Chalk Style Paint

Chalk Style Paint is a casual interior matte paint with colors inspired by relaxed Scandinavian hues, British tradition and American favorites. 

Need some Chalk Style Paint inspiration? Visit the General Finishes Design Center or Pinterest Board for furniture painting ideas.

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General Finishes Chalk Style Paint

Instructions

Step 1: Preparation for Paint

Before applying paint, all raw wood projects require preparation sanding, and all existing finishes require prep cleaning and sanding. If you skip this critical step, your finish may fail.

Preparation for Raw Wood Projects
See our video: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood

  1. Sanding schedule: 120-grit sandpaper followed by 150-grit. Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption. Do not use steel wool with water-based finishes; the particles will get trapped in the finish and rust.
  2. Remove dust with a water-dampened rag or oil-free tack cloth. 
  3. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Preparation for Projects with an Existing Finish
For high-use areas with heavy grime build-up and oil from hands, give your project a deeper cleaning.
See our video: How to Prepare Existing Finishes

  1. Scuff clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours. Avoid cleaning with products containing phosphates (salt), which can linger in the substrate and produce a white haze. If your project requires a deeper cleaning, see Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes below.
  2. Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper.
  3. Remove dust with a non-sticky tack cloth or a water-dampened rag. 
  4. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes
See our video: How to Power Prep Existing High Use Finishes for Stain or Paint

  1. Scrub clean with a detergent, such as Spic and Span or Dawn, using a Scotch Brite pad.
  2. Rinse well with water.
  3. Scrub clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours.
  4. Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper.
  5. Remove dust with a non-sticky tack cloth or a water-dampened rag. 
  6. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Alternative Cleaning Solutions For Existing Finishes (Not as aggressive or effective as denatured alcohol; requires rinsing.) 

  1. 50:50 mix of bleach and water 
  2. 50:50 mix of vinegar and water
  3. Mineral spirits can be used when working with water-based products, but only if the surface is thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry for 72 hours.

 

Step 2: Priming

A base coat of primer is not required when applying General Finishes Chalk Style Paint. However, 2 coats of General Finishes Stain Blocker may be necessary for the following circumstances, especially when using WHITE OR LIGHT-COLORED PAINT.

  1. Raw Wood Tannin Bleed-Through is unpredictable; yellowing can appear immediately or months later with seasonal temperature changes. Oak, pine, mahogany and douglas fir are particularly prone to bleed-through. 
  2. Knots in Wood contain rosin (sap) and are dense, making paint adhesion a challenge. Pine knots are especially difficult to cover with white or light paints. If you decide to paint over them, apply 3 coats of Stain Blocker over the areas with knots first; however, we cannot guarantee against rosin bleed-through. You are better off using a dark paint on pine.
  3. Existing Finish Bleed-Through may be caused previous stains or aniline dyes, surface contamination, and incompatibility between brands.
  4. Non-Wood Surfaces may be able to take paint if primed first. Primer may improve adhesion over laminate and prevent bleed-through from MDF. Metal requires a primer made specifically for metal.

NOTE: Do not tint or use Stain Blocker on projects that will be stored outdoors.

Priming Non-Wood Surfaces for Paint
Always test for adhesion on a hidden area of your project before getting started.

Metal: Chalk Style Paint is engineered for wood surfaces, but may adhere to metal, such as aluminum or steel, if a metal primer is applied first. 

  1. Clean surface well.
  2. Apply primer.
  3. Dry 48-72 hours before painting.

Laminate: Chalk Style Paint MAY adhere to laminate with a bonding primer; however, we cannot guarantee it. You may increase your chances of success by abrading the surface.

  1. Prep: Deep clean, dry thoroughly, sand with 150- then 180-grit sandpaper and wipe off dust.
  2. Prime: Apply bonding primer, dry 12+ hours before painting.

MDF: Chalk Style Paint can be applied directly to MDF, but the MDF may cast a brown color if not primed first. Two base coats of white-pigmented shellac-based stain-blocking primer, or Stain Blocker, may prevent bleed-through. Alternatively, one base coat of General Finishes Seagull Gray Milk Paint may block brown tone caused by MDF.

MDF is not as absorbent as natural wood. Let each coat of primer and paint dry at least 48 hours before recoating.

