I know Halloween is over but this tale is the kind that sends chills up my spine regardless of the time of year.

I recently took a phone call from a fellow that I didn’t know. We had a great conversation but the thing that set my teeth on edge was when we talked about the pre-cat lacquer he was using. We were comparing notes on shelf life and performance. I don’t mind doing that because I represent a line of products that have some of the best performance specs in the industry. These coatings have great performance and a lot of our competitors are envious of that.

Here’s the story. He told me that he gets his pre-cat clear from a competitor and when the product reaches its expiration date, he takes it back to the store and they add another dose of catalyst and everyone involved believes that makes the coating good to use again.

If that were so, why is there a use by date stamped on the can?

I hear from a lot of people who read date stamps and then call to ask me what they really mean. My response is automatic. That ending date is set after laboratory testing. Once that date is reached, the performance of that coating will begin to fall off. When and how much are issues that I wouldn’t know unless I read the lab reports. But, I do know that one usually can’t tell by looking at the coating. It probably isn’t going to look any different in liquid form at day 1 compared to day 500. (F.Y.I., post-cats may or may not be a different story.)

Spraying it out may help as long as you wait 28 days and then test the product. What builder has time like that to spend? Would they know what to look for to accurately test it at that point? Would they know how to correctly test that product? I don’t. I would rather have my project installed, paid for, and be on to other things long before that point. And, I don’t want to go back and fix problems.

Why? Because as the builder, I am liable for what I produce. And, I want to sleep well at night.

Here’s the next question. Would I add more catalyst to someone’s lacquer if they brought it back to me at the end of its shelf life and asked me to revitalize it? Again, the answer is no.

Why? Because as the guy who did that, I am now liable for what I did. And again, I want to sleep well at night. Plus, at some point in the future there well may be an issue.

Is it worth it to do what that fellow did…even if the store agreed to do it? You decide.

Until next time, spray on!


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