Coating Defects and Failures

Protective coatings are the principle materials used on many industrial structures for corrosion protection. It should be recognized though that all protective coatings have a finite service life, and that independent of how well the coating system was originally applied, coating breakdown will eventually occur. Oftentimes the service life of a protective coating system can be extended by performing maintenance painting once the onset of deterioration takes place, reducing life cycle costs. The aspect to consider in coating selection then should be “time to failure,” not whether the system will fail.

Some coating systems fail long before the anticipated service life is over. These are known as premature coating failures.

Premature coating failures can be caused by improper surface preparation or coating application procedures, improper coating system selection, improper formulation or poor quality raw materials, or the design of the structure itself.

When a premature failure occurs, an investigation can be undertaken to uncover three important discoveries: the cause of the premature coating failure, the party that was responsible for the failure and the level of repair required to ensure corrosion protection and integrity of the facility/structure.