Can we ask: what do you use to top-coat?

At the National Mural Symposium in October, one question that came up was about top-coatings for murals. Some artists don’t use it (prefer to just re-paint areas that need it), but many suggested the product Flecto Varathane Diamond polyurethane.


3 responses to this post.

  1. grant mclaughlin // January 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm (edit)

    I have used Golden varnishes over acrylics and latex on wood and Dibond surfaces, seems to last ok.Tried Amershield varnish over concrete, but moisture can be a problem, but beasy to remove graffitti.

  2. Congratulations for launching this blog feature on Muralroutes!
    Blog posts are usually in the form of informative articles to which bloggers respond with questions and comments. This post looks more like a comment question than an article

    per say. But oh well, let my comment be this article anyone serious about mural art could expect from Muralroutes!
    To top-coat or not to top-coat? = that is not the question. Is your mural worth top-coating? That is another question.
    This issue is definitely related to mural art best practices. Mural art best practices should be at the core of Muralroutes by the way. “Top-coating” a mural painting is not

    just the act of applying a skin cream foundation to your 60 year old wrinkled face. Yes; you want to protect it from the harsh environmental elements and keep it looking fresh

    and young for as long as possible…but really; at the end of the day, you’ll still have to live with your 60 year old skin! So like many amateurish mural practitioners out

    there are saying… “No, I don’t top-coat my mural painting and just come back to touch it up when needed” Ya right! Nobody works for nothing and your client deserves a

    durable mural done in the best mural art practices available at the time of your production. Also, since you got the job, I am sure you have remitted a maintenance and

    technical sheet to your client so that when time comes, the mural gets the conservation treatment it rightfully deserves! Hopefully, you’ll still be in business for when your

    client contacts you for a follow up and that you will be able act and respond dynamically rather than saying that you have retired after a golden 5 year old mural career.

    Enough of those little town mural committees crying out loud that their murals are fading, flaking and in state of disrepair!
    Ok, I’m on fire, this is where rubber meets the road! First of all, I am sure you have figured this one out by now; there is no point in top-coating your mural if the whole

    thing started on the wrong foot. Top-coating a weak application is not going to make this application; a longer lasting one. So here is where Top-coating your mural starts!
    -A thorough assessment of your wall construction; Is it well ventilated? What is it made of? How long ago was it built? What is its exposure to the sun cycles? …and such.
    -Cleaning procedures as required for your wall = wash that thing like there is no tomorrow!, using the proper cleaning agents off course!
    -Prime your wall and let it breathe! Just like the Beatles sing, “Let it breathe, let it breathe… There are technical ways to achieve this.
    -Now at this point only, you’re ready to paint your mural = was that a lot of prep work? Did that cost a lot of money? Off course! And like many projects going on out there;

    wall preparation done in best mural art practices are scarce because the projects are based upon production rather than best practices aspects. Mural artists entering

    competitions will often overlook these procedures in their budget submissions within a competitive environment = Hey! You’re not to blame = they don’t know better! The price

    tag, your cute model and the portfolio is all that counts to those juries.
    -Use an up to date paint system to paint your mural with and choose your colours wisely. Stay away from projects offering free paint! Wow, what a goofy and nasty thing that

    is… If you don’t paint your murals while exposed to the harsh sun, you don’t use water to thin out your paints and you don’t use titanium based white in your colour palette;

    then you have a good mural painting practice going; which is the only way it should be. Outdoor Ceramic acrylic emulsions paint systems such as ones offered by Sherwin

    Williams for example; are the ones you definitely have to use to paint an outdoor mural. Keim mineral paints is an ultimate system to use and it doesn’t require top-coating of

    any kind except graffiti proofing but it has very limited site situation usage.
    -Now that your wall preparation and your mural painting meets minimal best mural art practice criteria’s… lets talk about top-coating your mural! Top-coating issues don’t

    really matter if you just showed up at your site on day one with a can of free paint and a make shift scaffolding.
    -After your mural painting is completed and while your site is in the shade if in an outdoor site situation, apply a barrier coat. A barrier coat evens out and regularizes

    your painting work while protecting it from any future maintenance or repair applications. At this stage, you still can do touch ups that will last. The barrier coating

    strengthens the paint film and acts as it is called, a barrier. So for this, use a clear base of the same make as your paint system manufacturer. Test drive the application on

    your painting before going wild with it. Just do the application to some 4 square feet and let it dry for 24 hours. GAC 500 from Golden Acrylics can also be used as a barrier

    film. You just need to gain experience in applying the product = it’s not just like putting paint to a wall, it can be tricky depending on what environmental conditions are

    present on your site, so beware, do not do this at home like they say! A white cloudy film may occur on very humid or rainy days, but don’t worry it will vanish when your wall

    dries out.
    -Finally, the top-coat… While we are here, just so you know, no top-coat scenario is required or efficient unless you barrier coat first, this just to tell you how far away

    many top-coating articles, blogs, how-to’s and such are full of b_ _ _! Ok, now that you have applied a barrier coating film on your best mural art practices mural painting;

    you can now apply a top-coat! A top-coat is in essence, one that will have high UV filtering properties along with some graffiti proof qualities. Again here, this application

    is not for the novices out there, you need to acquire application knowledge and experience before doing this within a professional situation. Golden acrylics for example, has

    developed a product called MSA UVLS. It’s a solvent borne varnish system compatible with barrier coatings that is a removable film. Since it is removable, any incident

    applied on top of the top-coat will be removable as well! Markers, spray paint and such can be removed without affecting the original mural painting; a mural painting that is

    further protected with its barrier coating! Such an application is and must be renewed in 5, 7, 10, 12, 20 years cycles depending on wall exposure conditions. Such maintenance

    expenditures are a fraction of the cost of the original production and are usually well accepted by the client.
    -So there you go! My answer to your question is yes! Definitely, you need to top-coat your outdoor mural paintings!

  3. Posted by Anete Benedict on December 3, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Impressive page. Waiting for you to continue the topic.

    Anete Benedict
    escort service warsaw indiana

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