Types of Coatings

Coatings protect and beautify the surfaces to which they are applied, enhance the value of everything — from homes and manufactured products, to bridges and other structures. Coatings are varied, but primarily fall into three categories: Architectural, Industrial, and Special Purpose.

Architectural Coatings

The largest segment of the paint industry produces architectural coatings — including consumer paints — architectural coatings make up more than half of the total volume of coatings produced annually in the United States.

​In 2018, the industry shipped more than $11.7 billion of architectural coatings.

These products are used to beautify and maintain the surfaces of homes, public buildings, offices and factories. About half are applied by “do-it-yourself” consumers, who recognize that paint is the most versatile, least costly and easiest to use of all home decorating products.

Industrial Coatings

Coatings applied at the time of manufacture of products are known as industrial or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coatings.

In 2018, $7.7 billion of industrial coatings were sold to customer industries.

Special Coatings

This industry segment includes a wide array of divergent coatings. The one unifying characteristic is that these coatings tend to be “field-applied,” as opposed to being applied in a factory setting.

In 2018, industry shipped $4.9 billion of special purpose coatings.

Special purpose coatings represent the smallest of the three major classifications of coatings. This segment can be divided into the following major sub-segments:

  • Automotive Refinish Coatings is the largest sub-segment, with a value of $2.2 billion in 2018.
  • Industrial Maintenance Coatings is the second largest sub-segment, with a value of $1.4 billion in 2018.
  • Traffic Marking Paint, used on roadways, parking lots and airport surfaces, had a value of $530 million in 2018.
  • Marine Paints, including both OEM and refinish applications, had a value of $460 million in 2018.
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