Disclaimer
Although Stain Blocker is engineered to prevent the most persistent bleed-through when two coats are applied, General Finishes cannot guarantee prevention of bleed-through or yellowing on every project. Unknown factors and assiduous bleed-through can impact results. Stain Blocker is the strongest option we are aware of at this time and has performed extremely well in our tests.

Step 3: How To Apply General Finishes Chalk Style Paint

General Finishes Chalk Style Paint Application Steps: 

  1. Stir paint to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.
  2. If desired, thin paint with a 10-15% distilled water or General Finishes Extender. Extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates.
  3. Apply 2-3 coats. More coats will be required when using colors that have less "hide properties" such as bright reds, greens, yellows, and whites.
    • Hand application: Apply using an acrylic bristle brush, foam brush, paint pad applicator or roller.
    • Spray application: See video tutorial on spraying Milk Paint. Before spraying, strain paint through a medium-mesh filter. HVLP: 1.8mm-2.0mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. See our general guide for spray tip sizes. Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines. Wear a full filter respirator (NIOSH/MSHA approved) and work in a ventilated space. Visit this FAQ for more information on spraying techniques.
  4. Dry 2+ hours between coats and before topcoat in ideal conditions: 70*F/20*C; 50-70% humidity. Be sure to allow adequate dry time. You can tell if a water-based finish is dry if it forms a powder when lightly sanded with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper. If in doubt, wait longer. Rushing dry time can cause clouding/blush in topcoat due to moisture trapped between coats. Increase dry time if: 
    • Humidity is over 80%
    • 3+ coats are applied
    • Thick coats are applied
    • Applying over a previously existing finish
    • Layering General Finishes water- and oil-based products:
      • Water over oil: Let oil-based products dry 72+hrs before applying water-based products
      • Oil over water: Let water-based products dry 24+hrs before applying oil-based products
    • To accelerate dry time in humid conditions, add General Finishes Accelerator and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness. 
  5. If a smoother texture is desired, finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper to improve smoothness and adhesion.
  6. Remove dust with a vacuum, oil-free tack cloth or clean water dampened rag before re-coating.
  7. Seal with 3 coats of topcoat.

Cure Time
Water-based finishes cure and harden for full use after 21 days in ideal conditions. Avoid placing heavy objects on surfaces that have not completely cured. Treat gently, and do not clean with commercial products during the curing period.

Notes on Color

  • All white paints darken or yellow over time, but the change is more evident with bright whites, such a General Finishes Chalk White Chalk Style Paint. 
  • Some colors require additional coats for coverage due to their lower hide quality (e.g. reds, bright whites, yellows).

Step 4: Topcoat Over Chalk Style Paint

Always seal General Finishes Chalk Style Paint with 3 coats of topcoat.

Recommendations
General Finishes High Performance and General Finishes Enduro Clear Poly dry crystal-clear and are great for high-use surfaces. General Finishes Flat Out Flat is our flattest topcoat, only suitable for projects that do not receive major wear.

Topcoating General Finishes Chalk White Chalk Style Paint
Clear, water-based topcoats can react with wood substrates and previous finishes, causing the topcoat to yellow. This is most evident when using bright white paints. To avoid the potential of yellowing, use 3 coats of spray-only Enduro White Poly as a standalone finish, which will not yellow. See our FAQ: How Do I Prevent Water Based Topcoat or Light Colored Paint from Yellowing?

 

Cleanup of Water Based Products

Application tools and materials containing water-based products can be cleaned with soap and water immediately after use.

Product Spills
Spills may be able to be removed from fabric and carpet if cleaned immediately with soap and water.

Storage of Water Based Products

Life of Product
Water-based products do not last forever, even when unopened. General Finishes products are best used within 1 year of the manufacture date listed on the bottom of the can. The life of the product may be extended with proper care and storage.

Settling
Gravity can cause some solids to settle on the bottom of the can and slight separation on the top. This is normal. If working with older paint, use paint mixing attachment on a drill. If the solids dissolve and clumps smooth out after mixing from the bottom, the product is in good condition for use.

