The difference between chalk paint and mineral paint...

This is a question that is often asked.  In this blog post I’ll briefly explain the difference between chalk paint and mineral paint.  Chalk and Mineral Paints are both great furniture paints, but they are different.  You will notice that you’ll prefer one over the offer.  There is no right or wrong answer, it just comes down to personal preference.  Chalk Paint has always been more popular in Australia, but Mineral Paints are really starting to catch up.  


For a little background on the history of chalk paint, the term “chalk paint” is trademarked by the company Annie Sloan.  Annie Sloan, the founder of the self-named company wanted a paint that required less prep and was easier to work with.  So, she created it in 1990 when she couldn't find a product that suited her needs.  Anyone who uses chalk paint, should be forever grateful to the pioneer of the chalk painting world. 


Chalk Paint is a lovely matte finish paint that has a chalky appearance and is water based.  It is porous so it does need to be sealed for protection otherwise it will mark and scuff very easily and absorb any water marks.  Chalk Paint has great adhesion and will stick to just about anything without priming - metals, plastics, glass, laminates, timber and melamine to name a few.  It is also perfect for painting home décor items.  Chalk Paint requires very minimal preparation - generally a good clean.  When using Chalk Paint, you only need to prime on timbers that bleed tannins or if you’re going from a dark timber stain to a white tone.


Chalk Paint is a very versatile paint, and you can do a lot with it.  It’s great for blending colours.  You can obtain a smooth finish with chalk paint by spritzing with water.  You can thin it down with water and use it as a wash.  You can also very easily create texture with chalk paint.  Chalk paint also dries and cures quickly so you can apply your second coat after 20-30 minutes and even faster if you dry with a blow dryer!  Chalk Paint also distresses beautifully for a natural timeworn look.  I’ll admit that Chalk Paint is my all-time favourite furniture paint to work with.


Mineral Paint is another style of furniture paint and is generally a thinner paint compared to chalk paint.  It contains higher levels of resins, so it does not require a topcoat (or sealer).  I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist though and always seal as it feels finished to me when sealed. 


Mineral paint is a paint made using natural minerals for its colour pigments.  These minerals are mixed with a binder, such as acrylic resin and/or solvent.  The resin is what gives mineral paint its qualities for great adhesion and superior durability. 


In my opinion, mineral style paints will require more initial prep and priming, especially on shiny or slick surfaces.  Because of the higher levels of resins, the dry and cure time is longer for mineral paints.  Mineral Paints will be tender for anywhere from 7 to 30 days depending on the brand.  Mineral Paint is most times self-leveling so you can’t use mineral paint to add texture to your pieces as it will try to flatten and self-level.  It is also a water-based paint.  I recommend checking with the manufacturer’s instructions if the paint works better in conjunction with a base and blocker (or primer) as I know this is the case with a mineral paint that I stock.


You will find that mineral paint moves smoothly and glides on very easily under your brush.  It gives a very smooth finish and shows little brush marks.  It’s worthy to note that Mineral paints are generally more water resistant and are also suited for outdoors which is a plus.  Mineral Paint is perfect for someone who wants the clean, sleek, professional look.  It is the perfect go to furniture paint for someone who just wants to paint and be done with it.


If you are distressing mineral paint, you are best to use a wet distress technique while the paint is still a bit wet, otherwise the paint can tear rather than wear back naturally.  You’ve got to also be careful speeding up the process and drying with a blow dryer on mineral paint because I’ve found it can easily bubble if it gets too warm.


Depending on the brands, both chalk paint and mineral paints nowadays will be water based, self-leveling, have no stinky strong smells - zero VOC or no VOC (no volatile organic compounds) in them. This means they are considered safer to use indoors and don't generally cause issues, particularly with people prone to allergies, sinus and asthma problems. 


I hope the above has explained it a little more for you.  It depends also what kind of finish you’re wanting to obtain as to which one to use.  Obviously different brands may differ from my opinion, and this is just a brief outline to help those starting out on the journey of upcycling furniture and explaining the differences between the two. 


My recommendation to you is try different brands.  Many brands have sample size tubs that are a great starting point to get a feel of the product.  We are all different, therefore our feel and like for things are all different.  Even though I am a stockist of a particular brand, please see below a list of various brands you may also like to check out.  This is certainly not a list from the top ones to the least, but literally a reference point for you – and as you can see, there are many! … and this is only some of them!



If I can be of any more help to you, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I stock chalk paint, mineral paint and finishes for all your painting needs – check them out here https://blessedvintage.com.au/


Have a great day…

Tamie x