Ceramic house paint is a term used to describe a liquid paintlike formula that is sprayed on such exterior house surfaces as siding, brick and stucco. It was first developed in the 1970s but came under scrutiny early this century when some companies made extraordinary claims about its insulating properties. Since then the Federal Trade Commission has ruled against Kryton Coatings International in regard to the coating's insulation value.
Considerably more expensive than regular house paint, ceramic paint is supposed to last 25 to 30 years. Some companies even use the slogan "never paint again" in its advertising.
Ceramic coatings are acrylic paints with ceramic microspheres. According to Rhino Shield, 3M developed the solid component of its product that gives it more protection against harmful ultraviolet rays and heat than regular house paint and also reduces the transference of heat from the outside into the house in the summer and from heat escaping in the winter.
Liquid Ceramic says the Master Painter's Institute categorizes it as an "exterior high performance elastomeric coating." It looks and tints like paint.
One of the benefits of ceramic paint is it creates a thicker coating. Paint coatings are measured in DFTs, which stands for dry film thickness. Ceramic paints measure 10 mils, while regular paint is 3 mils.
Liquid Ceramic claims that after two coats of its product, it is impervious to water. Because moisture is paint's nemesis, that's a substantial benefit. Each company offers different warranties. Ceramic Force by Nationwide Coatings offers a 15-year limited warranty.
The key to getting a top-notch job from a ceramic coating product is the careful attention in preparing the surface to be covered.
Rhino Shield has several steps they require their professional painters to follow. They must examine the house surface to determine what's necessary, trench around the foundation and apply a waterproof sealant to prevent water from wicking up. Then pressure-wash with a fungicide and insecticide, fill all cracks and holes, and caulk around windows and doors. The idea is to prevent moisture from getting in anywhere. Next, scrape and sand any loose paint, and mask off areas not to be painted. Apply primer. This is extremely important because the primer acts as a bonding agent. Spray coating in one or two thick coats.
This is a very labor-intensive process. Expect to pay more. It is supposed to last three to five times longer than regular paint, so take that into account when making a decision.
Make sure the professionals you hire work for a reputable company. Get references. Go see examples of their work. Talk to other homeowners about their satisfaction with the company. Ask about their site preparation process and follow up. Warranties are not much good if the company quickly goes out of business. Beware of extraordinary claims about their product.
Debra Taylor is a freelance writer whose career experience includes owning an interior design business and a retail frame shop. She also taught elementary school and middle school language arts and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood and elementary education from Lander University. She continues to be involved with children in an after school program.