Storage Tips
See video tutorial: Tips on Storing Leftover Finishes
Water-based finishes crystalize and form a skin due to evaporation when the air-tight seal on a can is broken at first use. The following best practices will increase the life of your product:

  1. Pry open sealed lids with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal. 
  2. Keep lid closed while working. Pour what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work.
  3. Clean the chime of the can thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Paint in the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
  4. Pound the lid in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
  5. Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50*F/10*C or above 80*F/26*C. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Temperature-controlled spaces, such as a basement, are ideal for storage. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to something warm like a water heater or furnace.
  6. Store can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring. 
  7. Decant leftovers to a smaller container when the finish is almost used up. Alternative storage containers for water-based products are plastic FIFO bottles or glass bottles. Do not fill metal-lidded containers completely to prevent them from rusting.

The following water-based product mixtures can be stored:

  1. Product thinned with up to 15% General Finishes Extender or General Finishes Accelerator can be stored, with the exception of thinned General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain.
  2. Mixtures involving colors & sheens within the same product line, such as:
    • High Performance Satin + High Performance Gloss
    • Snow White Milk Paint + Coastal Blue Milk Paint
    • Amber Dye Stain + Merlot Dye Stain

The following product mixtures should NOT be stored:

  • Any water based product with thinned tap water; water often contains bacteria that will adversely affect stored paint.
  • Topcoat + Stain or Paint
  • Milk Paint + Chalk Style Paint
  • Water Based Wood Stain + Dye Stain

Creative Finishing Techniques Using Chalk Style Paint

Scandinavian Mixed Media Technique with Efex

MATERIALS NEEDED:

STEPS:

  1. Apply Efex with Dap Rapid Fuse Glue.
  2. Paint 1 to 2 coats of Summertime Blue Chalk Style Paint.
  3. Lightly wet-brush French Vanilla Chalk Style Paint over the piece.
  4. Wet-brush Charleton Blue Chalk Style Paint in corners and edges, dampen with water to lessen the effect. Blot with a paper towel. Let dry.
  5. Apply Van Dyke Glaze Effects to the entire piece. Use a wet brush or water bottle to lessen effect where needed. Wipe back.
  6. Apply Burnished Pearl Effects to corners and over Efex molding.
  7. Seal with 2-3 coats of flat topcoat.

 

Aged Metallic Finish

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • General Finishes Chalk Style Paint: Slate Gray
  • General Finishes Glaze Effects: Pitch Black
  • General Finishes Pearl Effects: Argentine Pearl
  • General Finishes Pearl Effects: Bronze Pearl
  • General Finishes Pearl Effects: Tawny Pearl
  • Water Based Topcoat
  • Assorted Foam & Chip Brushes
  • Spray Water Bottle
  • Paper Towels

STEPS:

  1. Paint 1 to 2 coats of Slate Gray Chalk Style Paint.
  2. Paint Argentine Pearl Effects thickly in a crisscross pattern, leaving strokes visible.
  3. Paint on Bronze & Tawny Pearl Effects in a crisscross pattern randomly in a few spots. Let dry.
  4. Apply Pitch Black Glaze Effects, wipe off immediately.
  5. Spray water on to remove more glaze if desired.
  6. Seal with 3 coats of water based topcoat.

Furniture Care and Maintenance

Cure First
You have just finished applying a fine furniture finish. Allow 21 days for the finish to cure before cleaning.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Remove dust with a water-dampened cloth. Dust can build up over time and may scratch or dull finishes if not removed regularly. 
  • Remove fingerprints, cooking fumes and smoking residue with mild soap and water. These contaminants will not harm the finish, but they accumulate on surfaces and dull the original luster. 
  • As with all fine furniture finishes, avoid using furniture polish, cleaners or dusting sprays that contain silicone, alcohol, ammonia and anything acidic. Exception: We have successfully cleaned with Clorox wipes.
  • Clean up water, alcohol and food spills in a timely manner and use placemats & coasters to protect the finish.
  • Future finishes or touch-ups may not adhere properly or perform as desired over a contaminated surface. Some contaminants, such as silicone, seep through finish into the wood and often cannot be removed.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight, high temperatures or high humidity. These can damage furniture and finishes.

Warnings and Warranties

Limited Warranty
General Finishes products must be tested to your complete satisfaction before using, including compatibility with other manufacturers products. General Finishes will be responsible only for the cost of our products and will not be responsible for any costs such as labor, damage, or replacement costs.

