The term elastomeric paint is one that you may have seen when looking to spruce up some masonry outside. Or, perhaps you looked for elastomeric paint online only to find yourself confronted with roof coatings and talk of liquid rubber. It is no surprise if all of this has left you a little confused about the properties of elastomeric paint, what it does, and how to use it. So, what is elastomeric paint?
In this guide, I will go over some of the important details about elastomeric paint and its relation to “liquid rubber”. I will talk about some of the different types of paint available, based on material compositions, as well as their uses and other important considerations. This is followed by some of the important pros and cons of elastomeric paint to help you see if it is the right product for your needs. Finally, there are some product examples to help you get started. Hopefully, by the end, you should have a better understanding of how to use elastomeric paint and what to do next.
What is Elastomeric Paint?
The short answer here is that elastomeric paint is a type of outdoor paint or coating that has elastic properties. It can stretch and hold up to changes in the surface, such as from temperature changes or movement. It should also prove to be a reliable form of protection when used correctly. But, it doesn’t suit all situations and you need to be prepared to put in the work to prep a surface and apply the paint correctly. It also helps to get the best elastomeric paint or liquid rubber for your needs.
What is the Difference Between Elastomeric Paint and Liquid Rubber?
Some companies and advisors will use the terms liquid rubber and elastomeric paint interchangeably. They both refer to a type of paint-like coating to apply to a suitable surface for protection with added elasticity. In some ways, the term liquid rubber is better as elastomeric sounds too scientific and is essentially rubbery paint. On the other hand, this also relates more to the roof coatings and more industrial materials than a coat of paint for an exterior wall. This is why it is important to check the style and purpose of any exterior paint product you find.
What Is Elastomeric Paint Made From?
This is a popular choice for its water resistance on flat and sloping roofs because it can handle a strong water force.
This is a popular water-based option with fewer toxicity issues and a greater stretch for extreme temperature changes.
This is the least popular version because it is highly flammable with a strong odor. The properties also aren’t so great.
This final plastic-based paint has potential on decking and single-ply roofs because of its durability.
When Should You Use Elastomeric Paint Rather Than Aome Other Type of Exterior Paint?
There are lots of different types of paint around that are set to be suitable for outdoor use. This often means that there are more hard-wearing and less likely to be affected by the weather or sun damage. But, a lot of these house paints for outside and similar products are just like emulsions for inside the house. The protection offered only goes so far.
Elastomeric paint has that elasticity to handle environmental changes and provides a stronger barrier as an exterior paint. Depending on the product, you can also use elastomeric paint on different materials. Stonework and masonry, like exterior walls, are perfect for this paint. But, you may also be able to use it on metal, plastics, and wood. Look out for products for decking and roofing. There are also some elastomeric paints for concrete floors.
What Are The Benefits Of Elastomeric Paint?
Aside from the range of products, there are additional benefits to elastomeric paint that you don’t see in other forms of exterior paint.
Of course, the most important benefit in choosing elastomeric pain is the elasticity that gives it its name. The stretchiness of the paint means it can expand with a material, such as during extreme temperature changes, and then contract again with no damage to the surface. Other stretchy paints like acrylic and latex have these abilities to a point. However, this is the bendiest and effective for exterior surfaces. It also has the added advantages below.
The other top reason to choose elastomeric paint for your renovation project is that it is watertight. This is true for all materials that take this sort of coating, although there are questions about the effectiveness on wood. You should be able to create a strong waterproof coating on your walls, metalwork, roofs, and other examples of masonry to stop rain from getting in and causing damage. The drier the materials, the less likely the chance of rot, mold, and other structural damage. You don’t get this with standard outdoor paint to the same level.
The density of paint may not be anything that you are that interested in right now. But, it does make a difference to the thickness of the coats and the final effect. The denser the paint, the deeper the layers and the stronger it should be. This helps to improve that protection against rain and damage. In many cases, the paint can be as much as ten times as thick. Just remember that this can affect the application process, as you will see below.
The durability of these paints is another benefit that you don’t get with other outdoor wall paints or coatings. It isn’t just about protecting the materials in the short term from surface damage or water. It is also about creating a reliable barrier that lasts as long as possible. You want the structure you are painting to be reliable and secure for years to come, especially if it is part of a family home. So, it makes sense to get a paint that lasts up to ten years or more. Good elastomeric paint can do that!
