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​What is breathable paint and why does it matter?

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What is breathable paint

How is it possible that houses built decades ago maintain their plaster and walls in an excellent condition, when more recent construction and builds in the same city are in poor condition after just a few years? This is because that buildings need to breathe.

Everyone knows that when an old wall is painted it has the ability to change the mood of the occupants. But the colour of the paint is not the only thing that matters. Its compounds can protect or harm our health and our house. In the past, people used to cover their stone walls with lime and plaster, using a minimum amount of cement, so they had achieved good breathability of their houses. As time went by, the use of various chemical insulation, abundant cement and finally coating with plastic petrochemical paint on top creating a very thin -but without pores – membrane led to perfect insulation. 

However, humidity, unhealthy volatile components contained in the various paints used for furniture, radiators and walls and other harmful everyday materials such as toxic cleaning supplies, etc. are trapped inside the house. The use of breathable natural paints which are friendlier not only to our health and the environment, but to our homes, as well are the logical solution. The point is: Keep old walls breathing and save them from building up damp by allowing the moisture to escape through breathable materials.

But what is breathable paint?

breathable paint has special microporous characteristics allowing water vapour permeate through materials. The rates of permeability are defined with an Sd value, which measures how much of a barrier the material is to water vapour. The lower the Sd value, the more breathable the paint is. Sd values of common breathable paints range from 0.02m to 0.5m, meaning that an Sd value of 0.5 is the equivalent to 50cm of air barrier.

Breathable paints allow water to evaporate away quickly letting the walls, the window frames, the door frames and the render to breathe naturally without trapping moisture. So they are ideal for rooms with large moisture and temperature fluctuations such as kitchens, basements, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

These paints have many advantages:

  • They hardly ‘crack’, because no moisture is trapped into the materials.
  • Prevents wood rot, as moisture gets away.
  • They create a healthy indoor microclimate.
  • Natural materials and eco concious manufacture
  • They have no or low odour.
  • They don’t emit VOC, or have very minimal VOC content.
  • Easy to apply. Use a roller or brush.
  • They are economical.
  • They can be used for coatings on surfaces containing lime and cement, loam rendering, woodchip wallpaper or old chalk silicate paints.
  • They provide high coverage.
  • They have both internal and external applications.
  • They can be easily cleaned by light sponging.

So if you are planning to paint your new house or renovate your old historic building, use breathable natural paints. However, before buying them, remember to read the technical advice/ ingredients sheet. All environmentally friendly paint manufacturers are obliged to specify their ingredients.

Where can I buy breathable paints?

Errr.... here! View our range of breathable paints here

Buy Natural and Organic Paints UK

The Organic and Natural Paint Company is a trading name of Eleventh Green LTD
Company Number: 10357888 | VAT Number: GB 253471411
Eleventh Green LTD (Accounts Only) High Mill, Yorkshire, England, YO16 6XQ

Main office based in (the far from mountainous) Norwich, Norfolk, England. 2017