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Breathable Paints

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Enhancing indoor environments

Breathable paints have revolutionised the way we think about interior coatings for our walls and ceilings. Its unique properties and composition allow walls to “breathe” and do not trap moisture creating healthier and more comfortable living spaces.

Our water-based paint Eco Emulsion and our Lime Wash are eco-friendly, plastic-free, and breathable. With our extensive range of 230+ colours, you can achieve stunning aesthetics while promoting excellent indoor air quality.

Let’s explore the concept of breathable paint including essential information to help you make informed decisions when using this environmentally friendly product.

What is Breathable Paint?

Breathable paint, also known as permeable or vapour-permeable paint, is a specialised type of coating designed to allow the passage of moisture vapour through walls. Unlike other paint which forms a non-permeable barrier, breathable interior paint, and exterior paint, enables the transfer of moisture, preventing issues such as condensation, mould and mildew. This attribute makes breathable paint particularly valuable for maintaining indoor air quality and preserving the integrity of building materials such as lime plaster.

Understanding Breathability in Paint

Breathability in paint refers to its ability to allow water vapour to pass through its surface. This quality is crucial for preventing moisture build-up, which can lead to a host of problems such as peeling paint, dampness, and structural damage. Breathable paints achieve this by using specialised ingredients and a porous structure that permits the free movement of water vapour molecules.

When applied to walls, breathable paint acts as a protective yet breathable layer that allows moisture to escape while preventing liquid water from entering. This controlled exchange of moisture helps regulate humidity levels, reducing the likelihood of mould growth and maintaining a healthier indoor environment.

The benefits of using breathable paints goes beyond moisture control. Breathable paints also contribute to a healthier living environment for individuals with respiratory conditions or allergies, as well as enhancing the overall comfort of a room.

Why use a breathable paint

Benefits of Breathable Paint

Plastic Free

Both Francesca’s Lime Wash and Eco Emulsion are plastic free. With its biodegradable nature, plastic-free paint reduces long-term waste accumulation and encourages the use of sustainable, renewable resources. Plastic-free paint offers numerous benefits that make it an environmentally friendly and sustainable choice. By eliminating synthetic polymers derived from fossil fuels, plastic-free paint reduces the carbon footprint and minimises the release of harmful greenhouse gases.

SD Value

Our water based Eco Emulsion has an SD value of 0.003 making it completely breathable. The SD value, also known as the water vapour diffusion resistance factor, represents the breathability of a material. Generally, breathable paints have a low SD value, indicating their ability to allow water vapour to pass through the painted surface. This property helps to regulate moisture levels, prevent condensation, and reduce the risk of mould and mildew growth.

VOC Levels

The VOC of our Eco Emulsion is 0.6g/litre. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in many traditional paints that can release harmful fumes into the air, contributing to indoor air pollution and potential health risks. Opting for breathable paints with low VOC levels is essential for creating a healthier living environment and minimising the impact on air quality.

Colour variation can occur between batches due to the natural pigments used, therefore, it is recommended that all Francesca’s Eco Emulsion and Lime Wash Paint be purchased at the same time.

Where to use Breathable Paints

Residential Properties

In homes, both Eco Emulsion and Lime Wash can greatly improve indoor air quality and comfort levels. This is particularly beneficial in areas prone to high humidity or homes with insufficient ventilation. Francesca’s is the best emulsion to use in a bathroom because of its breathability and water resistance but is outstanding throughout the house. The lime wash works brilliantly both internally and externally, especially on lime rendered walls.

Commercial Buildings

Breathable paints are gaining popularity in commercial spaces such as offices, hotels, and healthcare facilities. By providing better air quality and moisture regulation, breathable paint helps create a more comfortable and conducive working environment. It can also contribute to energy efficiency by assisting in temperature regulation, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.

Historical Preservation

Preserving historical structures requires specialised care and attention to maintain their authenticity and longevity. Breathable paints play a vital role in these restoration projects. Lime Wash Paint is the only paint that can be used on Listed and Historical Buildings because of its breathability and creates a soft, matt, and mottled effect which adds character and depth to the wall that modern day paints cannot achieve.

Maintenance and Care for Breathable Paints


  • Eco Emulsion can be gently wiped, but it is not scrubbable
  • Lime Wash Paint cannot be cleaned so it is not ideal for places where there is a lot of passage

Repairing and Touch-ups

  • Eco Emulsion cannot easily be touched up
  • Lime Wash Paint cannot be touched up so it is not ideal for places where there is a lot of passage

For full information on application information for each product, see the individual paint description, because application varies depending on surface and product.

Breathable paints are a game-changer in the world of interior coatings. The ability to allow moisture vapour to pass through walls while providing protection and aesthetics makes it an excellent choice for enhancing indoor environments. Whether you’re looking to improve air quality, prevent mould growth, or preserve historical structures, breathable paint offers numerous benefits.

So why not embrace the breathability revolution and transform your walls with this innovative and beneficial paint option. For more information on Francesca’s breathable paints, use our contact form.

View the full range of Francesca’s Eco Friendly Paint Products here.