Why Water Based?

Written on 9th July 2019

Always ones to be ahead of the curve, we were the first in the industry to start making the switch to a 100% water based paint range back in 2009. More than a decade later, having a fully water based range is still a key part of reducing the environmental impact of the products we make.

These days, anyone looking to transform their home with Farrow & Ball can find a finish to suit their needs without compromising on this commitment – whether you want a water based primer, water based eggshell, or even water based gloss paint, our finishes have you, and your walls, fully covered.

This is all very well and good, of course, but what does it actually mean for the performance of your paint, and how it impacts people and the planet?  In a nutshell, choosing a water based paint works for everyone – here’s why.

It’s safer for all

If you’re concerned about painting around babies or children, or have a respiratory condition that could be aggravated by using harsh formulas, water based is the way to go. That’s because water based typically means lower levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), one of the culprits behind the strong-smelling fumes released by traditional solvent based paints.

Our Modern and Estate ranges have also been independently tested and approved to meet Toy Safety Standards (Safety of Toys - Part 3: Migration of certain elements (EN 71-3:2019+A1:2021)), offering peace of mind whether they’re gracing walls, floors, cots, or even toys.

It’s more comfortable to apply and live with

A low-VOC water base is part of what makes our paint super easy to apply. Whether it’s in the tin, on the brush, or on your doors, our low-odour paint remains just that, with none of the strong solvent smell you might associate with traditional paints. With an absence of any unpleasant odours and the added bonus of quicker drying times (more on that below), opting for a water base means you can start enjoying your new space sooner.

It’s less polluting than solvent based paint

There’s a lot that goes into improving the sustainability of a product, as any well-meaning homeowner who has been bombarded with buzzwords while looking for ‘eco paint’ can testify. Luckily, the environmental benefits of going water based are clear cut. As well as ensuring the amount of air polluting VOCs in our paints are at low or minimal levels, working exclusively with a water base means our finishes are easy to clean off brushes and rollers without harsh solvents.

Curious about what else we’re doing to reduce our impact on the environment? Learn about our approach to sustainability and processes behind our paint.

It goes on faster and lasts longer

Not everyone loves painting as much as we do, so the fact that water based trim paints dry more quickly than their solvent based equivalents – allowing you to recoat in as little as 4 hours – is sure to cheer up even the most reluctant DIYer.

This also gives us an excellent opportunity to clear up one of the biggest myths around water based paint. Many believe that it isn’t as durable as oil based paint, but the extra flexibility and porosity made possible by a water base means it can actually perform much better in the long term, especially outdoors and in other areas of variable temperature.

It’s tops for trim

It’s not just the strong odour that helps differentiate solvent based trim paints from water based ones. Some traditional oil gloss paints can be more prone to yellowing over time, while our water based finishes keep your doors and skirting looking fresher for longer. For a low-odour gloss paint, try our Full Gloss finish.

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