We compare water-based and water-dispersion paint | Determine the best

Everyone wants his house to be comfortable and beautiful. And the right choice of finishing materials is quite capable of helping to turn your home into a “nest. And it’s especially important to choose responsibly when you have a limited budget for repairs.

Some of the cheapest paint materials on the market are water-based and water-dispersion paints. At a low price they have a good hiding power, durability and variety of colors. But what to choose for the arrangement of?

In this material, we will consider what the differences between water-based and water-dispersion paint – and what is better to choose.

Water-based emulsion paint

Water-based emulsion paint

Water-based emulsion paint is an emulsion of various resins in water. These are the ones that possess pigmented properties. Microscopic droplets of resin – mineral, silicone or acrylic – cause the surface to be coloured after the water base has dried.

There are at least a few varieties of “water-based emulsion paints”. They differ primarily in the additive. There are silicate resins, silicone, mineral and acrylic. Differences appear in both performance properties and application areas.

For example, acrylic water emulsion paint – the cheapest option – is designed to be placed on wood, brick, concrete and other materials. They give an even coating, but are vapor-tight. In addition, it cannot be washed or mopped.

And the silicone water emulsion paint is a more expensive variant that provides both vapor permeability and resistance to moisture. That is why it is suitable for application on plaster and similar “light” plasters.

In general, water-based paint is characterized as follows:

  1. maximum ease of application and use. Suitable for placement by roller, brush and sprayer. You can use specialized solvents to reduce the viscosity, as well as white spirit;

  2. odour-free after drying. Yes, and when applied, it is also almost invisible;

  3. Sufficiently fast drying – for 2-6 hours. Full hardness is achieved in 2 days.

It is also worth noting that the “water-based emulsion” can be initially presented in a variety of colors. Additional tinting is not generally required.

So, let’s summarize.


  • Does not require tinting and can be supplied in a variety of colors;

  • High environmental friendliness, safety and ease of use

  • Vapor permeability, temperature resistance, wide compatibility with surfaces of different materials.


  • The specific characteristics are determined by the composition of the emulsion and the type of resin;

  • Dilution requires the use of organic solvents, not water

  • There are quite expensive variants.

Water-based paints are usually used for interior use. Ceilings and walls can be tinted with it. It can also be used for furniture, and some variants – even for facade work.

The water-based exterior paint is best suited for application on wooden surfaces. They are fireproof and vapor permeable. However, they do not produce a stable coating (as acrylic ones do); therefore, it is recommended to impregnate the wood with protective agents against mould and pests before application.

Water-dispersion paint

Water-dispersion paint

Water dispersion paints are an aqueous solution of different pigments. They also include vinyl acetate and acrylic polymers. They “bind” the water, which is the basis of the material, and the coloring elements.

Waterborne paints are characterized by excellent adhesion. That is why they can be applied to almost any surface. Even previously painted materials are easily and sustainably covered with them. Nevertheless, the hiding power of water-dispersion paints is rather medium, so the consumption increases.

An important feature of waterborne paints is their durability. So, their service life is up to 20 years with proper preparation of the base. This is due not only to the polymers in the base, but also to the resistance to ultraviolet radiation and direct sunlight. The paint retains not only its quality and degree of coverage, but also its shade – it does not “burn in” or “yellow.

The good water vapour permeability of waterborne paints makes them suitable for application on plasterboards, as well as gypsum plasters and other “light” materials. Moisture is not retained in the substrate but evaporates naturally, ensuring longevity and protection against harmful biological factors (fungus, mold, bacterial decay).

Waterborne paints do not contain organic volatile solvents. That is why these materials are suitable for both children’s rooms, and for use in health care and catering facilities. Some paints also contain wash-resistant polymers that make them resistant to daily wet cleaning, including the use of disinfectants.

In general, waterborne paints are characterized as follows:

  1. Suitable for application with a roller or sprayer. The liquid texture makes it not too easy to work with a brush. Can be diluted – with plain water as the solvent;

  2. There is no odor when drying or applying;

  3. Fastest possible drying time. If applied in layers, it dries in 30 minutes, it takes two hours to reach full strength and about 24 hours to fully cure, depending on the temperature and humidity of the room.

However, waterborne paints are available only in white. Therefore, tinting will be required. Luckily big stores offer their own shade selection and mixing service.

To summarize.


  • Resistant to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation;

  • Possesses air- and vapor-permeable properties;

  • There are versions that can be used in children’s rooms, health care and catering facilities, including those that support daily wet cleaning.


  • Medium hiding power, which leads to higher material consumption;

  • Expensive in comparison with water emulsion paint;

  • Proper preparation of the substrate is required;

  • Water-dispersion paints themselves exist in three variants – polyvinyl acetate, latex and acrylic.

Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) paints are inexpensive. But at the same time they do not support wet cleaning, are not suitable for bathrooms and kitchens, and are marked.

Latex and acrylic support wet cleaning, can be used in bathrooms and kitchens. But at the same time are expensive.

What is better – water-based or water-dispersion paint?

which is better?

So, water-based is suitable for any work, including facade, but a special longevity does not differ. Water-dispersion in some variants can even be washed, but the price is higher, and the surface needs to be prepared.

But this is not the only difference between the two finishing materials. Let’s compare them.





Silicate, silicone, mineral, acrylic

Latex, Polyvinyl Acetate, Acrylic

Suitable for children’s rooms?

Not too much


Suitable for hospitals or catering facilities?

Not too


Resists wet cleaning?

In most cases – no

In most cases, yes

Paint thinner

White spirit, other organic materials



Not usually needed


Vapor permeability



Resistant to sunlight and UV rays



So. If you want to achieve maximum safety of the room, to work in the bathroom or kitchen, it is better not to save money and buy a latex or acrylic “water-dispersion. And if the budget is very limited, including does not allow for a normal preparation of the basis, then you can be limited to “water-emulsion”.

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