The Relationship Between Base Paints and POS Liquid Colorants

January 5, 2017

Inspired by their recent family vacation to the beach, a couple paints their bathroom a rich blue color with deep undertones reminiscent of the ocean on a clear day. The paint contrasts perfectly with their white cabinetry and molding and looks great until the next day after a hot, steamy shower when they notice brown streaks dotted with unsightly splotches cascading down their walls.

While it comes as a shock to the homeowners, the paint manufacturer knows the cause: surfactant leaching. Additives coming to the surface signal that the paint properties may have been negatively affected. It is just one of several potential problems – including poor blocking resistance, open time variability, recoatability concerns, viscosity issues and scrub-resistance.

How can architectural coatings manufacturers tint paint bases, while minimizing impact to the coatings film properties to achieve color accuracy without sacrificing technical performance? It may come down to your choice of colorants supplier.

Base paint quality and consistency
One key aspect to help ensure the highest level of performance of your coating is to control your base paint strength and consistency. Especially important is the quality of raw materials and proper levels of surfactant.

Quality colorants
Your colorants supplier needs to select high-quality pigments and additives, then tightly control them. Point-of-sale (POS) liquid colorants also need to work within a wide cross section of paint bases.

Large, global colorant suppliers have access to a vast range of raw materials so they can select the ones with the best properties that deliver consistent performance and color and also improve compatibility issues with many paint bases.

Thorough testing programs
Extensive testing ensures various paint bases are compatible with specific POS liquid colorants. If colorants are tested with a wide enough variety of bases, issues such as TiO2 re-agglomeration – as well as clumping, settling and gelling – can be significantly reduced.

Your colorant suppliers should be willing to assess your base paint properties and help troubleshoot potential issues. For example, compatibility tests with colorants performed by a technician include rubbing the surface in a circular motion with their fingers to check for color changes below the surface. “Rub-ups” are recommended with multiple bases at different colorant loading levels.

Another test, called a shakeout, mixes the paint base and POS liquid colorants for a short period of time in a paint shaker, then performs rub-up testing. The base and colorant are then mixed again for a longer amount of time to gauge whether there was an alteration in the color or compatibility.

It is imperative to test thoroughly and not skip any steps. Colorant suppliers also must be up-to-date on current test methodologies and procedures, particularly with regard to low-VOC coatings, as volatile organic compound regulations change rapidly. In the past three years alone, two new VOC regulations have been added in the U.S., so it is important for the supplier to stay informed on the latest rules.

Formulation experience
Independent global colorant suppliers possess vast base paint expertise. They provide technical support based on their work in a wide variety of base technologies and formulations, unlike colorant suppliers that are owned by paint manufacturers. In such cases, their POS liquid colorants were formulated and developed to be compatible primarily with their own paint bases.

POS liquid colorant suppliers with many years of collective experience and formulating knowledge is a good place to start. While some suppliers start with the same basic components, other factors – including low-VOC formulating and processing knowledge, techniques and equipment – often make a colorant supplier unique and can provide their coatings customers with an advantage in the marketplace.

Traditional formulation techniques often conflict with key coatings properties. For example, formulators want low-VOC colorants that prevent skinning, flaking and tip drying when handled and dispensed at POS. However, many additives designed to deal with those issues can be detrimental to blocking resistance, surfactant leaching and other key coatings properties. Look for low-VOC liquid colorants that are formulated to circumvent these issues and deliver maximum quality and performance.

There can certainly be many issues encountered when tinting paint bases. Finding a partner that delivers liquid colorants robust enough to overcome storage, handling and usage properties is crucial to the process. Look for a colorant supplier with the global raw material sourcing, proven technical testing and formulation experience to solve any issues with tinting your paint bases ahead of time, creating greater value and growth for your coatings business.

Interested in learning more about low-VOC POS liquid colorants that deliver maximum quality and performance? Chromaflo Technologies is a leading provider of colorant technologies for the architectural and industrial coatings industries. Visit to learn more about how we can support you with colorants solutions for your paints and coatings.

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