Protective coatings and painting systems are required by many commercial, industrial, and municipal markets. The first step in ensuring your asset is adequately protected and prevent coating failure is to work with a certified coating inspector to design and plan a high-quality protective coating that meets your project needs and expectations. This design and planning phase is part of a coating consultation with a NACE-certified coating inspector.

Understanding Coating and Its Importance

Coatings are mainly used to isolate a substrate from its environment. According to The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP), coatings are defined as a thin layer of solid material that provides various types of protection while also offering decorative and functional properties, assuming adequate surface preparation and application.

“More specifically, [coatings] are a liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition that, after application to a surface, is converted into a solid protective, decorative, or functional adherent film” (AMPP).

Most notably, applying coatings to an asset protects it from corrosion, a deteriorating condition that naturally results from either a chemical or electrochemical reaction with the substrate’s environment. This deterioration can impact everything from the environment to the economy, costing an estimated US$2.5 trillion globally. Protective coatings are classified as metallic or non-metallic, as shown below.

  • Metallic coatings include zinc, aluminum, and chromium
  • Non-metallic coatings include polymers, epoxies, and polyurethanes

Coating’s ability to resist corrosion depends on the type of protection that specific material provides. There are various types of coating protection, including barrier, which protects by preventing the necessary elements from forming to start the corrosion processes. In addition, a coating can contain chemicals that inhibit corrosion, or varying levels of electrodes in the electrochemical series.

Of course, other factors must be considered in the design and planning phases of protective coatings, including but not limited to the service environment and performance requirements. That is why asset owners and managers should consider hiring a certified coating inspector to provide a thorough coating consultation and, ultimately, a complete protective coating or paint system recommendation.

RFI Consultants does not represent any coating manufacturer or product. Our sole focus is on our clients, their projects, and their long-term success. Utilizing our knowledge of coating technologies and over 42 years of combined real-world field experience, we are committed to providing our clients with the correct coating systems, along with adequate surface preparation techniques to fit their project expectations and budgets.

Take the First Step and Schedule a Coating Consultation

RFI Consultants is an Arizona-based, veteran-owned NACE-certified coating inspection and consulting company that provides commercial and industrial coating consultations and inspections throughout the greater Phoenix metro area. Our services are designed to help prevent premature or catastrophic coating failures and, therefore, any potential implications. For more information about RFI Consultant’s coating inspection and consulting services, or to inquire about our coating training courses, please contact us at (480) 560-7182.


“International Measures of Prevention, Application, and Economics of Corrosion Technologies Study.” NACE International.

“Protective Coatings for Corrosion Control.” The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP).

“What is Corrosion?” The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP).