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The Best White Emulsion Paints

Here at Painters World we regularly receive questions from homeowners regarding what the best paints to use are, especially when it comes to popular products such as white emulsion paint. That is why our experts have to put together this guide, answering this question and more so you can achieve the best possible finish from your project.

White emulsion paint

White Emulsion Paint

Emulsion paint is a widely referred to term that essentially means a water-based paint designed for interior walls & ceilings that has vinyl or acrylic resins added to it to make it hardwearing. This is in contrast to oil-based paints that are designed for use on woodwork & metal. Emulsion paints come in a range of finishes that vary in level of sheen, or their ability to reflect light. Matt is the least reflective finish and the most popular emulsion paint, with eggshell having slightly more sheen, followed by the mid-sheen finishes of satin and silk, with silk being the mid-sheen finish designed for walls while satin is used on woodwork. Finally, gloss has the most sheen of any paint finish, which is why it is more often than not used on woodwork, although it can be used on interior walls. It is important to note that the more sheen a paint finish has, the more durability it will have, which is why the harder-wearing finishes of satin and gloss are used on woodwork and metal trim that takes more punishment than other surfaces.

The Best White Emulsion Paints

White is one of the most popular colours used when decorating the home as it provides a clean, timeless and versatile look that can be used on any surface and in any occasion. This popularity and versatility is why there is an abundance of white emulsion paint available on the market, which can make it difficult to figure out exactly which one is best for the job you have. Whether you are painting a ceiling, a bathroom or need to prevent stains on your walls, there is a white emulsion paint that best suits you.

All of the paints we will discuss in this guide are trade paints. You may be asking what exactly is a trade paint? Well, all major paint manufacturers have both a retail and a trade version of their emulsion paints. The trade paint version of these emulsions are higher quality, offer better opacity, are more durable and achieve a professional finish.

You may now be wondering, why would all paint not be trade paint if it is better quality? This is because a retail paint is kept as cheap as possible as the average homeowner does not want to spend more money than needed on decorating, while a trade decorator must achieve a consistently professional finish. Furthermore, a professional decorator is time sensitive as labour costs will significantly increase if they have to apply three coats of paint rather than two. Overall, trade paint offers higher quality for anyone who is willing to pay slightly more. Having said this, the average trade paint costly marginally more than its retail version and significantly less than a designer paint.

The Best White Emulsion Paint For Walls & Ceilings

When painting an interior wall, there are a number of qualities that you want from a paint, especially when using a lighter shade like white. You need a paint to has a strong white colour and that has a good opacity, otherwise known as its coverage or its ability to cover the wall. This is crucial if you are painting over a previously coloured interior wall as without a strong opacity, you will need to apply three or more coats of paint to get a high-quality finish.

As we have mentioned, the higher the sheen of the paint, the more durability it has. The most popular finish for an interior wall is matt, which if it is a vinyl matt emulsion, can be wiped using a cloth to remove dirt but does not have significant scuff resistance, meaning a standard vinyl matt paint is best suited for low traffic rooms such as living rooms & bedrooms.

When it comes to vinyl matt paints, there are a number of excellent options from leading brands like Dulux Trade, Crown Trade & Armstead Trade. Our personal recommendation would be Crown Trade Vinyl Matt that offers excellent opacity and a perfectly even brilliant white finish that does the flash and reduces the framing effect. This framing effect is caused when a paint brush is used to cut in around the edges of a wall and then a roller is used to fill in the rest. This difference in application causes a border to form around the wall, which is very noticeable. By using a good quality paint and a 4" mini roller to roll the paint all the way to the edge once you have cut in, you can achieve perfect results.

Like all our vinyl matt emulsions, Crown Trade Vinyl Matt can be mixed in almost any colour, so if you are looking for a particular white shade, you are not limited to just brilliant white.

The Best White Emulsion Paint For Bathrooms & Kitchens

If you are looking for a higher sheen finish or are looking to paint a bathroom or kitchen using a white emulsion, then an acrylic eggshell finish will be the best option. Acrylic eggshell paints have higher durability than matt finishes and are moisture resistant, meaning they can withstand the high condensation conditions of kitchens and bathrooms.

Our choice for the best acrylic eggshell would be Macpherson Acrylic Eggshell as it has a fantastic opacity, it does not drag when applied meaning you can get a great finish and it offers brilliant value for money. Importantly, it will not yellow which is not what you want when using a white emulsion, meaning your white walls will remain looking bright white for years.

If you would like a low-sheen matt finish instead of the slightly higher sheen that comes with an eggshell finish, then alternatively you could use a durable matt emulsion. These have been specially designed to provide the added durability required for high traffic rooms and high condensation rooms, while providing the modern, flat matt finish that many people desire. We would recommend Crown Trade Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt that can be mixed in almost any colour.

The Best Paint For Blocking Stains

One of the biggest problems with any interior decorating, but especially when using a white emulsion is staining on walls. This is caused by moisture that is leading to discolouration or damp on the wall. Water stains come from a range of sources, including leaking pipes or penetrating damp caused by water ingress on an exterior wall that is soaking through to the interior wall. Stains can also be caused from indoor smoking.

The best way to block stains when decorating is to apply a stain blocking primer before you apply the paint. Our personal recommendation would be to use Zinsser Coverstain, which is a low odour oil-based primer & stain blocker. Zinsser Coverstain can be used both on interior & exterior walls and is especially effective on nicotine and water stains. It acts as an undercoat that can be painted onto, that possesses excellent stain killing performance. Once one coat of the primer is applied, you can then paint over the top of it using your emulsion of choice.

White emulsion painted wall

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I use white emulsion as an undercoat?

Yes, you can use water-based emulsions as an undercoat and then overcoat using a water-based gloss or satin finish.

Q. Why is my emulsion paint patchy?

If an emulsion paint has left a patchy and uneven finish once it has dried, the likely cause of this is that the paint has been in an uneven manner, either in different thicknesses or using different equipment. If you use a paint roller of a different pile or have used a paint brush in areas, this will apply the paint differently to an area you have used a different roller. To avoid this, apply even layers of paint using the same equipment. As we have mentioned, once you have cut in using a paint brush, use a mini roller to even out any paint.

Q. Can you colour white emulsion paint?

A large number of emulsion paints can be mixed in almost any colour, meaning there is no need to colour a white emulsion paint yourself. It is possible to tint emulsion paint yourself, although we do not recommend this as this will impact the quality of the paint. Ultimately finding the right paint for you and having it mixed in a colour of your choice is the best option.

Q. Is emulsion paint water-based?

Yes, emulsion paints that are primarily designed for use on interior walls & ceilings are water-based emulsions. While oil-based paints were used in the past, the quick-drying water-based paints are much better suited for use on walls, with oil-based paints reserved for woodwork & metal.

We hope this has answered any questions you may have had regarding the best white emulsion available in the UK. At Painters World we have a wide range of paints available, so no matter the job, we've got the right tools for you! Shop our huge range of products today and get FREE next working day delivery on all orders over £50. Not sure which emulsion paint to opt for? Why not read our full guide to the best emulsion paint?

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