In Chinese culture, the dragon and the color red represent prosperity, longevity, and good fortune; these symbols were used to create the Chinatown Gateway in Los Angeles. LA’s Chinatown Gateway is a 25-foot tall structure that towers over the Chinatown entrance by the intersection of Cesar Chavez and North Broadway. It features a set of twin dragons, perched on top of four steel pillars, an offering of luck and longevity. However, the gateway struck misfortune when its vibrant coatings began to fade, less than three years after its initial application.
“The gateway was a bright red color that started to fade within three years of being painted with an acrylic polyurethane,” stated Tnemec coatings consultant Dustin Kaatz, “The project required an overcoat with an extended lifecyle of 15 years. [The City of Los Angeles] was also interested in resistance to ultraviolet (UV) light, and color and gloss retention.”
An adhesion test that was conducted in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Tests 3359 and 6677 found that the gateway’s existing surface’s condition was satisfactory. After prepping the surface, a low-VOC epoxy supplied by Tnemec was used to coat the structure. This new coating system was finished with Tnemec’s Series 1070V Fluoronar, a high-solids fluoropolymer, in Chilean Red.
The superior weatherability of FEVE-based coatings eliminates the need to constantly recoat, which ultimately lowers the lifecycle costs of the entire structure. Coatings that utilize Lumiflon FEVE resin technology gain the ability to withstand exposure to UV radiation, water, salt, and other elemental deterrents without the issue of premature degradation, therefore preserving the exceptional condition of the project for decades.