Antimicrobial. This seems to be the latest buzzword in the cabinet hardware industry.

It’s not a secret that I work for a large hardware company, so I get to see all the manufacturer’s reps on a regular basis as they come by to “do their thing” at our office. This week one of them was quick to show me his new line of antimicrobial cabinet knobs and pulls.

Berenson has introduced its new Cleantech line and it’s got some neat features that will be attractive to medical facilities as well as the homeowner who just wants to reduce the opportunity for bacterial transfer in the home.

Cleantech features a multi-layer plating/coating system. The top layer is the one that has been shown, by independent testing, to kill bacteria, including E coli. As I understand it, the next layer down from that is colored red. That layer is revealed as the result of surface wear. Its appearance tells you when it’s time to replace the pull due to loss of the antimicrobial layer.

Cleantech knobs and pulls come in several popular styles. You can get information at berensonhardware.com or look for more hardware options at richelieu.com.

Mildew Resistance

The other people buzzing about a surface protection are the folks at M.L. Campbell. They have introduced an addition to their rugged EuroX line of exterior coatings. The EuroX line consists of European technology two-component polyurethanes in both solvent and waterborne varieties. To look at the specs for these products, visit mlcampbell.com and click on the Euro products tab. That will lead you where you need to go. There are some new additions to that line this year, including their Euro X Water Borne Nanotechnology System.

Composed of a waterborne exterior clear coat and a waterborne impregnating stain, the first layer is a spray stain that may be tipped out with a brush as needed prior to drying. Special tinters are used and are necessary to create the colors and the UV protection. A minimum of 5% and a maximum of 12% pigment load by weight are needed to properly protect the exterior coating system in conjunction with the mildew resistant additive found in the stain base. These additives actually help make the EuroX Water Borne Impregnating Stain and EuroX Water Borne Clear dry film mildew resistant. The pigments help to protect the wood from the sun’s rays. There are eight “standard” color formulas for the stain with other combinations possible.

The impregnating stain must be applied in concert with the waterborne clear satin topcoat. In this case, a single-component European technology clear designed for good flexibility, adhesion and protection against UV rays is used. Specifically targeted for exterior entry doors, garage doors, exterior joinery, shutters and window trim, its forte is uses where a long lasting coating system and protection are crucial to the beauty of the wood. Architects and designers will want to pay special note to this system.

The way I understand it, this clear layer of coating is not unlike TYVEK or GORE-TEX cloth and is, at the same time, revolutionary. Water droplets hit its surface and simply slough off. However, should moisture somehow penetrate the wood, instead of being trapped there, collecting there and eventually lifting the coating, the coating allows water vapor to pass back through it. Thus, the wood is fully protected from the elements while destruction of the coating via “lifting” is reduced.

We all know that no matter how carefully we coat the wood, water will still seek some opportunity to pass. After all, it’s wood. It constantly moves and adjusts to its environment. That is doubly true in the exterior environment. I think that you can see the possible advantages of this system for exterior architectural use.

I’ve not had the opportunity as yet to sample this system. When I do, I’ll report back on what I find.

Until next time…spray on

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