Contamination and Compatibility
Our finishes are engineered as a system and are compatible with each other. General Finishes cannot guarantee an ideal refinish when applying our products on top of or combined with another company's products or over surfaces that have been in contact with waxes, polishes or sprays containing contaminants such as silicone. Test for adherence and aesthetics before beginning. 

Warning
If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log onto www.epa.gov/lead. WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Do not swallow; first aid: drink water to dilute product. May cause eye and skin irritation; first aid: flush eyes thoroughly with water.

Warning
This product contains a chemical known to the State Of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Do not swallow; first aid: drink water to dilute product. May cause eye or skin irritation; first aid: flush eyes thoroughly with water.

Specifications

Basic Features
Product Colors Apricot, Bayberry Green, Black Pepper, Bone White, Cardamom Brown, Chalk White, Chapin Gray, Charleton Blue, Empire Gray, Fjord Blue, French Vanilla, Key West Blue, Limestone, Midnight Blue, Moroccan Yellow, Nantucket Green, Rembrandt Red, Slate Gray, Stillwater Blue, Summertime Blue
Base Type Water
Sheen Very Flat
Interior or Exterior Interior only
Type Chalk Paint
Application
Coats 2+ coats
Application Method Brush, Roll, Spray
Brushable Yes
Usable over existing finishes Yes
Sprayable Yes
Spray Tip Sizes HVLP 1.8mm-2.0mm
Dry Time
Dry Time - Touch 30+ min.
Dry Time - Recoat 2+ hr
Contents
Can Sizes Pints, Quarts
Coverage 75 sq. ft/pint, 150 sq. ft/quart, 600 sq. ft/gal
Technical Data
Viscosity Thick
Viscosity (cPs) 2000-3000
Weight Solids 60%
VOC <20 g/L
Durability
Durability (Highest, High, Medium, Low) Medium

Design Center

Videos

Colors

Chalk Style Paint Colors

FAQs

Chalk Style Paint FAQs

How can I improve coverage when using white paint on furniture?

A primer is your best defense under light paint.

Another technique to help avoid the slight color change that sometimes occurs when applying a topcoat is to add 10-15% of the paint you are using to your topcoat. This technique layers additional coats of color over your piece as well as providing the protection of a topcoat. If you don't like measuring, just add enough paint until you can see a bit of the hue in the topcoat. This method works with brush or a spray gun.

Your final coat of topcoat SHOULD NOT be tinted to maintain the full strength protection of the final topcoat.

Remember - NEVER EVER paint an existing piece of furniture with a light paint without proper preparation AND using a stain blocking primer. Topcoats can activate tannins in the wood, or dyes in the previous finish, causing yellow or pink bleed through. We recommend Zinsser BIN or General Finishes Stain Blocker, which has proven to be 100% effective when 2 coats are applied. It was developed specifically for upcycling furniture.

Here is a sample finishing schedule:

  1. Prep sand and clean
  2. 3 coats of paint (or 4 if needed)
  3. 2 coats of topcoat mixed with 10-15% paint
  4. 1 coat of topcoat

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How do I prevent water based topcoat or light colored paint from yellowing?

A TUTORIAL ON WATER BASED TOP COATS YELLOWING OVER BRIGHT WHITE PAINT - Please SHARE with friends.
Many you may have noticed that the labels on our bright white paints, Snow White Milk Paint and Chalk White Chalk Style Paint now carry a warning label regarding the yellowing of topcoats. All bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, with or without topcoat. Water-based topcoat is reactive and more likely to draw out substances in the wood such as tannins or unknown substances in existing finishes causing the topcoat to yellow. This is an industry-wide issue. DO NOT CARRY THE COST OF WHITE PAINT YOURSELF– pass the cost on to the consumer who wants it with a fair upcharge. White paints, even if they did not yellow, require more coats to achieve coverage.

General Finishes background was originally on the professional side, and the incidences of yellowing topcoat over white paint were almost nil, and when our sprayable professional finish, Enduro White Poly, is used, there have been no incidences. But as the use of our paints has increased in the up-cycling and furniture refresh markets, we have heard more reports of our topcoat yellowing. Our original response was to teach about prepping, testing your finish schedule and finally creating Stain Blocker, our stain and tannin blocking primer, but this is not enough. Just as we advocate prepping all finishes, we are now advocating NOT using a clear water base topcoat over BRIGHT WHITE paint.

