Forget What You Think You Know About Waterborne Coatings

Don’t fall for myths and misperceptions about waterborne coatings.

Seize the benefits provided by waterborne solutions from Sherwin-Williams, including the revolutionary new SHER-WOOD® Environmentally Adaptive (EA) Hydroplus™ coating technology.

By Kevin ONeill, Global Marketing Director, Sherwin-Williams Industrial Wood Coatings

SHER-WOOD® EA Hydroplus™ Waterborne Topcoat


Is there something stopping you from considering waterborne formulations in your wood shop?

There are many inherent benefits to waterborne coatings. Compared with conventional solvent-borne coatings, they have far lower VOC emissions, they’re nonflammable and are generally safer to store and handle.

But maybe you’ve heard they provide a subpar finish. Maybe you believe that using waterborne finishes will be detrimental to your shop’s productivity. Or perhaps you’re convinced that longevity can suffer when applying waterborne products.

The truth? Thanks to significant advances in waterborne technology, today these hesitations amount to no more than myth. Sherwin-Williams waterborne coating solutions can bring well-established benefits to your operations, all while delivering application efficiency, outstanding appearance, and long-term performance that your customers count on. Let’s take a look:

Don’t Sweat the Weather
Environmental conditions have traditionally had a negative impact on how waterborne formulations behave when sprayed and applied. For example, a hot, humid day may necessitate that a waterborne coating is applied in thinner film layers in order to eliminate running or sagging—instead of completing a final finish in two coats, it may require three. Cold, damp conditions can force other productivity-sapping compensatory application methods.

These scenarios can represent significant challenges that most wood shops would like to avoid. But a revolutionary new technology from Sherwin-Williams—SHER-WOOD® Environmentally Adaptive (EA) Hydroplus™—can enable wood professionals to seize the benefits of waterborne coatings without environmental limitations. Environmentally Adaptive technology allows you to achieve a consistent application regardless of the temperature and humidity leading to favorable application and appearance results. And that can mean big things for your wood finishing process.

Seize the Waterborne Advantage
Waterborne wood coatings can offer a broad range of benefits when compared with traditional solvent-borne coatings, including:

  • Nonflammability.
  • Low VOC content.
  • No/Low emissions.
  • No pot life—products can be stored after use for the next job.
  • Easier cleanup and disposal of waste.
  • Safer storage and transportation.

Start-up Made Easy
Waterborne coatings are sometimes thought to be more finicky than their solvent-borne counterparts, requiring more skillful and careful application or the use of an additional catalyst to achieve a desirable finish. It’s reasonable to be skeptical—such complications have the potential to slow down your production process, and you don’t want to sacrifice throughput.

But these complications all depend on the product you choose. For example, 1K waterborne topcoat technology from Sherwin-Williams can help to improve your productivity, offering easy application with fewer steps and an unlimited application window, helping you save time and eliminate waste.

Optimize Appearance and Longevity
Though it’s true that catalysts have historically been beneficial in achieving superior long-term performance and aesthetic detail, Sherwin-Williams’ technological advancements have once again changed the game in what’s possible with waterborne coatings.  

With exceptional self-sealing, film-build and film-formation properties, Sherwin-Williams waterborne coatings can deliver 2K-type performance in a 1K system, eliminating the need for a catalyst, along with a range of other benefits, including:

  • Ability to resist marring, moisture and everyday cleaning chemicals.
  • Outstanding color stability in the can and on the substrate over time.
  • Smooth feel and magnificent appearance.
  • A full sheen range.
  • A complete colorant platform with high-end performance you can count on.
  • Extended shelf life versus typical waterborne coatings—leading to less waste.

SHER-WOOD EA Hydroplus is on our Color Express Platform!


Interested in learning more about our enviornmentally adaptive technology?


What is the technology behind our environmentally adaptive coating?

Our experts explain why SHER-WOOD® Environmentally Adaptive (EA) Hydroplus™ coating technology may change waterborne performance as we know it.


It’s true: Today’s wood shops can harness the benefits of waterborne coatings while maintaining optimal production efficiencies and the ideal look and finish for reliable wood products customers count on. All that’s left for you to do is try it—and our teams are here to help.

All Sherwin-Williams waterborne wood coatings are backed by our highly trained local specialists, who can help you convert your solvent-borne coating processes to waterborne applications seamlessly. Our best-in-class technical service team—including 110 technical representatives throughout North America—can provide key insights into your coatings operations. We’ll help you get up and running, eliminate common application mistakes, and dial in your production line.

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