Latex paint: robust coating instead of tiles and joints
Latex paint is washable and very durable. This makes it an alternative to tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. It is also used in stairwells. And if you want a high-gloss wall paint, you can hardly avoid latex paint. The application possibilities are therefore manifold. But there are also some things to consider when using latex paint.
Latex paint has two decisive properties that predestine it for use in kitchens and bathrooms: it is washable and resistant. This makes latex paint an alternative to tiles and suitable wherever paint has to be particularly resistant.
Advantageous properties of latex paint
Anyone looking for a washable wall paint will sooner or later find latex paint. Water runs off on it, impurities after a tomato sauce accident, for example, can simply be washed off. This does not mean, however, that latex paint is completely waterproof: depending on the manufacturer and colour model, water vapour is let through or slowed down. There is no latex paint that completely blocks water vapour.
The SD value indicates how resistant a fabric is to water vapour. In living areas, the lowest possible SD values are desirable, otherwise water could be trapped in the walls, increasing the risk of mould.
- Vapour barrier films, for example, have an SD value of at least 1,500 m, so they are diffusion-tight.
- Materials with SD values between 0.5 m and 1,500 m are considered to be diffusion-inhibiting or vapour-braking.
- Some latex paints have an SD value of less than 0.5 m and are therefore considered open to diffusion.
- Latex paint is also very hard-wearing. How hard-wearing it is specified in abrasion resistance classes.
Class 1 means that after 200 scrubbing movements with a certain test brush, the paint has lost a maximum thickness of five micrometers. A coating one millimeter thick would then be worn off after around 40,000 scrubbing movements.
For class 3, on the other hand, this can already be the case after 3,000 scrubbing movements.
If you want to matt paint your wall, you can use just about any wall paint. But if you want a high-gloss wall, you will almost always end up with latex paint.
Disadvantages of latex paint
Less high-quality latex paints have a high SD value and thus impair the exchange of water vapour. If an entire room is painted with such a paint, the risk of mould increases because water that penetrates the wall is difficult to release into the room. However, mould growth is not dependent on just one factor: If moisture is deposited between paint and wall, it can no longer escape and also contributes to the mold risk. One recognizes these deposits by bubble formation at the surface – provided that the corresponding place is not hidden behind furniture.
If a latex paint does not have good coverage, do-it-yourselfers may have to paint a second or even third layer. However, this should not be necessary with high-quality latex paints. Walls that have been painted with latex paint cannot be painted over well themselves. This applies in particular to high-gloss paint. This may then have to be removed, for example by tearing down the wallpaper or sanding down the wall. Tenants should in any case first ask their landlord for permission before painting the entire apartment in high-gloss pink latex paint.
Do-it-yourselfers should pay attention to the ingredients before using old latex paint residues. In the past, the preservative formaldehyde was used in latex paints. It is carcinogenic and is no longer used today.
Alternative to tiles: Latex paint in kitchen and bathroom
Washable and hard-wearing – these are the properties that a wall in the kitchen and bathroom should have. Latex paint meets these criteria and can therefore be an alternative to tiles. In order to obtain a truly waterproof coat of paint, do-it-yourselfers should apply two or more coats of paint. This also closes small holes in the paint layer.
Latex paint is also used in jointless bathrooms and kitchens, i.e. rooms that do not require silicone seals or tiles. However only sporadically. Usually, specially treated stone or wood surfaces are used. Lime plasters have a moisture-regulating effect, special treatments with lime soap make surfaces water-repellent, but they remain open to diffusion.
Step by step to latex coating
Who wants to paint latex paint, should take the following steps, which do not differ significantly from painting with other wall paints:
- prepare substrate: clean (dust, grease)
Wash tiles with all-purpose cleaner. Wallpapers can remain on the wall, provided they still adhere well. The advantage: if the latex paint has to be removed once, you can simply tear the wallpaper off. Adhesive tape remainders, wall tattoos and the like must be removed, the same applies to screws, nails and dowels. Crumbly areas and holes should be cleaned.
- fill in joints / holes
At the DIY store you can buy ready-made putty or powder to mix. To do this, it is best to first pour a little water into a cup and let the putty trickle as lump-free as possible to just below the water surface. Then mix well. Lubricate the mass with a spatula into the holes and smooth down.
- apply primer
The primer must be adapted to the substrate and the colour and is required above all for particularly absorbent or non-absorbent substrates. These include plastered walls, plaster walls, bare stone walls, concrete or tiles. Who paints on wallpaper or an existing color layer, needs no primer.
- let the primer dry, then apply single or double coat
Once the primer is dry, the latex paint can be applied with a paint roller. In the kitchen and bathroom, i.e. where the wall is to be washed or is to be particularly hard-wearing, it is best to apply a second or third coat. The individual layers must be dry before another layer follows.
Great accents with latex paint
If you use latex paint correctly, you can set great accents in the bathroom and kitchen, for example in high gloss and do without tiles. Latex paint can also be painted around light switches to protect against soiling. Especially with children in the house gray walls around light switches quickly off. If the wall is painted with latex paint, it can easily be cleaned.
However, latex paint is less suitable for full-surface use. In particular, tenants should not paint their walls with latex paint without thought. When moving out they would have to remove them possibly laboriously.