Tower Painting question

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mbrockm
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Tower Painting question

Post by mbrockm » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:16 pm

Need some feedback on painting a 1000 ft fm tower. 1000 ft tower put up in 2009 with strobes and not painted. In 2013 we moved to LED lights and painted the tower. Saved us a bundle in strobe repairs. We only put one coat of paint on the tower and no primer. As you have guessed the red bands are quickly turning to gray galvanizing now. Obviously we need to correct this ASAP. Can we put another coat on over the faded red bands and will it last very long? Do we need to give it 2 coats and possibly prime this time? Divide coats between years? Thoughts on getting the most years for investment dollar? Capital budgets are tight, no surprise. Suggestions.
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NECRAT
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by NECRAT » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:25 am

Tower crews always paint over paint on towers. I can't recall ever hearing of a tower "cleared" of an old paint job.
Also sounds more like the tower paint used was poor quality. Good Quality Tower paint tends to be thicker than normal paint, and leaves a deeper coat.
It also does a number to help protect the tower. I would have them use a proper thick coated paint, and depending on the result maybe a second layer.

And use a good quality paint. While money is tight, if you spend more now, do it correctly, you won't have to do it as often, and in the long run, will cost you less.
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mbrockm
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by mbrockm » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:43 am

My question is. Since this first coat is disappearing so quickly. Not fading or chipping its disappearing for some reason. Do we need to do 2 coats or will one more coat be enough?
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ncradioeng
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by ncradioeng » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:46 am

I've had good luck with Rohn or Sherwin-Williams aviation orange and white. The FAA has specifications for the paint.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:50 am

mbrockm wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:43 am
My question is. Since this first coat is disappearing so quickly. Not fading or chipping its disappearing for some reason. Do we need to do 2 coats or will one more coat be enough?
Our local tower guy always does 2 coats and his paint jobs hold up very well.

Also, make sure that the painters ARE stirring the paint thoroughly and AREN'T thinning it (or at least excessively).
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BigRed
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by BigRed » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:10 am

What do you mean "it's disappearing"? It's either fading or it's peeling and/or chipping off and/or washing off the tower. You need to figure that out before you proceed with mitigation efforts.

And if it is peeling/chipping/washing off the tower it may have to be removed before a new coating is put on the tower. Usually scraping / wire-brushing is enough but if "watered down" paint was applied, or the paint is unsuitable for tower installation it may have to be removed completely before the proper paint is applied. (Sand-blasting down to the base metal is VERY expensive, usually reserved for heavy metal mitigation (lead-based paints), but has been done. I know of two towers in my area that got that treatment due to the lead-based paint issue.

I'll second that vote for the Sherwin Williams product too, used by one of the most competent tower service companies that I know of in my area. And yes, there's Federal specifications for the paint to be applied as to colors (International Orange, color #12197) and White (Color #17875) and composition (no heavy metals!). I think it's spelled out in FAA Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1K.

But why not LED strobes? The old xenon strobe systems are a gigantic pain but the new LED stuff generally works great. I had a tower with a medium-intensity Honeywell xenon system that was almost always in trouble. Replaced them with a Flash Tech medium-intensity LED system and haven't had a single issue since. Unimar has a high-intensity LED strobe system available now. http://www.unimar.com/lighting-products ... intensity/ While Unimar is quite proud of their systems they do work very well. A tower in my area has one of their LED high-intensity systems and it works flawlessly. If you put the high intensity LED strobe system on the tower you can forget about the paint marking. (Don't ignore painting for corrosion protection though.)

Good luck!

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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by radio_guru » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:40 pm

In the past, I have used a moisture cure urethane paint from a company named Wasser High Tech Coatings. I get 10 years solid out of the orange before it softly fades to a greyish pink. The model is MC-Luster Shield Coat 100 --GLOSS... Gloss paint is per AC-7460-L., Section 12. As are the paint tint numbers to be used. Wasser has both tint formulas in their standard paint listing.

Anyone who says semi-gloss is acceptable as well as any tint but those listed doesn't know what they're doing.

This paint is a very thick heavy and durable coating. In one instance, we painted over flaking lead based paint to encapsulate it as permitted by the EPA. 15 years later, the paint has certainly faded, but the seal remains intact. That tower was converted to white LED a couple years ago as it was less to do that than re-paint in a dense urban area along major thoroughfares.

At another site, we first needed to rust convert the tower as it's prior coat had failed and corrosion was starting to set in. We did that in 1994 on what were then 8 year old towers. We applied the third coat of this paint last November and zero rust or other signs of corrosion in that 23 year span. I expect this will be the last coat of paint these towers will see as we'll likely change to white LED day/night by the next paint cycle in 2027.

