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Emulsion - The Versatile Paint - Part Three

May 5, 2008
Is emulsion paint best applied with a brush or roller?

One of the big advantages of emulsion is that it is easy to apply, with little drag on the brush or roller compared to oil based paints. So whether you use a brush or roller is really a matter of personal preference. Both give good finishes, although rollers have the edge in speed of application. However, if you do decide on a roller you will still need a brush for painting into angles.

Whichever you use, make sure you get the best you can afford and the right size. If you stick to brushes, buy a 100mm-150mm flat wall brush and a smaller brush for edges and detail work. Try to get brushes with bristles made of hog's hair. They are more expensive, but cheaper brushes with synthetic bristles do not hold the paint as well and may spoil your work. When buying a brush, test the quality of the bristles in your hand - they should feel soft to the touch.

For roller work on walls and ceilings a good quality short-pile mohair or synthetic pile fabric is best. Cheaper disposable foam plastic rollers are available, but unless you are after a textured effect they are not really worth any saving you might make. The best size is 150mm-200mm.

Both brushes and rollers should be cleaned in lukewarm water immediately after use otherwise the paint will dry and become extremely difficult to shift.

Are there any alternatives to brushes and rollers?

Yes. Paint pads are worth considering. They consist of short pile face - usually mohair - attached to a foam pad or cushion fitted to a handle, and is quite easy to use. A paint mitten is useful for applying emulsion behind radiators and pipes which can be difficult to coat by normal methods.

There are a number of sprays you can either buy or hire. They give a very even finish but, unless you are painting the whole house, the extra cost and preparation - all surfaces not to be painted must be securely masked - will offset the advantages of quick and easy applications.

You can also buy a portable system which pumps the paint from a paint tub to a brush, pad or roller. The tub is inserted directly into the machine, which is worn around the waist. The finish is comparable to that of a brush or roller but it does require its own special one litre tubs of paint.

Should I use a drip or non-drip emulsion?

The advantages of non-drip thyrotrophic emulsion are that they are clean to use and their spreading rate is usually very good. However, if thinned they lose their gel or non-drip qualities and become more like liquid paints. Also the fact that they go on in thicker coats tends to make them less economical than ordinary liquid emulsions.

Liquid paints are certainly better on surfaces where thinning is required and it is worth bearing in mind that this is the type that most professional decorators prefer.
About the Author
Interior design is James Holdinski's Business, He is an expert in Designing Blackpool Hotels and is a big advocate of Snickers Workwear in winter he loves to take it easy in a Seasonal Caravan
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