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Everything About an Acrylic Coating

Acrylic Coating
Acrylic Coating

Everything About an Acrylic Coating

Exterior renovationsEverything About an Acrylic Coating

Did an acrylic coating seem like a good idea initially, but on second thought, not so much? A lot of Quebec residents used it for new constructions before the turn of the century, yet swiftly felt its let down. Between promises of energy savings and unparalleled durability, what's an acrylic coating really about? 

Exterior Acrylic Coating: Available Textures and Finishes

Acrylic Coating

An acrylic coating can be applied to various parts of a building, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Foundations 

  • Façades

  • Decorative mouldings

  • Interior walls

  • Bricks

  • And others

Acrylic coatings aren’t solely multi-service, they’re also textured. Albeit every manufacturer decides on a commercial name for each texture in question, we can at least describe the main two: 

  • Sanded 

  • Rough (with grooves)

Between these two main surface types, there are other acrylic coating textures. They’re more or less grooved or more or less smooth based on the client’s choice. 

All types of finishes, or the majority at least, are possible. Beyond the wide array of colours available, acrylic coatings are perfectly suited to cover commercial building façades. Why, you ask? Because such a coating can be used to recreate a company logo or any other type of design. In other words, prospective and loyal clients can easily spot your building from afar.  

How to Apply an Acrylic Coating to Exterior House Walls 

Acrylic Coating

You may have a negative standpoint on acrylic exterior coatings, and rightly so, since it was responsible for a lot of setbacks before the 2000s. Hence the reason why this material is still not especially sought-after in Quebec. 

As it turns out, the problem stemmed from its installation. Before the 2000s, installers applied the acrylic coating and its polystyrene insulation directly on the building's air barrier and siding. 

This system, which claimed to be waterproof, didn’t require an air space or drainage gap behind the siding. As such, in the case of water seepage, moisture couldn’t seep out via capillaries found in the material, nor could it via the flashings or weep holes, which were simply non-existent. Therefore, everything found under the acrylic coating rotted, hence the material’s unfavourable standing.

Nowadays, such errors don’t happen anymore. Architects and building professionals came to understand that there might have been some flaws, possibly even errors, in the construction process: 

  • The envelope doesn’t align with the construction details

  • Details are poorly executed 

  • The joints aren’t perfectly covering openings 

  • The cladding cracked over time

  • Among others

Therefore, when installing an acrylic coating, you’re basically proceeding as you would a standard wall, meaning by implementing an air space, cavities, flashings, and weep holes. That way, you’re avoiding wreaking havoc. 

The Cost of an Acrylic Concrete Coating: Is it a Worthwhile Investment?

Acrylic Coating

Would you deem paying $10 to $15 per square foot, installation included, a worthwhile investment? Yes, but conditions do apply. For one, hiring professional coating installers is a must, and ensuring they abide by new EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems) installation rules is another.  

This means that they must create a drainage cavity and, therefore an air space. However, doing so negatively affects the whole house's insulation value, maybe even negating it. However, such a practice is already mandatory for timber-framed houses in Quebec.

While the estimated cost provided by contractors may be cost-effective, they might not be planning on carrying out the installation according to new mandatory practices. Should that be the case, it may be best that you choose a different path.

Weighing Acrylic vs. Stucco vs. Parging 

Acrylic Coating

Acrylic (EIFS)
- Wire mesh framework - Expanded polystyrene insulation - Adhesive - Polymer concrete with a fibreglass membrane
- Slaked lime - Fillers (brick powder, marble, or sand) 
 - Sand - Binder (cement, lime, or plaster)
- Multi-surface (polystyrene, concrete, etc.) - Insulator - Numerous textures and colours - Weatherproof - Shock-resistant - More resilient than parging and paint
- Multi-surface - Ideal for textures and patterns - Paint-ready - Washable - Easy to repair
- Protects structural components from cracking - Aesthetic - Resilient - Waterproof - Cost-effective
- May crack - Rots the building’s framework if poorly done - Meticulous installation (therefore expensive)
- Vulnerable to changing temperatures - Fragile - May crumble
- High maintenance (façade restoration) - Hard to paint - Nearly impossible to clean - Steep removal costs
25 years
25 years
30-50 years

Innovation and Durability: The Pillars of an Acrylic Coating

An acrylic coating, when applied correctly, provides an innovative and durable solution to protect and elevate façades. Applying an acrylic coating not only revamps a building’s exterior aesthetics, but also contributes to its long-term preservation, instoring a protective shield against the elements. Furthermore, its low maintenance and eco-friendly compatibility meet the requirements of eco-conscious and sustainability-minded owners.

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Last modified 2024-02-09

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