CLEVELAND – Though construction-related sales are generally down, demand for prepainted metal is taking hold in several key markets, including metal roofing, appliances and metal office furniture.

Metal roofing is often made with prepainted heat-reflective coatings that are available in a variety of colors and designs. This market is growing in replacement and new-construction applications as the residential and commercial markets learn of metal's advantages over alternative materials. Through Dec. 31, 2010, the federal government is providing a tax credit worth up to 30 percent of the materials cost up to $1,500 per home to homeowners who install a qualified cool roof on their residences. This tax credit incentive, coupled with attractive design options such as cedar shake, copper and tile looks, are fueling the residential market. Commercial property owners looking to reduce their environmental impact are also turning to cool metal roofing for its durability and energy saving benefits. Metal roofs are also compatible with solar energy panels, which play a key role in the world’s fastest-growing energy market. And, best of all, metal is made primarily from recycled material and is completely recyclable later.

While appliance manufacturers have traditionally coated products with powder coatings, market leaders such as Whirlpool, Trane and General Electric are now using prepainted metal for many product lines. New features like fingerprint resistance, anti-microbial coatings, and color and design options are available with coil-coating technology. This fuels the growth of prepaint over powder coatings. The other advantage to using prepainted metal is that it streamlines the production process and eliminates EPA compliance requirements of in-house painting. Using prepainted metal can make it simpler to introduce new product designs because the manufacturer does not have to incorporate painting into its production plans. The metal coils arrive at the plant prepainted and ready to be formed. Coil coating offers attractive and durable finishes for refrigerators, washers and dryers, HVAC units, and more.

Metal office furniture manufacturers are also prime sources of demand for prepainted metal. At least two leaders in the industry, Steelcase and XLM, report a higher-quality product, lower costs and fewer hassles with the use of prepainted metal.

Steelcase buyer, Heather Majestic, says the main reason the company switched from raw steel to prepainted coils was insufficient capacity on the paint lines. By using prepainted metal, the painting is outsourced to a coil coater, and space for in-house paint lines can be used for other purposes on the manufacturing floor. XLM Co. also converted to prepainted metal. XLM needed to create a finish for its file cabinets that was tough enough to resist rust even in extreme conditions. Prepainted metal proves to be more durable and more corrosion resistant than post-painted alternatives.

The flexibility, high efficiency and green benefits of coil-coated metal will continue to drive demand through the economic downturn in these industries, as well as many others. For a wide variety of free resources about coil coating, visit the National Coil Coating Association Web site,