We are listening and General Finishes is in the process of developing a brushable version of our professional Enduro White Poly (available only in gallons), but that will take some time and rigorous testing before we can release the product. Here is what you should know to protect yourself and also some immediate suggestions to decrease chances of yellowing.

There is no way to reliably predict yellowing ahead of time. Sometimes yellowing occurs, sometimes it does not. Every existing finish is different and we rarely know the finishing provenance on an existing piece. Every tree is different and every piece of wood is unique. Wood can bleed tannins immediately after the topcoat dries or months later with a change in temperature that comes with a change in seasons. Oak, pine, mahogany, and Douglass Fur are particularly prone to bleed-through.

As is true of most "water-white" topcoats, our High Performance Water-Based topcoat is a clear drying finish over a non-reactive substrate such as plastic. When white paint sealed with a water-white topcoat is applied to something as unpredictable as wood, all bets are off and the reason is often unknown. Yellowing can be caused by the top coat activating the tannins in raw wood or aniline dyes, stains or contaminants in a pre-existing finish. This is most evident when using BRIGHT WHITE paint and most prevalent in the sculpted details of furniture, where the topcoat can collect, intensifying the color change to an unacceptable level.

To add to this issue, all bright white paint will yellow slightly with time, with or without topcoat. You have probably tried to touch up white woodwork in your home after several years and noticed that the new paint is brighter.

SUMMARY:
• Whites have a lower “hide” quality and are more transparent than most other colors. Most bright whites require additional coats to achieve the desired color and minimize color variation. This can increase the cost of paint finishing. Always include a clause in your contracts addressing the need for additional coats to achieve coverage.
• Bright white paints can yellow over time with or without topcoat.
• The underlying finish or wood species can affect the final color of light paint.
• Details and inside corners are difficult to cover with any paint color, but this property tends to be more noticeable with whites. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon in paint application and does not necessarily constitute a defect in the paint finish or your technique.
• The more porous the paint (chalk paint vs an acrylic paint), the more likely that yellowing will occur. The topcoat is actually seeping through the spaces caused by the larger particles of filler that give chalk style paints their texture.

TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF AND PREVENTING YELLOWING

1. Use a disclaimer in your contracts or recommend a softer white such as Antique White or Linen. Upcharge for the extra coats needed and ever guarantee a white finish over a piece that you cannot trace the provenance on. Here is a suggestion for your contracts: Terms of Agreement and Warranties: ________ (Initials) I have been informed that more coats are required when painting with bright whites, reds, greens or yellow. I understand that white paint can yellow over time and water-based topcoats can occasionally react with the substrate or existing finish under white paints causing yellowing, even is a stain blocking primer is used.

2. If it is a low use project, use a premium white paint that is self-sealing and does not require a topcoat. A clear top coat is not required on our Milk Paint for increased durability, as it is a self-sealing, exterior rated coating with very high durability and performance properties. However, top coats provide a smoother surface that is easier to clean and boost durability for high use projects such as table tops and kitchen cabinets.

3. Get a spray gun and use a professional "white coat" such as our Enduro White Poly. It is a white paint with "increased topcoat properties", is a stand-alone finish when 3 coats are applied and does not require sealing with a topcoat.

4. If you are still brushing, try a couple of our customer's techniques. 1) Add 10-15% of the paint you are using to the first application of topcoat. The last two layers of topcoat should NOT have paint in it, to maintain durability. This technique can be used with any color, not just white, and really boosts bright colors. 2) Use a coat of light gray over a lacquer based primer before applying white paint. We have good reports of these 2 techniques from customers BUT HAVE NOT TESTED IN OUR LAB. (Alternatively, GF prefers the use of Stain blocker without grey paint.)

5. Always test your project's ENTIRE finishing schedule (from cleaning to topcoat) on an inside door or a more hidden area of the piece. This does not help if the yellowing occurs later but you will at least know if there is an immediate problem.

