Originally published in PPC Magazine.

IN THE BEGINNING, all ready-mixed house paints were oil-based. In 1941, Sherwin-Williams introduced Super Kem-Tone, the world's first latex house paint. From then on, painting contractors had a choice between oil-based alkyds and waterbased latex coatings. Each had its advantages and disadvantages.

Early on, pros generally preferred alkyds for performance reasons. That started to change as paint manufacturers continued to develop better waterbased paints. With the emergence of the green construction movement, the emphasishas been on developing waterbased paints that deliver the high performance of alkyds and still meet strict environmental regulations.

One result of the industry's ongoing research is the development of a waterbased acrylic alkyd technology that has the best qualities of both.

This breakthrough technology is now available in two high performance product lines popular with professionals: ProMar 200 and ProClassic.

Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Alkyd Enamel has long been many pro painter's preferred coating for interior trim, molding, cabinets, doors and windows. The traditional alkyd formula inspired loyalty for its smooth, hard finish that minimized surface imperfections and that stood up well in high traffic, tough-use areas. It has excellent flow and leveling and painters could get a sprayed look even with a brush or roller.

The introduction of ProClassic Acrylic Enamel gave contractors a waterbased option for this popular product. Continual improvements over the years to adhesion, durability and block resistance have made converts even out of many die-hard ProClassic Alkyd fans.

In 2010, Sherwin-Williams took it to the next level with the release of ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic Alkyd. With this new product, painters can offer their customers all the environmental benefits of a waterbased enamel with the application and mirrorlike finish of an alkyd – and with less than 50g/L VOCs it meets environmental regulations.

"Earlier waterbased acrylic alkyds had problems with poor package stability, and the products tended to dry too quick and yellow," says Steve Revnew, Vice President of Product Development at Sherwin-Williams. "Research and Development over the years has delivered new technology that now provides a product with good open time, flow and leveling and resistance to yellowing."

The same technology has also been introduced into the company's ProMar 200 line. Long recognized by contractors as thebest quality professional coating line, ProMar 200 delivers superior durability, touch-up and mar resistance. With the addition of a waterbased acrylic alkyd with less than 100 g/L VOCs, contractors have yet another way to utilize this trusted product to give their customers the best quality finish while fulfilling green project standards.

All in all, there is great future potential for low-VOC alkyds. "Converting to a product line based on alkyd latex provides a number of benefits and a head start in future markets," said Jamie Dziczkowski, a chemist at Reichhold Inc., a major supplier of coating resins.

Best of Both Worlds

New waterbased acrylic alkyd paints offer the application and finish of an alkyd with the nonyellowing properties of an acrylic. With low VOC content, they meet environmental regulations too.

This new technology is available in two of Sherwin-Williams' most popular high performance interior paint product lines, in the following sheens:

Both products are also available in traditional acrylic latex and alkyd formulas. Ask your Sherwin-Williams store or rep for advice on which one is right for your next interior job.