What does emulsion paint mean

As Emulsion paints or -paintings one refers to viscous paints that consist of a chemical dispersion (mostly an emulsion) of binders and solvents, colorants (mostly pigments) and additives. In this general sense, the majority of liquid paints (lacquers, paints, etc.) are dispersions.

Colloquially, this mostly refers to those containers weighing around 16 kilograms with white wall paint in an oval 10 liter bucket that are available on pallets in every hardware store. Strictly speaking, it is Synthetic resin dispersion paints.

In addition, there are similarly structured products on the market, but which use ingredients that are as non-synthetic and non-mineral oil as possible and most of them - somewhat vaguely - as Natural dispersion paints are designated.

Synthetic resin dispersion paints

Synthetic resin dispersion paints (also Plastic dispersion paints, or -Colours, or simply -dispersions) are wall paints that usually consist of a dispersion of synthetic resin and water.


Main ingredients are typically water as a solvent, synthetic resins obtained from mineral oil or similar plastics as binders, dyes or pigments such as titanium dioxide, fillers such as calcium carbonate, silicates and quartz powder.

Additionally auxiliary materials (so-called additives) are used that are used to improve the technical properties, such as stabilizers, defoamers, thickeners, preservatives, solvents, etc.

The synthetic resins used are acrylates or polyvinyl acetate.


Synthetic resin emulsion paints for indoor use are standardized in DIN EN 13300, those for outdoor use in DIN EN 1062.


Synthetic resin dispersion wall paints with particularly high water resistance, for exterior and facade areas as well as for damp areas inside the house, are often also referred to as latex paints, which is incorrect because they do not contain latex, but only a high proportion of synthetic resin. Synthetic resin emulsion paints with decorative additives (such as glitter) are also often referred to as such.

"Fixed color"

In addition to liquid synthetic resin emulsion paint, there are also thixotropic (so-called compact) Paintings, better known as Solid color®; they should spatter and spatter less when painting. However, compact colors have lost their market importance because they are more difficult to paint due to their fixed properties.


White emulsion paints can be colored with full-tone or tinting paints. Tinted colors are now available in all specialist and hardware stores. The colors are mixed under computer control, whereby a color fastness is achieved that cannot be achieved manually (as was usual in the past).

Environmental sustainability

The Federal Environment Agency generally certifies that synthetic resin emulsion paints are highly environmentally friendly. They are often awarded the Blue Angel. Since water is used as the solvent, the pollutants released into the air and the odor nuisance during drying are usually kept within limits. Nevertheless, problems arise with these colors from an ecological and building-biological point of view. They are mostly not breathable, so that the room climate is negatively influenced (depending on the synthetic resin content in the color).

Natural dispersion paints

Natural dispersion paints or -Colours are intended to offer the same advantages as synthetic resin dispersion paints, but consist exclusively or largely of natural, non-synthetic ingredients - with the difference between Naturally and artificially can be pretty fluent.

Typically, synthetic resin is replaced by vegetable oils such as linseed oil or castor oil, and the titanium dioxide is replaced by mineral pigments.

Natural dispersion paints are usually significantly more expensive than conventional paints based on synthetic resins.

Some of them have a lower, but some also have a higher air pollution than comparable synthetic resin dispersions.

Since manufacturers don't like to attribute to such nature or Eco If you want to do without the product name, they are usually not marked with the blue angel.

These points should be observed with natural oil interior paints:

  • After the application, a slight smell of the natural oil arises in the room, which however disappears after a while and can be perceived as pleasant or unpleasant.
  • Natural oil (especially linseed oil) yellows, d. H. over the years a white wall becomes more yellowish. Since this happens evenly, it is usually not noticeable.
  • The formation of dust edges on picture frames is significantly less than with synthetic resin dispersions, as no static charge is generated.

Emulsion paints

Because the terms Emulsion paint and Synthetic resin emulsion paint are now used almost synonymously, there has been a move to different types of dispersion paints than Emulsion paints to call. Example: the well-known poster color from Pelikan is called casein emulsion paint by the manufacturer.

See also

Latex paint

Category: Coating (building material)