“Is water based paint as good as solvent based?” It’s a very common question and almost always misunderstood. I think the confusion comes from house paint. The quality of water based house paint may not be as good as some of the old paints. However, it’s entirely different in automotive paint.

Let’s start with why waterborne paint came around in the first place. In the late 90’s, California started requiring a reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Slowly after came the National Emissions Standards of Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for the rest of the country.

The reduction in VOCs was to reduce pollutants into the environment. The early automotive paints were really bad for the environment and bad for anyone working close to them. To lower the VOC content, it required paint manufacturers to develop entirely new paint lines.

The manufacturing of a new automotive paint line is an enormous and costly endeavor. It’s why car paint manufacturers are always very large companies with deep pockets. None of these companies will spend the money to rework their paint lines unless, their technology is outdated and starts to lose market share or the government requires a change. However, out of most technology development comes some benefits.

So, California and eventually the rest of the country requires an entirely new product to remain compliant with the new regulations. This sent every paint manufacturer back to the drawing board to find a way to make these products low VOC, productive and still have the same quality. The early products failed on most of these efforts. But, over time, all the research and the race to be the best, has led to a product that is far superior to the products that we used before.

Most of the paint manufacturers still make both a solvent based basecoat and a water based basecoat. The decision to use solvent vs water basecoat comes down to preference and some to do with local regulations. The clear coat over the top of either basecoat is still a solvent based product that is light years better than what we ever had in the past.

When you’re looking at the quality of the paint, it may help to look at the guarantee. At Collision Pros we offer a lifetime guarantee on all of our auto body work and our paint work. That’s always a sure sign that we use only the best materials available. If you need paint work done in Northern California and you are near Auburn, Woodland, Loomis, Chico, Paradise or Red Bluff, swing into the nearest Collision Pros and we will be happy to help. Collision Pros, where we get it right, on time, every time!

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