5 things you need to know to keep your school’s paintwork maintained

For your school to flourish, it’s important that your buildings be maintained professionally both inside and out. Regular upkeep not only helps your learning environment to look the part, it also helps to keep your staff, students and their families safe.

So, how often should you repaint your school? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, that’s why we’re here to share a few questions you may want to ask yourself to determine a schedule that suits your establishment best.

1. How old is your school building?

The older your building, the more coats of paint it has likely been treated with, both within its interior and on the exterior. As paint builds up in this manner, your building may experience what is called delamination—a mode of failure where a material fractures into layers. This, in turn, impacts the quality of your paint job.

What does delamination look like?

In a nutshell, delamination occurs when the weight of the most recent coat of paint causes the layers of paint beneath it to break down. So, the more aged a building becomes, the more regularly it will need to be painted.

To honour the aesthetic integrity of older schools, we recommend the implementation of a well-thought-out painting maintenance program. At Avello, our painting programs are designed to require as little client input as possible, reducing disruption to normal business operation whilst keeping you informed on the condition of all surfaces.

2. What are your school’s substrates?

In biology, a substrate is a molecule acted upon by an enzyme. We’re obviously not referring to that particular kind. In painting, a substrate refers to the surface upon which the paint is applied. In the world of art, substrates include canvases and boards, in the world of commercial painting substrates can be plaster, brick, or roofing, to name only a few.

The nature of the substrate will impact on the life span of your paint job. For instance, plastered walls will often need to be repainted more frequently than ceilings. To minimise the amount of upkeep required, it’s important to coat each substrate in your school with a paint that’s best suited to the surface at hand.

As a general rule of thumb, paint jobs performed on newer surfaces tend to last longer. But a few other factors do come into play.

The physical nature of the substrate

Hard or cement-based surfaces—such as concrete, tiles, or plaster—tend to hold paints for a longer period of time because they stay in position. Whereas soft surfaces—such as timber, weatherboard, or plywood—tend to need a greater amount of care, due to the fragility of their mineral structure.

The condition of the substrate

Is your substrate new and protected from the elements? Or is it aged and exposed to Mother Nature? Is the surface intact, or has it been damaged by maintenance concerns and/or old age? All of these factors will impact how a substrate should be painted, cleaned and maintained, and how often.

The angle of the substrate

It might sound strange, but the angle of the surface will actually impact how it ought to be painted and maintained. For example, surfaces that are less than 60° to the horizontal will have a greatly reduced life expectancy due to residue that builds up over time and UV damage.

3. How often do you clean your school building?

If you run a school, it’s likely you have a routine cleaning schedule. But is it up to par? Larger buildings such as educational establishments are less likely to require repainting if they’re not left to descend into a state of disrepair.

To up your cleaning game and take care of your painted surfaces, it’s wise to look out for the following:

Mould

Mould can grow in schools as a result of airborne mould spores landing on the damp surfaces it needs to survive. Water that encourages mould growth can infiltrate your school building in a number of ways, either through portable classrooms, leaking roofs, pipes, windows or other structural openings.

Lichen

If you’re the caretaker of a school, you should take moss and lichen growing up the side of a structure as a bad sign. As soon as lichen in particular appears, we recommend you remove it as soon as possible. Why? Lichen has a bit of a bad reputation for eating into metal surfaces—not ideal.

Bird droppings

If birds gather on your school grounds, keep an eye out for the waste they may leave behind. Bird droppings contain uric acid, a waste byproduct that can erode surfaces if left over time.

4. What is your school’s colour palette?

Different paint colours will stand the test of time in different ways. According to the experts at Dulux, colour change due to fading is a natural and expected form of paint degradation, however, it can also be easily confused with or exacerbated by other issues, such as environmental contamination which cause a noticeable change in your paint’s appearance.

Darker colours, for instance, tend to absorb more light, thus becoming hotter and expanding and contracting from the heat. This process, in turn, causes more wear on the coating, causing it to break down faster than a lighter colour would.

If your school features dark colour notes amid lighter tones you may find yourself needing to repaint the more sombre colours more frequently than you do other brighter areas. To properly maintain paints that fade at different speeds, it’s good to implement a well-thought-out painting maintenance program with an expert team.

5. Where is your school building located?

If your school is located in one of Australia’s corrosion zones—sometimes referred to as atmospheric corrosivity zones—you may need to think a little more carefully about the paints applied to your building’s exterior. According to government guidelines, corrosion environments are areas located within 1 km of the coastline or 10 kms of breaking surf that are subject to special corrosion protection requirements.

Not sure if your school is located in a corrosion zone? This kind of information can generally be obtained via your local council. At Avello, we’re also happy to assist with determining your zone and will always select paints that are suited to your region.

We understand that the preservation of infrastructure in corrosion zones requires a certain amount of corrosion control to increase your building’s long term durability, which is why we always take our choice of materials very seriously.

If you need to repaint your school or want to know more about paint maintenance programs, we provide free property paint condition reports, onsite estimates and project consultations.

Call 1300 283 556 or complete a contact form online and an Avello Group representative will be in touch to discuss your needs.