Pigment volume concentration or PVC is the term used to describe the volume (not weight) of pigment in a paint film. It can be easily calculated using the following equation: PVC = V pigment / (V pigment + V binder) * 100, where V pigment and V binder are the volumes of the pigment and binder.
PVC tells us how much of the volume of the paint film is made up of pigment versus the amount made up of binder. PVC can be increased simply by increasing the amount of pigment or removing binder from a formula. Since PVC is calculated based on paint solids, changing the amount of solvent or water will have no effect on the calculated value.
See All Pro Painting Tips See All Pro Resources
PVC is Related to Gloss and Sheen.
A high gloss varnish may have no pigment and would, therefore, have a PVC of zero. Flat wall paints, on the other hand, can contain high levels of both extender and color pigments and have PVCs ranging from approximately 40-80%.
Gloss/Sheen Type Typical PVC
PVC Has a Significant Effect on Performance
As PVC increases, density and hiding also increase. Performance properties such as durability, scrubbers, stain resistance, and corrosion resistance typically decrease. In high traffic areas, such as hallways, a low PVC higher gloss paint may be preferred for its better varnish and more resistance. For ceilings (where a dead flat high hiding paint is needed for its ability to hide imperfections) the paint is probably not going to be scrubbed. Therefore, high PVC paints are a good choice.
PVC Also Has an Impact on Cost
Extender pigment is typically less expensive than resonance, so high PVC paints (such as flat paints) are often less expensive than low PVC paints or semi-glosses when quality is equal. The point at which there is just enough finder present in the formula to fill all the space between the pigment particles is known as the critical PVC. Above this critical PVC, there is not enough binder to coat all of the pigment, and air voids will be present in the film. While these air voids can further increase hiding, they can also lead to a severe drop-off in performance and durability. Paints formulated above critical PVC (for example, low-quality flats) are typically only used for interior application and have poor resistance to cleaning or scrubbing.