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Emulsion Painting Tips

Emulsion paint is a type of water-based paint that can be used on walls and ceilings. Emulsion paint is a mixture of water, pigments and extenders that stabilise a synthetic polymer. Synthetic polymer and water do not normally mix. The extenders allow the two to mix together and form a hard, even surface once the paint has dried.

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New Surface Prep

Thoroughly clean the new surface by removing any mortar droppings, dust, cement slurry splashes or other material from the walls and ceilings. Fill any uneven areas or holes with putty that is a mixture of white lead chalk and varnish. A coat of cement primer is placed on the new surface. The primer should dry a minimum of 48 hours before the emulsion paint is applied. The primer surface should be sanded and then wiped down to remove any dust prior to emulsion paint application.

Old Surface Prep

A previously painted surface should be lightly sanded prior to the application of emulsion paint. Wash down the walls to remove any smoke or grease using lime water. Remove all peeling or blistered paint and dust. Wash down the entire wall or ceiling surface with soap and water after you remove any debris. Apply putty to any uneven areas or in holes.


Apply emulsion paint to the wall or ceiling surface using a paintbrush, roller or sprayer. A second coat of emulsion paint can be added after the water from the first coat has evaporated from the paint. Drying time will depend on the humidity in the room. The paint will become hard once the water has evaporated.

Thin emulsion paint using water if it becomes too thick. Turpentine or other chemicals should not be used. Thinning should be done if you are using the emulsion paint as an undercoat on any porous or absorbent surface.

The finished surface will be smooth and hard. No brush strokes will be seen.

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About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."

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