The Importance of the Wet Film Thickness Gage – How This Tool Saves Painters Time & Money 4

It’s a story familiar to everyone in the painting industry:  a small company wins a chance to make a big impression with a new customer only to see their hard work be for naught when they unexpectedly run out of paint.   Despite planning meticulously, the team wonders what went wrong and how this costly mistake could have happened.  It isn’t hard to imagine this hypothetical.  A commercial painting company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa wins a contract from the local school district.  The work was straightforward: repainting the classrooms of two elementary schools and one middle-school over a holiday break.  The painting company agreed to provide the materials and the work to complete the job before school resumed.   The job began without delay with each painter working to do the best work possible, hoping their commitment to excellent service would lead to even more work from the school district.

A standard wet film thickness gage from BYK


After the job was half finished, the project manager noticed the team was almost out of paint.   Having to buy enough to finish the job would mean that the paint company would lose money on the work.   But going to the school district for an increased budget didn’t seem like an appropriate option either.   While deliberating the difficult choice in front of them, the painters realized their error:  their sprayers had been applying too much paint to the walls without them realizing it.  If any one of the workers had been using a wet film thickness gage, this error could have been prevented.

Why not just trust the settings on the paint sprayer and get to work?  

Every mechanical device (including sprayers) is susceptible to wear and tear over time that can affect the exact performance of that device.   Unfortunately and unavoidably, these slight variances eventually add up to create a substantial difference between the operator’s expectations and the equipment’s actual performance.  Applying too much coating means wasted material and a coating that’s likely to crack, flake, or chip once it cures, while applying too little coating will leave the surface exposed to the elements, resulting in rust or other undesired wear.   In either case, someone will eventually have to come back and paint the surface again, resulting in extra cost and wasted time.   From start to finish, every part of the process should happen as intended, or the entire result can be compromised.

What is a wet film thickness gage and what does it do?

Fortunately, applying any coating or paint with superior results can be made easier by using simple tools like a wet film thickness gage.  A wet film thickness gage – sometimes referred to as a “comb” or “notched gage” – gives any painter a quick way to confirm that the proper amount of coating has been added to the intended surface.  Most wet film thickness gages are small, lightweight, handheld devices that quickly and accurately measure the thickness of the applied coating, thus eliminating any worry about wasted materials and wasted time, now or in the future.   Wet film thickness gages come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations and are available at prices that fit almost any budget.  Some gages are designed to measure film thickness on curved surfaces just as some are designed to be versatile and measure a wide range of thicknesses.  Furthermore, some wet film thickness gages are disposable, while others are designed to be cleaned and kept in use for years on end.

Why should I use a wet film thickness gage?

Doing a great job painting or applying a coating doesn’t have to be difficult. However, many painters and applicators spend an extraordinary amount of time making sure their equipment is clean and properly calibrated while spending very little time confirming the quality of their work once the job has begun.   Having an excellent sprayer and high quality paint or coating solution is worthless if the actual application of the material is not held to the same high standards.   In the event you don’t have a wet film thickness gage, BYK has you covered with a full line of high-quality devices designed to provide exact results, regardless of the size and scope of the job.   Contact us today to find the right solution for your commercial painting needs!


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