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Check the substrate before refurbishment and detect the soft distemper

Those who wish to paint at home must know what there is on the walls...

Those who wish to paint at home must know what there is on the walls. This is because not all paints can be recoated easily. As a result of its reversibility, for example, distemper can only be recoated with distemper. Other types of paint such as dispersion and silicate paints pose problems. Applying wallpaper, too, is somewhat risky. You must wash off soft distemper before you start applying the new, modern wall coating.


Every do-it-yourself amateur can quickly and easily check if an existing coating is one of a soft distemper:

Moisten your finger with water and try to remove the existing paint on the wall using a circular movement at a particular spot. If this is possible, it is most probably soft distemper, which you should necessarily remove with warm water before recoating the surface. If the paint, in fact, does not come off, but the wall absorbs the water and dark spots form, application of a deep primer coat is necessary to obtain a uniform appearance of the coat. Hence, it is recommended to check the substrate and this prevents unnecessary rework subsequently.


Soft distempers are coats that use adhesive as the binding agent and water as the solvent. Limestone powder, titanium dioxide or chalk are used as the white pigment and filler. Coloured pigments provide the desired colour.


Since the adhesive remains soluble in water even after drying, the coat is sensitive to moisture and humidity. It is, thus, unsuitable for outdoor use, but, nonetheless, it is used readily in rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms or in the cellar. Hence: Always test beforehand, so that the new coat also remains beautiful for a long time!

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