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Ask the paint chemist

Listed under Blog, Eco, newlife paint, paint Posted Jan 29 2013

Keith Harrison, the chemist at Newlife Paints knows a thing or two about paint. He recycles waste trade paints, modifies them, tints them and the water-based paint for walls, ceilings and woodwork is then sold to trade and DIY outlets nationwide.

newlife paint chemist

I have a “simple” question for a paint chemist. What do you reckon is the approximate % of actual water in 1 litre of vinyl matt emulsion?

The reason I ask, nobody seems to know off the top of their head!

It’s not really a simple question. Emulsion paint is quite a complex mix with ingredients that include pigments, mineral fillers, opacifiers, thickening agents, flow agents, anti-foams, biocides, as well as usually vinyl or acrylic binder resin. The water content varies according to quality of the paint as well as type of paint i.e. matt/silk etc. but typically you are looking at 40 to 50% by weight.

If you have another question about the chemistry of paint, post it here, and Keith will endeavour to answer.

Newlife emulsion paint

newlife paints eco recyclers

When doing general painting and decorating, as a rule, I would use acrylic based emulsion only, but a while back I bought a tub of Newlife matt emulsion for a couple of large textured ceilings that had been previously painted in an ivory colour. To be fair, I thought the Newlife matt white flowed, covered and dried pretty well. Certainly comparable to something like Dulux Supermatt. It sells at a very reasonable price too.

Eco award winners

Newlife won some trade accolades last year as eco paint recyclers, and deservedly so. When 14% of all emulsion paint ends up in sheds or tips, I think that reclaiming and producing a mid range trade paint from that waste, has to make great environmental sense.

If you are a contractor with a quiet room to mist coat, give recycled Newlife paint a try out. It might give your quotes a new lease of life too.

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2 comments to “Ask the paint chemist”

  1. steve jordan

    Hi Keith, A long time ago (40 yrs.) I varnished a floor over the old varnish and failed to adequately remove the floor wax. After waiting a month for it to dry, a old painter told me to redo the floor with a 50/50 mix of the same varnish and mineral spirits. It worked. Had a similar problem recently using what must have been old oil based ext. primer. Used the same trick with another primer and it worked again. Can you tell me why?

    steve jordan

  2. Michael Nicholson

    Hi Keith,

    Here is my question – we make a heat reflective coating and had a chemist formulate it for us. We can no longer get hold of him and I would like to know if you know the product Plextol R1270 and if there are any direct substitutes for it. I am not a chemist so please excuse my lack of knowledge.

    Kind Regards


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