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Importance of Structural Steel Painting

mp-video-stills-roofPainting structural steel beams is an asset-preservation based project. The importance of these beams cannot be overstated, as they ensure the overall structural integrity of any given building.

As steel begins to corrode, it thins and gradually loses strength. Everyone has seen rusted doors and railings that corrode to the point of having to be replaced. Needless to say, one doesn’t want such a thing happening to that which holds their entire building together.

The first step in refurbishing structural steel beams, depending on the severity of the corrosion, is usually to sandblast them. Sandblasting, as its name implies, is a cleaning technique in which high-abrasive sand is blasted at a contaminated surface. In this instance, sandblasting the structural beams wasn’t necessary. The building’s proactive owners ensured that the structural steel required only hand and power tooled preparation.

The first part of the preparation process begins with power grinding the metal to remove any loose paint, rust, or mill scale. This creates a fresh surface profile for the new coating system to adhere to.
The next and final step in the preparation process is solvent cleaning the metal. If you look closely in the video, you can see the immediate impact that this step makes.

For the prime coat, we are using a two-component epoxy mastic industrial primer. This primer chemically converts Iron Oxide (rust) into a solid, paintable surface. You can observe that we pour the A & B components together followed by thoroughly mixing with a drill. Under normal circumstances, we would then spray-apply the prime coat. For this job though, site conditions required us brush/roll instead. Regardless of the method, all of the manufacturer’s application specifications are strictly followed.

Lastly, we apply the finish coat, a two-component industrial urethane. The same catalyzing system is used for this coat as with the prime coat. This particular finish coating is abrasion resistant, has excellent adhesion, can be used for water immersion applications, and possesses long-lasting color/gloss retention qualities. We apply two coats of this product to ensure good mil thickness protection on all of the horizontal members of the structural steel.

After the implementation of our coating system, the structural steel beams look great and are guaranteed to be rust-free for years to come. View our video below to see the entire process:

Case Study – DM Productions

Interior Rust Removal and Painting Project

If left unchecked, rust can destroy your metal substrates. When David Michael Productions saw their new warehouse facility beginning to rust away, they called the rust prevention and asset preservation experts at McCahill Painting Company.

Two elements are required to begin the chemical reaction that causes rust – water and oxygen. A few expertly applied coats of paint can safely seal your metal surfaces from the damage caused by this common chemical reaction.

The McCahill team began by laying out 2 mil visqueen and tarp to protect the warehouse floors. All metal surfaces were thoroughly cleaned and hand sanded with 120 grit sandpaper. This process ensures an even surface profile for the paint to adhere to. The surfaces are then wiped down with Xylene, to remove any possible contaminants from the initial cleaning.

Once the metal surfaces were cleaned, the team applied one finish coat of Benjamin Moore M22 Industrial Enamel to the upper columns and dock levelers. The doors and door frames were painted in a client-approved, two-tone scheme, consisting of white and Safety Yellow.

The client was extremely pleased with the end results. David Pollock, of David Michael Productions, said, “Every aspect of the work performed by McCahill was beyond my expectations,” and, “I greatly appreciate the professionalism we experienced using McCahill Painting Company.”

Case Study – Shipping Dock Walls

Wall Sealant Application

A facility in Oak Brook, IL had a problem with a common wall shared by executive offices and their shipping dock. The exhaust from the idling trucks was actually seeping through the concrete cinderblock wall, causing an unpleasant smell for employees. The company decided to turn to McCahill Painting Company, with whom they shared a 10 year working relationship, for the solution.

The company wanted this project completed as quickly as possible, but they could not afford to interrupt the daytime truck traffic in the dock area. McCahill Painting Company was able to accommodate their needs by working a combination of weekend and 2nd shifts.

Concrete is actually a porous material. Concrete sealants are applied to concrete surfaces to prohibit the absorption of liquids and / or airborne contaminants. However, prior to application, the surface must be cleaned and prepared.

The McCahill team power washed the concrete surface to remove any carbon monoxide residue left behind by the diesel engines, using our HydroTek T4500 pressure washer at a setting of 250 degrees and 2000psi. Backer rods and hydraulic cement caulk were used to fill and repair any existing damage to the surface. Wire brushes were used to remove any loose mortar nubs. A final pass with the pressure washer removed any remaining contaminants.


