chemical resistant paint in school laboratory

Chemical resistant paint for preventing damage by harsh substances

Nearly all coatings will be exposed to chemicals at some point, whether cleaning products, spills, or fumes. However most of these are mild, and the coating does not need a special formulation. Chemical resistant coatings or paints are designed to provide protection from the harshest of substances. They need to perform safely and consistently under punishing conditions, and so need to be highly resistant. Without proper chemical resistant paint, solvents, acids, alkalis, salts, and other substances can be absorbed by the substrate, causing deterioration and contamination.

The right chemical resistant paint is the one that satisfies the requirements of the chemical, as well as the needs of the substrate. Choosing correctly requires fully understanding both. In this article we will outline the different chemical resistant coatings options, and provide a guide for choosing the right one as well as where to find products and contractors in Malaysia.

Start by assessing the environment of the chemical resistant paint

The range of substrates, environments, and chemicals is matched by the range of chemical resistant paints. You might need a fuel resistant paint, a chemical resistant paint for steel, or a hydrochloric acid resistant paint. To choose the right chemical resistant coating you need to know:

  • The type of chemical/s – each coating has different strengths, and may provide protection from one chemical but not another.
  • The concentration of the chemical/s – the strength of the chemical will obviously affect the coating’s resistance.
  • The temperature of the chemical/s – a heated chemical adds an extra factor for the coating to deal with.
  • The degree of exposure to the chemical/s – will the substrate be immersed, or is it just contact exposure?
  • The duration of the exposure – how long will the coating need to withstand the chemical?

Get to know the 4 most common types of chemical resistant coating

Chemical resistant coatings are available in a wide range of formulations, suited to different applications. The main types are polyurethane, epoxy, phenolic, and fluoropolymers. The choice of coating is further complicated by extra requirements such as high abrasion resistance, rust protection, or sufficient lack of friction.

1. Fluoropolymer

Resistance: Fluoropolymers are most known for being the non stick coating (including Xylan and Teflon). However, they also provide very high chemical resistance at high temperatures. They can withstand a maximum use temperature of 300°C. Fluoropolymers are resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including concentrated sulphuric, nitric, hydrochloric and phosphoric acids.
Uses: Normally used where a low coefficient of friction or a lubricious surface is required. Suitable as chemical resistant coatings for use on concrete or metal in secondary containment linings, acid plants, fertiliser plants, oil refineries, and more.

Note that fluoropolymers have poor weather protection characteristics, and cannot withstand acetone, esters, ketones, and acetic acid.

2. Polyurethane

Resistance: It is resistant to organic caustic fluids, acids and alkalis, fuel and hydraulic oils, and solvents.
Uses: Where greater flexibility and an ability to deal with high temperatures is needed, polyurethane is the traditional alternative to epoxy. Polyurethane is also the preferred choice of chemical resistant coatings in the dairy industry where there is exposure to lactic acids.

Note that PU is ofter than epoxy coatings, polyurethanes are more likely to abrade. It is also extremely sensitive to humidity at application. In general less resistant chemical coatings than epoxies.

3. Phenolic

Resistance: This is the heavy duty chemical resistant paint. A phenolic coating is one where a phenolic resin is used to cure an epoxy (as in the case of a phenolic epoxy) or a novolac. They resist 98% sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, transmission fluid, gasoline, formaldehyde, phenol, and numerous other chemicals. Perform well at higher temperatures than polyurethanes and epoxies.
Uses: Protective chemical coatings for tanks, ducts, piping, immersion service for most acids, solvents, and salts (chemical storage). Applicable for flooring in healthcare, science, technology and electronics industries, as well as chemical and waste treatment plants, pulp and paper mills, and power generation plants.

Note that phenolic coatings are not recommended for exposure to some strong organic acids and solvents, and the less epoxy used in the makeup of the coating, the less resistant to chemicals it is.

4. Epoxy

chemical resistant paint in tanks in factory

Chemical resistant paint like epoxy is often applied as a tank lining to protect the tank from harsh substances.

Resistance: Epoxy coatings are a go-to chemical resistant paint. They provide protection against acids, alkalis, solvents, caustic fluids, fuels, fatty acids, salt or sugar solutions, chemical cleaning detergents and more.
Uses: An unprotected concrete floor can quickly deteriorate through exposure to chemicals, particularly flooring in the food and drink industry, garages, factories, and plants. Having a floor that can withstand these exposures is important to prevent bacterial contamination. Epoxy coating is suitable for metals, concrete and wood.

Note that the drawback with epoxy chemical coatings is a tendency to weaken with high or fluctuating temperatures, and it is not as flexible as polyurethane. They are also not good with UV radiation (which causes it to chalk and fade), and can be stained by chemical attack.


Where to find chemical resistant paints in Malaysia

With so many different environments and surfaces that require chemical resistant paint treatments, it is no surprise that the range of products and services is extensive. There are the chemical coatings above, but there are also specially formulated coatings like methacrylate, which cures at low temperatures and is used for cold-store and freezer rooms.

Due to the fact that chemical resistant coatings are an important part of industrial protective coatings, many manufacturers have included them into their product portfolios. The ones located in Malaysia include the following.

Chemical resistant paint manufacturerAddress in Malaysia
Nippon Paint (M)Sdn Bhd Lot I-17 Taman Perindustrian Subang Utama, Jalan SU 4, 40300 Shah Alam Selangor Darul Ehsan
PPG Coatings (M) Sdn. Bhd.Jalan Kilang 51/205, Seksyen 51, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
International Paint Sdn BhdG floor, 7191 ANZ Yard, Jalan Mak Lagam, 24000 Kemaman
3M MalaysiaLevel 8, Block F, Oasis Square, No. 2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Ara Damansara, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Dover PaintsNo 4, Jalan Tabla 33/21, Seksyen 33, 40400 Shah Alam, Selangor

Looking for products? – Here are some examples

Below is a table outlining some of the available products. It is these chemical coatings from reputable coatings manufacturers like AkzoNobel that installers trust.

Chemical resistant coating typeChemical resistant paint productProduct suitability
Two component epoxyJotun Jotafloor TopcoatIdeal for industrial floors, laboratories, hospitals, food and beverage plants, kitchens, warehouses, factories, and manufacturing facilities.
Two component polyurethane topcoatRust-Oleum 9600 Rust-O-Thane PolyurethaneHeavy industrial and marine exposures, moist conditions and high abrasion and impact situations. Especially recommended for weather resistance.
Two component epoxy phenolicInternational Interline 850Tank and pipe lining for steel storage tanks and pipes containing a range of products including crude oil, gasoline, caustic solutions, potable water, and solvents.
Two component epoxy novolacSherwin-Williams Nova-Plate 325For use on steel and masonry surfaces in industrial and marine environments such as oil storage tanks, secondary containment, ethanol storage tanks, and more.
Two component novolac vinyl esterInternational Interline 955Reinforced with glass flake to increase chemical and abrasion resistance. Intended for use in internal lining of chemical storage tanks and vessels for hot media (up to 90°C) or acids.

A chemical resistant coating should be applied by a trained professional to ensure an effective and flawless application. Fortunately there are many coating installer companies operating across Malaysia. If you have a project that needs chemical resistant paint, our experts are here to help! In cooperation with our partners we can provide you with a tailor-made quote, and connect you with the right coating solution. Just get in touch via e-mail or the “Request a quote” button at the bottom of this article.


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