by Mike Dawson
that can make a painter's day go either better or worse, depending on whether it's being applied or removed. Painters run across it most often in caulks and sealants, and those that contain silicone can be practically impossible to paint and are even worse to remove.
Ironically, even though conventional wisdom says silicone cannot be painted or removed, here is a look at a new lifetime exterior paint that contains silicone, and at the world's first silicone remover.
Rodda Paint decided a few years ago that it wasn't comfortable with the existing technology of exterior coatings when it came to the growing trend of lifetime warranties. The company wanted to offer more than words with its guarantee, so it set out to develop a "truly lifetime coating," says Todd Braden of Rodda.
The result is a one-of-a-kind silicone-enhanced formula that instills the company with the confidence to say, "You may never need to paint your house again." The Portland, Ore., company's pride is its Ultimate line, an acrylic with silicone, something that the manufacturer says no other producer in the United States provides.
Rodda's research for a lifetime coating took them to houses with old paint. Braden says they found that after 25 years the exterior coating was shot, "but the silicone caulking was just fine." They also found that silicone paint has been used on residential property in Europe for 30 years, but was limited to industrial uses in the U.S. This all led Rodda to the conclusion that silicone was the way to a lifetime coating.
The silicone makes the paint stronger, flexible and water-resistant. And Braden says the paint's key performance feature is that it keeps water out while letting moisture escape from below the surface. That's similar to Gore-Tex fabric, which keeps rain out while letting moisture escape the body. The breathability of this paint keeps it from bubbling and blistering as moisture releases from the substrate.
Braden says Ultimate "spreads like butter," which the company attributes to its 40 percent solids volume, which creates a high film build and good coverage.
Ultimate is designed specifically for Rodda's Pacific Northwest market, where rain, mold and mildew are a major consideration. At about $50 a gallon, the product is an up-sell for contractors, and is most often used in high-end renovations and upscale new construction, Braden says.
Easy Life Solutions
For all that it enhances in modern life, silicone can be overused, and nobody knows this more than painters who have to remove silicone sealant from surfaces that must be made paintable.
However, a small inventor is hitting the big time with what is described as the world's first silicone remover, under the brand name RE~MOV. Inventor Don Lafreniere says that this liquid product differs from any other in that it simply releases the silicone from the surface, without dissolving the bead into a mess and without affecting the painting surface. "You can remove silicone from a $1,000 suit without damaging the cloth," he says.
One place silicone caulk is commonly found is on windows, because silicone is the best for applying to smooth, hard surfaces like glass. However, when peeled away, it leaves a milky haze that cannot be scrubbed from the pores of the glass. RE~MOV will clean this residue off with simply spraying and wiping, Lafreniere says.
RE~MOV works on all types of caulks, sealants, tapes, decals, protective films and even adhesives like Liquid Nails, because it attacks the bond rather than the silicone itself or the surface to which it is stuck. That means you can lift glue from a carpet, Lafreniere says, which he admits is a tough claim to make.
The product doesn't use flammable or corrosive chemicals and contains less than 1 percent hazardous air pollutants. It will not harm most surfaces and is mild on the skin, Lafreniere says. He claims RE~MOV is more effective than acetone and methyl ethyl ketone, both of which are flammable and toxic.
"The problem is that the product does so much people think you're selling snake oil," says the independent inventor, who operates a small company in Florida.
Demonstrations to major companies like Sherwin-Williams, Kwal Paints of Denver and Parker Paints in the Pacific Northwest led to deals for retail distribution, says Dave Davis, the product's exclusive wholesale representative. Owner of Quicktruss, a painters' equipment firm in Farmington, N.M., Davis says RE~MOV will be available by this summer in 390 paint and hardware stores in the Western U.S.
While it's a revolutionary product, it's expensive to produce, Davis says, and it will retail for about $11 per 8-ounce bottle. But "a little bit goes a long way," he adds.