Industry giants say paint/primer combinations lead the way

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Though the $11 billion dollar paint industry saw a 2.9 percent drop in 2008, the Home Improvement Research Institute predicts the consumer demand for paint will rise 10.9 percent in 2010 to $12.5 billion

December 01, 2009

The less time spraying, rolling and brushing paint the better, says Steve Revnew, director of marketing for Sherwin-Williams. The company has been testing a prototype paint that contains no VOCs, dries quickly and also has odor-absorbing capabilities — perfect for rooms with a lot of smells such as kitchens.

Revnew notices in the past few years the majority of the focus from industry to the trades was placed on environmentally friendly products, but now durability and easy-use are the topic du jour. Though the $11 billion dollar paint industry saw a 2.9 percent drop in 2008, the Home Improvement Research Institute predicts the consumer demand for paint will rise 10.9 percent in 2010 to $12.5 billion. These gains will be driven by premium and eco-friendly options, the institute maintains.

Revnew says the demand for more durable products will spur further innovation. "Performance is defined as durable, long-lasting coatings — coatings that are washable and hide in fewer coats." According to Sherwin-Williams, this holistic approach speaks to not only the low VOC emissions but the fact that high-performance paint with primer coatings require fewer coats of product, which can also reduce the environmental impact.

Self-priming products are an option. Behr paints maintains that although there are a few interior products available on the market that are self-priming, the self priming claim on many of these coatings is simply for a previously painted wall. Primer could still be required for new substrates as well as problem areas such as tile, metal, plastic and stain blocking.

However, Behr isn't denying the potential growth of paint/primer combinations. The company has entered the category with its Premium Ultra Plus line. "These (formulas) increase job-site profitability by allowing professionals to complete work in fewer coats," says Joe Richardson, senior vice president of professional products and services at Behr. "In the future, I think we will see normalized pricing and improvements in quality as these products become more widely available. I suspect this phenomenon is true across a variety of product categories, not just coatings."

Seeing Silver

One new and exciting technology in the works: paint formulas mixed with silver particles. The silver particles, which are small enough to be dubbed "nano-silver," have antimicrobial properties and can help create a paint that can potentially resist germs, mold and moisture.

"We have invested time exploring silver nano particles and acknowledge that it is an effective method of fighting bacteria," says Richardson, adding that the most practical applications for technologies like this include hospitals and other care facilities vulnerable to bacteria. "However, there is more to learn and understand about the use of silver nano-sized particles in commercialized coatings before we would introduce a (residential) line of products that include them," he says.

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