What’s in emulsion paint? © Getty Images

What’s in emulsion paint?

Emulsion paints are made up of a variety of chemicals including pigments, a solvent and binders...

Emulsion paint consists of tiny polymer particles within which the pigments are trapped. The particles are suspended in water, then as the paint dries the particles fuse together creating a film of paint on the wall. Once this happens the polymer can’t be resuspended in water, which is why you can’t wash a water-based emulsion paint back off the wall once it has dried.

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But how does it break down?

Pigments – 25 per cent

Titanium dioxide is used for white, iron oxide for yellows, reds and browns, chromium oxide for greens, and carbon is used for blacks.

Solvent – 45 per cent

Nearly half of emulsion paint is made up of water.

Binders – 25 per cent

Acrylic or epoxy polymers surround the pigments and help them to bind to the wall.

Other additives – 5 per cent

These include biocides to stop algae and fungi growing on your walls.


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