Water-Based Coatings Vs Solvent-Based

Water-Based Coatings Vs Solvent-Based


Tony McAuley | Ontario Territory Manager

With the advancement in technology of water based coatings, it is now becoming ever more difficult, on a finished surface, to distinguish between a solvent based top coat and one that is waterborne. This has not always been the case. When I first started out in finishing some 30 years ago, I absolutely hated the thought of finishing a job with water based material...boy have things changed.


I have watched the evolution of water based technology. While water based finishing has always presented its own challenges, now more than ever it is evolving into a more user friendly product. Advancements have allowed those who have historically ran solvent based systems to test and implement the use of water based products into their facilities. More so now then ever before, we are seeing start up companies, entering the market, using water based materials right from the word go. 50% of the lab trials I have ran over the past 12 months have been with water based coatings, a sharp and noticeable increase. 


Why is this happening? Regulatory and environmental restrictions pertaining to the use of solvent based material are becoming ever more restrictive. Companies are pushed to look for other alternatives and in doing so have driven the coating suppliers to develop a better water based line up, resulting in the improved quality we are all seeing these days.

Don't get me wrong, Water based finishing still presents a number of issues when compared to finishing with solvent, but it is nothing like the beast it once was. One issue which has lingered is the need for absolute control of mil build. 


The inconsistencies in mil build during the hand spraying process can cause issues with the results you are looking to achieve. Picking out that small piece of dirt and then spraying the spot where the dirt was can be detrimental if sprayed heavily and result in the need to rework. This has been the case with clears and pigmented top coats.


The ability to accurately control the application process is vital to achieve a high quality look using water-bourne materials.


This is where we can help. 


Superfici's premium line of spraying solutions take all the guesswork out of mil control. Once the parameters have been established, you can rest assured that you can and will realize the clarity and overall finished look you want and need to deliver to your customers. We are very experienced in providing solutions to our customers' very specific needs and water based material application is one area where we excel. 

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