Body Shops Going Green

For years, concerns about the environment have driven discussion in the automotive industry about moving toward basecoats with lower VOC emission. Chemists at paint companies have been hard at work searching for solutions that deliver a lower VOC without compromising the gleaming finish that automobile owners expect on their cars, whether straight from the manufacturer or after a repair. Waterborne coatings meet those requirements. For the last decade, waterborne coatings have been used successfully in Europe and now new regulations going into effect are mandating that collision repair centers in California and Canada move from solvent-borne to waterborne.

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For those shops that have converted, several pleasant surprises have been encountered. First, the conversion process has proven to be less difficult than what shop owners originally anticipated. And with the proper guidance and right products, application is often found to be better than with solvent-borne products. Another benefit that shops have discovered is that implementing waterborne products has heightened not only the image of their business but also that of the collision repair industry, positioning it as an environmentally responsible business sector.

What are Waterborne Coatings?

Solvents help thin pigment solids to produce smooth and even applications. Waterborne coatings use water as the main solvent, although they contain other solvents, such as glycol ethers, to improve application.

Waterborne Advantages

There are many advantages to using waterborne coatings:

  • Solvent-based coatings contain VOC’s and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) such as xylene, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone and ethyl benzene
  • Waterborne coatings are less flammable
  • They reduce air emissions, improve worker health, and are safer
  • Waterborne products can provide lower costs. They require no additives or hardeners
  • Less product may be needed to cover the same surface area
  • Paint guns used for waterborne can be cleaned without harmful chemicals

Overton Body Shop is proud to use waterborne paint systems and do our part for the environment.