Spray Painting Metal Fire Exit Doors

Fire exit doors are a legal requirement in commercial buildings and though primarily functional, if they are not coated properly the metal they are made of can deteriorate. Spray painting metal fire exit doors will not only protect them, their improved appearance will also affect how a business is perceived. Doors can be coated in fire retardant paint to match a company’s brand and image.

Strength is a pre-requisite when it comes to the design of fire exit doors and they are often made of metal for durability with galvanised steel being common. They are used in nearly all commercial buildings and are particularly important in industries where fire is a higher risk for example, areas involving chemicals and electronics as well as places used by the public in high numbers such as public transport and sports stadiums.

Why Re-Spray Metal Fire Exit Doors?

The fire exit door itself may still function properly, but sometimes the surface layer of paint can break down in which case a re-spray may be necessary. Even though they are manufactured to withstand weathering, the environment does take its toll on coatings. Sun can cause paint to fade and sometimes the original top coat can get scratched or chip off.

If moisture seeps in through any of these cracks it can damage the substrate, so a new coating will ensure the metal functions at an optimum level. Furthermore, a fresh coat of paint can make a difference in how doors look which can affect the whole impression of a commercial property and therefore the business as a whole. Even if the original coating is intact, re-spraying metal fire exit doors may be needed if a business is re-branding or the premises are changing hands.

Often fire exit doors are merely finished with an etched grey primer ready for the top coat to be applied, once they have been installed onsite. If this is the case a top coat can be spray applied in any colour.

How to Spray Paint Fire Exit Doors

1. A clean surface is crucial before applying paint to metal fire exit doors. Fingerprints and general dirt will prevent primer and paint from adhering to the surface. A specialist cleaner or paint thinner can be applied with a clean cloth to remove most surface grime.

2. It is important to rinse off any cleaning fluids used as chemical residues will affect the finish.

3. The area around the door frame including the floor and any side and vision panels should be masked off to prevent any overspray from getting on them. Sometimes fire exit doors will be fitted with extras such as kick plates and drop bars which may or may not require re-coating. Often the locking hardware, kick plates, handles and hinges as well as the weather stripping can be removed to make painting easier. If this is not possible, they should be masked off if they are not going to be re-coated.

4. Any dents or scratches will stand out more after re-painting, so these need to be filled beforehand.

5. Course sandpaper should to be used initially to remove any bumps of filler followed by finer and finer sandpaper to produce a flat surface. The whole door and doorframe must be sanded, not just the dents that have been filled. This is to create a key to enable the primer and therefore the final top coat to stick to the tiny grooves that are left in the surface after sanding. If this stage is missed out, even on a door that has already been primed, the new coating will not look good and is likely to chip or flake off.

6. Make sure the area is well ventilated before spray applying the primer and top coats.

7. A tack cloth will remove any dust particles resulting from the sanding before priming.

8. The next stage is to prime the metal to seal the substrate. It is worth remembering that priming isn’t necessary on fire exit doors that have been previously powder coated.

9. It is advisable not to hand paint or roller fire exit doors as these methods will leave unsightly ridges on the surface. Spray painting metal fire exit doors is the best method and using an HVLP gun is advisable and a professional on site spraying specialist will ensure the job is completed properly.

10. Kick plates and other extras can be sealed with a bead of caulk before they are reinstalled. This will prevent moisture from seeping in because any damp can lead to paint failure and rusting of the substrate.