A painter works on the Seattle Aquarium at Pier 59 on Puget Sound

Pier Pressure: Aquarium Repaint Presents Multiple Challenges

The Seattle Aquarium sits on Pier 59 on the Elliott Bay waterfront, and that location is at the root of many of the challenges of a repaint of the facility that began in 2017.

The aquarium buildings sit right over the water, and are exposed to the elements and storms off the Puget Sound year-round. Plus, with all the live animal water tanks, there’s also a lot of moisture content in the building.

“One of the biggest challenges was to make sure that we’re allowing for proper moisture ventilation so that we don’t get a lot of blistering and bubbling and things like that,” says Cole Palea, owner of Novo Painting and Property Management, the Seattle contractor that won the painting bid. “Over the years, we’ve found about 10 layers of paint in the older sections. Even some of the newer sections received a lot of damage over the years and the boards were replaced.”

Crucial: a high-quality coating

Selecting the right paint was important to the success of the job.

“Given all the environmental conditions, we chose to use Emerald® Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint on this project specifically for its durability and its resistance to peeling and blistering,” Palea says. “We also chose it for its color retention for the darker colors.”

Also key: accurate custom color matching

The aquarium is known for some very specific paint colors, so it was crucial that they were accurate, he says. For example, one of the exterior paint colors was chosen to mimic the dark green shadow the building makes in the Puget Sound. Colors were painstakingly custom matched by the team at his local Sherwin-Williams store.

“Sherwin-Williams was really accommodating in making our client happy and making sure the colors were spot on,” Palea says.

In particular, he credits his Sherwin-Williams rep, Jake Marple.

“My relationship with my sales rep has really been at the core of our success,” Palea says. “He’s brought a lot of knowledge into our relationship and has helped to guide the formation of our company. He’s truly a mentor with us. Throughout every single project we do, he’s always there accommodating whatever we need, and to work for a solution to any problems we encounter. It really has been an asset to have him as part of our team.”

This article was written by PPC Editor Mike Starling and was originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of PPC magazine. Photography by Laurie Dix. Read about other successful painting projects.