Comparing Products/VOC Issues:

We generally do not like to speak directly about other specific brands, but every big paint company has a "zero VOC" paint they tout as "environmental", and they are essentially all the same. There are a few simple points worth noting:

1. Zero VOC does not mean zero emissions, or even zero VOC. This is because the government allows the use of many chemicals which are actually VOC's (the technical definition of a volatile organic compound is simply the presence of a carbon atom in the chain), but which do not cause smog. These are called "exempt compounds" - they are VOC's which do not count against the manufacturer as VOC's, allowing the product to be marketed as "zero" VOC. Note that government regulation of VOC is not concerned with toxicity or health; it is based simply on the fact that some VOCs react with nitrous oxides and ultra violet light to form low level ozone, or smog. If the VOC's don't participate in this reaction, the government doesn't really care if they are toxic or not, and so they can be exempted from the VOC calculation. Thus, we actually had a large customer commission emissions testing on our zero VOC paint and another popular brand. Even though it was marketed as zero VOC, or close thereto, it actually registered very high levels of emissions (in this case 246 grams per liter, 2.05 pounds per gallon), because the tests did not screen for exempt compounds. The Safecoat paint registered a true zero.

2. It is not enough simply to take regular paint and remove the VOC so you can have a product that can be marketed as environmental. To make a paint that works from a health and reduced toxicity standpoint, you have to build it from the ground up. This is what we have been doing for over 20 years. It is why even our regular paints, which have very low VOC, are so well tolerated even by people who are chemically sensitive. And it is why, since the introduction of zero VOC paints by the multi-billion dollar paint companies, we get frequent calls and letters from people who have used them, believing that they were safe, who find that something in the paint is making them sick. Most of the time, they actually wind up repainting with Safecoat, and this seems to work for them.

3. We go far beyond VOC in formulating. One big reason for the price difference is that we have to use very high quality, very refined resins and raw materials to avoid the residual chemical compounds which offgas and cause problems for people with allergies or sensitivities. We make sure the products not only contain no formaldehyde, but no formaldehyde precursors as well.


Transitioning From Oil-Base To Water-base Paint

There are three possible approaches you can take:

1. Sanding, followed by all water based coatings. The existing paint could be sanded (it should be wet sanded, with HEPA vacs used to collect any dust). Assuming the sanding job is properly done, the surface could then simply coated with our Safecoat Transitional Primer, followed by one of our Safecoat enamels, which are a good choice for covering a coating that has not been entirely removed.

2. No sanding, and using Safecoat Transitional Primer. If sanding is not desired, the existing surface should be cleaned very well (we recommend using SafeChoice Super Clean, as it leaves no residue to contaminate the coating), and then coated with a transitional (often called a production) primer, which will both adhere to oil based paint and accept a water based coating on top.

3. No sanding, all water based products. There is one possible solution which would enable you to use only water based products. First, apply a very thin coat of Safecoat Safe Seal to the existing painted surface (this is a clear water based coating/sealer which is very easy to apply and improves adhesion of finish coats). This should be followed by Safecoat Transitional Primer, and then finish coats of Safecoat enamel. This may well be sufficient, without Transitional Primer, followed by one of our Safecoat enamels. Adhesion may be sufficient, although not as strong as following the procedures described above. Testing small areas is always recommended.


Spraying Polyureseal BP

So many people want to spray with little knowledge of their own system's limitations. Today we must understand our own equipment much better. We can buy a topnotch product and then buy a cheap brush and lose all the value of our product. Then we want to blame the product or try to change the product to work with our brush. How true this is also with spray equipment. It is important to take charge of the entire application in order to bring complete satisfaction to the user. Guns, pots, pressure, nozzles, tips, temperature.... so many things to manage. We can't control every installation however it is important to control the same elements for each customer.

Clean surface and equipment

Proper pressure on material

Proper viscosity for type of application

Proper technique for equipment and substrate

1. Orange peel – poor pattern that can be fixed by controlling the temperature of the coating, the surface, and reducer (water). Get everything to 72 degrees F as much as possible. Changing pressure and reducing viscosity are aids as well. Warming up everything is also an aid in control. If surface resembles appearance of an orange, material is too cold, too thick, gun is too close to surface, and generally the material does not have the proper atmosphere to flow properly.

2. Fisheyes are generally caused by some sort of contamination. However, this term is often thrown around thoughtlessly. It is mostly an occurance of silicone contamination in the automotive industry. Customers may be experiencing some sort of crawling or other surface irregularity or contamination and refer to it as a "fisheye". Typically, a fish eye is a bubble with another bubble in the center which resembles a "fish eye". If the surface has small voids where coating did not sit down and stay down, this is crawling. Poor wetting and surface contamination are general causes. Oil traps and moisture traps in spray systems aid in catching internal contamination problems. Using spray equipement for other materials can leave behind residues from each job that can affect future spray jobs. Good cleaning practices are in order here and a complete knowledge of materials and their incompatibilities is also helpful in preventing cross-contamination.

3. Sagging is caused by over applying on vertical surfaces and overthinning of material. Enough material should be applied to surface to cover and then dry before running or sagging. Cutting back on material on the surface and decreasing its dry time is the way around this. Too cold and it flows longer before setting, however it flows slower. Problems can arise with cold temperatures and too little atomization and too much material on surface. Heat everything up, apply thinner coats, and get better atomizations, and remove contamination.


Bleed Thru on Wood Surfaces

Every kind of wood is likely to contain tannic acid (or a tannic acid extractive). It will often appear as a brown or reddish stain after applying a water-base coating.

Different woods react differently in this regard. Good dense hard woods, such as maple, normally do not have extraction problems. The same is true of birch. Often problems exist with fir, ash and oak. It can further make a difference whether the surface coated is all wood, or a wood laminate.

To help diagnose the problem, it is important to obtain the exact nature of the wood which was coated, whether any prior finish was used on it, the exact description of the bleed thru (for example, a color, a sheen or a texture; does it look the same straight on as at an angle), how the coatings were applied and if any contamination was possible.

Ordinarily, with proper technique wood can be sealed to avoid the migration. A common problem is that multiple coats of a finish will be put on the surface, but in succession rather than allowing the product to cure fully. If the products are dry but not cured, the water soluble tannic acid or sugar will continue to migrate through the coats. On the other hand, if a sealer - our Safecoat Transitional Primer is a good one - is applied and allowed to cure, followed by another coat of sealer or paint, which is then similarly allowed to cure, that should result in blocking the bleed thru. Transitional Primer has been rated a good sealer by a testing lab, especially when followed by finish coats. After the surface has been cleaned, it could be recoated with one product, such as Acrylacq (clears generally have somewhat more sealing power), and then coated shortly thereafter - within one hour - with an enamel (the quick recoat time here is to help the enamel bond to the clear). It may also be effective to seal the wood before painting with Safecoat DuroStain. If proper technique is not used and a bleed thru occurs, it can probably be cleaned off and then the sealed. The surface could be washed down with white vinegar, which should at a minimum get the sugar and perhaps the tannic acid. If it does not remove the tannic acid, oxalic acid would work, although it is somewhat more hazardous than vinegar.

Another point to remember is that the moisture content of the wood is important. If the wood has not been properly dried and therefore still retains a good bit of moisture, coating problems are likely.