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Silicate dispersion Suitable for exterior and interior surfaces over mineral substrates including plaster, concrete, and brick.

Silicate paints are also known as water glass, silicate dispersion paint, silicate mineral paint, or silicate emulsion paint.

Sodium and potassium silicate are water soluble, and when dispersed onto a mineral surface such as clay, lime, or cement plaster, they will bind with silicates in the substrate, petrifying into a microcrystalline structure. These tiny pores are ideal for repelling liquid water but do not restrict the passage of vapor, giving this paint the ideal balance of moisture-handling properties. Exterior surfaces are protected against the entry of rain, but allow migrating humidity to leave the wall. Interior surfaces are washable, and the paint can be used in kitchens and bathrooms.

Low- and no-VOC designations are not indicators of a lack of toxins in paint.

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VOC regulations were not instituted to protect human health, but rather to address ozone smog issues, and as a result only VOCs that contribute to ozone smog are addressed in VOC regulations. Chemicals like highly toxic ammonia and acetone are not regulated, nor are toxic combinations that form when paints are released into the air. Proprietary “additives” like biocides and fungicides are not included, even when they contain formaldehyde and othei VOCs. Reduce the toxic content of their products and clean up the manufacturing process. A sustainable builder should not consider using acrylic paint unless sourced from manufacturers with the highest ascertainable standards.

Ecosystem impacts: The full “chain of custody” for acrylic paint products needs to consider the wide range of ecosystem impacts of oil exploration, extraction, shipping and pipelining, refining, and processing.

Embodied carbon: High, though actual volume of paint used will not contribute excessively to the overall footprint of the building.

Indoor environment quality: Poor. Even paint that is labeled as “no VOC” does not guarantee that the product is free from toxic off-gassing (see sidebar). Many chemicals in paint may still be toxic, but don’t contribute to VOCs. Research carefully before using these.

Waste: Acrylic paint residue in waterways (from cleanup in sinks) is an environmental problem, and leftover paint contributes significantly to toxic waste volume at waste facilities. Some recycling programs exist.

Finish coat for application over most interior substrates, including plaster, drywall, magnesium oxide board, brick, and sheet wood materials. Finish coat for application over some exterior substrates, including plaster, magnesium oxide board, brick, and concrete.

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