxidizing. Adding a clear top coat can add to the total coating cost to apply the third coat. Eliminating the clear coat is helping to keep costs down.

Valspar's Fluropon II in Dark Blue


However, you can absolutely achieve a vibrant, metallic finish with only two coats. Aluminum degrades in the elements. Mica, on the other hand, is a stable mineral, packed with inert components. Mica doesn’t degrade the way aluminum does—making the clear coat unnecessary.

Today, paint chemists have increased the sophistication of metallic coating formulations, relying less on aluminum for its sparkling aesthetic. Valspar’s formulations take the sophistication one step further, blending different flake pigmentations that make clear coats optional.  

What is this metalescent material? It’s mica. Mica is a unique mineral with properties that make it perfect for use in paint. It’s chemically inert, and stable to exposure from the elements.

Valspar's Fluropon II in Autumn Glimmer


The world of architectural coatings is always evolving. Large paint manufacturers invest tens of millions of dollars in research and development every year to innovate coating formulations, enhance performance, and reduce environmental impact. Modern metallic coating systems are just one example of how coatings have improved over the years.

Metallic architectural coatings have advanced tremendously, and can now be specified on projects in more creative ways than ever before. We invite you to join us in this evolution by checking out our colors page, downloading our latest color trend research, or contacting your Valspar sales representative today.

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