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The Benefits of Water-Based Paint - Environmental & Beyond

3 min read
Sep 4, 2019
The Benefits of Water-Based Paint - Environmental & Beyond
Marissa Morin

Over the past 16 years Falcon Structures has been modifying shipping containers and finishing off each box with a fresh coat of paint. Painting these boxes creates a clean and polished final look, but just as importantly, it adds a necessary protective coating to the containers. In the years since Falcon’s humble beginnings and through the growth that has since ensued, our concern about harmful paint emissions has increased -- and we’ve decided to take action. Because the coatings industry has made great strides in innovation, they now offer products that are both safer for the environment and high performing. Falcon has investigated the options and decided to adopt a new waterborne coating system. This system includes a waterborne epoxy primer and an acrylic topcoat.

Getting Technical

To understand the benefits of this new paint system we must first understand what it is.

  • “Waterborne” means that the paint is made up of resins and pigments that are dispersed in water. These paints dry as the water in the paint evaporates.
  • “Epoxy” means that as the paint hardens, it creates a solid finish that can be applied to surfaces as a protective layer, commonly applied to floors and countertops.
  • “Acrylic” paints are water-soluble but become water-resistant once dry.  When applied under the right conditions, these products perform exceptionally well, especially regarding color stability.

In summary, this paint is based in water instead of in oil, but it is still durable and reliable as the outermost layer of a shipping container.

Falcon Structures Painting a Container

Why is this Significant?

Because these new paints are based in water, they release fewer harmful emissions than oil-based alternatives. This is where VOCs come into play. To state it plainly, VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, refer to the solvents that release into the air as the paint dries. Because some components of paint and other products -- like cleaning supplies -- are unhealthy, the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality strictly regulates how often and how much one can paint in terms of VOCs. Some cities, like Houston, have set even stricter rules for themselves, further prohibiting painting with high VOC paints.

Plain and Simple

VOCs can be harmful to humans, the environment, and the atmosphere when emitted in great quantities. Therefore, paints with high VOCs are highly regulated and must be used in small doses.

Water based paints, on the other hand, are the environmentally friendly alternative.

Shipping Container Painted Blue

The Benefits of Water-Based Paint:

  • They are more friendly to the environment with a significantly lower VOC level.
  • They can be applied more frequently within state regulations, speeding up the production process and getting you your container faster.
  • With proper preparation and quality controls, they are equivalent or better at preventing rust compared to our previous oil-based system.
  • The paint colors tend to look richer and last longer compared to our oil-based paint.
  • They make repainting easier, minimizing the need to sand down the hardened oil-based paint to get the best reapplication.

Brian Dieringer“I’m glad we are moving to a higher performance coating system that is significantly better for the environment,” says our Executive VP of Products and co-founder Brian Dieringer. “We have completed the necessary testing and we are confident that this will be a good coating system moving forward.” Dieringer adds that Falcon’s alkyd enamel paint system will still be available for the specific projects that may not benefit from water-based paint. “For example, if a customer is in an industrial setting and is concerned with chemical vapor resistance, they may want to consider alkyd enamel paint or a polyurethane coating,” says Dieringer. To learn about which paint system is right for your project give us a call at 877-704-0177 or email us at sales@falconstructures.com.

Want more information about how to paint a container? Read our blog post: A Shipping Container Primer on Paint Application and Maintenance.

Go Green with Recycled Shipping Containers

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