What is Nitrocellulose or NC lacquer/Coating/Paint? NC lacquer finish or Duco polish on wood

A Nitrocellulose or NC lacquer/paint is a combination of resin, nitrocellulose cotton, plasticizer along with solvents. It is an air drying coating which dries into a hard film when exposed to air. NC finish is one of the most common finishes on wood and also known as lacquer polish or Duco polish in India. It is also extensively used on metals. NC based paints are one component and is available in clear/ transparent as well as in array of solid and metallic colours. Matt, Satin and glossy finishes can be easily obtained nitrocellulose systems. Unlike shellac or lacdana polish, due to its ease of application and fast drying properties it is one of the most preferred coating choice of painters/contractors.

Advantages of using nitrocellulose or NC lacquer/paint:

NC lacquers are fast drying and hardens fast – so dust settling is less.

Ease of application - NC paints are single component system and for application - only thinner needs to be added and apply.

Short recoating time - several coats of lacquer can be applied within an eight hour workday, so projects can be completed very quickly.

Easy to repair and touch up - Furniture or surfaces previously coated with NC lacquers can be easily made to look new, as the thinner melts the surface of the previous coat , allowing the fresh coat to bond with it.

Different gloss levels – matt, satin, glossy can be easily achieved.

NC lacquers can be used in Interiors as well as Exteriors

Longer pot life – Unlike other systems like Polyurethane (PU), Melamine, Epoxy and other hardener based coatings, NC lacquers have a long pot life as no hardener is required to harden the coating. Even if thinner is mixed in the paint and kept, it can be easily re-applied later.

Easily washable with soap and water.

Easy to strip with paint removers.

Available in array of colours – options available at Ral.com and Pantone.com

Economical finish –A freshly prepared surface would cost Rs. 90/- to 130/- per sq. ft. depending upon the colour & finish required and cheaper in the case of re-polishing.

For many decades, Nitrocellulose/ NC lacquer/paint or Duco polish, is a preferred choice of finishers due to its ease of application, Interior & exterior use, quick drying time and affordability. Compared to other wood coatings it is still very commonly used on wooden articles like beds, chairs, tables, handicrafts, wardrobes, doors and frames, office desks, musical instruments etc and on metal based surfaces like gates, automobiles, grills, artifacts etc. Wood, veneer, MDF and ply based products and mild steel (MS) can be safely protected with NC based Coatings depending where the protection is required. NC lacquers perform better than Synthetic enamels and shellac polish finish but in terms of durability it is inferior to melamine and Polyurethane (PU) coatings.

If you don’t want a heavy duty long term protection and you r budget is moderate and want a decent durability with good finish, then Mypaintworld recommends you to go for Nitrocellulose or NC based coatings. Our Recommended Companies/brands for NC coatings - Akzo Nobel (ICI), Nippon, Nerolac, Waverley Paints- Solo, Esdee Paints, Sheenlac.

Important points to keep in mind while buying and applying Nitrocellulose (NC) coatings

NC paint/ coating comes in only single pack and for application only NC thinner needs to be added in appropriate ratios (as specified by the company) and sprayed.

Only a good quality NC thinner should be mixed with the paint. There are a lot of local brands and loose thinners available in the market which shopkeeper/ retailer without your knowledge can give you with the paint. Since, they are cheap and to make a few extra bucks these thinners when mixed with the paint often result in failure of the expected finish. Mypaintworld strongly recommends you to buy thinner of the same company as of the paint.

A Professional finisher/ Painter/Contractor is required to do the job.

NC based finishes should be sprayed. It is not advisable to use NC lacquer by brush or by roller.

While doing NC finish full NC coting system should be used – use a NC sealer or basecoat/ primer and a NC top coat. It is not advisable to use 2 different coating systems for example – Melamine with NC or NC with Polyurethane on the same piece of substrate. If mixed and used, in long term you will observe cracks, peeling, fading of the coating. Mypaintworld does not encourage this practice.

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