19th Aug 2021

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Due to recent environmental legislation solvent based gloss paints are being replaced on the markets by water based gloss paints, the latter being easier to dispose of, due to its relatively benign impact on important ecosystems.

Water based gloss can be cleaned from brushes without the use of solvents with a soap and water mixture, making it less harmful to health due to the absence of fumes to inhale. Compared to solvent based varieties, water based gloss paint tends not to yellow and does not emit strong odour.

However it isn’t the same as the solvent gloss that most people are used to, and does require different treatment…

Working with Water Based Gloss

Waterbased paints have been developed as an alternative to the present solvent based paints. These offer numerous advantages to the decorator, quick drying times, low odour, clean up in water etc. but are often found to be hard to apply without leaving brush marks (tramlines). This often results in the paint being blamed – but it is about different application techniques.

When using waterbased paint (check the cleaning instructions on the back of the can to be sure) it is important to use a finely tipped synthetic brush such as the Perfection Synthetic or Prestige Synthetic.

Before using a synthetic brush in waterbased gloss it is important to wet and spin the brush, this will prevent paint drying in the stock. If using the brush for more than 30mins wet a brush comb and pull through the filaments.

If painting large areas it is recommended to roll on and lay off, for this we recommend the Perfection Short Pile or Prestige Short Pile and then lay off with the Prestige laying off brush.

If the paint is drying too quickly it is recommended to dampen the surface with a sponge to increase open time.

Prepare surfaces to be painted.

Surfaces should be prepared properly before applying water based gloss due to the paint’s tendency to peel off inadequately prepared surfaces. Existing paint should be removed before new coats are applied and this can be achieved via the use of paint scrapers and, if the paint is too stubborn to remove with a scraper alone, with a heat gun – although care should of be taken when using a heat gun to avoid leaving scorch marks. The paintless surface needs to be abraded with sandpaper or a grit blaster and the abraded surface should be dampened slightly with a moist sponge.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This is even more crucial for waterbased paints.

When preparing ensure to remove only poorly adhered paint back to a sound surface. Do not use steel wool as this can result in rust spots.

Choose brushes with synthetic bristles.

Choosing the right paintbrush for applying water based gloss will have a significant impact on the quality of the paintwork and synthetic fibre brushes tend to produce a better finish than natural fibre brushes. Synthetic materials used in the manufacture of paint brush bristles, which include nylon, polyester and polypropylene, are softer than their natural counterparts and inflict less damage to delicate surfaces while ensuring a smoother finish. Synthetic fibres are less porous than natural fibres therefore less likely to absorb water, allowing more water based gloss on the brush.

The best methods of painting with water based gloss.

To achieve the best possible finish with water based gloss, focus on one area at a time and move the brush in one direction rather than going back and forth to avoid disturbing recently applied wet paint. Water based gloss should be given adequate time to dry before more coasts are added.

Remember to return to our Knowledge Room to see our upcoming video, showing you how best to work with water based paints and gloss.


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