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What does paint breathability mean?

The term ‘breathability’ can be a bit confusing, especially when it comes to choosing the right paint. When we talk about paint breathability, we’re referring to how much air and water vapour can easily flow through the surface. Using paint with a high level of breathability, coupled with breathable building materials, means that moisture doesn’t become ‘trapped’ beneath the surface of the paint. Trapped moisture, also known as damp, can cause the paint to bubble, peel and eventually blow completely. It can also lead to much bigger problems within the fabric of the building itself.

Whilst one common approach is to use waterproof paints and materials designed to block moisture, this can actually exacerbate the problem. As walls naturally move, tiny cracks appear and let moisture in. Water will often find its way through the smallest of hairline cracks, but with a waterproof paint it remains trapped within the walls, creating damp issues.

Therefore, a breathable paint will allow the natural moisture that’s in the walls and atmosphere to flow through the walls without damaging the building. Breathability is an especially important consideration in older buildings and lime plastered properties.