This article gives an overview of different colours of industrial paints used in Australia, and what purpose they are commonly used for. Note that all advice is general in nature, and you should consult an expert before making a decision.
Common Industrial Paint Colours for Structural Steelwork;
What is AS2700 Colour Standards
In 1985, the Australian Standard 2700 was released, in order to have a standard set of colours that are recognised by all paint manufacturers. This removed confusion with different shade colours and identical names. The AS2700 Colours are coded with one letter and two numbers, e.g. N53, Y14 or R13. Each colour has a unique name that corresponds with the code. e.g. N53 Blue Grey or Y14 Golden Yellow. All AS2700 colours can be specified for painting projects in Australia, and they can be obtained from all major paint manufacturers.
Y14 – The Colour of Handrail – and why it matters
In Western Australia, ‘Safety Yellow’ is often the term used for the yellow colour of handrail and other metal safety items. Safety yellow is not actually a standard colour, but more a term to describe the high-visibility yellow used for steel grating, walkways and handrails. We suggest using Y14 Golden Yellow (from AS2700 standards), as this colour is most commonly used, and Y14 is produced as a ‘factory batch’ paint, rather than it being tinted from a base.
The colour of tinted paints is made from a ‘base’ which is as close to the colour range as possible, and then pigments are added to obtain the correct colour. Some colours, especially those in the yellow & orange range, are usually tinted from a clear base, which means they can contain a lot of pigments. When painting the most vibrant orange & red colours, it is very difficult to even cover a white or sand coloured primer coat. The coating may be the correct thickness, however the colour underneath is showing through, discolouring the finish. If further coats are added to acheive the right colour, the coating may end up too thick and therefore fail prematurely.
On occasion, clients have specified Y15 Sunflower Yellow, Y11 Canary Yellow, Y12 Wattle Yellow, Y13 Vivid Yellow, and X15 Orange as the colour chosen for their handrail, walkways, guards and other safety items. We strongly recommend that Y14 Golden Yellow is used for handrails, mesh guards and grating, as this will give the best result, reduce the chance of premature coating failure.
What Colour Should I Paint Structural Steelwork?
Mining companies in Western Australia will often specify what colour they want their steelwork painted, and while there are many different options, there are a few common colours that stand out. (For types of paint for structural steel, see this page.)
What is the Yellow & Black Colour on Safety Bollards?
You may have seen steel bollards painted with black and yellow stripes, which are used for protecting walkways and personel areas from vehicles and traffic management. The high-visibility yellow colour is usually Y14 Golden Yellow, and the black stripes are N61 Black. Bollards can be galvanised or raw steel, and will often have an epoxy primer at 75 microns thick and then an epoxy topcoat at 50-75um thick. The stripes are normally applied over the top of the yellow topcoat, to give a uniform finish without any gaps between the two colours.