Green Painting with Alkyd-based Paints

December 21, 2010

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Alkyd resin-based paints used to be popular in construction projects of decades past. Alkyd-based formulations possess unique application benefits and performance gains that were quite valued by painting contractors.

First, such paints created a smooth, glassy and polished appearance when applied to target surfaces, which enhanced the look of any area or room in the facility. Alkyd products were also very flexible and easy to apply on any substrate. Alkyd-based paints also provided strength and durability to application projects, with the cured formulation able to withstand scrubbing and erosion from chemicals and other synthetic ingredients.

But there is a downside to alkyd-based paints that made it unpopular to a slowly-evolving industry. Alkyd coatings are oil-based formulations, and are therefore excluded from any green painting applications. As constructions designers and builders began to adopt green-friendly methods, alkyd paints are thrust into the limelight and considered one of the non-green painting materials that used to proliferate the recent decades.

Because alkyds are oil-based, they use solvents as one of their components. Green painting practices frown on the use of chemical solvents which carry significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are harmful when released to the air and the environment. Furthermore, post-application cleanup of all tools and materials used also carry the same toxic materials, completely ruling out alkyds as a green painting material.

In recent years, because of the good performance of alkyds, many manufacturers have begun designing water-based alkyd paints to make them more appropriate to use. Paint designers invested heavily in technologies to make alkyds retain their unique quality minus the harmful VOCs. The results are greener, water-based, high-solid alkyds that are safe to apply and easy to cleanup with soap and water, and very environment-friendly.

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