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. Now, we’re celebrating 10 years of these eco-friendly formulations as part of our commitment to 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, environmental friendliness, and safety of your paint? In a nutshell, a move to 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 no solvents means ultra-low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), one of the culprits behind the nasty, strong-smelling fumes released by traditional paints.

Our baby safe paint has also been independently tested and approved to meet Toy Safety Standards (BS EN 71 – 3:1995 - Safety of Toys), offering peace of mind whether it’s gracing walls, floors, cots, or even toys.

It’s more comfortable to apply and live with

A low VOC water base means that our paint isn’t just eco-friendly, but user-friendly too. Whether it’s in the tin, on the brush, or on your walls, 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 better for the world around us

There’s a lot that goes into making a product eco-friendly – any well-meaning homeowner who has been bombarded with buzzwords while in search of ‘eco paint’ can testify. Luckily, the environmental benefits of going water based are clear cut. As well as ensuring that the levels of air polluting VOCs in our paints are kept well below the mandated limits, working exclusively with a water base means that our finishes are easy to rinse from brushes and rollers without the use of harsh solvents.

Curious about what else we’re doing to reduce our impact on the environment? Learn about the sustainable business practices and cruelty-free formulas that go into our eco-friendly paint.

It goes on faster and lasts longer

Not everyone loves painting as much as we do, so the fact that water based paints dry more quickly than their solvent based equivalents – allowing you to recoat in as little as two 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

More companies might be coming around to the idea of water based paint, but many of the trim paints out there still feature a solvent base. And it’s not just the strong odour that helps differentiate them from a milder oil free gloss paint – 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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