Not all material advancements arrive with major fanfare. Many enter the market and build share as the technology improves, eventually becoming just another option for designers and engineers. Such was the case with hydrophobic wall coatings, a market segment that has existed in some form for decades but saw slow acceptance due to concerns about longevity and cost. The coatings force water to bead on the surface, keeping the building looking clean; however, the nanoscale textures that drive it were prone to wearing out, and prices were initially prohibitive.

“It’s a significantly higher price point than regular acrylic coating,” says Dan Boyer, BASF market segment manager for concrete repair, protection and grout. “But while there’s a premium for this, it’s no longer twice as much.” BASF launched its MasterProtect C 350 hydrophobic acrylic coating last year, and it’s addressing some of the concerns about hydrophobic wall coatings, according to Boyer. “It’s not a textured material like other hydrophobic coatings, so the properties don’t wear down over time,” he notes.

When people “heard about it the first time, we saw a lot of jaws dropping,” recalls Boyer. “But, now, they’re more aware of the chemistry."