6. Always apply a stain blocking primer under white or light-colored paint such as GF Stain Blocker or a shellac based primer. Always let any primer dry overnight. Some of the primers we have seen suggest a 3-hour dry time and that is not enough. 

7. If you are working on period pieces such as a 1940's serpentine mahogany desk which were often finished in stain containing aniline dyes that cast a pinkish bleed through under light paint, stay away from light colors. Not every piece of furniture is suitable for up-cycling with a light paint color. Pine, Mahogany, and furniture of the 1940's and 50's are a red flag.

8. Last, not all manufacturer's topcoats are compatible with other finishes and may react with a color change. Always follow best practices by not rushing, and testing to your satisfaction first.

 

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What is the Difference Between Latex and Acrylic Paint?

The word “latex” is often a misnomer and is used everywhere to differentiate a water-based product from an oil-based product. The same as the word “Kleenex” is used to describe any type of facial tissue, regardless of the brand.
Today, latex is the technical term for a suspension (U.S.) or emulsion (European) of microparticles in water.

Latex ( a plant-based derivative) was never one of the early ingredients used as a binder in paint, the material that holds all the ingredients together and imparts adhesion. Binders that are commonly used include synthetic or natural resins such as alkyds, acrylics, vinyl-acrylics, vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE), polyurethanes, polyesters, melamine resins, epoxy, or oils. Acrylic paint is called that because an acrylic resin is used and not all resins are equal.

CAN I USE “LATEX” WALL PAINT FOR FURNITURE?
Yes, you can. You should differentiate between the “standard” wall paints and the “performance” wall paints, such as Advance by Ben Moore. The problem with “standard" wall paints is performance. The majority of latex wall paints are designed and engineered for a different purpose: and that is to have great coverage…..on a wall. Walls simply don’t have the wear and tear that other horizontal surfaces do, so wall paints are manufactured with fewer resins and more of the cost competitive fillers. This helps keep the cost down, which makes sense. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 100% ACRYLIC WALL PAINT AND 100% ACRYLIC FURNITURE PAINT. 

The first is the quality of the resin - there are thousands on the market and they are not all equal. Resins affect cure time. The newer, performance wall paints, such as Benjamin Moore’s Advance, needs almost 20-30 days to FULLY cure for physical use in lab tests, but on a wall that does not matter - folks don’t walk on walls. Furniture and cabinet finishers need a faster cure time. Furniture and cabinets may need to be stacked, packaged or used fairly immediately, so the resins are selected are based on cure time properties.

The second difference is the amount of filler used. Both wall paints and furniture paints may use 100% Acrylic as the resin. Most interior house paints tend to be a combination of a binder, which is more expensive, (such as latex, acrylic, vinyl, vinyl acrylic, and others), a whole bunch of less expensive fillers such as calcium carbonate or talc, some pigment for color and water. The fillers in wall paint give it great coverage and allow the paint to be manufactured at a lower price point, but sacrifice durability and performance. Imagine wall paint as a can filled with 50% filler powder, some pigment colors, a little binder and then topped off with water. The higher end wall paints are a step up and improve this ratio but still tend to be less durable.

By comparison, a furniture paint may contain 30% filler powder, more binders and higher quality resins, pigments for color, and water. Chalk style furniture paints also have more filler powder than acrylic paints. That is why our Milk Paint is more durable than our Chalk Style Paint - the ratio of filler.

In summary, acrylic paints for furniture contain a higher ratio of resin to filler and superior resins.

High-quality acrylic resins give furniture paint the properties needed in the final finish: adhesion, hardness, flexibility (expansion and contraction with temperature changes in outdoor applications), good scrub resistance and superior color. These paints excel when it comes to flow, leveling and easy brushing. And these paints cure for use and recoating faster.

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Why does Milk Paint and Chalk Style paint separate in the can, even after stirring?

The separation is a condition that the paint industry calls "float". This is very typical with specific colors such grays because of the large variance in gravities of the pigments required to create the color. In gray for instance, Ti02 (white) is 3.4 and black is 1.62. The lower density will float. This phenomenon will not occur in colors that have less variance in densities.This issue is not unique to General Finishes products.

Always stir the can well just BEFORE and DURING use. If there is any delay, the ingredients will start separating. If it is a large project, we recommend continuing to stir during use to keep color properties consistent.
 

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