Additives for a Flat Finish

Info on how to modify high-gloss finish formulas for a flat look. January 14, 2008

I am looking for flattening compound for waterbased finishes. I have lots of gloss to use up, but need a 20 sheen for the top coats. What is flattening compound, anyway?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor W:
Call Target Coatings in NJ. They'll set you up with a flatting agent for water based finishes.

From contributor G:
Chemcraft will fix you up. Flatting powder is very fine silica. It is fluffy and impossible to stir in with a stick. You need a shaker.

From contributor R:
The product from Chemcraft in Canada is called TS100. It works well in Chemcraft's Acryllak (423-95XX) as well as their Aquatech (423-16XX). Both of those are great water based products and I know that the Acryllak is not available in the US because one of the compounds in it is not licensed for use in the US. (I was a Chemcraft rep for a couple of years.) Both spray like a dream and brush just fine as well. They are also available pre-mixed in a 15 and 20 degree sheen straight from the factory so there is no need to flatten it yourself. It is very hard to do without proper scales and a good mixer. Also, the product is very unsafe to handle for the average consumer because it is toxic when inhaled as a dry powder.

From the original questioner:
Am I correct in assuming that waterbased paste grain filler is just a very thick mixture of flattening compound in a clear base? I am going to try mixing some into a small amount of gloss finish.

I love Chemcraft's waterbased finishes and may go back to them simply because the couriers keep damaging my shipments from the US. For the last two years, I am using a lot of Fuhr's urethanes. The 255 feels so silky smooth, as though it was freshly waxed. It is a big draw for my furniture. Chemcraft Acrulak does not have this tactile feature. In fact, none of the wb acrylic finishes do.

From contributor R:
I know what you mean about the feel of Acryllak, but have you tried Aquatec or Aqualux? Aquatec is an acrylic urethane that looks warmer, like solvent based lacquer, and the Aqualux is a cheaper version of Acryllac that sands very well and has that waxy feel that you are speaking of. I have used the Aqualux as a cheaper sanding sealer for under the Acryllac because they are quite compatible after they have dried. Both of them can be tinted to a solid colour or you can lightly tint them yourself using common water based stains. If you are in Ontario, there is an excellent water based stain produced there by Sansin corporation. Their specialty is low VOC coatings for exterior, but they also have a line of Purity Interior stains that work very well and can be mixed into the Chemcraft lacquers at up to 5% to make shaders.

From contributor W:
I understand your desire to have a slick/waxy feel under the fingertips when reviewing a WB finish. You should try the new Oxford HybriVar from Target Coatings as well as their EM8000cv. These two products have a very nice slickness to them that does not feel like the old "plastic" acrylic WB's (the kind that make your finger-tips chatter when you push them across the dry finish).

As for a flatting agent - mixing TS100 into a water solution requires a jiffy-mixer for the right kind of agitation. Shaking will not put fumed silica into a solution, it will only clump up. There are smaller particle size fumed silicas other than TS-100 (boy, that's old technology...). See if you can find something smaller like the Degussa OK520. Better yet, as I mentioned, Target has a unique flatting agent, but you have to contact them directly to get it.

From contributor A:
MLC Agualente has paraffin wax in it. It literally feels like someone put furniture wax on it. It sticks to itself, but I would be wary of going over it with another product.

From contributor D:
TS 100 is the product we use here to flatten W/B, but most paint manufacturers do not recommend reducing a high gloss to a low gloss without the proper equipment. Does Fuhr have a dead flat product? The recommended process would be to blend the dead flat with the 90 to get your 20 degree sheen. There is a formula for figuring the correct blend ratio.

I used to sell Chemcraft's Acryllak here in the states many years ago when we got all of our products from Winnipeg and Port Hope. Now we have to get our products from NC. I actually did a personal project with the Acryllak, and my kitchen turned out fantastic.