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What Are Mineral Paints

Raw Materials

A mineral paint contains four principal ingredients; quartz sand, potassium carbonate, mineral pigments and mineral fillers. A simple formula that creates a truly remarkable paint coating.

The use of natural and abundant materials ensures that a mineral paint, from cradle to grave, has no detrimental impact on the environment and the user.

Modern acrylic based paints and their production differ dramatically. They start with crude oil as the base component which is processed and refined to create artificial resins, which is then further processed to create a paint. This process is extremely energy intensive and produces vast volumes of hazardous waste. Whilst the industry has taken significant measures to try and reduce the environmental impact, the raw materials used means that it cannot be eliminated.

Another issue that is often overlooked is what happens when modern paints have reached their end of life. Due to the chemical formulation of these paints recycling them and the materials that are coated with them can prove near impossible. Mineral paints by comparison can be returned back into the ground.

Paint and the Substrate

While acrylic paints effectively glue themselves to the surface, mineral paints soak into the surface and form a strong chemical bond through a process called silicification, adhering to the silica in the substrate itself.

Acrylic paints and their bond with the substrate slowly break down over time, and they eventually start to discolour, flake or lift off when cleaning and through weathering, ultimately reaching a point where they become unsightly and require recoating. Mineral paints by comparison don’t break down over time, are extremely lightfast and hard wearing and aside from natural weathering offer unsurpassed durability.

In an environment where an acrylic paint lasts 5 years a mineral paint should last 10. In an environment where an acrylic paint gives you 10 years, a mineral paint will last almost indefinitely.

Silicification

The bond between substrate and mineral paint is known as silicification. It can be achieved in two forms:

1. Active Silicification: where the paint achieves a full chemical bond to the substrate, meaning that it is near impossible to remove.

2. Passive Silicification: where the paint soaks into the background and achieves a partial bond, still resulting in very durable finish that can eventually be removed.

Beeck are the only manufacturer who provide a range of both active and passive mineral based paints. For Beeck’s active mineral paints look out for the A.S.F logo (active silicification formula).

Beeck in Traditional Construction

Using a vapour permeable paint in solid wall construction is essential to preserve the structure of the building. Before the introduction of the cavity wall, the majority of buildings comprised of vapour permeable materials such as lime mortar and limewash. This allowed for evaporation pathways and moisture to escape from the structure.

Modern paints are designed to prevent water from entering the substrate, in turn they also prevent moisture from escaping. As the water is not allowed to release, hydraulic pressure builds up and over time can force the paint from the surface. If water is allowed to sit within a structure due to modern renders or paint coatings, the fabric of the building can be damaged.

Beeck Mineral Paints are fully vapour permeable coatings. Some paints claim to be breathable; this can be used as a vague marketing term with levels of breathability so low they have zero impact on moisture movement. Each Beeck paint comes with a tested and confirmed SD value, a German standard for measuring the vapour permeability of paint.

Beeck in Contemporary Construction

Managing Moisture

It has been estimated that 75% of building failures are due to water. The principle reasons for failure are usually water penetration and interstitial condensation. Moisture can also have an adverse effect on the thermal performance of the building as well as the building occupant’s health.

By using a mineral paint externally you achieve a chemical bond between the paint and substrate, this eliminates any potential issues with paint cracking, lifting or peeling. It will also enable any captive moisture the chance to escape externally, rather than being drawn internally. Beeck exterior mineral paints also contain water repellents, which prevents up to 95% of liquid that is subjected to the surface from entering.

Beeck paints can also help regulate the internal climate of a building by storing and releasing moisture. This is useful for both historic and contemporary construction, as on average 4 people in a 3-bed property will generate 112 pints of moisture a week from basic daily activities.

Beeck Mineral Paints are naturally alkaline and, combined with maintaining indoor humidity, this makes them excellent at preventing mould growth. Chemicals in acrylic based coatings and the VOC’s that they produce can have a harmful impact on our environment. Beeck paints have extremely low VOC content and do not release harmful chemicals.

Environmental Impact

Quartz sand, the main component of Beeck Mineral Paints is a naturally occurring mineral with an almost limitless availability, unlike oil which is a main component of acrylic based paints. The production process is incredibly streamlined and requires few additions.

Due to their chemical bond and high durability mineral paints can be easily cleaned and maintained. They need recoating far less often than conventional paints, a clean down of the surface and just one coat of paint is usually all that is required. Beeck Mineral paints have been proven to exceed 10 years even in the most exposed conditions, which allows for simple maintenance cycles and budgeting. Internally a mineral paint will far exceed this timescale and will likely last as long as the background remains intact.

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