Three reasons to use solvent based paint

Traditionally the majority of paint used was solvent based paint but more recently improvements in water-based paint have led to an increasing number of reasons to use these paints instead. Despite the improvements in water-based paint technology there are still 3 main reasons when solvent-based paint may be recommended.

1. Extreme weather conditions

Solvent-based paints perform better than water-based paints in extreme weather conditions. This is particularly the case in freezing temperatures or extremely high humidity. In some cases of extreme humidity, the water in a water-based coating can be prevented from evaporating which means that the curing process cannot be completed. The solvents used in solvent based paints typically evaporate on exposure to oxygen no matter how humid the air is. To find out more about the category that your premises are in have a look at our explanation of corrosivity below. 

Extreme weather affects whether you need to use solvent based paint

2. Excellent block resistance

Solvent-based paints have excellent levels of block resistance. Blocking resistance is the ability of a paint to avoid adhesion to another surface i.e. not to stick to another layer of paint or a different surface when pressure is applied. A simple example of poor block resistance causing a problem is a door sticking to the doorframe due to the paints adhering to each other. The excellent block resistance found in solvent-based paints can make them a strong candidate for surfaces that need protecting from environmental damage as the top paint layers are extremely unlikely to bubble or peel away from the original surface.

3. Highest level of gloss

Solvent based paints still offer a higher level of shine than their water-based competitors.

Note: over time the sheen of a solvent-based gloss will dull down whilst water-based paints have less sheen to start with but retain that level throughout their lifetime.


Ultimately the biggest factor that controls the specification of paint you will require comes down to the ISO Corrosivity Category that your premises is in. We will provide advice on the best coating to use whether that is water-based or solvent-based paint. We use the industry standards as follows:

C1: Very low corrosivity

Examples include:

These are typically internal areas including heated buildings with clean atmospheres such as:

  • Schools
  • Offices
  • Hotels
  • Shops

C2: Low corrosivity

Example environments include:

  • Exteriors: primarily rural areas with low levels of pollution
  • Interiors: unheated buildings prone to condensation such as depots or sports halls

C3: Medium corrosivity

Example environments include:

  • Exteriors: urban and industrial atmospheres with moderate sulfur dioxide pollution; coastal areas with low salinity
  • Interiors: production rooms with high humidity and some air pollution such as:
    • Food processing plants
    • Laundries
    • Breweries
    • Dairies

C4: High corrosivity

Example environments include:

  • Exteriors: industrial areas, coastal areas with moderate salinity
  • Interiors: chemical plants, swimming pools, coastal ships and boat yards

C5: Very high corrosivity (harsh on-shore)

Example environments include:

  • Exteriors: industrial areas with high humidity and aggressive atmosphere
  • Interiors: buildings in areas with almost permanent condensation and with high pollution

CX: Very high corrosivity (offshore)

Example environments include:

  • Offshore exteriors: coastal and offshore areas with high salinity such as sea front protection barriers, oil rigs
  • Offshore interiors: buildings in areas with almost permanent condensation and with high pollution

Any questions about whether you should be using solvent based paint?

Our friendly team are available to discuss your requirements if you need advice about which coating you need to use or which corrosivity category your premises are in. Get in touch with them here. 

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