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Protecting Steel Edges

Presented by: Bob Kogler, Rampart LLC

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this webinar, you will be
able to:
Recognize sharp edges, outside corners,
crevices and welds
Define the proper steps to be taken to
treat sharp edges, outside corners,
crevices and welds in order to avoid
reduced coating barrier protection

This webinar will describe:
The importance of edge protection to the
overall corrosion protection of the structure
The reasons coatings tend to often fail at
the advantages and disadvantages of specific
methods of obtaining sufficient coating
thickness on steel edges and other irregular
steel surfaces, where coatings tend to pull
away during curing, leaving thin or nonexistent coverage

What is an edge?

Corners (inside/outside)
Fastener heads
Anything with an angle approaching
90 degrees (or worse)

Why do we can particularly about

Sharp edges, outside corners,
crevices and welds are often sites
where coating failures and corrosion
begin due to reduced coating barrier

Reduced coating thickness is a result of surface

tension created during the curing of the wet
coating causing the coating to shrink, pulling the
coating film away from the edges
- solventborne coatings

Typical Failure initiation


Avoiding Edge Failure

Design out the edges and

Avoiding Edge Failure

Fabricate out the edge problem

Avoiding Edge Failure

Surface prep to remove the failure

Avoiding Edge Failure

Coating selection to mitigate the
failure point

Each Takes Investment

Its all about tolerance for
How harsh is the exposure
locally at the edge?
How long does the coating
need to perform?
Will there be access for
inspection and
Consequences of a coating

Steps for Avoiding Reduced

Coating Barrier Protection
The following steps are explained in SSPC
PA Guide 11, Protecting Edges, Crevices,
and Irregular Steel Surfaces by Stripe
Step 1: Eliminate the irregularities by
grinding, mechanical sanding or filing
Step 2: Apply a thicker protective coating film
to problem areas (Stripe Coating)
Step 3: Apply a full coat of paint with edge
retention properties, allowing application of a
penetrating and/or good wetting coating to
problem areas

Step 1
Outside corners and sharp edges
should be:
Ground such that the edge is rounded to
a 1/16-1/8 inch radius (NSRP SP-3 Panel
Chamfered, which reduces a sharp 90
degree corner to two 135 degree angles
The distance between the two 135 degree
angles is approximately 1/16-1/8 inch

Step 1 (Continued)

Step 1 (Continued)
The increased performance resulting
from rounding or chamfering edges
depends on:
The service environment
The generic type of coating
The radius or size of the chamfer
Proper coating application per SSPC-PA 1,
Shop, Field, and Maintenance Painting of

Step 1 (Continued)
Note: Research has shown that
rounding or chamfering had no
measurable effect if an ethyl
silicate inorganic zinc-rich (IOZ)
coating is applied. Additional
information on this topic can be
found in, Corbett, W. D. The
Same Old Grind...An
Investigation of Zinc-Rich
Primer Performance Over Steel
Corners. Modern Steel
Construction, Vol. 40, No. 6: p.

Step 1 (Continued)
For best practice, edge grinding
should be done in the shop, BEFORE
blast cleaning where the work is

Step 2
A Stripe Coat is a coat of paint applied either

before or after a full coat is applied to an entire

surface. A Stripe Coat is typically applied to:
Outside corners
Bolt heads and threads

Step 2 (Continued)
The project specification should clearly
state stripe coating requirements:
The areas that are to be striped
How to apply the stripe coat (brush or spray)
In what order to apply the stripe coat (before or
after the full coat)
Which coats are to be striped
Whether tinting of the stripe coat or use of
another color of coating is required
Details on the drying/curing requirements
between application of the stripe and full coat

Step 2 (Continued)
Situations where stripe coating is
usually warranted are:
Immersion service (e.g., interiors
of fuel or water storage tanks; ship
Areas with high corrosion rates
(e.g., cooling towers and splash
Areas where access is difficult
(e.g., towers, some bridges)
Built up members (e.g., lattice
bars and boxes)

