Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

September, 2010

Deciding and Applying Proper Coatings

Q. Hello Ron, I guess I have paint in my blood. In my 20s, I worked 2 jobs. 1, as a batch mixer in a coatings plant, (con-lux) Edison NJ. (now Sherwin Williams) At night I was the guy mixing paint at home depot. Now in my late 30s, I find myself applying these finishes. I still have a tough time trying to figure out the proper finishes for each surface (which should come natural to me ... right?) Well it doesn't. I would really like to get into commercial, or structural finishes ... like tanks, pipes etc... When I was making these coatings, I always wondered who concocts the formula for that specific job because they were all different, from mets blue to zinc oxide primers for bridges, etc. Now if I am going to tackle this end of the industry. I need some schooling right? Oh and before I forget, I need help on finding these gigs because I am still the "little guy" I really do need some direction if I'm going to go for this. If I am barking up the wrong tree, please let me know. My apologies but if there is any help you can provide me this would be much appreciated. I found this on the internet and thought I could gain some knowledge through you. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time.

A. If you want to be a paint formulator and make decisions on which paints to you, what pigments to add, what resins are used for a particular application, you should consider going to a college that teaches this topic. There are three or four such colleges, including Cal Poly in San Luis Obisbo, CA, Kent State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Eastern Michigan University and perhaps one or two more. If that's too much too handle, you might go to night school and study organic chemistry at a local community college. If you are not the academic kind and do not want to spend the next few years in college, I suggest you apply for a job as as paint formulator at a paint company. You might get a job where they will train you. I don't know how realistic this is if you don't have any knowledge of organic chemistry. Frankly, organic chemistry is the backbone of the paint manufacturing industry and without any knowledge of this topic you might not be able to break into this field.


Ron Joseph

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