Understanding The Recent Coating Technology Advancements And Terminology

by Sachin

When specifying coatings for a project, it is important to consider both aesthetics and performance. Recent technological advancements have resulted in unexpected benefits being offered by paints like killing dangerous pathogens on a coated surface and also in helping to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors in the area. 

To choose the best coating for facilities that range from commercial to healthcare, it is critical for specifiers and architects to understand new advancements within the industry and to also know what the differences are in the classification to make sure the right product is selected for the job. For many people, the terms ‘microbicidal,’ ‘antibacterial,’ and ‘antimicrobial’ are confusing. Specific benefits are referred to by each term, and it very important that design professionals understand which types work the best and where. 


Whenever microbes grow on painted surfaces, it can end up deteriorating and staining the paint film, which reduces the integrity of the coating system. Coatings that contain an antimicrobial agent may inhibit microorganism (e.g. mold and mildew) growth and bacterial odor also to protect the film against degradation.  

In areas where there is dampness or moisture present, antimicrobial paints need to be specified since coating film in those areas an attract mildew and mold, which can result in deterioration. 

‘Antimicrobial’ is a term that may be used in various product claims across a number of different industries. However, products that claim antimicrobial properties that have a nonpublic or public health tag need to undergo appropriate testing for the type of product to prove efficacy and be approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). 


Although antimicrobials can against all agents (e.g. fungus, virus, and bacteria), antibacterial paint just prevents common microbe growth which makes up harmful bacteria. So it can be used only for protecting the paint film. The distribution of those coatings is limited. They are used in highly humid, damp, or moist areas in order to protect paint film against degradation. Other features like overall durability, scrubability, and washability, tend to be incorporated in those coatings.


Microbicidal compounds or substances go one step further and actually kill microscopic organisms that are on the surface. Those paints that are formulated with those properties have been designed to kill bacteria as well as other microorganisms that cause diseases and are found on painted surfaces. 

Any product that has health-related claims regarding being able to kill harmful microorganism are required to be registered with the EPA. MIcrobicidals, unlike antimicrobial paint, contain an active ingredient – which is quaternary ammonium compound, which is commonly referred to as ‘quat’ – which kills five forms of harmful bacteria, which includes the following:  

  • Enterobacter aerogenes 
  • vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) faecalis 
  • Escherichia coli (E.coli)
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)

Bacteria on painted surfaces are killed within two hours of being exposed. Maintaining the stability of quat to use in coatings is a key innovative development within the painting industry. 

This technological advancement means that specifiers and architects can now choose a product that kills harmful pathogens continuously with minimal effort on painted surfaces. 

Microbicidal paint needs to be specified in areas where a lot of people gather like laundry rooms, restrooms, athletic facilities, healthcare facilities, and schools.

Odor Reduction

Along with the differences between microbicidal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial, it is also critical to be familiar with today’s innovative coating technologies. 

Many challenges are faced by building owners in terms of controlling odors that can emanate from places like patient rooms, kitchens, restrooms, and cafeterias. Paint that has odor-eliminating technology may deconstruct carbon molecules in order to dissipate and neutralize organic odors.  

Also, bad indoor air quality (IAQ) may be caused by concentrations of airborne formaldehyde as well as other aldehydes – called VOCs – that originate from such sources as insulation and carpet. Paint that contains formaldehyde-reducing technology can help to improve indoor air quality by aldehydes being transformed into harmless inert gas and water molecules. This results in airborne VOC concentrations being reduced. 

Protecting Painting Surfaces 

Sterilization and cleaning are two of the main ways that building owners can keep their properties aesthetically pleasing and hygienic for employees, visitors, and residents. Therefore, coatings need to have the ability to withstand frequent cleaning and washing.  

Several paint alternatives are specifically formulated in order to withstand high-traffic area demands. However, in order for the coating technologies to function properly, the surface of the paint needs to be maintained against aggressive sanitation processes. It must not be covered in wax, oils, or film, or be chipped or cracked. 

It is important to follow standard cleaning protocols. Anytime grime or dirt can be seen on painted surfaces, you can use water and a mild detergent to clean it. If paint film has been damaged or marred due to drying paper, then the surface can be repainted and repaired. 


These days, coatings can achieve much more than what was thought possible in the past, both in performance and appearance. Far from just achieving an aesthetic purpose, they are now a key component of the solution due to many specifiers and architects looking for ways to overcome major challenges. Understanding what the differences are between the different coating technologies as well as the benefits that each of them can offer when choosing a paint provides the highest return on investment and effort.

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