CBR Products Choosing Eco Friendly Coatings Press Release

CBR Products Choosing Eco Friendly Coatings Press Release

For Immediate Release

How to choose an eco-friendly paint or stain: 5 questions to ask. 

By Bill Willis
 
Vancouver, March 28, 2011 – At one time, heading down to the hardware store for a can of paint or stain was a straightforward process. Choose the finish, choose the colour, pay and leave. But as we learn more about toxins in our home and environment, many homeowners want to make better choices. That means asking the right questions to find out what’s right for you.
 
Does it clean up with soap and water?
Traditionally, the world of coatings has been divided into two camps: Water-based and Oil-based. Water-based coatings include latex, acrylics and some urethanes. They tend to have less VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and clean up with soap and water. This means you don’t have a lot of toxic cleaning fluids, thinners and flammable rags to dispose of. Or inhale.
Oil-based coatings have traditionally been considered more durable (though newer water-based technologies are very competitive) but that durability has come at a price. Almost all oil-based finishes are carried in a solvent, which is usually toxic, so a respirator should be worn while applying, and all brushes and spills must be cleaned with a thinner, or solvent. These coatings include enamel, oil-based stains, urethanes, varnish, shellac and lacquer. All in all, not the eco-friendliest options.
For wood stain, there is a third choice to consider – water-borne natural oil. BRODA® PRO-TEK-TOR, for example, suspends pigment and oils in water, which means you get low-VOC’s, soap & water clean-up and the long-term protection of oil.
 
Is it low-VOC?
VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, are are gases or vapours emitted by various solids or liquids, many of which have adverse health effects. Household products that emit VOCs include paint, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, glues and adhesives, building materials and furnishings. Fuels such as gasoline also release VOCs. While low-VOC is not a guarantee that a product is eco-friendly, it is an important consideration, not just for the person applying the finish, but for those living in the home as well.
 
What’s your expectation for durability?
Painting the walls of your new baby’s nursery is a different task than refinishing a deck that is fully exposed to sun and weather. For chemically-sensitive people, there are now a number of products available that are entirely non-toxic. The Safecoat® line of paints, by AFM, can even prevent VOC’s from underlying layers of wood and adhesives from passing through into the air of your home. For exterior applications, take a look at the surface and weather exposure. The more sun your project gets, the more pigment you may want to consider in your stain. If your surface is wood, and you want to see the grain, consider a breathable coating rather than one that forms a film under which mildew can form.
 
Is the coating easy to maintain?
Coatings are rarely a once-in-a-lifetime process. (Be very wary of any products making this claim) Regular washing, touch-up and recoating will keep your home looking better longer. Look for coatings that form a breathable barrier, such as BRODA® PRO-TEK-TOR. This way, moisture won’t get trapped under the surface and cause problems. It also means you won’t have to grind off the old surface to recoat. You can just powerwash and apply a fresh clearcoat every couple of years.
 
Is the coating manufacturer focused on sustainability?
Last, but not least, look up the company you will be buying from. Are they locally-based? Do they support fair trade and/or working conditions? Do they contribute to any non-profits or causes you support? Are they working to minimize the environmental impact of their own processes? (For example, providing reusable and recyclable containers)
Buying from companies that are making a difference is a good way to vote with your pocketbook.
When it comes to anything ‘green’, there are a lot more questions and answers out there, so keep asking, and don’t give up. Once you’ve chosen the right eco-friendly coating, your home or project will be a lasting and beautiful reminder that you did it right.
 
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Bill Willis is President of CBR Products, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of low-VOC coatings who also offers factory pre-finishing for the building industry. (www.cbrproducts.com) He was also a loghome builder in Whistler for many years, and offers his practical expertise to solve coating issues on many major projects in the Pacific Northwest. You can reach Bill by phone at 1-888-311-5339, or by email: bill@cbrproducts.com