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A Wall Coating For The Fourth Bridge

Mar 4, 2008
We've all used the expression 'like painting the Fourth bridge' for tasks that seemed never ending.

The Fourth Rail Bridge is in Scotland and was completed in 1890. An engineering marvel of its day, and still considered so, it is a huge structure for the use of freight trains that is constructed of steel and granite. There is a constant maintenance crew on stand-by but the fact that crews paint it then have to begin again from the beginning is pure myth.

However, painting is nevertheless a very time consuming project, with most exterior paints having a limited life span, given the bridges proximity to water and exposure to the elements.

The engineering firm in charge of the works have found a product that will ease their job immensely. They are to blast off all existing paint layers, stripping 51,000 tons of steelwork back to bare metal before they treat it three times with the new substance.

Using the same coating that is applied to oil rigs, the company claims the 8,300 foot bridge will be back in its original pristine condition by 2012 and should hopefully last about thirty years before it needs doing again.

This new technology has reached the average homeowner at last with a new wall coating! Painting the exterior of a house is a daunting prospect. I've done it myself. You get half way round and think you know what it's like to have to paint the Fourth Bridge. You finish it, stand back and admire your work and then after a winter exposed to the wonderful elements of British weather, it looks as though you never touched it.

Exterior paints are simply not designed to stand up to anything more than looking pretty in the short term. They fade in the sun, become brittle and chip and peel easily, they are positive breeding grounds for algae growth and move with any minor cracks in the surface. No wonder house painting is compared to the Fourth Bridge!

A wall coating has been invented to overcome these problems. It can repair cracks, flex with new ones, seal against the elements, look beautiful without fading, chipping or peeling and will last for many years. Maybe this is what they have on the Fourth Bridge.

With such a development in wall coatings, maybe we could see other buildings spruced up to make the long, dreary winters look that much brighter. Imagine how Buckingham Palace would stand out even more in day glow pink wall coating.

Would Harrods not look much nicer with a warm, traditional wall coating of magnolia?
Go to Napier on the North island of New Zealand and you will see a veritable chocolate box of painted buildings. The whole town was destroyed in an earthquake in the early thirties and consequently rebuilt all at the same time in the art deco styling of that era.

All the buildings have wall coatings of pretty pastel colours that give the town a dolls house effect. New Zealand experiences extreme weather conditions given the lack of ozone layer in that part of the world but you don't see everybody out repainting their properties in a never ending chore.

It would seem super douper wall coating technology has reached down under already.
About the Author
Preservation expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of wall coatings to protect against the elements. To find out more please visit http://www.eurocote.co.uk/
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