Several drawbacks to be certain.

1) Cost. $125/gallon and shipped by freight carrier from Seattle. No UPS due to it's chemical composition. One gallon will do one stripe on a 30" face tower with no/few lines. But with labor making up 80-85% of a paint job, and this paint equating that of two latex paint jobs...well...you do the math on amortized savings years 6-10.

2) Fumes. This paint is a solvent formula based on Xylene. I've lost riggers who complained about the fumes making them weazy. I strongly suggest there be some decent wind to evacuate the fumes from the tower with the applying climber upwind of the tower.

3) Potting time. As this paint cures based on moisture, it is best applied on dry cool days. Hot and/or humid days speeds the curing time and a can might not last an entire stripe. Plan the job accordingly. It can be applied in temps to freezing and below!

4) Spatter. Once this paint gets on something, it's not coming off short of an abrasive. Clothes...plan to pitch them. And don't park anywhere near the towers being painted.

5) Mixing... You will need to carefully thin the paint slightly. Plan to bring a few extra virgin gallon pails to skim off a pint or so per gallon. Then add a splash of thinner for better application. Reseal immediately! I typically will get a "free" gallon out of 5 original gallons by thinning ever so slightly.

Web page: http://wassercoatings.com/topcoats.html

Good luck...

RG

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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by rich wood » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:05 pm

Howdy,
I ran a tower company for about 20 years and we did a fair amount of painting of towers,,, what a mess. It is worth noting that International Orange is not a standard paint color. If you look at the FAA paint chart you will see there is a wide variation in the color. International Orange is made by mixing Safety Red with Safety Yellow. The degree of redness is determined by how much Safety Red went into the mix. I had an account with the local Sherwin Williams dealer and we had our particular mix in a latex paint. I had very good luck with Sherwin Williams paint holding up over time.
Depending on what was used last, latex or acrylic that is what should used next. Latex does not stick well to acrylic. Also, over the years the EPA has put requirements on the pigments used in Safety Red. We used to get 8 to 10 years out of a paint job. Now you are lucky to get 5 years. The red breaks down faster under the UV conditions.
You will probably need to paint to tower twice to get a good result. At this point it would make sense to paint it in the early fall one year, let that fully cure then have them come back and hit it again in the spring. This way the first coat gets a good chance to stick and the second coat will last longer. If there is rust in the galvanizing, this will need to be treated with a good cold galv. first or the rust will bleed through the white paint,, let to cure for a few days, then cote it with the final product. Site Pro carries several types of Cold Galvanizing that would good to use on towers

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by kkiddkkidd » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:55 pm

rich wood wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:05 pm
Howdy,
I ran a tower company for about 20 years and we did a fair amount of painting of towers,,, what a mess. It is worth noting that International Orange is
Rich also ran a swamp rafting service for a while. I have pictures to prove it... What a mess.
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by rich wood » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:48 am

Film at 11,,,,
See Resonate Results.com,,, /photos. There are even pictures of Kevin Kidd working!! See North Dakota AM rebuild.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by kkiddkkidd » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:04 pm

My reputation is ruined... I have strived all these years to distance myself from anything even remotely related to "work".
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by RGORJANCE » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:20 pm

So.....are you the one with only the nose and sunglasses visible??? Surely it couldn't have been that cold! I bet it was all of +30 degrees----that's above zero.

Fossil

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by kkiddkkidd » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:16 pm

RGORJANCE wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:20 pm
So.....are you the one with only the nose and sunglasses visible??? Surely it couldn't have been that cold! I bet it was all of +30 degrees----that's above zero.

Fossil
Naw... That looks like that wimp Rich all bundled up. I am the fat guy driving the dual wheeled John Deere tractor in a couple of the pix.

Even in an unusually warm winter... Windy central ND in the first week of November, in a swamp, is cold... I don't care who your are. I think the temps varied back and forth between about 55 and 15 for the couple of weeks that we were there. The area's first major snowfall started on the day that we loaded out and blanketed the area in a foot or so of fresh powder by the time that we landed back in TN.

FWIW, the picture of Rich in the boat was in August IIRC.

Here is a link to a youtube video of the first radial being "plowed" thru the reed mat and silt.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTD3GXUbB4U

That was a unique project.
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mbrockm
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Re: Tower Painting question

Post by mbrockm » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:17 am

We sent pictures to the original painter. Who has agreed to give the red bands another coat and touch up the white bands where needed. Hopefully this will last more than 5 years. Then we will plan doing the whole tower. Painter was shocked at how much the red bands have faded away in less than 5 years.
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