Commercial Project ~ North Palm Springs

Its been nearly 3 years since completing this project. These pictures were taken in the recent months. It’s always exciting to see a finish product we produced holding up to the server elements that this area faces.


With Palm Springs experiencing it’s high heats and some of the areas, high winds. If you are familiar with this area you would know this is also known as windy point. Exterior paint can be tricky in areas that are faced with these extreme elements, not only in the application but also cosmetically. Blowing sand, high heats, sticky coating, essentially the creation of a sand trap. Heat can soften a coating, (particularly with elastomerics) add the wind and you have created a trap for that desert sand to stick to. When the coating cools the shell hardens back up, locking the sand in the coating. This building sat for over a year without ground cover or the asphalt parking lot. Look at a up close picture, no dirt pick up. It looks just as good as the day I finished.


We used a hybrid elastomeric from Vista Paint, ‘Weathermaster’ the stucco was smooth which made it tricky with the angular sheen. Only a skilled applicator could achieve this finish. Even with that it’ s amazing this product looks so good after the extreme environments and conditions it was faced with.

Elastomeric – The Rubber Band

Armed with a rubber band, as kids, you and a friend may have chased each other engaging in combat. Placing it on your index finger, you draw it back and just as you are ready to fire, snap it breaks. Like a gun jamming, your only weapon of defense has left you vulnerable. The rubber band analogy is one that gives a clear understanding of what elastomeric is and how it performs. Like a rubber band, elastomeric expands and contracts. If broken it becomes vulnerable to failures.

I have been asked many times, can I apply elastomeric on one wall? Or does the entire structure need to be painted with elastomeric? Some customers wanting a quick fix on the exterior to sell a house, or a painter trying to fix a cracked wall within a limited budget. Elastomeric needs a complete seal on a structure to help prevent failures. It is more critical for the heavy build, full blown elastomeric, as open areas can cause an entry point for moisture. The heavy build depends on it’s thick film and elongation to hold itself on the structure.  If broken, it lessens its adhesion strength. Think of the bridging capability, it’s not adhering to the substrate where the void of the crack is, but yet it appears to be adhering at the void. The elongation strength is holding it on. Elastomerics quality characteristics can actually work against itself. As the coating expands and contracts, it can actually pull itself off the surface where the coating was compromised. Because the elongation strength can be stronger than the adhesion strength, like of a rubber band when it breaks, the elongation strength contracts it back as it can no longer hold onto itself.

Lets talk about a raw substrate on a structure, meaning a substrate that has never been painted. If you were to paint one wall, or half a wall, there are a few things you should consider. As I talked about in my previous article “Elastomeric Paints” elastomeric shields against moisture on the outside and if moisture were to intrude, then trapping it inside. Having an unsealed substrate next to a substrate where elastomeric has been applied, is like having a widow open during a storm. Unlike the sealed area, moisture will absorb where the substrate is raw, making it an entry point for water to get behind the elastomeric coating. In this picture where the bubble occurred, which was partly due to a foam decorative piece that is not sealed at the top of the structure. This created an entry point for water to intrude, resulting in these bubbles.Elastomeric FailureHybrid elastomerics have a greater adhesion strength than their elongation, making it not as dependent on it’s elongation to hold itself on the structure. Unlike the heavy build, it is less likely the hybrid elastomeric will pull itself off if broken. Being the elongation is half of the heavy build and having more adhesion strength. With some exceptions, It is possible to paint a wall without wrapping the entire structure, using a product like Glidden Professional Decra Flex. I would not recommend it on smooth stucco as smooth stuccos pores are tighter and have no texture, giving it less holding power.  I would recommend the entire structure be coated with a premium 100% Acrylic product like Sherwin Williams Duration or Vista Paints Duratone. Then apply the hybrid elastomeric to the walls that are desired. It is not recommended to apply any coating over elastomeric other than elastomerics. Other coatings may not have the elongation that the elastomeric has, resulting in the top coat cracking and delaminating.

