Warranties for architectural metal coatings: A comparative review

The Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Minnesota, features colors with a Caribbean flair. Photo courtesy PPG. Photo © Lindsay Nicole Photography
The Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Minnesota, features colors with a Caribbean flair.
Photo courtesy PPG. Photo © Lindsay Nicole Photography

Fabrication and handling

Items included in this part of the warranty detail how coatings may be damaged during fabrication and address other related issues, such as how coated building components must be stored prior to installation.


Warranties do not cover corrosion damage that may result when metal is exposed during handling, fabrication, or installation. Deep scratches made during installation or edges cut during fabrication may enable moisture to penetrate the barrier between the coating and substrate and accelerate the corrosion process. This type of corrosion is not related to film integrity, which was addressed earlier in this article.

Acts of God

This section covers damage caused by falling objects or pollution and/or event such as explosions and fires.

Excessive heat

Constant heat on a coating can cause it to yellow, change color, and become brittle. Any architectural metal coating exposed to temperatures of 121 C (250 F) or more for an extended length of time is likely to fail.


Many manufacturer warranties can be voided or restricted if a building’s metal architectural components must be recoated due to improper film thickness, appearance flaws, or other problems. Specifiers should have a thorough understanding of how finished products are warranted if they have been or must be recoated.

Single supplier

Companies will not warrant a coating system if different layers are provided by diverse suppliers. A coating system with a primer from one company and a color coat from another will typically not gain warranty coverage.


Sealant companies should test adhesion to each paint system for each individual project.


Paint warranties are non-transferrable. Coatings manufacturers warrant their customers, the applicators, directly. This guarantees process coverage from the applicator, who should have a thorough knowledge of the project location. This enables the applicator to determine whether warranty coverage is proper and sufficient for the project’s specific environment.


Most warranties cover five, 10, or 20-plus years. However, the number and type of performance variables covered under these terms are always of greater consequence. Before agreeing to the terms of a coatings warranty, specifiers should confirm whether it is a full warranty that covers each specified performance variable throughout the term or a declining warranty with payout obligations reducing over time.


The metals industry is constantly evolving. At any one time, there are hundreds of coatings manufacturers and applicators in operation, particularly in parts of the world where construction is booming.

Unfortunately, not all these companies have the resources to cover their warranty obligations, particularly in the wake of a catastrophic coatings failure. To ensure a warranty is viable and can be enforced, specifiers should partner with companies that have the financial wherewithal to back their warranties as well as history and reputation for doing so.

Before entering into an agreement with a coating warranty issuer, know the financial strength of the company as well as its history, integrity, and experience in the construction industry through research and referrals.

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