The Pros and Cons of Paint Binders

July 2, 2008

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The type of binder used in paint makes a dramatic difference in the coating’s properties. Even the application and clean up process is affected by the choice of paint binder. Knowing which kind of paint to use depends on a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of each kind of paint.

Oil-based alkyd binders form their protective qualities through a drying process called film formation. As the liquid medium evaporates from the paint, the alkyd binder reacts with oxygen in the air to form a tough film over the painted surface.

Pros: Tough film protection of surface, good for trim work and woods
Cons: More prone to chipping or cracking, longer dry time than latex, can blister if applied over a damp surface, chemical clean up

When latex-based binders dry, they help protect the surface material through a process called coalescence. During the drying process, water molecules leave the surface of the paint, which embeds the pigment molecules among the latex particles.

Pros: Fast dry time, breathable, allows passage of moisture from inside painted surface, water clean up
Cons: Low temp applications problematic, excessive drying during application can affect finish durability

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