7.3. Quality Assurance Requirements

7.3.1 Assurance of Lead-Free and Hexavalent Chromium-Free Content

Vendors shall provide written assurance that the paint is lead-free and hexavalent chromium-free. If paint from section 1.1 is used, documentation of the brand and color identification from the manufacturer is acceptable. For coating materials other than those listed in section 1.1, the vendor shall procure independent laboratory testing of the paint. The independent laboratory shall be accredited by one of the accrediting organizations under EPA's National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program. The laboratory test method shall use ASTM D4834 "Test Method for Detection of Lead in Paint by Direct Aspiration Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy". The test shall be performed on a dry coating sample scraped to bare metal. Laboratory test results shall be reported directly to Caltrans.

All vendor provided paint is subject to random lead and hexavalent chromium testing by Caltrans.

7.3.2 Assurance of Air Quality Compliance

All coating materials and application processes used on Caltrans equipment inside California shall comply with the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) requirements of the SCAQMC Rule 1151 and the hexavalent chromium requirements of Title 17 CCR, section 93112.

7.3.3 Solvent Resistance Test

Where Caltrans Orange or Fleet White coating is specified, the topcoat shall be tested by at least twenty rubs of a toluene based lacquer thinner soaked cloth. The test consists of ten bi-directional rubs using a pressure of approximately 25 psi and a lint-free, white cotton cloth. The topcoat must retain its luster and the white cloth must not pick up any color from the paint.

7.3.4 Visual Inspection Criteria

The paint surface shall be visually inspected for orange peal and the undesirable characteristics listed in Appendix A. Passing these criteria is at the discretion of the Caltrans inspector.

7.3.5 Film Thickness Test

A minimum dry film thickness of 4-mils is required. The quality inspector may perform film thickness measurements. Location and number of measurements are at the discretion of the Caltrans inspector.

7.3.6 Color Match

Caltrans maintains a set of standard paint color samples. These samples are made available to vendors bidding on Caltrans jobs. A color match between the sample and the finished product is required under daylight conditions. The degree of the match is at the discretion of the Caltrans inspector.

7.3.7 Gloss Test

Caltrans orange paint applied to bodies shall achieve a minimum gloss measurement of 85 at 60° using a Horiba IG-330 gloss meter.

7.3.8 Adhesion Test

Adhesion of the coating film to its substrate is measured by jerking the paint away from a scribed 'X' with a strip of cellophane tape. The following Figure illustrates the test procedure. The cellophane tape (3M Company #600 Crystal Brand) is pressed down with an eraser three inches in each direction beyond the ends of the 'X'. The tape is jerked quickly back on itself as nearly in the plane of the surface as possible. Test results are evaluated according to the following table.

Numerical Ratings for Tape Adhesion


Peeling beyond lines and tape


Peeling beyond lines and under tape

3 to 6

Use subjective judgment


Jagged peeling along lines to 1/8"


Smooth peeling along lines to 1/16"


Trace of peeling


No peeling

Test location(s) are at discretion of the Caltrans inspector. A numerical rating of 8 or higher is required.