What is interior vinyl paint?

Deciding to paint your room is probably the easiest part of the painting process. Knowing when to use...

Deciding to paint your room is probably the easiest part of the painting process. Knowing when to use the right vinyl paint or any paint can be more challenging than painting without leaving drips. Go to any paint or hardware store in Atlanta and you're bound to become dizzy, but not from the paint fumes. You have many paint options such as gloss, thixotropic (non-drip) and emulsion paints. Gloss paints are oil-based and consist of eggshell, liquid gloss and polyurethane gloss. Non-drip paint, an alternative to glass paints, looks jelly-like in its consistency. Therefore, it won't drip or need an undercoat. Emulsion paints are water-based and have acrylic or vinyl added to make them more hard-wearing than other types of paint. Painting isn't about slapping pretty paint on the walls. Use the wrong paint and you'll end up spending more money to repaint. Or, you'll have to visit the store so much that you may be mistaken for a hardworking employee!

What are emulsion paints?

Emulsion paints consist of two substances, oil and water, which do not mix. Glue and pigment are also added to the paints. When not agitated, oil and water resemble a cloudy-looking soup. That's why you must stir the paint before using it. Stirring temporarily combines these substances. These paints also vary in the degree of sheen in the finish. Like with other paints, sheen ranges include matt, eggshell, satin, silk and full gloss.

Once emulsion paints are applied to surfaces, the substances again separate. The water in the paints evaporates into the air. The glue, oil and other substances bind to the water.

Types of emulsion paints

Emulsion paints include three types:

  • Vinyl matt
  • Vinyl silk
  • Vinyl satin

Vinyl matt emulsion provides a non-shiny, matte finish. It's perfect for surfaces that have tiny imperfections. These imperfections include small marks or scratches. The downside of using this type of emulsion is it doesn't wear well as other glossier emulsion paints. You may have to repaint quicker than you intended. Some manufacturers use the term flat paint instead of matt.

Vinyl silk, or gloss, emulsion is at the opposite end of matt emulsion. It provides a high-sheen finish. This type of paint has two benefits. It's extremely durable, so it withstands most of the wear and tear a vinyl matt paint doesn't. Also, vinyl emulsion is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms with high humidity and a great deal of moisture. However, silk doesn't hide imperfections but instead highlights them.

Vinyl satin emulsion paint gives surfaces a subtle, softer sheen finish. The finish is one step higher than vinyl matt, but lower than gloss paint. Also, it's more durable than vinyl matt. You'd use this type of emulsion paint in rooms where you occasionally sponge or wash walls. Vinyl hides imperfections better than silk paint.

When to use emulsion paints

Traditionally, emulsion paints were perfect for ceilings because they dry fast and have less of a smell than other paints. However, you can use them on interior walls. You must make sure the existing paint isn't peeling and doesn't have loose dirt or stains. Emulsion paints aren't recommended for metal or any exterior paint projects. There are other types of emulsion paints used for woodwork, but you'd have to ask a paint professional for more information.

How to apply emulsion paints

Applying emulsion requires following the same preparation steps you'd use with other paints. You must prime new surfaces before applying the paint. If the new surfaces have any uneven areas or holes, you can use filler, or a coat of cement primer, on them. Existing glossy paint surfaces need de-glossing, or sanding. You can prime the glossy surfaces before painting.

Before priming surfaces, you must fill in any cracks or holes (imperfections) on the surface areas. Sand the surfaces down before you apply primer. Regardless of whether you fill in imperfections on new or existing surfaces, wait at least two days before applying emulsion paint. The paint needs a dry surface to stick. For stained surfaces, you must apply a stain blocker before painting. Otherwise, the stains seep through your new coats of paint.

Emulsion paints need the same type of paint tools as other paints. Apply the paint with a roller, spray machine or brush.

You still have to take the same precautions with vinyl paint as you do when using other types of paint. If you're planning to paint metal or any exterior areas of your home, do not use this type of paint. The type of emulsion paint you use depends on the sheen you want and any imperfections you're hiding on the walls or ceilings.

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