Crown Paints

The clear benefits of water-based paints: a piece by Crown Paints

  • 21 May 2018

David Spicer, specification technical manager from leading coatings manufacturer Crown Paints, looks at how new advances in water-based paint technology are offering a modern alternative to traditional solvent–based products, helping specifiers combine compliance with cost-effectiveness and creativity.

Legislation relating to the need to limit the harmful environmental effects of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has had an important effect on the coatings industry and has been a main driver in the development of water-based paints and coatings. However the benefits of this new generation of low VOC paints extend above and beyond hitting sustainability targets – but what are the main advantages and more importantly, how do they compare to the traditional solvent and oil-based paints?

A workable alternative

When it comes to specifying new paint products, the finish is often the most important place to start. The biggest challenge in the development of water-based paints has been to offer the same quality of flow and workability that trade professionals demand and the high levels of opacity and sheen that specifiers expect. However, through investment and innovation, manufacturers such as Crown have created a range of water-based products that offer a high performance finish that not only matches but often exceeds that of solvent and oil based paints. Indeed, rather than being a ‘watered-down’ alternative, the best water-based paints on the market are those that combine all the application characteristics of solvent-based paints with the added benefits of shorter drying times, less yellowing and low odours.

Crown Paints

Designs for life

Thanks to new advances in water-based paint technology, specifiers now have an even greater choice of solutions available to them. The best examples of ‘trim’ products, such as Crown Trade’s Fastflow range of Quick Drying Gloss, Satin and Undercoat, not only look and feel like solvent-based products but also offer excellent opacity and have been developed to stay whiter and brighter for longer, with less discoloration through age. This not only provides a high quality durable finish but can also help contribute to reducing cyclical redecoration and maintenance costs.
The additional option of specifying water-based paints in a wide range of colours also opens up new design opportunities, whether this relates to achieving aesthetic appeal, matching to corporate colours schemes, wayfinding or achieving compliance with the relevant building regulations such as Part M.

Speedy solutions

Other potential cost-saving benefits of choosing water-based paints, and ones that can be enjoyed immediately, are their quick-drying and low-odour properties. This is where solvent-based products struggle to compete. As water-based paints have a shorter drying time, additional coats can be applied quicker and the overall time taken to complete the job can be significantly reduced. Additional cost-savings can be made by using water-based products such as Crown Trade’s Fastflow range which can be used both inside and out, with the use of a quick-drying exterior paint helping projects stay on schedule and avoid any potential delays caused by the often unpredictable British weather.

For interior projects that may remain in use throughout or which need to be handed over quickly, the use of water-based paints can also help to limit any disruption as unlike solvent products, there are no unpleasant or lingering odours to contend with. This makes water-based paints particularly effective when used in the education, healthcare and hospitality sectors.

Crown Paints

Better environments

With many architects and main contractors keen to minimise the environmental impact of a scheme, water-based paints can make an important contribution thanks to their lower VOC content. They are also a popular choice with professional painters and decorators thanks to the fact that brushes and rollers can be easily washed using soap and water rather than a chemical cleaner such as white spirit.

Choosing paints such as Crown Trade’s Fastflow Quick Drying Gloss and Primer Undercoat, which have been independently tested and verified to achieve Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certification via the BRE, is also an important way of assessing the green credentials of a product throughout its life-cycle, from manufacture to application and disposal. Such certification and product innovation enables water-based paints and coatings to make a positive contribution, helping main contractors reduce the carbon impact of a project and meet the more stringent environmental stipulations that clients so often demand.

Supply chain collaboration

With more and more trade professionals preferring to work with water-based paints, feedback remains an important part of product development and innovation and for our part, Crown is committed to working with the complete supply chain to develop solutions that provide numerous benefits to the trade, specifier and client.

For more information on Crown’s water-based product range and to find out about the company’s range of specification and colour advisory services, please visit

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