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TIP: Water-Based Finish is White in the Can

Jun 18, 2016 | Expert's Corner | 0 comments

Labeling on cans of polyurethane and lacquer can sometimes be confusing. It may not be obvious whether the finish is solvent-based or water-based.

One way to distinguish which is which is to read the label for the thinning and clean-up solvent. Solvent-based products will list a solvent such as petroleum distillate, aliphatic hydrocarbon or lacquer thinner. Water-based products will list water.

Another way to tell is to open the can and look at the finish. Solvent-based products will be clear; water-based finishes will be white. The whiteness disappears when the finish dries.