To ensure that absolutely nothing would be able to penetrate the wall, the McCahill team opted for the same vapor barrier system used by waste water management facilities. First, they applied a prime coat of Sherwin Williams Kem Cati-Coat Two Component Block Filler. This was followed by a preliminary finish coat of Sherwin Williams Sher-Tile HS Epoxy and completed with a full second finish coat.

Applying a barrier coating is a very difficult process. A wet-film gauge is required to determine the appropriate thickness during application.

“It’s tough work, but the end result is incredibly durable,” said painter, Mike Matarrese.

Case Study – Lee & Associates

Exterior Building Painting Project

Everyone knows that the proper use of color can improve aesthetic value, but it can also reduce the likelihood of accidents and contractor liability. The McCahill Painting Company team kept this in mind when they worked on the exterior of Lee & Associates Asset Management’s Naperville warehouse.

The Sherwin Williams Company’s Safety Color Guide says that yellow is “the most visible of all colors. Its attention-compelling power is universally recognized.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contends that “Yellow shall be the basic color for designating caution and for marking physical hazards such as: striking against, stumbling, falling, and tripping.” For the bumper posts outside of the facility, McCahill Painting Company applied two finish coats of Safety Yellow, the color specification recognized by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). This made the posts much more visible, and much less likely to cause damage to vehicles.


OSHA requires that fire protection equipment must be red. The wall-mounted fire bell and emergency hose valves were prepared, spot primed, and painted Safety Red.

The McCahill Painting Company team also worked on the building itself, to remove unsightly dirt and rust stains. First, the entire surface was power-washed at 250 degrees to remove any dirt, dust or atmospheric contaminants. The precast concrete was then inspected, scraped and hand-sanded. Sonneborn One Part Urethane Sealant was applied around all the doors and windows. All metal surfaces were solvent cleaned, scraped and hand-sanded, spot-primed with Devoe Tank and Structural Steel Industrial Metal Primer.

All exterior lights, windows, and dock overhead door sleeves were protected using masking paper, visqueen, duct tape and tarp before the paint was finally applied. The rusted gas piping and metal doors received a full rust-inhibitive prime coat and one finish coat of Sherwin Williams Industrial Enamel. A finish coat of Sherwin Williams A-100 Acrylic Latex was applied to the fluted, precast concrete.

Lee & Associates Asset Management was extremely pleased with the results of this job.

You can find out more about safety colors and the Code of Federal Regulations at

Case Study – Chemical Production Facility

Workshop and Parts Room – Interior Painting

There are several good reasons to maintain the painted interior of a production facility. A clean and aesthetically pleasing environment improves employee motivation and promotes a professional atmosphere for client and investor walk-throughs.

In the case of this production facility, used to manufacture soaps, makeup, and skin care products, a sterile environment is required within their production areas at all times. The FDA maintains strict guidelines that must be followed when painting in production areas of this kind. The surfaces that required work were surrounded by sensitive equipment and mixing containers.

Cleaning and repainting this facility required attention to detail, a careful approach, and the ability to work around a tight and unyielding schedule.


Before the project began, a jobsite meeting was scheduled so that our project foreman and the facility’s operations manager could review these requirements, ensuring that all processes and materials used would meet FDA standards and all project goals would be met.

The first step was to make sure all water sensitive or electrical equipment was carefully masked. Then, the surfaces receiving paint were chemically cleaned and power washed, removing any contaminants that could interfere with proper paint adhesion. The surfaces were then hand sanded and power washed to ensure the removal of any loose paint or rust, followed by another round of power washing.

The final step before paint application involved patching and caulking any pre-existing damage to the substrate with urethane sealant.

Because of the harsh chemical environment, a chemical and abrasion-resistant coating was selected for application. As a primer coat, the team applied Sherwin Williams B58W610 Macropoxy 646, and two full finish coats of Sherwin Williams B65W961 Fast Clad Urethane. These products have excellent adhesion, color, and gloss retention properties, and will also withstand exposure to chemicals and abrasion.

The right people, products, and processes helped to make this job a success.