If you’re looking to attempt painting your room in your dream colour, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Emulsion paint may sound daunting, but below we’re going to explain exactly what it is, what it’s best used for and how to know if the paint you are buying is good quality.
So what exactly is emulsion paint?
Roughly speaking, most emulsion paints are made up of around 45% water, 25% resin as well as 25% pigments and around 5% preservatives/additives. The resin, which is made up of either vinyl or acrylic, does the job of binding the paint to the wall. Vinyl tends to be used in cheaper emulsion paints, whereas acrylic is used in more modern/expensive options. The pigments do the important job of holding the colour, and the more pigmented the paint is, the better it usually is. The preservatives are usually a small amount of biocide, which helps to stop it from spoiling or going mouldy both in the tin and on your walls. However, a lot of brands will advertise their paints as ‘Low VOC’ as the lower the amount of this in the paint, the better.
So how do I know if it’s good quality paint?
To put it simply, the higher the pigment, the better the paint usually is. The pigment is the most expensive part of emulsion paint and directly affects how vibrant the paint will be as well as how good the coverage is.
Another sign of good quality paint is how little filler they use. A high-quality paint will use very little filler and more high-grade ingredients and you can tell this by the consistency of the paint – a good emulsion paint will have a velvety, smooth application, whereas low-quality ones will feel more like a thick gravy, and splatter a lot when applying.
What are the different types?
The most common types are differentiated by the finish they give your walls, and there are three main categories they fall into:
Flat Matt Emulsion – as the name suggests is a matt paint in both look and feel. This paint is good for being durable, as they remain strong against scrapes and scuffs which can usually just be wiped off.
Soft Sheen Emulsion – also known as satin emulsion, this paint gives a slight shine and is also quite durable against scuffs and scrapes. This paint is perfect for high humidity areas such as kitchens or bathrooms, as it stands the test of time much better in these areas compared to others and is easy to wipe clean.
Silk Emulsion – this paint is not used as much as the others as it has a very high-shine profile when applied. However, due to its shiny nature, it’s also great for use in bathrooms and kitchens.
How do I know which to use for my project?
Ask yourself some targeted questions to help you. Where will it be going? If in a bedroom or low humid area – a Flat Matt Emulsion is probably your best option. But if you’re answer is a bathroom or kitchen, that gets a lot of humidity and you want to be able to clean it up easily, a Soft Sheen or Silk Emulsion would be a good recommendation.
Another good thing to keep in mind is how durable you want it to be. The higher the sheen, the more durable a paint tends to be due to the high contents of resin. This is due to the fact they harden into a stronger film and give good coverage.
What is it used for?
Emulsion paint is primarily used for interior walls and ceilings and is the most common choice for painting internally. It can be used on newly plastered walls as well as on previously painted walls, but bear in mind if you’re painting on newly plastered walls, you may want to consider using an all-purpose primer before painting emulsion on it, as it can be quite thirsty and could waste up to 2 or 3 coats of paint.
If you’re looking to paint wood or metal, emulsion paint isn’t the best choice as it won’t bind as well as others may. Opt for oil-based paints to help it stick.
Thanks for reading
We hope you enjoyed our article, and that it has helped give you some pointers on where to start with your painting project. Thanks for reading!