5 things you definitely shouldn’t paint with emulsion!

by Sam Wood | Last Updated: 22/02/2021

While there is seemingly a specialist paint for every single function you may be tempted to paint a number of things with good old emulsion. You probably have the odd tin of emulsion lying around, either in the shed or under the stairs. This will lead to you undoubtedly be very tempted to use that emulsion on a range of jobs and save yourself some money. However, there are lots of reasons why that may not be a good idea and actually a false economy overall.

What not to paint with emulsion

What not to paint with emulsion

Can you paint interior doors with emulsion?

While you can paint interior doors with emulsion in so much as the paint will go on fine and probably look pretty good for at least a little while you will certainly run into many issues before too long.

One thing that is certain to happen is that your interior door will start to get really dirty after a few months. We are constantly touching doors with our hands, even if we don’t consciously mean to. The emulsion will soak up all this dirt from your hands and unlike gloss, you cant simply wipe it down. Before long your nicely painted door will have black/brown hand marks all over the area around the handle.

Another potential issue is the paint chipping. Emulsion is not particularly strong paint. it is intended for walls after all. When it comes into contact with anything it will chip. This is a real issue for doors as they are guaranteed to come into contact with hands, nails, keys, phones, watches etc.

Can you paint wood furniture with emulsion?

There are a few reasons why using emulsion paint on wood furniture would not be a good idea. While you will be able to paint wood furniture with emulsion you will most definitely come into problems when you actually try and use the furniture.

For starters, if you try to paint seating then you will run into one huge issue in particular. Emulsion will rub off onto clothing. Sit down in that nice new white chair in a fancy pair of black slacks and you will end up with chalky white marks all over your arse!

Even if the furniture in question is not to be sat on there are still many reasons not to paint furniture with emulsion. It is not a tough finish for one, so it will chip and break. It also dirties very easily, so anything that regularly comes into contact with people is a big no-no.

Can you paint grout with emulsion?

I’m not sure where this one comes from, and while you probably could, there are specialist tools for this job that will be a lot better suited. Just get a grout pen if you want a quick fix to spruce up your grouting!

These pens are incredibly easy to use. Just go over all your grout as if you are using tipex. The pen tip makes it easy to avoid spillage and acc9idently painting over your tiles which would definitely be an issue if you tried to use emulsion.

Unibond 1878160 Reviver, White Pen for Restoring Bathroom Grout Joints 7 ml Triple Protect, 1
£4.80
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06/13/2021 05:55 am GMT

Can you paint skirting boards with emulsion?

Skirting boards need to be hard-wearing, they get accidentally kicked or have furniture budged into them often. This is one of the main reasons you should not paint them with emulsion. Emulsion is not intended for contact or to be in a high traffic area, it is purely a decorative paint. If used on skirting boards it will definitely chip off over time.

Not only that but emulsion is really poor when it comes to marking and showing dirt. The skirting boards will start to look really dirty really quickly. And, unless you use a special emulsion, will not be cleanable.

Can you paint tiles with emulsion?

No, there are a few reasons why this would be a bad idea. To start with most tiles have a very shiny surface, for this reason, most paints will really struggle to get good adhesion to the tile surface. This is one of the reasons specialist tile paints exist.

On top of that, emulsion is usually not waterproof. So if these tiles are in any sort of position where they will get wet the emulsion will just run off over time. The next problem with painting tiles with emulsion is that emulsion dirties easily and also chips easily, even when it has a really good surface to adhere to.

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Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!