Home » Help & Advice » The Difference Between Damp Proof Paint and Anti-Condensation Paint

The Difference Between Damp Proof Paint and Anti-Condensation Paint

Although they seem very similar, damp and condensation are different issues and require different solutions. Hence, there is also a big difference between damp proof paint and anti-condensation paint. It does boil down to the same thing: moisture is either finding a way into your property or cannot find a way out. A healthy property needs to breathe, with good air flow and ventilation. A little dampness and moisture is natural, it’s when the excess has nowhere to go that the problems start. To understand what type of paint you need, damp resistant or condensation resistant, you will first need to understand which of the two issues you are actually dealing with.

anti-condensation-paints

Damp or condensation?

Damp is caused when the building structure is lacking protection from moisture coming from outdoors. This could be a crack in the wall or a damaged roof tile that has been compromised and is letting rain in instead of keeping the rain out. Thus damp is caused from water or moisture finding its way into your property when it shouldn’t have.

Condensation-Problems

Condensation is caused by a lack of ventilation or little movement of air. Condensation is most common in areas with poorer air circulation, such as bathrooms or kitchens. You can tell by your windows and walls whether certain rooms have optimal ventilation. If there is an issue with the air flow, your windows will very easily fog up and you will find droplets forming on your walls and ceilings that will be difficult to get rid off again. Thus, condensation is caused from water not finding its way out of your property.

Whether you are dealing with damp or condensation, the implications and resulting issues are similar. Both problems can cause mould to form. Mould thrives in humid, warm environments, and so it loves places that are damp or have condensation. The mould will not just be limited to your walls, but could also spread to your plasterwork, furniture, and clothing. On top of that, mould is detrimental to your health and could cause health issues related to your lungs and airways. If you already have a weakened immune system, mould could create even bigger issues. On top of that, the mould could also create a rather unpleasant odour. The good news is; these are issues that can be tackled!

Damp-Problems

How to tackle damp issues?

A tell-tale sign for damp is often peeling wallpaper and crumbling plaster. This is a big indicator that there is a source of wetness penetrating your walls and creating problems. Often, this is caused by an external source. For example, a broken roof tile, overflowing gutters, a badly fitted window. Dampness can also crawl its way up, so if you have a badly insulated basement, it’s important to keep an eye on this. You could be dealing with dampness long before you realise, as it could take a while for a damp patch to show on your walls for example. Dampness can usually be smelled before you can actually see it. So if you are dealing with a persistent stale and stuffy smell, dampness could be the cause!

If you are dealing with some type of leak that is allowing water and moisture in when it should be watertight, a paint like Zinsser Watertite is a great solution for internal usage. This damp resistant paint is designed to keep water out your property, can be applied to wet areas and helps to protect your property from fungal degradation. On top of that, Zinsser Watertite paint comes in a wide variety of colours. If you are dealing with a leaky roof that is letting water in, Rust-Oleum’s Waterproof Roof Paint will be a great solution. This waterproofing paint can also be applied directly to wet areas and in any weather conditions, so it’s perfect for quick repairs. It creates a protective elastic coating that keeps the water out. Both of these anti-damp paints will help you battle the issues that arise from damp. However, it is still important to ensure you tackle the cause for the dampness as the paint will only help to a certain point.

How to tackle condensation?

If your exterior is watertight and so the moisture is coming from somewhere indoors, you are dealing with a condensation issue. Condensation is in big part an air circulation issue, where the moisture is unable to leave your property, resulting in droplets on your wall, windows and ceilings and it could also cause spotty mildew. Condensation is most common in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, but condensation could also wreak havoc in chimneys or even under your laminate or wooden floors when they are tightly fitted and leave no room for air circulation.

A combination of improved heating and air circulation will help solve issues with condensation, and industry experts including Best Heating are on hand to advise you on the best type of installed or portable radiators for short and long term solutions. There are also various paints designed to work against condensation. A great anti-condensation paint is Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint. Not only does it come in a variety of colours and in a 5l tin, but this condensation proof paint also works against issues like mould, blistering and cracking paint, discoloured walls, stains and peeling wallpaper. It only takes two coats for this paint to create a thermal insulation and a long-lasting resistance against mould. This paint can be used both on walls as well as ceilings. If you only need a small amount of anti-condensation paint and colour is not important, then Rawlins Paints also stock Coo-Var Anti-Condensation Paint, which only comes in white, but is stocked in 1l and 2.5l tins. This paint also provides protection against condensation and is ideal for smaller projects in bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms.

Buy anti-condensation paint

Don’t despair!

Condensation and damp are frustrating issues to deal with when they arise. However, don’t despair! There are various solutions that you can carry out yourselves to help minimise the risk of damp and condensation. If you require any further assistance when you are dealing with a damp or condensation problem and would like additional assistance to choose the right products, give our Technical Team a call, or drop us a line, for the latest information on the products available.

