How to restore faded stadium seats?
A few weeks ago, a video went viral in which the original colour of the seats in a stadium was “restored” in a few seconds, simply by applying heat with a gas torch.
We think is interesting to answer the questions asked by many users in social media.
Why does the colour fade on plastic seats? Is it possible to avoid it? How long can it take for this loss of colour to be visible? How can the original colour of the seats be restored? And above all, does the “gas torch technique” work?
Without going into technical details, we want to answer in some brief and simple explanations.
Why do plastic seats, and any plastic, lose their original colour over time? Is it possible to avoid it?
By the action of the sun, and it is inevitable. But this process is minimized with the use of anti UV additives that act as a chemical screen against the sun and slow down this degradation process as much as possible.
We share this study carried out by our technical team in our factory in Córdoba.
The comparison of a seat without any type of anti UV additive (right seat) that degrades its colour in a few months after continuous exposure to the sun, compared to another seat made with anti UV protection, which slows down this process.
Stadium seating colour fade is very progressive and slow over the years with the correct application of anti UV additives.
How many years can it take before this loss of colour is visible?
The geographical location where the plastic is exposed has a lot to do with it. As we can see in the following image, there are areas marked in red in which ultraviolet radiation is maximum, for example around Ecuador, and others where it is minimal. So, logically colour fade will be slower in areas with less incidence of ultraviolet radiation.
Another important factor is the architecture of the sports venue itself. Colour behaviour is different if the plastic stadium seats are protected from solar action during part of the day than if they are being exposed to the sun during the whole day.
A maintenance solution is to incorporate some type of temporary covering on the bleachers more exposed to the sun, such as tarps, especially if there are not going to be used for a considerable period. Thus, we avoid weeks or months of exposure to solar radiation.
Are there lasting techniques to restore the original colour of plastic stadium seats? And above all, does the “gas torch technique” work?
This is not a real solution, since applying high temperatures to the plastic degrades the material of the seat and its additives. The same occurs in other “solutions” that we have seen applied on plastic seats for bleachers, such as the application of corrosive chemical liquids.
In conclusion, applying these techniques is unwise for plastic in general and for the seat itself, because we further degrade the material and its anti-UV additives (already deteriorated), drastically reducing its resistance to the sun.
That is why these renovation colour techniques are not long-lasting solutions. In our experience, plastics treated with these “solutions” present the same appearance in a few weeks as they had before applying any of these treatments.
And we also add this question, is painting the plastic stadium seats a solution to extend its useful life?
In the very short term, it can be a purely aesthetic solution depending on the quality of the paint application. But of course, it does not improve the mechanical properties of the seat.
We know that the adhesion of the paint on the plastic is not good, and after a period and its normally use it partially detaches from the seat causing stains or colour patches.
In the long term, if we are talking about seats whose material has already degraded over the years (even decades), the ideal solution is to replace them with new ones because this way we make sure that they comply with the current regulations (mechanical properties, loss of colour, corrosion of metal components such as screws).
How to protect stadium seats colour against UV radiation? some conclusions:
- Any plastic will lose its original colour due to the action of solar radiation, but it can be greatly slowed down for several years by adding the correct proportion of anti UV additives.
- To further prolong this slowdown in the discoloration of plastic, we recommend protecting the stadium seats as much as possible to minimize its exposure to the sun, especially in those areas of the planet with a higher proportion of solar radiation.
- Once the colour tone of the plastic has degraded it cannot be restored using corrosive chemical techniques or heat. After this application, we can see a lower layer of the plastic surface, but this new surface degrades again in a few months because by applying these techniques we have dramatically damaged its material and anti-UV additives.
- After several decades of use, it is necessary to carry out a study on the current state of stadium seating. Without aesthetics being the main reason for replacing the seats, we can find other important reasons to carry out a renovation, such as making profitable spectator areas with VIP areas or safe standing areas, or simply, replacing the seats that are more deteriorated in their internal structure and that could eventually start to crack. For example, it is recommended to check seats anchoring points.
In any case, do not hesitate to contact our team. We will study the best solutions to renew your sports venue.