Fresh paint. There are very few things that can change the entire feel of a room the way a fresh coat of paint can. From crisp white walls and ceilings to moody reds and sunny yellows, paint can create an entirely new feel in your home, so check out the best emulsion paints on this page.
Whether you’re wanting a change or just to freshen up and increase the value of your home, paint can help. Choosing the paint for your walls and ceilings can help your hard work last longer.
Many people ask what the difference is between trade paint and retail paint. Professional painters and decorators often prefer to thin the paint before use, so you will find Dulux Trade paints have thicker formulation. Both paints are made to a high specification, so whether your using trade paint or retail you can be sure of the manufacturing quality. What Is Emulsion Paint And How Does It Work?
Suspended in a water base are the very small colour pigment molecules. When painted on your wall or ceiling, these pigments fuse together to create an even coating or film. Subsequent coats bond onto the one below in the same process to create a smooth, uniformly coloured result.
How To Choose The Best Emulsion Paint For Your Project
Which emulsion paint to choose is usually dependent on the surface to be painted and its location. It can also depend on the look you are after. Asking yourself targeted questions ahead of the project can help you choose the right product.
Questions such as where am I painting? What am I painting? Is it a wet or dry area? Is it a high exposure or high traffic area and what do I want the end result to look like? are important factors.
Paint may seem a commonplace thing, but there is a decent amount of science behind it that when used correctly, can achieve great results. If it is important to you that your paintwork looks great and lasts well, spending time answering these questions before starting can be a great place to start.
One key thing to keep in mind when choosing which emulsion to use is that the higher the sheen, the more durable the finish. This is due to higher contents of resins in high sheen finishes which harden into a stronger film giving good coverage.
Types Of Emulsion Paint
There are three main types of Emulsion paint to choose from.
This non-shiny finish is ideal for any surface that may have imperfections. Matt paint hides imperfections well as they reflect minimal light. Keeping your eye from being drawn to that scratch or dent you didn’t quite get around to patching. It is the least durable of the emulsion paints, but still great for ceilings and walls in low traffic areas.
Also known as soft or mid-sheen finish, vinyl satin emulsion is a great all-rounder. If you require a paint that may need to be wiped down or washed on occasion this is possibly your best choice. If you have children, pets or high traffic areas then consider vinyl satin as an easy-clean option.
This option is considered the best for areas of high humidity and moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl silk is the most hard-wearing of the emulsion paints. It does have a higher sheen, so may need a little more prep work to get the smoothest result.
What Are The Advantages To Using Emulsion Paint?
One of the most appealing advantages of choosing emulsion paint for your DIY project is that you really don’t need any special painting skills or experience to get a great result. Unlike oil-based paints, emulsion usually goes on easily and hides imperfections in the application well.
Perhaps you’re like me and just want to get stuck in and paint. Which then inevitably leads to me wondering ‘could I also update that old chair or dresser with a lick of paint?’ Well, emulsion can be used on just about any surface. So go ahead and enjoy its versatility on metal, wood, wallpaper and more.
As mentioned above, it also cleans up with just water. Accidentally splashed some on the floor or carpet? No need to panic, just wipe it up with a damp cloth and continue with your project.
Even once dry emulsion paint is generally able to be wiped clean of even the toughest stains. Something my mother would have no doubt loved is an emulsion for the bathroom paint ceiling following a childhood science experiment gone awry. There was no wiping away that mess and the whole ceiling had to be repainted.
By comparison, oil-based paints are full of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) making them toxic and adding a strong chemical smell. A smell that can linger for weeks. To clean up, you’ll also have to utilise harsh chemical cleansers such as mineral turpentine. Making for an incredibly toxic mix.
Emulsion paints are low odour and quick-drying, some within 1-2 hours. By using them you won’t be potentially damaging your and your families health with toxic fumes. Quick-dry means the job is done much more quickly. With no nasty chemical smells you can often move back into the room faster – sometimes even the same day.
So if you’ve decided emulsion paint is perfect for your next project, google no further! Read on to discover some reviews of our favourite products that can help you make the right choice for your project.
Emulsion Paint Product Reviews
If you want a matt finish for its handy ability to hide lumps, bumps and scratches combined with a hardwearing and washable finish, then this may be the perfect option for you. Tested and formulated to be 20 times tougher than standard emulsion, this paint also actively repels stains.
Drying time is around 4 hours with minimal odour and water only for the cleanup. This is a really versatile option for those wanting the multipurpose use of emulsion but toughness and lo
- Reported to have good coverage which hid even the most marked and damaged interior wall.
- Easy application despite being just as thick as its competition, didn’t need to be watered down to apply.
- Seriously resilient and washable. One reviewer’s children and dog left dirty marks on the newly painted wall and it wiped away with just water and no harsh scrubbing.
- Some users felt this paint wasn’t as affordable as comparable products in the market.
- In warmer climates, the paint formed a skin almost immediately which made getting an even application difficult.
- Some users reported rollers became easily clogged with the thickness of the paint and did not easily spread onto the surface being painted.
Wonderfully washable and with a silky smooth finish, Dulux Silk Emulsion is perfect for interior walls or ceilings. It has a thick creamy texture which helps to avoid drips during application. The thicker application can also help to achieve a streak-free finish. Drying time is between 2-4 hours per coat, with minimal odour.
Available in a wide range of colours, it is suitable for just about any room in your home. The soft, silky sheen helps the light bounce around your room and adds a touch of luxury. Good high-quality paint from Dulux.
- When applied well it performed well even over dark colours. Users reported even the lighter shades covered existing darker shades beneath well.
- Quick-drying with most users reporting little to no lingering smell. No need for heaters or significant ventilation making it easy to use year-round.
