Temperature is a critical factor in successful installations of water-based latex recreational coatings systems.
Halfway through a cold winter, those located in the northern hemisphere now look forward to the approach of milder, spring days. While the temperatures will rise eventually, the low temperatures in early spring can greatly affect the surface installation process. Here are few reminders about installing acrylic surfaces in varying temperatures and weather conditions.
Rule of Thumb
Water-based latex coatings systems depend upon the evaporation of water to develop a dried and cured coating film. The ideal circumstances for drying to occur successfully is when the surface temperature is a minimum of 50°F/10°C and rising, with minimal humidity. There are several factors that have a significant impact on the ability of the coating to cure properly. They include:
- Air Temperature – temperature must be sufficient to evaporate the water.
- Surface Temperature (low) – a cold surface (below 50°F/10°C) will hinder the rate of water evaporation, which will likely affect adhesion.
- Surface Temperature (high) – Don’t apply material if surface temperature is above 140°F/60°C.
- Relative Humidity – higher humidity slows the rate of drying.
- Sunlight/Shade – The presence of direct sunlight can affect surface temperatures drastically and shady areas of a court may take significantly longer to cure.
- Air Movement – This is needed to change the relative humidity at the surface/atmosphere contact point.
- Coating/Film Thickness – Thicker coatings, such as cushioned acrylic coats, take significantly longer to dry.
- Surface Color – Darker surfaces dry more quickly.
The specification for California Sport Surfaces latex products state that the surface temperature shall be a minimum of 50°F/10°C and rising for application. California Sports Surfaces ammonia-based cold weather products are coatings that dry more quickly in colder installations and can be applied down to near freezing temperatures.
The application of our coatings system should take place only when the air and surface temperature are appropriate and other conditions are conducive to complete drying of the coating within the same day of application. This would indicate that if rain is imminent or the air and surface temperature falls below 50°F/10°C (for water-based products) or 35°F/2°C (for ammonia-based products) before the coating has an opportunity to fully dry within the same day, then application should not be attempted.
Application of surface products, especially in the fall, can be risky because the weather patterns are changing. The major change is a decline in average temperature and shorter days. The opportunities for proper curing diminish and the window continues to close as we approach winter.
No matter how much we wish to control the weather, the reality is that installers are at its mercy. Make sure to be conscientious about checking forecasts and planning your installations accordingly. Remember, the goal is to have a coat completely dry before quitting for the day and even the slightest shift in the weather can affect it. Our technical department can provide additional information upon request.
California Sports Surfaces Cold Weather Coatings
Looking to get a head start on your Spring projects, but cannot wait until the temperatures are high enough for standard products?
California Sports Surfaces Cold Weather Coatings are the world’s first low-temperature acrylic sports surface coating. They can be applied as low as 35°F/2°C to help extend your surfacing season. Now that’s what we call “All-Weather” courts!
These products are intended for exterior use over new or existing concrete or asphalt surfaces where air and surface temperatures do not meet minimum temperature requirements of the standard specifications or where drying and curing times are otherwise retarded. One application of Cold Weather Colors has proven to give excellent performance results. An additional coat may be placed for additional longevity.
Sand Fortified topcoats, in a limited number of colors, as well as a Cold Weather Acrylic Resurfacer
Need help on your next project? Let us know!