Solvent v's water-based paints

June 12th, 2020

This handy infographic undilutes the facts!

Brewers branches are often asked the differences and benefits between solvent-based or water-based paints. For more information please contact your local branch or representative.

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Solvent V’s Water-Based Paints:

VOC Levels

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. Higher VOC levels means there will be a prominent odour, flammable and less environmentally friendly which is common in solvent-based paints. Water-based paints has lower VOC levels, reduced odour and more environmentally friendly.


Solvent-based paints can be thinned with turpentine, white spirit or other thinners as required. Water-based paints can be thinned with water and equipment can also be cleaned with water, reducing the need for thinners.


Solvent-based paints are more tolerant of weather conditions such as humidity or high temperatures compared with water-based paint as it can increase drying times.

Block Resistant

Painted surfaces sticking together – solvent-based paints have excellent block resistance once fully dried compared with water-based paints.


Water-based glosses have less sheen but will keep the sheen throughout its lifetime. Solvent-based paint has higher gloss levels but will dull down over time.

Other Facts:

Solvent-based paints has a tougher finish than water-based paints, making them easier to clean; however, they become brittle on aging. Water-based paints have faster drying times, excellent adhesion, no need for additives, hardness, or thinness. They are less reactive to existing substrate materials or coatings and better to use when spray painting. They are more extensible, meaning they are better with movement in substrate. They make ideal primers, have good colour retention, and make for better resistance to mould and chalking.