Distemper vs Emulsion Paints: Which Should You Use?

Are you looking forward to change the color palette of your home? Feeling probably lost with all the varied available paint choices? Well, Are you planning to change the colour scheme of your home? Feeling befuddled by all of the available paint colours? We can assure you, however, that the selection of paint for your home decor is not limited to colours and themes.

Choosing the right paint product for your home also determines the type of paint that will be applied to the surface. Before selecting paint, the user should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of the various paints available.

You can learn more about the various types of paints available by visiting our Types of Paints blog.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between Distemper Paint and Emulsion Paint. Which of the two available options is the better fit for your needs?

What exactly is Distemper Paint or OBD (Oil Bound DIstemper)?

Distemper Paints are composed of lime, chalk, and pigment. These are bonded with adhesive materials, namely resin. They are commonly referred to as cement paints because they can be applied directly to cement wall surfaces without the need for coating or resurfacing.

When you choose to paint your walls with distemper, you don’t even need primer. Distemper Paints are frequently referred to as “Common Man’s Choice” due to their low cost.

Advantages of Distemper Paints

Advantages of Distemper Paints
Advantages of Distemper Paints
  • When compared to other types of paints on the market, it is relatively inexpensive.
  • There is no need to treat the surface prior to application.
  • After weathering in the sun, painted surfaces do not crack.

Distemper Paints Drawbacks

  • When wet, the painted coat can peel off.
  • Because they are not washable, they are prone to staining.
  • After a long exposure, there is a fading effect.
  • When compared to other paints, it has a lower quality.

What exactly are emulsion paints?

Emulsion paints are used on surfaces to achieve a silken sheen finish. The composition of the plastic mixture is responsible for the elegant finish. This paint is popular due to its excellent coverage and even surfacing, as well as its durability.

Advantages of Emulsion Paints

  • When compared to Distemper Paints, it has a longer lifespan.
  • Does not have weathering effect of Sun
  • It does not peel away while drying.
  • Washable and does not fade after a long period of time
  • They are resistant to water and chemicals.

The Drawbacks of Emulsion Paints

  • Comparatively Costlier
  • Pre-surface treatment, such as primer and putty, is required before applying to walls.
  • It takes more time to dry.

Where Should Distemper and Emulsion Paint Be Used?

Where Should Distemper and Emulsion Paint Be Used?
Where Should Distemper and Emulsion Paint Be Used?

Emulsion Paint For The Exterior And Interior

Emulsion paints can be used to paint the exterior of a house because of their thickness and resistance to chemicals and water. When it comes to interior emulsion paint, choose to paint the ceilings. It’s also a good choice for rooms that need to be washed and wiped down frequently, like the bathroom or kitchen.

Distemper Paint for Walls

For walls with a rustic feel, we recommend using distemper colours.

Because of its ability to withstand sunlight, this paint is also suitable for use in open-plan rooms such as the living room. You can also find a wide range of bedroom distemper colours for your accent walls.

Both emulsion and distemper paint have advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to decide which type is best for you. We recommend conducting additional research on these and other types of paints to make an informed decision.

Comparable Factors (Distemper vs Emulsion Paints)

Colour Scheme Selection

Distemper paints are scarce and come in a limited palette of colours. On the other hand, customers can select Emulsion paints Palette for their décor from a wide range of available options.

Paint Composition

Distemper’s Composition Paint is made up of chalk, lime, and water as a solvent. Emulsion paints, on the other hand, are made up of various chemical pigmented particles suspended in a binder solvent.


It is best not to inhale paint vapours directly if fragrance and fumes are present. Emulsions have a less odour than distempers, but their VOC content is harmful to inhale.

Surface Treatment

Distempers can also be used on rough surfaces directly. This can result in rustic and harsh finishes, but when applied to flat surfaces, it can be smoothed off.

Emulsion Paints are known for their silken smooth sheen finish. This gives emulsion-painted surfaces an elegant look.

A comparison of the costs of different Distemper vs Emulsion Paint

Distempers are low-cost, easy-to-apply paints. Emulsions, on the other hand, have durable surface finishes.

As a result of their low maintenance and durability, emulsions can also be considered cost-effective.

Preparation of the Surface

Distempers can be used directly on surfaces without any treatment or patching.

For even and smooth surfaces, emulsions require a putty coating. Additionally, applying primer coats can help emulsion paints to emerge beautifully.

Ease of Use

Emulsion paints require skilled and experienced painters for better effects and quality output. As a result, it is fair to say that distempers are simple to apply.

Paint Spread Coverage Area

What Is the Spreadability of The Paint?
What Is the Spreadability of The Paint?

The area covered by paint on surfaces is inversely proportional to the paint’s viscosity. The less area the paint covers, the more viscous it is.

  • Distemper Paints: 1 Kg Oil Based Distemper can cover 10 Sqm. Area (Approx)
  • 1 Kg Water-Based Distemper can cover 14 Sqm. Area (Approx)
  • Emulsion Paints:  1 Kg Emulsion Paint can cover 14 Sqm. Area (Approx)


In terms of durability, there is no doubt that emulsion paints should be preferred over distemper paints. Surfaces painted with emulsion can be wiped clean and are resistant to hard stains.

  • Emulsion Paints are durable than distemper paints.

Eco-friendly Impact

Only water-based paints are environment friendly as the oil-based solutions can lead to fumes which could be harmful.

Also, emulsion paints contain Volatile Solvents, which continue to leach fumes that cause dizziness.

Market Availability

Paints are available from leading and popular brands such as Berger, Nerolac and Dulux, Asian Paints, Nippon, and many others.

Distemper Paints are available in the cost range of 25 rs to 200 rs per liter. Whereas, Emulsion paints are available in the cost range from 150 rs to 900 rs per liter.

The above-stated price values are for indicative purposes only and depend upon the quality, Solvent Base, and the paint’s brand market value.


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