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Bridger Steel Project News, Highlights & Helpful Tips

What’s the Difference Between Metal Panel Paint Systems?

[fa icon="calendar"] 04/20/2021 / by Kaylee Beattie

Bridger Steel uses two main types of paint systems: Premium Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) and Silicone Modified Polyester (SMP). What does any of that actually mean? We’re breaking down what the difference is between our paint systems, and giving you all the information you actually need before deciding on one over the other.

Painted Metal Roof on a Residential Home

What is PVDF Paint?

Premium Polyvinylidene Fluoride paint is a commercial-grade paint system that is considered to be best in its class, with SMP following closely behind. PVDF is the ultimate weather and UV ray resistant premium finish option. It’s designed to easily handle exposure to harsh conditions, including rust-causing moisture. 

PVDF is typically used throughout the industry, and on Bridger Steel’s heavier gauge materials (Gauge refers to the panel’s thickness). This finish is more pliable, meaning it is a flexible option, so we use it on coils used to make Standing Seam and other panels with tight bends. Due to its flexible nature, micro cracks and abrasions are extremely limited from both the roll forming and breaking processes.

What is SMP Paint?

Silicone Modified Polyester paint is one of the hardest premium finishes on the market. It’s extremely resistant to scratches and abrasions, which can cause rusting. With little risk of cracking, SMP paint is recommended for virtually any application. Typically, this finish is a bit more of an economical option for painted metal, which makes it a popular choice for all markets.

SMP paints are used most often on Bridger Steel’s lighter gauge materials due to their price point and scratch-resistant qualities. This paint system bonds extremely well to the material, and also performs well in the roll forming process.

Which One Should I Choose?

Choosing which paint system is best for your project depends on a few factors. When choosing, consider the following:

  • What Gauge Are Your Panels? The gauge of metal or steel refers to its measure of thickness. If you have a heavier gauge panel, PVDF paint is typically more recommended than SMP. If you have a lighter gauge panel, SMP paint is typically recommended over PVDF. Of course, there are always exceptions and stipulations depending on your project’s specifications and desired color.  
  • What’s Your Budget? Depending on the flexibility of your budget, you may want to choose one paint type over the other. While both SMP and PVDF finishes are considered to be premium finishes, there is a difference in pricing. SMP is a more budget-friendly option compared to PVDF. 
  • What Panel Did You Choose? Not every paint or finish option is available for every panel. The panel and gauge of that panel you choose may not have the paint or finish available you want. Before choosing one over the other, you should talk to a Product Specialist. We always do our best to meet the needs of our customers.
  • What’s Your Typical Environment Like? You should also take your environment and typical weather conditions into consideration when choosing paint. Are you located in the woods or mountains where branches could fall and scratch your paint? SMP may be best for you then due to its scratch-resistance. Are you in an open space with direct sunlight constantly hitting your roof from all angles? PVDF may be the best option for you because of how well it resists the sun’s UV rays. Our team can help make recommendations based on factors like these.
  • Check Out Samples First — Before 100% committing to a painted metal color, we highly recommend purchasing color samples first. Colors look a lot different on a screen compared to right in front of you. We recommend looking at your samples during different parts of the day and on different parts of your home if they’re for an exterior project to know exactly what they’ll look like throughout the day as the sun shifts. 

What Other Finish Options Are There?

Bridger Steel offers more than just PVDF and SMP finish options. If you’re looking for a little something more than just painted metal finishes, we also have the following options:

  • Textured Metal Finishes — Textured metal finishes bring a little something extra to the final look of your project. Our textured finishes are painted with subtle textures that bring depth and interest into your project. Browse through them here.
  • Natural Metal Finishes — Natural metal finishes show off the true beauty of steel. With unique options like Truten™ A606 Weathering Steel that naturally rusts or classic Galvanized steel, natural finishes bring a unique and beautiful aspect to your project. Browse through them here.

With so many styles, colors, and finishes available, it can be tricky to know which paint system is best for you. That’s why our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect paint option, as well as panel and gauge. Our Product Specialists can help narrow down your options for you and make expert recommendations based on a variety of different factors to give you the best options for your project.

If you have any questions about paint systems and metal panels, contact us today. 

Topics: Colors, facades, Home Advice

Kaylee Beattie

Written by Kaylee Beattie