Do your airfield markings look like this? Do you often look at your airfield and think: Why is my paint peeling and flaking? Why are my markings not visible anymore? About 80% of the time, the answer lies in poor surface preparation.

failed-paint2Surface preparation is often an incidental expense of painting and often overlooked by contractors and owners alike. Some striping contractors will take shortcuts in an effort to minimize costs and speed up production – shortcuts that will lead to paint failure later on. Hi-Lite Airfield Services, LLC recognizes the fact that proper surface preparation is the key to achieving the maximum paint adhesion to any surface. Surfaces that have been improperly prepared or cleaned can compromise the paint’s bonding ability. Paint adheres to the contaminants, such as cure compound, fuel/oils and mold, rather than the surface itself, leading to premature failure. Over time this can become a much more serious problem: FOD (Foreign Object Debris).

Concrete Surfaces
usually contain a top layer of cure compound. Cure compound is designed to help speed up the curing process by drawing moisture out of the concrete. Eventually this compound turns to powder and wears off the surface. Paint applied to cure compound is destined to fail, as it adheres to the cure compound rather than the surface itself; when the cure compound eventually wears away, the paint wears away with it. The use of a waterblaster or other surface preparation equipment is necessary to remove the thin layer of cure compound – thus ensuring a good paint bond to the concrete surface.

contains oil, which usually rises to the surface soon after installation. A 30 day cure time is recommended before a permanent coat of paint is applied. Although surface preparation will not change the nature of asphalt, a cleaning prior to the final application of paint will help maximize the expected lifespan of the markings.

Painting surfaces
that have a paint build-up or peeling/flaking issues is also a recipe for failure. Any paint applied to a surface will have slight shrinkage as it cures. While on new asphalt or concrete, this is not an issue, when applied to thick paint or paint that is already failing, it will cause the existing paint to continue to fail. The paint bond is only as good as what’s underneath it. In such cases, the existing paint should be removed so that fresh layer can be applied to the surface. Other areas which don’t have significant buildup or flaking issues do not always need to be obliterated and can simply be washed prior to painting.

Surface contaminants
such as fuel, oils and even mold/mildew on airfield surfaces need to be removed prior to paint installation. In an airport environment, these contaminants not only come from nature, but the planes, vehicles and equipment traveling over the airfield. Cleaning will ensure a good bond of paint to the existing surfaces.

aero-green-logoAnother alternative for removing contaminates from the pavement surface is Aero-Green Airport High-Pressure Cleaner. This environmentally friendly, water based chemical is the most effective product for removing chemicals, fuel, oils and mold that lay on top of pavement surfaces. Aero-Green is formulated to be non-hazardous, non-flammable and non-corrosive, which means it is not harmful to use around personnel, building or vehicles/equipment. The Aero-Green brand is certified by Boeing, Douglas, the FAA and the EPA.

Hi-Lite Airfield Services, LLC knows the importance of surface preparation and has invested in a fleet of state-of-the-art equipment and training to properly prepare and paint your airfield. Hi-Lite’s waterblasters and vacuum recovery trucks are key to proper surface preparation, which in turn, leads to adequate paint adhesion and a final product that won’t leave you scratching your head 6 months down the line!

For more information or to schedule your surface preparation and/or paint obliteration contact:

Brad Dunn
Sales Representative
P: 352.601.8709
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Rhonda McNeely
Vice President/Sales
P. 315.583.6111 Ext. 224
C. 315.523.1680
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