Step 2 (Continued)

Examples of Where Strip Coating Is


Step 2 (Continued)
Situations where stripe coating may
not be cost effective are: (RISK?)
Non-critical components (e.g., interior
bulkheads in habitable space on a ship)
Mild exposure (e.g., SSPC Environmental
zones 1A and 1B)
Inside corners (can be adequately
covered using proper spray technique)

Step 2 (Continued)

Application of the stripe coat can be performed

by brush or spray. The table below shows the
advantages and disadvantages of the 2 methods

Brush control and working coating

into complex details; labor intensive
Spray faster, less labor, good for
edge retentive coatings and zincrich; may bridge small defects, risk
of high builds

Step 2 (Continued)
When applying a stripe coat:
The brush strokes should run parallel to, not
across, edges and crevices
Apply constant pressure of the brush during
Bolt heads and nuts should be striped in a
circular motion
Extend the stripe coating at least 1 inch from
edges and other irregular surfaces
Use round or oval brushes

Step 2 (Continued)
Spraying the stripe coat can reduce the amount of
time spent in brush application, but the painter has less
control over the precise boundaries of the area being
The applicator should spray the coating along the flat
surface, not directly at the edge itself, to prevent the
atomization pressure from pushing the coating away
from the edge

Step 2 (Continued)
It is good practice for the stripe coat to be
a different color from the adjoining full
coats or substrate
Enables painters and inspectors to
visually verify there are no misses,
skips or thin spots

Step 2 (Continued)
-When to Stripe- Before or After????

Step 2 (Continued)
Welds and crevices are best protected when
striped with a coating with good wetting
High build coatings are best for striping
Consult coating manufacturer to determine
the appropriate coating to be used
The coating selected should be designed for
the service environment

Step 3
An alternative method for protection
of edges that may avoid the need for
grinding and chamfering is the use of
a coating that has edge retention
Typically high solids products that
provide improved film thickness
retention at the apex of an edge

Step 3 (Continued)
A method for measuring the edge retention
properties of a coating is published in MILPRF-23236C
Compares the film thickness of 3 specimens
cut from a sample of coating applied to a
non-chamfered 90 degree angle
The ratio of the film thickness at the apex
vs. the film thickness on the flat area is
calculated and expressed as the percentage
of edge retention of the coating

SSPC-PA Guide 11
August 1, 2008

Step 3 (Continued)

he gauge and thin

uracy of the gauge

ected when striped

s. High build coatr, it is impractical
a job with edges,
f a consistency to

ulted to determine
g. If the stripe coat
ed over a surface
ganic zinc primer
nc coatings do not
c zinc. High solids

Measure paint thickness here (dft edge)

Measure paint thickness

here (dft at)

Measure paint thickness

here (dft at)

Figure 3. Diagram of edge retention test

(courtesy of MIL-PRF-23236C)
The edge retention percentage is calculated as:
% Retention = dft (edge)/dft (at) x 100

Step 3 (Continued)
According to MIL-PRF-23236C:
Any specimen having less than 50% edge
retention fails the test
An average value of 70% edge retention
for 3 test specimens measuring using an
optical microscope is required to qualify a




Edges and complex geometries are the key to
success or failure in a typical coating job
SSPC Guide 11 is a provides a nice roadmap to
Good Painting Practice for addressing edges
By following the processes described in Guide 11
you can provide extra corrosion protection measures
on edges, outside corners, crevices, bolt heads,
welds and other irregular steel surfaces

Summary (cont)
Avoiding edge failure in a PRACTICAL
and ACHIEVABLE manner requires a
specification that is clear and targets
added effort and material (cost)
toward the details that are most likely
to fail first
Recent success has been achieved in
mitigating risk of edge failure through
the use of new, high solids, rapid cure
coating systems IN CONJUNCTION

The industry continues to look for value

based solutions

Optimizing QA