The auto industry isn’t the only one that has been experimenting with hybrid technologies in recent years. It’s been a transitional time in the paint world as well. Many of the changes taking place are driven by tighter regulations that government is placing on paint manufacturers to create products that are lower in VOC’s and more environmentally friendly.
The major manufacturers are putting their R&D dollars into waterborne formulations to meet stricter EPA standards. This makes for a particularly interesting time in the world of interior clear wood coatings, a category that for decades has been dominated by solvent based products.
Historically, some categories of interior finishes, such as primers and paints that are applied to walls and ceilings, have been latex, so a paint contractor’s product choices haven’t been compromised in these areas. In fact, there have been notable improvements made by many manufacturers on those existing technologies.
What About Wood Finishes?
Waterborne interior wood finishes, on the other hand, haven’t advanced on as a large a scale. Oil based clear finishes have long been considered superior in application and performance for interior wood finishing situations. If manufacturers continue to phase out oils, and clear waterborne technologies aren’t improved, wood finishers are in trouble.
ZAR Ultramax Urethane
The waterborne oil modified (OMU) is a hybrid coating – an oil urethane suspended in a waterborne platform.
This means that it looks, spreads and cleans up like a waterborne, but when it is dry, you are left with an oil type of finish.
Faster dry times make for less likelihood of airborne dust contamination while tacking up.
- low odor
- easy to spread
- reasonable open time
- quick dry times
- scuff sands with minimal abrasive load
- applies well by brush and sprayer
- cured finish is “oil like”
Not Low VOC
The one downside to Ultramax is that it comes with a higher (250g/l) VOC rating than most of us would like to see in a waterborne interior product.
This condition can only be improved as manufacturers are able to obtain higher quality resins from their own suppliers. Paint contractors and manufacturers have a shared interest in achieving oil based performance in waterborne products. Paint contractors should not have to settle for the best seller of the biggest name in polyurethane. We need high performance waterbased coatings geared to clear wood finishes at a professional level.
While this market segment is small, it is critical. We applaud ZAR for a good start with Ultramax.