Beyond color: Why pigments matter

Submitted by Katy Tomasulo on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 00:10
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Fundamentally, all paints are the same, but the quantity and quality of each component can vary significantly. Paint is comprised of four main elements: resins (or binders) promote adhesion to the substrate, solvents reduce the paint\u2019s thickness to create consistency, additives enhance performance and application, and, most importantly for color, pigments, which are fine particles of insoluble colored materials that provide color, hide, and protection to the substrate."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"There are five distinct types of pigments: primary white, color, inert or extender, metallic, and specialty. The choice of pigment\u2014and how they are used\u2014influences not just color, but also the hide, gloss, and durability of tinted paint. For example, primary pigments consist of primary white and color pigments and provide color, hide, and protection. Inert or extender pigments help extend the primary white pigments and may supply additional characteristics such as durability, sheen and gloss control, scrub resistance, and stain resistance."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"The role of colorants"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The majority of color pigments are compounded into a liquid dispersion to be used as colorants. The terms pigment and colorant are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. While pigments are insoluble, colorants contain color pigments and other ingredients, such as additives, that enable the transfer of color. The three types of colorants are universal, industrial (solvent), and waterborne. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Universal colorants are compatible with water-based emulsion paints, latex paints, architectural alkyds, and synthetic enamels (hence, the word universal). However, they tend to contain chemicals that weaken paint and make it thinner and more difficult to apply. These chemicals are necessary to ensure the colorant will mix with both solvent- and water-based paints, but they reduce the paint\u2019s washability, allowing color to rub off and fade. Deeper colors require more colorant, which will mean more additives that weaken the paint film and increase the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs); therefore, the darker the color, the worse the performance may become. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Industrial or solvent colorants are formulated to meet the high-performance needs of solvent-based paint and coatings for industrial applications. These colorants contain resins and aromatic solvents (such as toluene and xylene) that contain high levels of VOCs. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Waterborne colorants, on the other hand, are used to tint water-based paints, such as latex and water-dispersible alkyds, and are typically lower in VOCs than universal colorants. Keep in mind; not all waterborne colorants are the same. Most manufacturers purchase their waterborne colorants from third-party vendors, whereas some, like Benjamin Moore, produce their own advanced versions. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"Benjamin Moore\u2019s"],[0,[],0," Gennex colorants are made with a technology that disperses pigments in a patented blend of ingredients without the use of certain additives. As a result, "],[0,[1],1,"Gennex"],[0,[],0," colorants do not add additional VOCs to the tinted product. Because Gennex is made with a special resin, the durability of the paint film is not compromised. These advanced waterborne colorants also have better fade resistance and improved color retention, even in deep colors."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Whether you are painting a high-traffic area indoors or an exterior front door, it is important to choose a product that will continue to perform years after application."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[2],0,"To\nlearn more about Benjamin Moore visit "],[0,[3],2," "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[2],1,"AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product."]]]]}
Specifying paint is about more than just picking a color. AIA partner Benjamin Moore explains how pigments and colorants impact performance.


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There are several different types of pigments in paints, and which ones are used—and how they are used—influences not just color, but also the hide, gloss, and durability of tinted paint.
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