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Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes
504 East St. Charles Rd,
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Toll Free: 800-797-4305
Phone: 630-653-2400
FAX: 630-653-4671


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Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Shop in Style at CIFF

There is a richness and warmth upon entering the accounting office at Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes that is now 97% complete in its renovation stage.  Definitely worth checking out for yourself!  Kathy Carroll talks about the samples that will soon be framed and adorning the walls in the accounting office as well as throughout the adjoining rooms.  No longer will you have to go to the back room in pursuit of supplies.  Shop in style and maybe even find a hidden gem that you may not have know existed among the many accessories now displayed in the warmth and luxury of the accounting office.

Kathy goes into great detail about the incredible work put into making the office look beautiful, welcoming and with a design that flows with simple elegance. “On the flooring we put in new sub floor, then we did a hydro barrier followed by one coat of quick set to level the floor and bury the mesh.  We did our first coat of Granicrete using Base Blend and allowed that to dry applying Texture Blend by Granicrete over that.  Then we did color work.  We used Proceed colorings and water to do color work and top coat it.”  Kathy and David Cook worked together on the floor, which resulted in a stunning effect.  With that complete, Kathy moved onto the office furniture.  “The tops of the desks came from the Sheridan liquidation sale.  They were the cherry desks you saw when you went into your room at the hotel.  We chopped off the legs and used the tops of the desks.  J.R.’s desk is longer and we spliced it to look like one piece.  The filing cabinets under his desk are black metal cabinets whereas the ones under Agnes’s desk are cherry. The columns are made to look like half columns and the half walls were done with MDF board.  We primed everything with M.L. Campbell special tint for a mahogany appearance.  We used M.L. Campbell Agualente Clear Satin and tinted it with some of Proceeds pigments dispersion’s to make a stain.  We used that satin color and applied it with an automotive rag that we went around the surface four times making it look like mahogany.  Then we top coated it with M.L. Campbell Agualente Dull.”

Between the creative studio time and the renovations there is never a dull moment at Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes.  Just walking into CIFF its fairly bursting with excitement and an abundance of energy that feeds the creative juices.  Come in and tap into it for yourself!

How Low Can VOC Go?

For several years now the painting industry has undergone an environmental awakening modeled after states such as California.  These laws were in place governing the use of environmentally friendly paint for quite some time.  Over the past several years all coatings:  flats, non-flats, primers, stains and varnishes have come under volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations and conformed to the changes or have paid hefty fees.

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are the target of regulation as a means of reducing air pollution.  An organic compound that reacts with sunlight (ultraviolet radiation) to produce ground level ozone is considered to be a VOC subject to regulation because ozone is a primary constituent of smog.  While smog may pose a health hazard to some, the materials considered to be a VOC may or may not be otherwise hazardous to painters.  For example, propylene glycol is widely used in the coatings industry to provide freeze-thaw stability and promote open time, and is considered to be a VOC.  But it may also be found in skin moisturizing hand creams and used as a food additive.  In short, it’s not possible to generalize about the potential hazards of any particular product by simply looking at the VOC level.  If there are questions, the best course of action is to call the manufacturer and request an MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheet.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding environmental regulations because there are multiple sets of standards.  There is a National VOC rule that sets a minimum requirement for VOC limits.  Then, individual states may enact limits that are more (but never less) stringent.  This is why the same product may be available in gallon containers in some areas, but not in others.

Faux by Kathy lower VOC level Proceed

As of January 1, 2012, regional and local regulations were in place on architectural coatings that affected:

  • District of Columbia
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • The County of Maricopa in Arizona

The painting industry is faced with the challenge of reformulating their products while still maintaining high quality standards that their customers have come to rely on.  When speaking with Howard Thaller, Director of Golden Artist Colors’ Paintworks Division, he addressed the question regarding how decreasing VOC affects the drying time with glazes or any other products.  “In general, lowering the VOC content of any coating, reduces the “wet” time, and speeds up drying and strap down.  This is why many painters experience lapping and other issues with low and zero VOC wall paints.

The glycols and coalescent solvents that constitute the bulk of VOC content in waterborne coatings are used in order to:  control open time (wet edge), drying speed, promote film formation, allow the use of harder resins, and provide freeze-thaw resistance.  Removing them from coatings can require a re-engineering of the acrylic resin and the development of new additives in order to provide these benefits and maintain the same level of performance.   The ongoing trend toward lower and lower VOC limits has been a challenge to paint manufacturers, as the availability of new raw materials to formulate to the new regulatory guidelines tends to lag behind the implementation of the regulations.

With the trend towards lower and lower VOC limits, we at Golden are obviously working hard to reduce the VOC content of our products.  However, we only revise formulas when we feel we can provide the same level of product performance that our customers are used to receiving.  Over the past year, we have lowered the VOC content of the Proceed textures to less than 50 grams per liter to bring them into compliance with new regulations enacted by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District.” 

Many companies are striving to comply with the new regulations; meanwhile decorative painters are wondering what the outcome is for their favorite glazes.  Howard Thaller sets many minds at ease with his response.  “Because glazes formulated at lower VOC levels are faster drying to a greater or lesser extent, we have not made changes to Proceed Glazing and Painting Mediums as the result of changes in VOC regulations.   So far, all VOC regulations in the US and Canada allow an exemption to published VOC limits for products packaged in sizes of one quart or less.  Thus, the effect of environmental regulations enacted by local jurisdictions has been to prohibit the sales of product in containers larger than one quart in some states, but not in others.

There are two glazes in the Proceed product line.  Proceed Low Viscosity Painting and Glazing Medium were formulated to mimic oil based glazes that are traditionally used in thin, sheer layers for wood graining and marbling techniques.  This product is only available in quart containers.  Proceed Full Bodied Glazing and Painting Medium was developed for use as a wall glaze, and therefore has a higher viscosity.  It is formulated at a VOC level that is compliant with Federal VOC limits, and is therefore available in gallon containers, except where more restrictive local environmental regulations take precedence over Federal limits.  At the moment, 16 states, Washington D.C., Maricopa County Arizona (Phoenix), and Canada have enacted regulations that are more stringent than those at the Federal level and restrict the sale in gallon containers of glazes with over 350 grams per liter of VOC content.”

Golden Artist Colors, Inc. continues to deliver high quality decorative paints to their customers while contributing to a cleaner environment with staying on top of VOC regulations.  So, is this the way of the future for the rest of the states in regard to more stringent regulations?  Just how low can VOCs go?  While some companies are comfortable with different VOC glaze products, others may not be.  Meeting so many different standards in various states is quite a lot for companies to keep up with.  Over time more and more companies and states may lean towards similar regulations.

Kathy Carroll is here to work with you with any compliancy questions that may arise in addition to conversions from gallon to quarts.  We are here for you through this transition.  Give Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes a call for all your ordering needs or any questions you may have, 800. 797. 4305.


Faux by Kathy Quick Inspirtations
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Quick Inspirations

Quick Inspirations

December's Sample Pack
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Try our sample pack for only $27.50.  For the most cost effective savings order a 12 month supply at only $260 and receive a new Quick Inspirations sample pack delivered to your door each month.  Call now, we look forward to hearing from you!

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