Wood Coatings - What is best for you?


Let's take a quick look at the most common types of wood coating on the market: Pre-catalysed, acid-catalysed, polyurethane and water-based.

Pre-catalysed Wood Coating

A pre-catalysed coating is ideal for finishing occasional furniture that doesn't face heavy use, and items with a short lifespan, like shopfitting equipment or display stands.

Why should you use pre-catalysed?

Nitrocellulose wood finishes were popular for a long time because of their quick drying time. But, because they don't go through the curing process, they can dissolve when exposed to solvents. Pre-catalysed coatings are more durable. They share the same fast drying time as nitrocellulose but also contain a hardening agent, so the product cures.

Pre-catalysed coatings are easy to apply and repair, and they're cost-effective too.

Colormax PC Topcoat

Colormax PC Topcoat - Matt

Acid-catalysed Wood Coating

These lacquers and paints are similar to pre-catalysed but use acid to bond and strengthen the resin molecules. They're a great application for kitchen environments, where heavy traffic requires a durable finish.

On the downside, you'll need to wear an air-fed breathing mask when using acid-catalysed coatings as they contain formaldehyde, which comes with some serious respiratory health risks.

Honeywell Air-fed Breathing Mask

Honeywell Complete Airfed Visor Kit

Colormax AC Topcoat

Colormax AC Topcoat wood coating - Matt

Polyurethane Wood Coatings

For joinery and furniture that's subject to real wear and tear, this is your best option. Polyurethane is hardwearing and has excellent chemical and water resistance, so you can use it in bathroom and kitchen environments. It's formaldehyde-free and comes in a wide range of gloss finishes from a 5% dead matt to a 97% wet look.  However it does contain iso-cyanates so an air-fed breathing mask must be worn when spraying these products.

Sayerlack Polyurethane Topcoat - TZ99

Sayerlack Polyurethane Topcoat Wood Coating - TZ99

Water-based Wood Coating

Water-based finishes were once the poor relative of solvent-based coatings due to their slow drying times, poor clarity and low durability. But, manufacturers have upped their game, and there are some high-quality products on the market.

There are two big advantages to working with water-based applications. They have a low odour and are non-hazardous waste, so they're safer, and disposal is easy and economical compared to other coatings.

Sayerlack Water Based Topcoat AT99

Sayerlack Water Based Wood Coating Topcoat Matt AT99

I hope you found this information helpful. If you're still not sure which product is right for you, give the Ultrimax Total Paint Shop Support Team a call. We'll be happy to help.

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