Painting Duct Work

Painting Duct Work

Painting duct work is the perfect solution to a drab commercial interior. A duct system which is also known as ductwork consists of a series of tubes used to carry air in systems such as in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC). They enable temperatures in interiors to be controlled and they remove stale air from homes and commercial buildings replacing it with a fresh supply. Without this supply air people can suffer from respiratory ailments because of poor ventilation or simply feel uncomfortable in rooms with uneven temperatures.

Ductwork systems have been used since the industrial revolution where the flow of air needed to be controlled as mechanisation advanced. Early use of duct systems merely involved smoke being removed from cookers and fireplaces, but became more complicated as technology progressed. Ducts used to be made out of tin and though no longer used, duct installers are still sometimes known as tin-knockers. Nowadays, ducts (or conduits) are usually made out of galvanised mild steel which can be clamped together for fast installation. These have unparalleled conductivity and are resistant to corrosion.

There are also other types of duct work. Fibreglass duct board consists of panels with ducts attached. These are especially good at absorbing sound, so that the HVAC is quieter. Flexible ducts or flex as it is known as usually consists of a metal wire coil covered in flexible plastic. Though useful for joining air supply outlets to rigid ducts, generally flex is only installed in short runs as more pressure is lost using flexible ducting than in other duct systems. Fabric ducting or fabric air dispersion systems have venting along the length of the system and generally deliver a more even blend of conditioned air, though should not be used in any closed off spaces.

All ducts should be insulated in order to reduce the sound of air flow and to protect it against condensation. The duct liner (or wrap if the insulation is external) is typically fibre glass, but this insulation isn’t necessary if rigid polyurethane foam insulation panels are used. Insulation and sealing of the conduits is crucial because if ducts are not sealed or insulated properly, energy bills will be higher as the heated or cooled air seeps out of unsealed joints.

Obviously, the way a duct system functions is of the utmost importance, but design also represents any type of business. Consequently, it is imperative not to ignore the appearance of ductwork because it is often visible and can take up a large amount of surface space on walls and more commonly ceilings. Some manufacturers can customise the colour of fabric duct and other types of duct work can be re-sprayed so that it works aesthetically with the whole interior of a building. Ducts can be painted to match the background wall or ceiling or to contrast in a striking way, so if it is starting to look tatty, re-coating is a great option and is much cheaper than replacing it. A re-spray will also protect the duct work from corrosion.

Painting galvanised steel can be difficult, so it may be advisable to call in professional sprayers who could also spray the background ceiling. Whoever carries out the re-coating, proper preparation is paramount for a perfect finish. It is essential that any dirt and grease is cleaned off first using a metal cleaner. Furthermore, the galvanisation process often results in a thick layer of galvanised coating, so blasting before coating is advised. This removes any surface grime as well as making small pock marks in the metal substrate which then enables the paint to adhere more effectively. It is then less likely to flake off. The next step is to seal the surface in order to protect it against corrosion and this should be left to dry according to product instructions. Finally, the layer of paint should not be applied too thickly so that the finish is as smooth as possible.

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