Paint is frequently used to protect various types of base metal, as well as to enhance the metals’ appearance. It can be either factory-applied or applied on site (called field painting). Field painting offers a great deal of flexibility in that almost an infinite number of colours are available. When field painting, close attention has to be paid to substrate preparation in order to achieve proper adhesion. The life expectancy of field-applied paints is relatively short and periodic repainting may be required. Factory-applied painting results in a much higher quality finish and greater life expectancy. There are a wide variety of factory applied paint systems available, and some manufacturers have their own formulation for each.
Laminates are applied as a plastic film rather than a liquid. They are thicker (up to three times) and generally more durable than liquid paint systems. They can be used with or without a liquid primer, depending on the metallic coating, and help to eliminate problems of chalking, fading, chipping, peeling, and other similar forms of degradation.