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Roughly 20 years ago, pressure treated lumber companies in Western North America began experimenting with wood stains to provide a more visually appealing product for their customers. Their first efforts targeted the use of solvent-based stains, which proved to be unworkable with water-based preservative chemicals. Eco Chemical™ entered the picture with a breakthrough water-based stain product, banking on their particular expertise in waterborne coating technology. The Eco solution worked well with preservative chemicals, while delivering other critical benefits, including long-lasting UV resistant color, low VOCs, durability, and easy cleanup.

Since Eco’s original entry into the market, they have aggressively researched new ingredients and manufacturing technology, working hand-in-hand with their current customers to achieve continuous improvement of their stain products. Their efforts in recent years have concentrated on working with different resins, including the emulsification of renewable oil systems such as alkyds made from vegetable oils. These different resin systems made it possible to formulate a new hybrid stain that combines emulsified alkyd (oil-based) technology with synthetic latex polymer (water-based) technology. This new hybrid stain penetrates deeper into the wood, providing better adhesion, more durability, and richer color, while also delivering the greater flexibility and eco-friendliness of a water-based formula.

The differences between the original synthetic latex technology and the hybrid alkyd-latex technology are illustrated below. As Figure 1 reveals, the large synthetic latex particles hardly exhibit the best flow and leveling. On the other hand, latex is a softer polymer with excellent durability, adhesion, and flexibility, preventing wood surfaces from becoming hard and brittle. The latex formula is also low in VOCs, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly.


Figure 1: Synthetic latex waterborne technology 

Oil-based alkyd technology has smaller particles and provides better substrate wetting, enabling a coating with better flow and leveling properties, as shown in Figure 2. This provides better penetration into the cracks and crevices of the wood, and better adhesion. Subsequently, it will become hard and brittle over time.


Figure 2: Oil-based alkyd technology

Figure 3 illustrates the best of both worlds – a marriage in the form of hybrid alkyd and latex that combines the two technologies – providing wear-resistance, general durability, and exceptional flexibility of latex, while also providing better penetration, adhesion, and the color clarity of alkyd.


 Figure 3: Hybrid alkyd-latex technology

At Eco Chemical, we are constantly testing the limits of our technologies to provide the best products for our manufacturers. We have evolved in the past, and we will continue to improve. Contact us today to learn more about our waterborne stains for pressure treated lumber.