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Wrong paint may affect the quality of indoor air – 5 common challenges of painting walls

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The global pandemic has resulted in new interest in home renovation and decorating, as demonstrated clearly in the sales of paint. In 2020, Tikkurila’s production grew by 3.4 per cent, and waterborne decorative paints account for over 80 per cent of the total sales.  The benefits of waterborne paints for the consumer are fundamental. In addition to painting with easy-to-use waterborne paints, success in indoor painting demands some central steps.

Tikkurila wants to make more and more sustainable products in the future in addition to environmentally efficient production. That means, among other things, further increasing the production of waterborne paints. Last year 84% of consumer and construction paints sold by us were waterborne, and our goal is that by 2030, 99% of our decorative paints sold in Europe will be waterborne. To guarantee sustainable, consumer‑safe products of high quality, the production has a heavy emphasis on the development and production of waterborne paints.

Benefits of waterborne paint

Waterborne paints have several benefits over the traditional, solvent‑based paints. In the production of solvent-based paints, some volatile organic compounds, i.e. VOC emissions, are released into the air from raw materials. At Tikkurila, these emissions have been significantly reduced by investing specifically in the manufacture of waterborne products.  Besides being environmentally friendly, waterborne paints also have a milder odour, better durability, faster drying time and better coverage, and they are easier to clean without using detergents.

– Naturally, the central ingredient of waterborne products is water, which is a safe option for the painter and the inhabitants of the home with painted walls. Due to the low emissions of waterborne paints, the indoor air quality will remain better and the risk of allergy is significantly lower, because waterborne paints mainly evaporate water. The surface of a waterborne paint also keeps its gloss and colour saturation for longer, says the head of Tikkurila’s Technical Support Rami Kuparinen.

How to succeed in indoor wall painting

There are a couple of things that you should take into consideration when painting with waterborne paints. Below you will find a list of tips compiled by Tikkurila’s paint expert to help you do a successful paint job, all the way from colour selection to the actual painting.

1. Selecting the right product and colour

Consider the room and expected wear of the wall when selecting paint for the top coat. The best living room and bedroom sheens for waterborne indoor wall paints are flat or eggshell, because they produce a soft colour and hide imperfections. Satin paint is the best choice for rooms that require frequent washing, such as kitchens and corridors. A satin surface produces an intensive colour. There are useful tools for selecting the colour, such as the Colour Master mobile application created by the experts of Tikkurila, which allows the user to view different colours on their wall.

2. Cover

Furniture should be moved to the center of the room to ensure free working space.

Cover the floor with paint-proof paper to prevent wet paint from staining the floor. If electric sockets, light switches and mouldings are going to stay in place, cover them carefully with good-quality masking tape. Remove the tape immediately after painting to avoid tearing the dry paint with the tape. 

3. Preparing and priming

Walls that are previously painted should be cleaned with wall cleaner before painting. Washing will remove any dirt and grease from the surface and also wear the old paint surface ensuring better grip for the new one. Any holes and scratches are easy to cover up using the special Hole‑in‑1 caulk. Let the caulk dry, sand it to the surrounding surface, and wipe the dust off. By applying 1–2 coats of primer, you ensure the top coat will stick to the wall and produce a smooth result. High temperature and low air humidity in the space will speed the drying of the paint considerably. If possible, turn the heaters down while you paint.

4. Equipment

The preferred paint surface of a wall is often smooth and discreet, and to achieve that you should choose a low-nap roller, such as a microfiber of felt roller intended for smooth surfaces. When needed, ask for the salesperson’s advice to select the best and highest-quality tools.

5. Painting

First use a paintbrush or small paint roller to paint the corners and edges of mouldings. The places where the ceiling and the wall meet or the corners of accent walls are the easiest to mark with a marking tool or painter’s tape. Use a spirit level to make sure your tape is attached straight. Apply tape and paint only to one wall at a time to prevent the edges from drying. Always start rolling the paint from the corner and circle around the room, finishing at your starting point. Use a sufficient amount of paint and roll your roller back and forth from the floor to the ceiling and back, covering only a small strip at a time. Immediately after painting, even the paint out by rolling directly up and down, and overlap the freshly painted section while the paint is wet. In order to have a seamless, beautiful finish, you should carefully apply two layers of top coat.

More information:

Terhi Kohonen, Technical expert, tel. +358 50 311 1245, terhi.kohonen(at)tikkurila.com

Rami Kuparinen, Head of technical support, tel. +358 400 409 326, rami.kuparinen(at)tikkurila.com

Tikkurila is a leading Nordic paint company with expertise that spans decades. We develop premium products and services that provide our customers with quality that will stand the test of time and weather. We operate in 11 countries and our 2,400 dedicated professionals share the joy of building a vivid future through surfaces that make a difference. In 2020, our revenue totaled EUR 582 million. The company is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. Nordic quality from start to finish since 1862.