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Below are the steps that Lakeside Painting takes in testing paint adhesion. The painter in all of us should know how to do this, just in case, it’s necessary to do a touch-up here and there. It’s worth noting that the surface, or substrate, needn’t be simply a wall; it can be any sort of surface that needs to be painted, from industrial equipment to exposed structural steel and floors.

We like to do the cross-hatch paint adhesion test. So that is what you will find below.

1. Select a small area on a given, or multiple small areas on multiple surfaces (substrates like wood, steel, etc.). Remove all dirt, grime, debris, and any other contaminants. (Different cleaning methods and products may be necessary)

2. Apply paint to the surface(s). Different coatings can be used, from the same type of coatings from different manufacturers to different coatings from the same manufacturer. Let coating cure for a day. (We’ve tested up to four different manufacturers at one time; two coatings from each—one acrylic-based paint, one oil-based pant for dry fall painting method, for instance.)

3. Cut the cross-hatch into the coating on your surface(s). This is done by scoring the surface with a razor blade in a checkerboard or tic-tac-toe pattern.

4. Apply pressure-sensitive tape to the cross-hatching.

5. Remove the tape from the substrate. If not paint comes off with the tape, then adhesion is good. One square on the tape is okay, but if multiple squares come off, then the coating isn’t properly adhering to the substrate.

After this, we sometimes use more aggressive cleaning methods and coatings. Doing the adhesion test also helps meet customers’ expectations, as far as what the coating looks like. For homeowners, it’s a great chance to see how the paint looks. That said, we don’t do it for every job or for every homeowner. But, for industrial facilities with unknown contaminants on surfaces, the paint adhesion test is vital.

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