What is Emulsion Paint – Uses, Types & Application Tips

what is emulsion paint used for

Emulsion paint is a type of paint that combines a pigment with an emulsifier, such as water or oil.

The pigment gives the paint its color, while the emulsifier helps bind the pigment together and keep it from clumping.

Emulsion paint also contains other ingredients, such as fillers, stabilizers, and antioxidants.

These ingredients help to improve the quality of the paint and make it more durable.


Emulsion-based paint is most commonly used for painting walls and ceilings to provide a smooth, even finish that is easy to clean.

MDF cabinets and furniture can also be painted with emulsion paint without a problem.

However, it is important to make sure that the MDF is sanded and primed before painting and that the paint is well-mixed.

Emulsion paint is also often used as a base coat for other types of paint, such as enamel or oil-based paints.

Different Types

Emulsion paints are available in different types on the market.

These are generally categorized based on the finishes like matte, silk, or soft sheen.  You can also choose them between matt or vinyl matt.

Vinyl matt emulsion is a type of paint that contains vinyl polymers. These polymers help to make the paint more durable and resistant to staining.

Matt emulsion, on the other hand, does not contain vinyl polymers and therefore is not as durable.

Both types of paint provide a smooth, even finish.

How to Apply Emulsion Paint on Walls?

Emulsion Paint Application

Emulsion paint is a popular choice for painting walls in the home as it is easy to apply and dries quickly.

But to get the right finishing and long-lasting results, it’s important to know how to apply this type of paint on your interior or exterior walls correctly.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply emulsion paint to walls:

Step 1) Prep

Begin by preparing the wall surface that you are going to paint.

This includes stripping the old peeling paint or removing any old wallpaper, cleaning the wall, and filling in any cracks or holes.

For paint preparation, you can use a sanding block with medium-grade sandpaper, such as a 120-grit.

Step 2) Paint

Once the wall is prepared, you can start painting the surface with emulsion paint.

Begin at the top of the wall and work your way down in small sections. Use a roller or natural bristle brush to apply the paint evenly.

Step 3) Let the Surface Dry

Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely before applying a second coat.

This will ensure that your paint job looks professional and lasts longer.

Step 4) Apply the Second Coat

Once the surface is dry, apply the second coat of emulsion paint as you have applied the first.

Let the second coat dry for 2-3 hours.

Once the second coat of paint is dry, you can add any finishing touches, such as painting trim or switching out light fixtures.

If required, add a final third coat of paint to your walls and let them dry completely for at least a day.

You are now ready to enjoy your newly painted wall!

How to Remove Emulsion Paint?

There are a few ways to remove emulsion paint from surfaces like your walls, furniture, or UPVC windows.

Just like other paints, you can use a paint stripper, sandpaper, or a heat gun for emulsion paint removal.

Paint strippers are chemical solutions that can dissolve the paint and make it easy to remove.

Sandpaper can be used to sand off the paint, whereas a heat gun can be used to loosen the paint so that it can be scraped off.

It is important to be careful when using a heat gun, as too much heat can damage the surfaces like UPVC and wood.

Do You Need to Thicken Emulsion Paint?

Emulsion paints, when you buy a new can, come thick and you will need to add water to get the right consistency.

If, however, you have added too much water and the paint gets watery, you will need to thicken it before application.

There are a few ways to thicken emulsion paint, such as adding a thickening agent.

Adding a thickening agent, such as flour, cornstarch, or xanthan gum, can help increase the paint’s viscosity and make it thicker.

Heating the paint can also help to make it thicker, but this should be done carefully to avoid damaging the paint.

Emulsion vs. Distemper Paint – What’s the Difference?

While both distemper paint and emulsion paint are water-based paints, there are a few key differences between them.

Distemper paint is made with a chalk or lime base (basically, it’s a combination of lime, pigment, chalk, water, and animal glue), whereas emulsion paint is made with acrylic base.

This gives emulsion paint a more durable finish that is less likely to crack or peel. Emulsion paint is also typically more expensive than distemper paint.

Unlike emulsion paints, there are two main types of distemper paints: water-based and oil-based.

Water-based distemper paint is the most common type of emulsion paint, as it is less toxic and easier to clean up than oil-based paint.

However, water-based paint can be more difficult to apply and may not provide long-lasting durability.

Related FAQs

Are primer and emulsion the same or different?

No, they are not the same; there is a difference between both.

Primer is designed to adhere to a surface and provide a key for the paint to grip onto, whereas emulsion is simply the paint itself.

The emulsion will not provide the same level of adhesion as a primer and is not necessary when painting over a previously painted surface.

However, the primer may be necessary when painting over bare wood or metal.

Can you paint eggshell over matt emulsion?

Yes, eggshell paint can be applied over matt emulsion.

Eggshell paint has a slightly higher sheen than matt emulsion, but it will still provide a smooth, even finish.

It is important to make sure that the surface is clean and dry before painting and that the paint is well-mixed.

Can you use matt emulsion as an undercoat on walls?

Matt emulsion can be used as an undercoat on walls as a substitute for primer.

An undercoat is typically needed when painting over a dark color or when painting a new wall for the first time.

Like if you are painting over a dark color, it’s a good idea to use a white matt emulsion as an undercoat to help cover the old color.

Final Thoughts

Emulsion paint is a water-based paint that can provide a smooth, even finish to your walls or ceilings.

The paint itself is easy to use, but before the application, it is important to make sure that the wall or ceiling is clean and dry and that the paint is well-mixed.

Other Related Posts:
PVA vs. Drywall Primer: What’s the Difference?

Priming is perhaps the most important step to achieving an attractive, high-quality paint job, but it is commonly overlooked. Regardless Read more

What is Masonry Paint – Uses, Types & Application Tips

Masonry paint is a type specifically formulated for masonry surfaces that include bricks, concrete, stone, and stucco. Masonry paint is Read more

What Type of Paint to Use on House Foundation?

Concrete, even though it is strong and durable, can be damaged by sunlight, and over time, it can cause block Read more

What Type of Paint to Use on Metal Roof?

Metal roofs are normally made from galvanized steel, copper, or aluminum. They are generally quite strong and highly resistant to Read more

error: Content is protected !!