43 comments

  1. What would you recommend putting on bare old plaster in a bathroom before using the anti thermilate anti-condensation paint.

  2. I’ve recently had some fitted wardrobes built and the surrounding wall plastered. All of the plaster has dried apart from one large spot of plaster, around 10 inches in diameter, at mid height right next to one section of the wardrobe. I got the wardrobe taken down to investigate and its began to dry out which indicates ventilation issues. Apart from adding air vents how should I treat the damp spot to stop any recurrence when the wardrobes are put back?

    • Good morning Maria,

      Thanks for reading our blog, and for your question.

      To answer your question – leave the section of wardrobe out and increase ventilation (opening windows, doors, etc.) until the patch of plaster has completely dried out. Then apply 2 coats of Zinsser Watertite directly to the bare plaster and then decorate as normal.

      Is there anything else we can help you with today?

      Best regards.

  3. I have a kitchen with a condensation/black mould issue. The paint in the kitchen ceiling has flaked off and so could you advise what is the best paint to use for the ceiling. Anti damp paint was originally used which looks like it has stayed on ok, but the acrylic paint which was painted over has completely flaked off. Any advice would be much appreciated. Under the kitchen sink units are black mould too and so am looking to add ventilation as well as use the correct paints. All advice is much appreciated thank you.

    • Hi Thalia,

      Thank-you for replying to this post.

      To answer you question – Surfaces must be clean, sound and free of dirt, dust, grease, wax, wallcovering adhesive, soap film, loose paint or other surface contamination. Remove all existing mould and mildew before painting – To do this, clean surface thoroughly with Zinsser Universal Degreaser & Cleaner or a similar proprietary cleaner. Then spray Zinsser Mould Killer & Remover directly on to the surface. Leave to dry fully before painting. Once prepared, apply 2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior in the desired colour and finish.

      Is there anything else we can help you with today?

      Best regards.

      Mark

  4. Hi there, we have a very old house with no damp course and solid brick walls. We have damp creeping either side of the chases made for our rewiring. We have windows open regularly and come the Autumn we will have a log burner burning. What paint can you recommend please. At the moment we just have emulsion paint on plaster

    • Hi Ali, thanks for your question.

      Coo-Var Anti-Damp Paint is a white, special low odour, efflorescence resistant resin based paint for application to damp interior walls and ceilings. Designed as a primer coat containing an active reagent which combines with surface moisture and dampness. Contains a biocidal product for the preservation of the dry film and discolouration reduction. Can be applied to plaster, cement and stone even when the surface is damp (not saturated) and can be overcoated with ordinary decorative paints. NOTE: This paint will not cure the cause of dampness.

  5. Would I be able to use this as a surface coating for inside a campervan please? I’m planning on having vents. Just want to aire on the side of caution and not end up with mildew. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. Hi there, we have a cupboard downstairs in our living room which we put our coats and shoes in. One of its walls is an outside wall. The problem we have is there is no ventilation and our coats and shoes and anything else we put in there goes mouldy. What can we use to help stop this happening? Thanks

  7. Hi I have condensation/damp in my basement bedroom….specially inside the built-in wardrobes….would it help if I painted then with ani damp paint? And if so which paint do you reccomend?
    Im quite desperate as my 3 year old and my 6 month old sleep in the same bedroom and I think it is affecting them.

  8. We have an ordinary internal room that we advised may benefit from anticondensation measures to help mitigate a possible condensation problem in the roof. Therefore rather than the standard white emulsion on the ceiling, if we painted your anticondensation paint would that provide a type of “vapour barrier” to minimise the amount of moist internal air entering the roof space.

    We also have another room which contains a small swimming pool…similarly would using the anticondensation paint limit humid air entering the roof space? the flat roof boards have softened and we think this is secondary to humid air entering the roof construction, unfortunately it is a “cold flat roof construction”

  9. Can your Insopaint anti condensation product be used on the back of kitchen units which are plywood.
    The units are only 2 years since installation but black mould is showing at the back of the cupboards and draws. The walls in the kitchen are single brick. The old internal rendering and plaster was removed and re rendered with a slurry then re plastered prior to the fitting of the kitchen.

  10. I have damp and we bought some anti damp paint once it is dry can I paint over it with normal painI

    • Good morning Jean,

      Is it the 1902 Anti Damp Paint which you are using? If it is this product, then yes, you can paint over it with normal emulsions.

      If it is not this product, or products available on Rawlins Paints, then we cannot completely advise you on whether they can be painted over – as different paints will have differing overcoating recommendations.

      Is there anything else we can help you with on this project?

      Best regards.

      Mark

  11. hello what do I look out for to know what i am suffering if its condensation ?? or damp
    the inside windows get wet, and the edges of the wall corners of thew window side get water droplets to it and black stains and takes off the paint

    • Good morning Dee,

      It sounds like a condensation issue (see the condensation section above, which details similar issues with moisture on windows and water droplets around the frame and surrounding walls).

