Everyone is becoming more dependent on technology, particularly cellular services. Cellular antenna towers increasingly dot the landscape to improve the quality of reception for the many competing carriers seeking to offer better and faster service. The towers, however, cannot just be placed haphazardly. The government has strict rules determining their location, paint colors, and lighting.
Why do antenna towers need to be painted?
Antenna towers need to be painted on a regular basis. Painting helps protect the bare metal from the elements, and it also is required by the government for safety purposes.
Who mandates that towers be painted?
The FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, oversees the installation, use, and maintenance of all antenna towers in the United States. They derive their power from Congress and work in tandem with the FAA, the Federal Aviation Authority, to determine policy on towers. The FAA has no authority in the matter, but their suggestions on lighting and paint are strictly enforced by the FCC.
The reason the FCC relies on the FAA's guidance and expertise is that towers can reach very high in the air and could potentially disrupt flight patterns. It is essential to pilot, crew, and passenger safety that all towers are clearly marked by paint during the day and by lighting at night.
What color do they need to be painted?
The FAA requires the use of "aviation orange and white paint" for meteorological evaluation tower painting. Specifically, the FAA requires Orange #12197 and White #17875. These colors are chosen because they have high contrast and are easier for pilots to see during the day.
Furthermore, the FAA requires specific patterns be used — solid, checkerboard, and alternating bands — to help identify the height and type of tower. Solid paint is required on structures under ten feet tall. A checkerboard pattern is required on larger structures, like grain, water, and gas storage tanks. Horizontal bands of alternating color are used on communication towers over ten feet tall. The width of the bands is determined by the tower height.
Should you use a primer before painting an antenna tower?
As with any paint job, quality prep work is essential. This includes a coat of primer before painting any tower. Be sure the tower painting service that you hire includes a coat of primer in their bid.
Is there a specific way to apply the paint?
Neither the FAA nor the FCC have requirements on how the paint is applied. You can use a brush or a sprayer. It is more important that the paint be of high quality and applied well. The FAA requires that quality paint be used to "maximize the years of service" of any tower.
Can you paint an antenna tower all year round?
Paint must have adequate temperatures to dry properly. If it gets too cold overnight, the quality of the application will suffer. Temperature issues could possibly cause both mildew and adhesion issues.
Paint is best applied when the overnight temperature will remain over 50 degrees and there is no rain in the forecast for at least 48 hours.
Will your paint job be compliant with regulations?
Following the FAA guidelines for paint color and pattern selection will help keep your tower complaint with FCC regulations. Make sure the tower painting service you select is familiar with FAA Advisory Circular # 70/7460-1L and everything detailed within it regarding tower painting.
Painting a tower is more complicated than you think for safety purposes. Working with a professional tower painting company is essential. Contact a company that provides tower painting services in your area to learn more.