Resistance To Rays – How To Keep The Coating’s Color

Jeff_AlexanderBy: Jeff Alexander, The Valspar Corporation

Whether you experience the consistent climate of the Southwest, or the ever-changing Midwest weather, the sun is mostly viewed as a positive contribution to our lives. The right amount of sun offers plenty of mood-lifting benefits, helps lower stress levels and provides our bodies with Vitamin D – which plays a big role in bone health. For aesthetic benefits, it’s no secret that people constantly strive for that summer glow.

Charlotte Wood Middle School. Photos courtesy of Metal Sales.

In the architecture industry, the perception of sun rays is quite different. For architects and building owners, beaming rays are damaging and can have long-term effects on once perfect creations. Luckily, the industry has observed the need and made product advancements to help sustain the quality of structures and designs against ultraviolet rays.

Advancements in the exterior architectural coatings industry include high-performance coatings that provide superior resistance to ultraviolet rays and deliver outstanding beauty and durability. In addition, these high-performing coatings deliver other weather-protective elements, so buildings can continue to look beautiful for decades. Below are a variety of projects that used a high-performance architectural coating to ensure protection from the sun, and longevity of the coating color.

Top Down Approach

In the state of California, one all too familiar with sunshine, Charlotte Wood Middle School was tasked with reroofing 10 of their buildings. These ivory stucco structures were to have the once handsome copper roofing replaced to capture a bright, fresh look. Reroofing 10 buildings is no small project so it was imperative that the new roofing system was budget-friendly, yet resistant to California’s sometimes challenging weather conditions and intense sunshine. A solution, both functional and mindful of aesthetic, was found when the architects chose to coat the metal roof panels with a 70 percent PVDF architectural coating in a striking Classic Green. The coating provided energy-efficient benefits to the building, while protecting against ultraviolet rays and maintaining the rich green shade.

Home Run Approach

Hot dogs, peanuts, beer and beaming sunrays come to mind when one thinks of attending a baseball game. This is especially true in Birmingham, Alabama. In an effort to bring minor baseball team, the Barons, back to the city after a two-year split, plans were made to construct a new stadium. The goal was to build a unique exterior to help define the individuality of the stadium and team. What resulted was a stunning letter façade spelling out “BIRMINGHAM” on the western side, facing an elevated highway. The design was created using metal wall panels that were cut to display half-full and half-stenciled letters. With the delicate and intricate letters featured on the exterior of the stadium, it was crucial to choose a color that would pop and more importantly, an exterior architectural coating that would provide outstanding durability and weather resistant properties to protect against the blazing sun. 

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Photos courtesy of Metal Sales.

Academic Approach

Located in the sunniest state of the country – Arizona – the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University cuts a noticeable figure in downtown Phoenix. At six stories and 223,000 square-feet, the building’s boxy exterior features metal wall panels coated in the colors Colonial Red, Terra Cotta and Copper Penny. The colors were inspired by Arizona’s desert environment and the PDVF architectural metal coating product was chosen due to the harsh desert sun – both serving a purpose to preserve and compliment the beautiful landscape of the university.

From classic and contemporary to bright and bold, colors are the finishing touch to a building’s exterior that help display an aesthetic, represent a brand and present great first and lasting impressions. With today’s exterior architectural coating advancements, buildings of all types can customize its appearance using reliable and long-lasting colors.

Jeff Alexander has been with Valspar for 19 years and currently serves as the Vice President of Sales for the company's Coil and Extrusion Businesses. He is also a past president of the National Coil Coating Association. To learn more about Valspar products, visit

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