What Is the Perfect Mist Coat Ratio - a Complete Guide

November 26, 2020

Using a mist coat is an essential part of painting and decorating, especially if you are painting new plaster or skimmed plaster. If you are looking to start painting and decorating for yourself, learning how to create and use a mist coat will save you time and money in the long run.


What Is a Mist Coat?

Essentially, a mist coat is a diluted coat of emulsion. It's especially useful if you are painting new plaster that has not been treated before. This is because standard emulsion is too thick to paint fresh plaster effectively. You will need to use a paint that is watered down. The water will sink into the surface, allowing the paint to bond to it.

Standard emulsion painted onto an untreated wall will not dry well. It is likely to crack and to peel. If you don't use a mist coat, you will find that any normal emulsion you apply afterwards sits on the surface. Painting your surface only with a standard emulsion and avoiding a mist coat will mean that you have to repaint it sooner.


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What Is the Perfect Mist Coat Ratio?

Finding the perfect water to paint ratio for a mist coat can be confusing. Various sources online have different recommendations for what the perfect ratio is. However, a 70/30 ratio of paint to water will usually be suitable. If the mixture still appears to be too thick, it may be a good idea to add more water.

Any light coloured emulsion will work as a mist coat when it is diluted. However, you should make sure that the paint you are diluting is non-vinyl. Always follow the instructions on the paint can when you are diluting emulsion. Be warned that watered-down emulsion will be messier than normal paint. Make sure you are prepared by covering your carpets or flooring before you start to paint. Bare in mind that you should apply two coats of the standard emulsion after your mist coat has dried for the best results.

If you are new to painting and decorating, you may want to avoid experimenting with creating your own mist coat. You can buy a pre-made base emulsion instead of creating your own. Look out for new plaster paints. New plaster paint will allow your surface to keep drying while you paint it. If you want to avoid waiting a long time while your plaster dries, this might be the perfect option for you. However, this type of paint does tend to be expensive compared to a standard emulsion. So, creating your own mist coat tends to be a more cost-effective option.

If you're short on time it's easy to compare costs for plasterers. You can also easily submit a free request to get bids from local plasterers and then hire the best. That way you can rest assured your home improvements will be completed to a high standard even when you're busy.


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If you want to learn more about painting and decorating, we have several articles that can help. Check out our painting new plaster guide and our cost to paint a room article for more information on this topic.

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