      Best regards,

      Mark

  12. Hi, we have a top floor flat with a flag roof by the sea. The flats suffers from condensation and we’d ventilate the bedroom. However the far external wall has a damp patch that appears in the top corner and it dries out most morning, despite getting the cavity wall insulation topped up.

    What do you suggest to redecorate with?

    Thanks.

    Stephen

    • Hi Stephen,

      Improving the ventilation would be our first recommendation. If this cannot be done for any reason or is done and still doesn’t rectify the issue then the following options could help.

      • If moisture is coming through from outside then something like Blackfriar Interior Seal Damp could be tried but this will seal the wall and could make the condensation worse.
      • If you want a moisture resistant paint for the interior walls then Zinsser Perma-White Interior would be a good choice. Provided the plaster is completely dry, apply 2 coats Perma-White. This won’t stop the condensation but will prevent this soaking into the wall and ceiling.
      • For a completely breathable coating you could apply Zinsser Grade 1 to the walls and ceiling. This will allow the condensation to pass through into the plaster.
      • Finally, apply 3 coats of Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint would help seal the wall and improve the surface temperature reducing the likelihood of condensation forming in the first place in that area.

      Best regards,

      Mark

  13. What is the best paint for interior windows which suffer from condensation?

  14. I’ve had new Windows fitted which have trickle vents, yet mould is still growing in patches around the ceiling, window and walls of my bedroom. Should I use anti damp paint or anti condensation paint?

  15. Hi
    I’m baffled with a damp problem in one corner of my conservatory. One corner shows damp through the paint under the roof section. I’ve taken damp meter readings which showed high and drew a line around the damp area affected. It has been like it for at least 3yrs even during hot summers, little rain with windows and doors open the paint has stayed wet, the affected has neither increased or shrunk in size!
    Ok, now here’s the baffling part, with a Stanley knife I cut a 6 inch square in the paint in two places in the affected area and peeled the paint off ( approx 3 coats thick) to bare plaster below, tested it with the moisture meter and it was bone dry!!??
    Any ideas what can be causing this weird situation?
    Thanks
    Bob

    • Good morning Bob,

      Without an industry professional carrying out a survey on the property we really have no way of knowing what exactly is causing this but from the situation you have explained it sounds like it may be condensation sitting on the surface of the paint in that area making just the exposed surface wet or it could be something as simple as a stain on the paint that looks like a damp patch.

      As a test to eliminate some possibilities I would suggest preparing the area by cleaning down, ensuring all existing paint is well adhered and removing any that isn’t and feathering back to a sound edge. Prime bare areas of plaster with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus, then apply 2 – 3 coats of Coo-Var Anti-Condensation Paint, then redecorate the area to bring it back into the colour scheme as required.

      You can then monitor this area, if the issues re-occurs we know it needs further investigation in person, by a local specialist.

      Best regards.

      Mark

  16. I have a problem of damp coming through an unused chimney breast. The chimney only goes into the loft not through the roof . Any ideas please ?

  17. Hi,

    We have a small bathroom with a small window which I think is causing condensation issues. Occasionally we’ll find a layer of water across the walls, floor and windows (seems to always be in the evening/night) and the corners of the room / windows / ceiling have a small amount of black mould which keeps returning – we are assuming is a condensation issue.
    After reading your blog and comments we were looking to purchase the Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint you recommend, but can we paint this directly on to the walls / ceiling on top of the existing paint? The paint used on the ceiling is now cracking and peeling, allowing mould to form in the cracks. We’d like to paint 2-3 coats on all walls and ceiling, but should we then cover with Zinsser Perma-White Interior? The bathroom gets very wet everytime we have a shower so want to find a good way to protect the walls before it gets any worse.

    Thanks!

    • Good morning Gemma,

      We have written another post on preparing and painting over mouldy surfaces, see here: https://www.rawlinspaints.com/blog/how-to-paint-over-mould/

      What you have suggested would be ideal after you’ve carried out the preparation explained in the How to Paint Over Mould blog post (obviously don’t apply the Zinsser Perma-White Interior from this blog post as you’ll be doing that at the end after the Thermilate product in your case). Apply 2 – 3 coats of Thermilate InsOpaint Anti-Condensation Paint followed by 2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White Interior (use Satin finish not Matt) in your chosen colour.

      Best regards.

      Mark

  18. I have to tackle the area behind my kitchen sink unit which is of single brick construction and suffers from condensation and resulting black mould. I intend to clean off the black mould, but am unsure which of your products to use after that. The anti-condensation paint would seem to be most appropriate. Should I use this this on its own or in conjunction with Zinsser Perma-White?

    • Good morning Elaine,

      In answer to your question, using the Perma-White as well would be best.

      Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information and advice.

      Best regards.

      Mark

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