- The light sheen on the finish can help your space feel brighter and bigger as it reflects existing light around.
- Some reviewers reported the thicker creamy texture as hard to spread and apply evenly. When applying additional coats close together, it tended to grab on itself leading to streaks.
- The silky texture reflects more light and makes imperfections more visible. This can mean you’ll require significant prep work such as patching and sanding prior to beginning the painting.
- Can require up to three coats to get the best coverage. This can mean higher costs as you may need more paint than first budgeted for.
If you are choosing paint for your kitchen where hardwearing and wipeable surfaces are a must, Dulux Easycare Kitchen Matt Emulsion may be the perfect option for you. Being a matt finish it will not reflect much light.
This is handy as it won’t highlight those splashes of food or oil that are inevitable in a kitchen. When cleaned, it will come up like new again with no reported colour fade even after scrubbing. This option does have a longer drying time per coat of around 5 hours which allows it to bond and harden more effectively.
- Specifically designed for kitchens with a messy and moist environment in mind. Sink splashes, messy family dinner times and even explosive pressure cooker incidents were reported by users as wiping away with ease.
- Special grease resistant formula means no discolouration from oily cooking smoke or stains from oil splashes. Keeps your paint looking great for longer.
- The matt finish performs well and hides imperfections. One reviewer utilised this in her photography studio for a backdrop and found it fantastic. It provided a smooth finish and didn’t bounce light back to her camera.
- Some reviewers reported the matt finish to be too chalky and that despite repelling stains and wiping down well, you could then see all the wipe marks on the finish.
- The paint is very thick, making it hard to apply. Some users reported that this led to clumping and streaks. When thinned down, the coverage was patchy.
- Despite claiming to resist damp and moisture, some users reported an increase in mould patches after using this paint. Condensation did not wipe dry off the wall but soaked through the paint into the wall.
One of the more basic offerings in the Dulux emulsion range, this paint is a good all-rounder. Though not as tough or washable as its counterparts, it will still provide you with an even matt finish.
This option has a shorter drying time between 2-4 hours per coat and washes up with water. Is best used in bedrooms, hallways and on ceilings as not designed to repel water or wipe down easily.
- Users report that they achieved great coverage over light colours with a minimum of two coats.
- With fewer additives involved, there is virtually no smell. Multiple reviewers commented that once dry the minimal smell disappeared entirely.
- Truly matt, flat finish. No need to patch, sand or prime walls prior to application.
- In warmer climates, the thicker consistency can lead to challenges during application. Many users had to water the product down which impacted on its coverage and meant more coats required.
- Doesn’t wipe clean or repel marks as well as the alternatives. One reviewer attempted to wipe crayon off the wall and the paint came off instead.
- Not as suitable for application in environments with high moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Bathrooms are known to be havens for mould as they are a naturally damp environment. The damp is unavoidable, but the mould can be.
With Dulux’s dedicated bathroom emulsion paint, you are going the right way to helping to keep your bathroom a healthy one. The MouldTec formula can resist mould developing for up to 5 years.
- Reviewers raved about its ability to cover even the most unsightly old mildew stains and water damaged paint beneath.
- Actively repels moisture so it cannot soak into the wall beneath and create a mould friendly environment.
- Users reported that even in bathrooms with heavy use, the water beaded and walls wiped dry with no paint transfer.
- The extra thick formula can be hard to work with, users reported that some jobs took double the expected time.
- Does require a little more wall prep. One reviewer commented that without preparation the paint lifted and bubbled in sections.
- Most users reported needing to do 3-4 coats to get a really robust and even finish.
Emulsion Paint FAQ
What is Emulsion Paint?
Emulsion is water-based paint made up of coloured pigments, chemical binders and solvents. Modern emulsion paints are made with the addition of vinyl or acrylic resins, making them harder wearing. These additions allow for a choice in sheen for the finish such as matt, silk or full gloss.
Link to Chemical Breakdown.
Use a Roller or Brush with Emulsion Paint?
Choose a roller when you have a large flat surface. Rollers are great time savers for big spaces. The paintbrush is used to “cut in” which refers to painting the edges where rollers fail to get precise contact. For a more in-depth discussion on paint-rollers check the best rollers articles here.
What is the difference between trade emulsion and normal emulsion?
Trade paint is formulated using higher quality materials, designed to be adaptable to the needs of professional painters. Dulux Trade Emulsion contains more pigment (colour) which means better opacity and coverage, this helps to reduce the number of coats required. Trade paint tends to be thicker than normal retail paint and benefits with a higher level of durability, sometimes professional’s will thin the paint. (Sourced from Dulux)
I want to say, we didn’t set out to only review Dulux Paint brand but their products just came out on top with us and the reviewers.
Ultimately, the Easycare Washable & Tough Matt Emulsion Paint For Walls And Ceilings came out on top based on our reviews. It really is the best emulsion paint for walls and ceilings with a good matt finish when comparing the available alternatives.
This emulsion is a great interior paint allowing a wide variety of applications for just about any room in your home whether it be bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or ceilings.
Rather than buy multiple products for each room, you can settle on the one purchase which will be suitable for each space. The added bonus of the matt emulsion is of course that it has limited reflective properties. Not having to patch and sand each wall before beginning saves you time and money. It also means you get to the most fun transformative part of the job faster!
This option combined all favourite aspects of the paints reviewed into a single product. Consider each of our targeted questions. No matter what your answers were this paint ticks all the boxes. Versatile, long-lasting, hardwearing and best of all – washable. No matter what happens under your roof, you can rest easy knowing that your hard work will not only last but look good for years to come.
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