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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Going Green:

Why Going Green Can Also Mean Better Color & Better Performance

In the previous post we noted that green paints are often greeted with the same criticisms that the new latex paints received 50 years ago. For some green paints, concerns about durability are valid--too often when manufacturers try to reduce or eliminate carbon-based solvents, which give rise to VOCs, colorfastness and durability suffers. But because Benjamin Moore has developed an entirely new (and proprietary) colorant system that's water- not carbon-based, performance of our green paints does more than just match our traditional paints, it actually exceeds their capabilities in these areas.

Take color rub-off, for example. It's one of the most common paint problems with both oil-based and traditional latex paints. It happens because solvent-based universal colorants (that were originally designed to be used with oil-based paints) contain pigments that are hard for the resins in latex paint to completely encapsulate. As a result, some of the pigment remains on the surface, where it can be wiped off, either by inadvertently brushing up against it or while cleaning. This is also the cause of water streaking, which is often visible around tubs or sinks. 

There's no easy fix with most paints, but because our colorants are water-based, homeowners and painting contractors no longer have to worry about color rub-off and water streaking. These new colorants (in low-VOC Aura and no-VOC Natura paints), contain pigments that can be completely encapsulated by the resins in the paint so that the color is almost literally "locked in." Instead of degrading the paint, the pigment actually completes the resins in the paint, enhancing the paint’s performance and locking in the color. With our system, what we call "color-lock technology," the old rules--glossier paints in lighter colors for durability, flatter paints in darker colors strictly for décor--no longer apply. Now, any sheen in any color can be used in any room in the house.


Another common complaint about traditional latex paints is that they don't hide very well, particularly in dark hues, and colors like reds and yellows, require multiple coats. That's because tinting a latex paint with universal colorants actually degrades its performance (and boosts its VOC levels) and reds and yellows, in particular, contain synthetic rather than natural oxide pigments. While synthetic pigments offer more vibrant color, they don't hide as well natural pigments, which produce more muted colors. As a result, reds and yellows may need as many as 4 or 5 coats for complete coverage, adding considerable expense in both materials and labor. Our waterborne colorants in Aura and Natura, on the other hand, enhance rather than degrade paint performance, allowing two-coat coverage in almost any hue.

Fading can also a problem with most traditional paints. While latex has better UV-resistance than oil-based paints, the Achilles heel of both of them are--again--the universal colorants used to tint them. Waterborne pigments aren't affected by UV light like solvent-based pigments, so both Aura and Natura are more stable and less likely to fade when exposed to direct sunlight. 

Bottom line: Going green is not only about saving the environment. If you're also looking for the greatest durability, coverage and colorfastness--and who isn't?--the right green paints, those with Gennex water-based colorants that "lock in the color," will actually perform better than traditional paints (and other green paints) in every color and every finish.


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