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Comparing Acrylics

Paints made with 100 percent acrylic resins rank as the best all around, but, as these three Benjamin Moore products show, the proportions of ingredients, coverage rates, and dry-film thicknesses can vary significantly. This information is found on technical data sheets (TDS), which all manufacturers provide at no cost online.

Decoding the Lingo:

Solids: All the resins and pigments left behind after the solvents evaporate. A higher solids ratio may indicate a good paint if its resins and pigments are of high quality.
Dry-film thickness: Each paint is formulated to attain a certain thickness, measured in mils, when brushed or rolled out. One mil is one-thousandth of an inch, about one-quarter the thickness of human hair.
Coverage: This number goes up as the film thickness goes down. Use it to calculate how much paint you need to buy.
VOCs: The abbreviation stands for volatile organic compounds—solvents that adversely affect our lungs and air quality. Federal regulations limit the amount of VOCs to 250 grams per liter in exterior flats and 380 in glossier coatings.

Pictured: Exterior-grade acrylic paints have outstanding durability, whether applied to siding or trim. Similar to shown: Guacamole (siding) and Delicate White (trim) in Olympic Premium Exterior with DirtGuard Technology, about $20 per gallon; Olympic Paints & Stains
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