architectural coatings in open paint cans

Architectural coating decorates the world

From the henna-covered brides to white lead wall paint, we love to decorate. Nothing brightens up a day quite like a splash of color to lift the spirits. As a result, more than 73% of the paint market value in the Emirates is due to architectural coating. DIY-ers, homeowners looking to spruce up a living room, new housing initiatives, and housing developers have all contributed to the improving market.

In this article we will discuss the many different varieties of decorative paint, and all the ways it can be used to liven up and protect a wall, door, window, space, building, and more. We will look at the available products and colors, and their effect on environments such as schools, as well as where to find these products the UAE.

Create an appealing ‘feel’ with architectural coating

Everyone has seen architectural coating used poorly. A glum hallway, a foreboding building, too much yellow, all of these can be fixed by a proper understanding of architectural coating and how to use it. The right coating can promote an atmosphere perfectly suited to the space, from calm to industrious. Industries from education to retail are subtly influencing us with their use of decorative coating. The psychological response to color is well documented, and used in different ways:

  1. Offices and reception areas: A reception area needs to invite, welcome, and interest a visitor. Avoid natural tones and choose warm, soft colors. An office needs to be a space in which a worker can be productive and happy. A doctor’s office requires soothing colors to calm patients, where cubicle workers need stimulating colors to boost alertness – though not too stimulating, bright reds for example can also increase stress levels.
  2. Healthcare: In the healthcare sector, decorative paint contributes to the mood and possibly even wellbeing of patients. The goal is to make them feel comfortable and at ease. Blue is often used in healthcare settings because it is a color which promotes calmness and serenity, a symbol of rest.
  3. Education: Schools and universities aim at providing a pleasant and encouraging learning environment. Overstimulation through too much bright coloring – especially in primary schools –  can lead to distraction and inattentiveness. Neutrals with spots of color strike the right balance.

Decorative coatings for inside and outside

It may seem like paint is paint, and surely it doesn’t matter whether you use it outside or inside. While this might have been true a couple of decades ago, developments in coating technology mean that today the differences between exterior and interior coatings are far more pronounced. The solvents used for both are either water- or oil-based, and the differences lie in the pigments, resins, and additives that provide these paints with the qualities needed to work their best.

Interior architectural coating

green Architectural coating on interior wall

An interior architectural coating should never be used outside due to different substrate requirements.

For an interior architectural coating, the ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions is not important. What they do need, however, is low VOCs and abrasion resistance. The resins are more rigid than those in exterior paints so the paint is less prone to damage – helpful when it comes to scrubbing and cleaning. There is also less risk of fading from exposure to UV radiation, so more organic pigments can be used. Because of the desire for low VOCs and low odour formulations, the majority of interior paints are water-based.

Exterior architectural coating

An exterior paint is exposed to all the damaging elements the world can throw at it. Rain, temperature variation, and most importantly UV radiation are all conditions the paint will need to withstand. Because of this, exterior paints are formulated to deal with harsh conditions without peeling, fading, chalking, or blistering. They avoid pigments known to fade or contain higher quantities of pigment, have more elastic resins to flex with expanding and shrinking substrates, and many contain anti-mildew additives.

Decorative paint comes in many finishes – but which one is the best?

Matt, satin, semi-matt… what exactly a paint will look like and how best to use it are sometimes not clear. Though there are several steps to paint application, decorative coating is all about the finish. Exterior and interior paints both have a range of finishes available, each with different sheens and uses:

  • Semi matt & satin: These are the “mid-sheen” finishes. They have some reflectivity (satin is slightly glossier than eggshell, which looks like its namesake), and are more durable than the flat and matt finishes. Because of this, they are often used in more demanding spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, and satin is often used for doors and trim.
  • Flat & Matt: These paints have the lowest levels of glossiness of all the finishes available, at roughly 0-10% sheen. This means they are non-reflective and will hide surface blemishes and inconsistencies, effectively smoothing the surfaces on which they are painted. These are mostly used for walls, and have a smooth and velvety appearance.
  • Semi- & high gloss: The most reflective of the architectural paints, these are traditionally used for skirting boards, doors, mouldings, window, and other trim. It is also the toughest finish. Due to their high levels of sheen, gloss finishes show up imperfections, so it is important to prepare the substrate beforehand.

5 architectural coatings with a special function

Decorative coating, or decorative paint, comes under the broader category of architectural coatings. Architectural coatings are those which are intended for application to stationary structures such as buildings, homes, decks, sheds, and pavements in interior and exterior settings. They provide decoration, protection, and durability to a substrate. An architectural coating is intended for on-site application to residential, commercial, institutional, or industrial buildings, and differs from industrial coatings because it is defined by its aesthetic, rather than its protective properties. Though an industrial coating may be decorative, it is its protective ability that defines it. However, there are architectural coatings that are also protective:

  1. Hygienic paint: Particularly useful in healthcare, food production, leisure facilities, and even schools, a hygienic coating prevents the growth and spread of microorganisms on surfaces.
  2. Anti-urine coating: A coating which uses the hydrophobicity of nano coating to repel urine and deter would-be vandals.
  3. Concrete paint: Garages, cellars, factory floors, sheds, all of these could benefit from the power of a protective concrete paint.
  4. Fire proof paint: A safety paint that emits a flame-damping gas, or insulates the substrate, when exposed to extreme heat.
  5. Anti-slip paint: By using an anti slip aggregate such as rubber or a slip-resistant paint formulation, these coatings protect against slippery conditions on all substrates.

Architectural coatings UAE – manufacturers & suppliers

With such a healthy industry, it can be no surprise that architectural coatings are widely available in the Emirates: they can be purchased online, in hardware- and designer’s stores as well as via international trading companies in the Emirates. AkzoNobel, Jotun, Hempel and Al Jazeer Factory for Paints are the leading suppliers of the Middle Eastern coatings market. Additionally, manufacturers such as Nippon Paint and Kansai Paints are increasing their market share in the UAE and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula.

If you have a project and require architectural coating, our experts are here to help. Take advantage of our 100% quote service by clicking on the “Request a Quote” below the article, and let us connect you with a coating solution for your project. We, in collaboration with our coating partners, can help you find the coating you need.


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