Milk-Based Paints vs. Conventional Paints: Which is Better?

October 1, 2011

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Milk-based paint is touted as the new mainstream alternative to conventional oil and latex-based paints. Although this commercial painting solution does have some advantages – particularly for facility managers with the weight of corporate social responsibility on their minds – it is important to assess the purpose of a certain surface before deciding how best to decorate it.

The case against milk-based paints…

Milk-based paints are mixed with water to create a very thin paint. This means that any layers applied to surfaces such as wood will chip exceptionally easy. For coffee tables in restaurants, bedside tables in hotels and benches in shopping malls, this will bring a poor return on investment very quickly. Acrylic retardants are now being added to some types of milk-based paints to guarantee better penetration with surfaces.

…but there are redeeming factors of milk-based paints

Decorators who use milk-based, watery paints have the opportunity to determine the concentration of the paint they are decorating with. This means that if you wanted one shade of red or green in a store or hotel room to add depth and sophistication, the milk-based paint could be diluted further to create a watercolor, washed-out effect.

The final case for milk-based paints: a worthwhile consideration?

Paint contractors offer a wide range of products, and one of the most sought-after types of paint are the traditional formulas used on antiques in centuries gone by. Such authentic produce can be hard to come by, but milk-based paints can be used to recreate that old-fashioned feel with the right tools and technique. Milk-based paints do take time to apply – it is necessary to let the first coat dry and seal before making the painted surface even and well-presented – but the wide range of options possible by custom-making the paint to specification instead of using a pre-existing can of paint can be exciting, allowing a commercial property to have a unique and exclusive image.

Conventional paints can achieve the unconventional!

Critics of milk-based paint would argue that although versatile when achieving ambitious decorative effects, the rich, deep and long-lasting colors offered by oil and latex-based paints outstrip environmentally-friendly alternatives by a country mile.

Are you using conventional paints on an industrial scale?

If you’re attracted by conventional paints, don’t forget you’ll need to account for the extensive cost of rollers and alcohol-based cleaning solutions to remove oil-based paints from the cleaning utensils you use. Milk-based paints just take normal soap and some lukewarm water before a new color can be added to the roller, but the process of reusing a roller is more complicated with oil and latex-based paints.

You should remember that in some cases, it won’t be a matter of preference when selecting paints, but one of necessity. Elastomeric coatings are strong, and can be applied in heavy-duty environments where weathering is a problem and where a fire-retardant solution is essential. For deck coatings and for brick painting, there will be no choice better.

Contacting a contractor for informative advice will ensure you make an informed decision.

Questions or comments?

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