The waterborne coatings produced by the Italian ICA Group help to keep wooden structures like windows, shutters, doorframes, fences, balconies, exterior screens, gazebos and garages in excellent condition year after year. Three new waterborne wood coatings for external frames and coatings have been introduced.

The backdrop to the formulation of the new coatings is that many joiners are now demanding nothing less than state-of-the-art products in terms of durability, the cost of the original raw materials notwithstanding. This challenge is one that brings out the consummate creativity of ICA. The main characteristics of the most recent waterborne coating products for exteriors (windows, shutters, doorframes, fences, balconies, exterior screens, gazebos and garages) are high levels of durable protection for wooden frames and wooden outdoor products, together with long-lasting beauty. Using waterborne coatings on exterior doors and windows is now commonplace, due to the numerous advantages they offer: reduced levels of solvent emissions; short application times; excellent elasticity and resistance of the coating film to temperature changes and atmospheric agents; easily coatable and no risk of autocombustion.


The use of an organic material such as wood necessitates particular care, especially when it is located outdoors where it is exposed to attack from an array of different agents (UV rays, humidity, high temperatures, mold and fungi) that, in next to no time, can damage its appearance, thus compromising its beauty. In this regard, waterborne coating products for exterior furnishings have the capacity to deliver high-level, long-term protection to preserve the characteristics of the wooden surface. The waterborne coatings contain pigments and UV filters that safeguard the wood and, at the same time, prevent yellowing and the vetrification of the coating film. Moreover, they contain preservatives that impede the proliferation of fungi and mold, and also undergo extensive internal testing in ICA's laboratories. The testing focuses on resistance to blocking, resistance to water droplets and natural exposure, resistance to accelerated ageing, and also an evaluation of water vapor permeability, to ensure they conform to UNI EN regulations. Additionally, they are also approved by external bodies that carry out conformity tests in relation to EN 927 regulations, thus giving further confirmation of product quality.

Durability has always been the main criterion used to evaluate wood coating products in every sector of the industry. From builders' yards to distributors, frame manufacturers to technical designers of residential complexes, installers to final users, the main index of quality is always durability. With the arrival of ICA's waterborne exterior coatings, the potential durability of coated wooden frames and shutters has made a quantum leap forward. There are, however, a large number of users who, aside from durability over time, also want the very best that cutting-edge research can offer in terms of the performance and aesthetic appearance of wood. This is precisely why the Italian company's research laboratories have produced a new line of waterborne exterior coatings.


In the study and manufacture of coatings products intended to protect wood in outdoor environments, research has a key role to play in ensuring that the product provides maximum levels of resistance. Accordingly, an entire area of the R&D laboratory is dedicated to carrying out chemical-physical tests on applied products; in particular, to accelerate the ageing process to which outdoor coated products are normally subject, and to make the tests carried out comparable to a real process of wear over time. The ICA laboratory makes use of a variety of machines that function continuously, thus conducting the so-called QUV test. This test is able to reproduce environmental conditions (rain, UV rays, steam) and to accelerate the degradation process of the wooden surface and the coating through an ageing cycle of 2016 hours (84 days), conducted on the coating not only during the experimental phase, but also on subsequent product samples from single batches, to ensure consistency in manufacturing. These tests do not, however, substitute for test results from natural exposure, and ICA's technicians have always used a specially designed outdoor exposure station to monitor the resistance of the coating to natural ageing. In addition, the laboratory also uses a rheometer to carry out extremely precise analyses on the viscosity of the coating, in order to optimize the yield (reducing waste) and to evaluate - during the experimental phase - certain application parameters that are extremely important for all coating products, such as uniformity (which guarantees better protection of the wood), distension and vertical hold.

New Waterborne Products

Three new waterborne products are described as follows. The first product (IM216UC) is a waterborne, uniform, monocomponent-colored impregnating agent, available in a range of 12 different colors that has been specifically designed for application to outdoor wooden products such as windows, shutters, doors and garages. This ready-to-use product is suitable for most types of wood (coniferous and broad-leaved), and can be used on untreated wood (on condition that the wood has been sanded using 150-180 grain sandpaper). It is applied by spray coating, immersion, or flow coating directly onto the untreated wood, and can then be coated with a matt topcoat. The impregnating agent makes it easy to achieve perfectly uniform color (even on doors and windows) and to eliminate graying around the knots of coniferous woods. Moreover, it reduces swelling of the wood grain in coniferous woods and eliminates the raising of the board. The product is ideal for application onto frames, shutters, screens and fences that are exposed to the open air.

A second new product (IM121SC) is a waterborne, monocomponent-colored impregnating agent that has been specially designed to avoid the removal of the wood fiber in coniferous woods and the raising of the grain. It is ready-to-use on coniferous woods and Philippine mahogany (on condition that the wood has been sanded using 150-180 grain sandpaper). This coating can be applied by spraying, brushing, immersion and flow coating directly onto the untreated wood, and can then be coated with a matt topcoat. Given sufficient preparation of the untreated wood, this impregnating agent can be applied even without sanding, thus drastically reducing coating times, since the topcoat may be applied without having to dismantle the product. These features combine to make this the perfect impregnating agent for frames, shutters and furnishings used outdoors.

The third product (LA321IEC) is a waterborne, extra-coverage, monocomponent transparent matt topcoat that can be applied by spraying with filter-cup, airmix, airless or electrostatic guns, both onto horizontal and vertical surfaces. It is designed for two-coat coating cycles (impregnating agent + topcoat) on frames and shutters. The product is ready-to-use and suitable for all types of wood that have been treated with impregnating agents, intermediates and waterborne base coats. It may be applied in a maximum quantity of 300 microns of liquid film in a single coat, thus markedly reducing coating times and providing a result that is entirely comparable - in terms of quality and aesthetic appearance - with that achievable with a composite, two-coat cycle using traditional topcoats. That said, it is also possible to apply two coats of ICA's new topcoat.

This coating offers an extremely high level of dry residue, exceptional transparency, high levels of coverage (and, therefore, excellent resistance to the elements) and high level of UV filtration. In addition, it avoids the formation of micro-bubbles of trapped air in the applied film, reduces over-spray and resists blocking, as well as having excellent wettability and grain definition.


One of ICA Group's main strategic assets is its culture of quality through innovation. Over the course of many years, the company has researched and initiated numerous trailblazing production processes aimed at creating cutting-edge products and reaching ever-higher standards of manufacturing quality. Having accumulated a wealth of experience across the years, the company can now leverage its consolidated expertise, technologies and project capacity to produce wood coatings that actually benefit those who use them. The company conducts constant studies, laboratory research and product and application testing to ensure that its coatings meet the ever-changing needs of the market. R&D activities represent the perfect synergy between product and process innovation, on the one hand, and rapid response to customer requirements on the other. Product lines for professional users are sold around the world. Highly specialized distributors cover the various wood coating sectors, dealing with everything from furnishings to carpentry, shipyards to external structures, locks to garden furniture, and parquet floors to musical instruments.

ICA's new waterborne coatings for exteriors frames and shutters are distributed directly in the United Kingdom; for more information: Tel. +44 01236 759904; Fax +44 01236 758165. You may also contact Barbara Palma at