Water-based Paints - Advantages and Disadvantages


In a world that needs to reduce its environmental impact and adopt sustainable manufacturing practices, water-based paints are becoming the new standard. They're less hazardous than solvent-based coatings and offer several other benefits too.

Historically, solvent-based products have out-performed water-based, but technology has moved on, and there are plenty of high-performing alternatives on the market.

Why the move to water-based paints is so important?

In the last 20 years, government regulators have recognised the need to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being emitted into the atmosphere. These substances, which are present in high levels in solvent-based coatings, are toxic to human health and the environment.  Paint manufacturers are now regulated on the VOC contents of their products, and decorative and refinishing industries are regulated on the amount of VOCs that they consume and emit. Solvent-based paints can no longer be the bread and butter of the coatings industry.

What is Water-based Paint

A water-based coating uses water as the liquifying agent instead of chemical solvents, so it emits fewer VOCs.

Using water-based paints brings benefits that go beyond complying with regulations:

  • They're low odour, so they're safer and more comfortable to work with.
  • They're less flammable when working in confined spaces.
  • You're less likely to exceed VOC limits and receive hefty fines.
  • They're not a hazardous waste product, so you'll cut your disposal fees.

What else is good about water-based paints?

  • Clean-up is quick, and you don't need to use solvents - just wash your tools and equipment with water.
  • You won't need to use additives, hardeners or thinners.
  • They have excellent adhesion.
  • They have better colour-retention than solvent-based paints.

Disadvantages of Water-based Paints

  • Solvent based paints are more tolerant of adverse weather conditions during the curing process. Water-based paints take longer to dry in high humidity and lower temperatures.
  • Solvent-based gloss finishes have a higher sheen, but water-based keeps its sheen better throughout its lifetime.
  • The finish is tougher and easier to clean but can become brittle with age.

Aquimax 1

Aquimax 1 Water Based Paint - Grey

Sayerlack Water Based Topcoat - AT99

Sayerlack Water Based Paint Topcoat Matt AT99

If you're thinking of making the switch, give us a call. We can advise on the best water-based products for your finishing requirements.

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