By John Salvadore
Over the last three years, significant changes have impacted people’s values and lifestyles. Shelter in place orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic provoked universal feelings of isolation and uncertainty, and made conversations around mental and physical health needs mainstream. Remote work and virtual schooling, as well as the temporary closures of most brick-and-mortar retailers, resulted in consumers expecting more from businesses. Digital capabilities and delivery options became necessities. In addition, people started demanding more from their living spaces as high inflation and rising costs heightens consumers’ focus on preserving their now multi-functional spaces. The coatings industry is no exception.
Desire For Multi-Functional Paint
Recently, customer needs have shifted from using paint products solely for color and coverage to products that provide added functionality. In fact, in the coming years, PPG expects more than a third of its sales to be related to products with multi-functional capabilities.
Antimicrobial paint is on the rise and one example of a multi-functional product in increasing demand. Traditional disinfectant tools, like antibacterial wipes and sprays, are limited by how often they are applied to surfaces. However, interior surfaces with an antimicrobial paint or coating (such as school hallways, hospital room walls, and office breakrooms) are given residual efficacy to continuously kill germs for long periods of time. This supplemental protection from bacteria and viruses in between cleanings provides increased hygiene in places where the transmission of germs is most likely. Because antimicrobial paint lessens the need for constant cleaning with traditional disinfectant tools, it can even offset facility maintenance costs in the long term.
Surface cooling coating is another example of a multi-functional product in demand. The sun’s infrared rays can be harmful to exterior surfaces, not to mention the pedestrians and animals that might come in to contact with them. Innovative cooling coatings can prevent the temperatures of treated surfaces from becoming too high, which means they can provide an extra layer of protection for bare feet or dog paws when applied to porches, patios, pool decks, and walkways.
Many of these multi-functional paints are available in different finishes and colors, so facility managers don’t need to sacrifice aesthetic to achieve the added benefits.
Products That Meet Sustainable Standards
Just as individual health and wellness has become a mainstream concern, the health of the environment has also become a prominent topic. Today, not only must a product meet stringent environmental regulations, it must also exceed customer expectations (such as great coverage, durability, washability, etc.) To help architects, facility executives, homebuilders, and professional painters alike, many paint manufacturers have committed to offering products that meet stringent regulatory requirements.
Low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and zero VOC paint products are more becoming more commonly available as building owners and facility managers seek to protect the air quality of their buildings and minimize their overall environmental footprint. However, because VOC guidance and regulation changes frequently, not all low VOC and zero VOC certifications are created equal.
When selecting an environmentally friendly paint, customers should seek products that pass an emissions text approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Greenguard certifications found on labels and in data sheets are also a symbol of a product that has met the most rigorous of third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure. Simply put, a Greenguard Certification ensures that a product is low emitting.
Finding Reliable Partners
In addition to high-quality paint products, facility managers want to partner with the most reliable, cost, and time-efficient suppliers. Examples of value-add services that facility professionals have come to expect from their paint partners include digital capabilities like online ordering, options for product delivery and pick-up, and product knowledge to help them select the best product for the job at hand.
As facility and paint professionals’ needs are changing, the coatings industry is evolving to meet their new demands.
Salvadore is the director of Product Management for PPG’s Architectural Coatings business in the U.S. and Canada, which manufactures well-known brands like PPG PaintTM, Glidden® paint by PPG, Liquid Nails® adhesives and Homax® specialty products. He joined PPG in 2014 as an associate marketing director, and prior to his current role, he most recently served on the strategic initiatives team. John earned his bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Phoenix.