It is best to consult with a professional paint contractor experienced with elastomerics in your demographic area.

Elastomeric Paints

Elastomeric PintsHaving been given the opportunity in applying elastomeric paint on a wide range of substrates, I have had the experience in dealing with both the success and failures of it. With the right elastomeric and the right substrate, in my opinion there is no other paint that can give an exterior substrate a better result. It bridges those unpleasant hairline cracks, expands and contracts to prevent future cracks from appearing, shields out moisture, resists mildew, has great wash ability, and the beauty of the angular sheen finish that will last years. However, it would only take one elastomeric failure to have second thoughts on it. Usually the failure is resulting from poor preparation, improper application, the wrong elastomeric product was applied, or the substrate not being a good fit for elastomeric at all.

To help you better understand, here is 3 characteristics qualities I want to briefly touch on, Bridging, Elasticity, and Water Vapor Permeability (prem rating).

  • Bridging – is when the coating film becomes thick enough to act as a bridge over a gap or crack through its cohesion and elastic qualities. DFT (dry film thickness) range from 12-24 mills
  • Elasticity – The flexibility of the paint film. elastomerics elongation ranges from 160% – 360%
  • Water Vapor Permeability – (prem rating). – The ability of the coating to permit water to pass through it. Elastomerics range from 5-22 prems

There are 2 types of elastomerics, one is the standard which I call the high build, the other is known as a hybrid. It is important that you have the proper elastomeric for your substrate. If not, you could be looking at issues like thisThe above picture is a commercial building I drive by daily. They originally painted the building with a regular paint, but big cracks appeared as the building settled, they had it repainted in a high build elastomeric for cosmetic reasons, it was a face lift that went all wrong.

Elastomeric FailureThe heavy build was the 1st elastomeric coating on paint manufacture shelves. It was designed to be a water-proofing coating. With that it had to be thick to bridge cracks (up to1/16”), and the elongation to prevent cracks from surfacing so water could not intrude. The heavy build elastomeric has a softer shell than a regular acrylic paint and gets softer in hotter elements. With it being soft it is easier for dirt to stick to it, dirt can actually embed itself in the coating. It is important that the coating does not break or tear, the substrate has to be free of open areas like around windows, vents, pipes, etc. The structure needs to be examined for any potential area where water can intrude to determine if the heavy build is the right fit. Due to its low prem rating (2-4), if moisture penetrates it can get trapped between the substrate and the heavy-build elastomeric.  The coating would then do its job, just on the wrong side. It will shield the moisture in, with the elasticity it creates those water balloon bubbles you seen in the above picture. The heavy-build has its uses on the right substrate, most residential structures are not. The heavy build is mostly used on commercial buildings.  Most paint manufactures won’t even have it available, as they have recommended residential painters to use the hybrid.

As residential painters begin to use the high build, some were creating their own elastomeric paint by mixing 100% acrylic flat paint with the high build elastomeric. This would turn it to a medium build elastomeric, with a higher perm rating, less elasticity and more resistant to dirt pick up. Paint manufactures were getting concerned with painters making their own paint in the field. As a result they started formulating a new elastomeric product which is considered the hybrid elastomeric. The hybrid elastomeric is a medium build 100% acrylic with the 3 characteristics qualities of elastomeric, bridging, elasticity, with a greater water vapor permeability rate. Unlike the heavy body the new hybrid could be applied on both stucco/concrete and wood, including bridging those vertical cracks in T 111 siding with the elasticity to keep them from appearing for years. The hybrid elastomeric has a harder shell with the ability to maintain its shell in warmer clients, meaning it can also resist dirt pick up. The new hybrid elastomerics have exceeded both manufactures and applicators expectations becoming a premium coating to apply on an exterior surface.







It is best to consult with a professional paint contractor that is experienced with elastomerics in your demographic area.. The following hybrid elastomeric products I recommend on the right substrate. Vista Paint 1900 Weather Master, Sherwin Williams Loxon xp, Glidden Decra Flex 300, and Dunn Edwards Paint Endurawall