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Water Based, Waterborne, and Solvent Based Container Paints: What’s the Difference?

27.11.2016 - Posted by Updated On 27.11.2016    

Last week we mentioned that all new shipping containers built in 2017 would be painted with waterborne paint, and since then we’ve taken several questions on what the difference is between waterborne paints, water based paints, and solvent paints. And to be honest, there isn’t a huge difference in the first two, but there is a difference between waterborne/water based paints and solvent paints.

Waterborne or Water Based Paints?

shipping container paint Waterborne paint and water based paint aren’t the same thing, and the people that wrote the labels really didn’t help us with the clarification at all. From the name “water based”, it means anything water based can be dissolved in water; which definitely isn’t the case for water borne paint. So, let’s stick with waterborne paint when referring to shipping container paint. Waterborne paints still contain solvents, just to a lesser degree than solvent based paints. When the water borne paint is applied and dries, the water evaporates, then the solvents evaporate, and the finish particles combine and form a single layer of paint.

Solvent Based Container Paints

Solvent based paints are soon to be a thing of the past, at least in new shipping container production. For starters, solvent based paints don’t include lead. Solvent based paints container solvent when the paint is wet, but as the paint dries the solvents evaporate and leave behind the coat of paint in the desired color. A by-product of the drying process are the fumes fill the air. These films can be toxic and dangerous if someone is exposed to them in large, regular doses.

What’s the Difference between Waterborne and Solvent Based Paint?

The end product is essentially the same: an even, clean coat of paint. Waterborne paints don’t give off as many toxic fumes during the application process, however traditionally waterborne paints do take a little longer to dry. In terms of performance, recent advances in paint technology mean that high quality water-based paints can be equal, or even superior, to the equivalent solvent-based paint. High quality waterborne paints provide strong durability, relatively quick drying times, and less odor.

shipping container paint

ContainerAuction.com is an online market place where buyers can find new and used shipping containers for sale around the world. The majority of the containers listed on the marketplace will have been painted with a solvent based paint, however most of the new containers manufactured from 2017 forward will be painted with waterborne paints. Regardless of the year, the paint is non-toxic and safe for any residential or commercial use.



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