Become a Master with Waterborne Paint

Many autobody shops and automotive manufacturers throughout the United States are switching from solvent-based paint to waterborne paint because it reduces the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), improving air quality and decreasing health risks. If you’re making the switch to waterborne paint, we wanted to give you some tips to ensure you get the best results possible.

  1. Choose the right spray gun: Waterborne paint performs better with a spray gun designed to work with waterborne materials. The keys are the needle, nozzle, and air cap designs that help atomize the paint and internal parts, so it will not corrode or rust from the water. Ideally, spray tips should be 1.0 to 1.3 mm. Keep in mind that the old-style paint strainers will collapse with the new water-based paint because they use a water-based glue to hold them together. Use a 125-micron strainer to capture any dry latex from the container because this stuff will not re-dissolve in the paint.
  2. Paint in the right environment: Waterborne paint relies on a balance of temperature, humidity, and air movement over the surface to dry properly. A good rule of thumb is to maintain a temperature between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit, 40-50% relative humidity & a uniform air flow of 20,000 to 35,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM).
  3. Be prepared to use less paint: Waterborne basecoats require only one to two coats to provide complete coverage, as compared to the several coats needed when working with solvent-based paints. Since fewer coats are needed, give yourself some time to learn how to adjust the amount of paint to mix for each job.
  4. Clean paint guns often: Because there are solvents in waterborne paint, spray guns and other equipment cannot be cleaned with soap and water. Use water-only or commercial gun wash to clean your equipment between each color change. Used cleaning water must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
  5. Store waterborne paint properly: Generally, waterborne basecoats must be maintained at a temperature above 55 degrees Fahrenheit or the shelf life is significantly reduced.
  6. Protect yourself: Waterborne paint may not smell as toxic as solvent-based paint, but that does not mean you can spray without protective gear. In fact, just the opposite is true. Despite reduced VOC levels, waterborne paints still contain plenty of hazardous chemicals. A respirator and other protective gear are necessary at all times to ensure you stay safe.
  7. Match colors correctly: Waterborne paints look very different when wet compared to when dry. For that reason, color-matching with waterborne paints is done with what is called a control coat method rather than a stick match. If you are attempting to match a current color with a new waterborne paint, you might want to enlist the help of a paint expert who offers color-matching services.

What are the Benefits of Using Waterborne Paint?

It may seem like a hassle to make the switch to waterborne paint, but consider these benefits:

  • Worker health and safety: You’re contributing to a safer work environment for yourself and your employees.
  • Reduced insurance costs: Waterborne basecoats are less flammable and less toxic than solvent-based paints, so you may see a reduction in your insurance premiums.
  • Regulatory compliance: A handful of states including California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have already banned solvent-based paints. It’s likely that other states will follow suit. By switching to waterborne paints sooner rather than later, you’ll get a head start in complying with future regulations.
  • Better results: Waterborne paints provide a more durable finish than solvent-based finishes. Waterborne finishes tend to resist chipping and are less brittle overall.

Follow the tips above and you’ll soon be a master when it comes to working with waterborne paint. If you’d rather leave it to the pros, then contact Spray Finishes. Spray Finishes has been in the electrostatic spray painting business since 1938. We specialize in on-site painting, and also have a 10,000 square foot shop for large off-site jobs. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to serve you at any of our five tristate area locations including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island, and Westchester.

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