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Move Over Water – Oil Is Back
A recent press release from Safecoat announced the introduction of Naturals, an oil based paint free from petrochemicals and the associated toxic emissions, odors and health risks. Yet there are things we all love about alkyds – its spreadability, good hide and durability. Naturals, according to Safecoat, provides all that without the nasties.
Naturals coatings are designed with phytochemistry, which is a chemical process associated with plant life and the chemical compounds produced by plants. Safecoat, in the past several years has been researching ways to substitute plant based feedstocks for petrochemical sources.
Paint needs something called a binder - it is the liquid material that holds the pigment in suspension and coalesces into a film as it dries. Typically these come from petrochemical based resins. What Safecoat has been able to do is manipulate resins made from soybean oil - a readily renewable material - rather than synthetics, creating a chemical structure similar to traditional oil based paints (and thus with similar performance) without the toxicity and environmental impacts of traditional petrochemical based technology.
It also adds small amounts of various other plant oils to provide specific functional attributes - the thistle oil, for example, helps with flow, and the flaxseed oil helps with coalescence. These are very balanced formulas that don’t require changing what painters and consumers are used to from traditional paints. According to Sam Goldberg, Safecoat’s president, “this is a resin-based system (even though the resin comes from soy), and we are able to make Naturals more durable and of higher quality - and definitely more practical - than the clay or milk based approaches used by other similar paints.”
Naturals is Scientific Certification Systems Indoor Air Advantage Gold certified for pollutants, but does it perform as promised? I’d love to hear from anyone who has used it in the field.