Can You Use Emulsion on Wood?

Emulsion paint is commonly used for interior walls and ceilings, but can it be used on wood surfaces? While emulsion paint is not typically recommended for wood, there are some considerations and options available.

blue paint on wood

Emulsion paint is water-based and usually contains vinyl or acrylic for added durability. Standard vinyl matt emulsions are not recommended for interior wood as they lack the necessary durability for wooden trim. However, water-based eggshell emulsions can be used as an alternative, offering a flat finish without the yellowing that can occur with oil-based paints.

It is also possible to achieve a uniform look by using the same colour of paint on both interior walls and trim. However, emulsion paints, especially matt finishes, may not have enough durability for high-traffic areas like hallways. It is essential to properly prepare the wood surface before painting, and using a durable matt or eggshell finish is recommended for better longevity.

The Best Emulsions for Wood

When it comes to painting wood surfaces with emulsion, choosing the right type of emulsion is essential for achieving the desired finish and durability. Here are a few top options:

Eggshell Emulsion:

Dulux Diamond Eggshell is a fantastic choice for those aiming for an eggshell finish. This water-based paint offers five times more toughness and 43% more scuff resistance compared to standard eggshell paints. Its durability makes it ideal for wood trim and other interior wood surfaces.

Satin Emulsion:

If a satin finish is what you’re after, Dulux Trade Diamond Satinwood is an excellent option. This water-based emulsion provides exceptional durability and creates a traditional, timeless finish. Use it on wood surfaces where you want a smooth, sleek look.

Gloss Emulsion:

For a high gloss finish, Dulux Trade Quick Dry Gloss is the way to go. This water-based emulsion offers quick drying times and avoids the yellowing issues often associated with oil-based gloss paints. Keep in mind that gloss paints are generally recommended for interior wood rather than walls.

By selecting the right type of emulsion paint for wood, you can achieve the desired aesthetic and ensure better durability for long-lasting results. It’s always important to consider the specific needs of your project and choose a paint that meets those requirements.

paint brush on tin can paint

Table: Comparison of Emulsion Types for Wood Surfaces

Emulsion TypeDurabilityFinishRecommended Use
Eggshell Emulsion (Dulux Diamond)HighEggshellWood trim, interior wood surfaces
Satin Emulsion (Dulux Trade Diamond)ExcellentSatinWood surfaces requiring a smooth, sleek look
Gloss Emulsion (Dulux Trade Quick Dry)GoodHigh glossInterior wood surfaces

Tips for Painting Wood with Emulsion

If you’re considering using emulsion paint on wood, there are a few important tips to keep in mind for the best results. First and foremost, proper preparation is key. Make sure to clean the wood surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, or grease. This can be done using a mild detergent or a degreaser. Once the wood is cleansand it gently to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. Sanding also helps to remove any existing coatings or imperfections.

When it comes to painting, using the right equipment is essential. Opt for a good quality paintbrush or roller that is suitable for emulsion paint. This will ensure even application and help achieve a professional-looking finish. Consider applying two coats of paint for better durability and coverage. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

In addition to the emulsion paint, you may also want to consider using a varnish to further enhance the durability of the wood. Varnish provides an extra layer of protection, helping to guard against scratches, stains, and moisture. Be sure to choose a varnish that is compatible with emulsion paint and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Table: Recommended Equipment for Painting Wood with Emulsion

PaintbrushA good quality paintbrush with synthetic bristles for smooth application.
RollerA paint roller with the appropriate nap length for the wood surface.
Sanding BlockA sanding block or sandpaper to create a smooth surface for painting.
Cleaner/DegreaserA mild detergent or degreaser to clean the wood surface before painting.
VarnishAn emulsion-compatible varnish for added durability and protection.

Remember that while emulsion paint can be used on wood, it may not provide the same level of durability as other paints specifically designed for wood surfaces. It’s important to assess the expected wear and tear of the wood and consider alternative paint options if necessary. Proper preparation, using the right equipment, and applying multiple coats of paint can help achieve better results when using emulsion on wood.


In conclusion, when it comes to using emulsion paint on wood surfaces, it’s important to consider its limitations in terms of durability. While emulsion paints are commonly used for interior walls and ceilings, they may not provide the same level of resilience when applied to wood trim or high-traffic areas. Therefore, it’s crucial to be mindful of the specific requirements of wood surfaces and select paints that are specifically designed for wood.

Proper preparation is key to achieving a successful paint job on wood. This includes thorough cleaning and sanding to ensure a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to. Taking the time to properly prepare the wood will help to enhance the longevity and durability of the paint.

While emulsion paint can be used on wood, it’s important to consider other paint options that offer better durability and protection against wear and tear. There are paints available that are specifically formulated for wood surfaces, providing enhanced protection and longevity. By selecting the right paint and finish based on the desired aesthetic and level of durability, you can ensure a successful and long-lasting painting project.

wooden furniture white paint


Can I use emulsion paint on wood surfaces?

While emulsion paint is not typically recommended for wood, there are some options available. Standard emulsion paints lack the necessary durability for wooden trim, but water-based eggshell emulsions can be used as an alternative.

What are the best emulsions for wood?

For an eggshell finish, Dulux Diamond Eggshell is recommended for its toughness and scuff resistance. Dulux Trade Diamond Satinwood provides excellent durability and a traditional finish for a satin look. Dulux Trade Quick Dry Gloss is a water-based option for a high gloss finish on interior wood surfaces.

What tips should I follow when painting wood with emulsion?

Ensure proper surface preparation by cleaning and sanding the wood. Use a degreaser to remove stains and oil marks. Apply the emulsion paint with a proper brush or roller, considering two coats for better durability. Using a varnish on top can enhance durability and protection.

Is emulsion paint as durable on wood surfaces as other paints?

Emulsion paint may not provide the same level of durability as other paints designed specifically for wood. It is recommended to consider other paint options for wood surfaces that offer better durability and protection against wear and tear.


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