Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Paint Costing More? Blame Titanium Dioxide.

If you've done any painting lately, you'll have noticed that the cost of paint keeps increasing. The reasons include supply and demand and higher fuel costs, but another, even more significant reason is the increased cost of raw materials, specifically titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white powder pigment, added to paints because of its brightness and very high refractive index. It doesn't take much titanium dioxide to create an opaque white coating that 's resistant to discoloration under ultraviolet light in exposed conditions. Many colors start as a white paint to which other colorants are added, so titanium dioxide plays an important role, whether or not you're aware of its presence. Using this high quality material adds to the cost of paint, but it's a worthwhile investment. Budget grade paints are known to use a mixture of titanium dioxide with other inert pigments, but they lack the brilliance and tinting strength of professional grade color, and they don't perform as well.

Dow Chemical is developing a new polymer that's expected to reduce titanium dioxide use in paint by 10-20%, but it isn't here yet. In the meantime, keep in mind that with paint you get what you pay for. Whether you're painting it yourself or hiring a professional, it's wise to use the best paint you can afford to make the work last as long as possible."

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