How to increase the water-based share in wood coatings

How can wood coatings become more sustainable? One way is to increase the use of water-based systems, even though many wood coatings are already water-based. We spoke with experts about this question and other trends in wood coatings.

Wood Coating yellow
Water-based coatings are already quite common in wood applications. However Image Source: Тимур Конев

Most wood coatings are already water-based. At least if you look at the portfolio of Adler-Werk Lackfabrik. As Albert Rössler, CTO ad Adler explains: ”More than 65% of our portfolio is water-based.” He also adds, that “The systems perform as well as solvent-borne systems and will benefit in the next years mostly, because they are fast, clean and green.”

Ludger Kalmer LubrizolLudger Kalmer, Manager Process Technology & Quality Assurance at Lubrizol (picture right) has a similar view. But he sees potential to improve the situation. It is often not clear enough which possibilities water-based paint systems offer and what qualities they have achieved over the last ten years”, he says. He admits, that there are some challenges. However, these are mostly under control. He explains: “Water-based paints usually contain several different types of additives compared to solvent-based systems. However, these must not affect the quality of the paint system either individually or in their entirety.“

That the technology is improving is also a view shared by Rösler. “In addition, binder and crosslinking technologies offers also interesting possibilities in the near future to support the change”, he says.
Dr Albert Rössler, Adler Werk Lackfabrik

New developments for water-based wood coatings

The ongoing shift to water-based systems is not only a question of raw materials and formulations. As Albert Rösler explains. He says: “There are some developments on the equipment market ongoing, which will support the usage.“

Of course, professional equipment is mostly a topic for professional and industrial users. In the DIY market the situation can be more complex. “The possible range of non-industrial applications is difficult for paint manufacturers to cover with “generally compatible water-based paints”, explains Ludger Kalmer and adds that it can be difficult for end users to choose from the broad variety of products on offer.

More information: This interview is a shortened version of an extensive interview on wood coatings. The full version can be found in Issue 1/2021 of European Coatings or at European Coatings 360°. There the experts say more about further trends, the influence of environmental regulation and digitization. 

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