What Are The Disadvantages of Elastomeric Paint?
There is a lot to like about elastomeric paint and liquid rubber when used in the right situation. But, there are properties to watch out for.
1) Lumpy Coatings
A common problem to be aware of comes in the application process. If you aren’t careful, you can end up with a lot of lumps in the mixture, which then show up on the wall surface. You will not only notice these and dislike the finish, but also find that you get less protection. Lumps and inconsistencies can lead to cracks, which then allow for further damage and moisture seeping in.
What this means is that the thicker elastomeric paint doesn’t permeate the surface you are working on. This is why you need to be careful to create the best possible surface before you paint and to prime the area. If you don’t there could be bonding issues.
3) A Lack Of Color Choices
This might not be a massive issue depending on your reasons for getting elastomeric paint. Those that need it for purely practical applications and protective coatings may not be too bothered if they can only find white, grey, or black. The latter makes sense for roof paint anyway. However, what if you want a more decorative approach with a nice colorful paint with liquid rubber properties? Your options may be more limited.
4) The Cost
Cost is a big issue to consider when choosing the best paint for exterior walls and masonry. A lot of people will rush out to buy elastomeric products because of the extra benefits and get a nasty surprise at the checkout. Some of these paints can cost considerably more than other outdoor paints. It makes sense because of the extra properties and longevity. Still, it is a big chunk out of a renovation budget. You may need to ask yourself if it is really the best idea for your project. If essential, you will need to find a brand that offers good value.
5) Difficulty and lack of instructions
Some critics of elastomeric paint and similar products talk about the lack of instructions on the tins. They warn that manufacturers don’t provide enough guidance on how to use liquid rubber safely and effectively. This means a lack of information on application methods, drying times, and more. Still, even if they were to provide a manual with each can, there are lots of considerations about the difficulty in using this paint.
Why is Elastomeric Paint So Difficult to Use?
The biggest issue to deal with when using elastomeric paint at home is this isn’t an easy process. There are issues with both the application method and the amount of work needed to prep the surface. If you don’t make the effort to get both elements right, you may end up with a bad finish and have to start over. So, consider the following before committing to this task.
1) Prepping Surfaces Before You Start
This is an important part of working with elastomeric paint and somewhere that buyers may struggle. The easiest thing to do with any paint job is to just go over what is already there to freshen up the surface. However, this isn’t going to work with this coating.
The first thing to do is inspect the surface thoroughly. It may have been a while since you properly looked at your exterior wall, roof, or decking so little flaws may have gone unnoticed. Take the time to go over the surface looking for chips, cracks, insect damage, or anything else. You then need to sand back the old paint and prep the surface ready to take on a clean even coat of new paint. Repair any problems at this point to get a smooth surface to work with. Then add a primer to help the paint adhere.
2) Using The Right Technique
Once you have the surface all clean, sanded, and ready for painting, you need the right application process. It isn’t enough to brush or roll this over a wall like a standard emulsion paint. You need to be careful not to end up with the problems mentioned before. A great way to get an even coat of paint is to use a sprayer. However, you need to make sure to backroll the coats to ensure that it covers the whole surface correctly. Do this with each coat and take your time.
3) The Drying Time
This is something that we all struggle with no matter the type of paint or surface. It is too easy to assume that the paint is “dry enough” when it isn’t. The best thing to do with elastomeric paint is to wait 24-36 hours for it to try. If in doubt, wait longer. You can then add another coat as needed or go ahead with other tasks. Be prepared for it to take around a month for the paint to cure properly.
Is it a Better Idea to Hire Someone to Paint Your Walls With Elastomeric paint?
This might not be a bad idea if you aren’t confident in handling this material yourself. You may look at those issues with the preparation and feel that it is too much to take on by yourself. But, at the same time, you don’t want to give up on the idea of an elastomeric paint coating if it can offer those benefits above. If you want the best of both worlds with no concerns at all about the product, the results, or much responsibility on your end, professional help might be a good idea.
Make sure to get a reputable painter that knows what they are doing. There are stories of painter decorator firms claiming to be proficient with elastomeric paint, but either struggling with the process or thinning the paint to make it go further.
You will end up paying more for the labor costs. But, that might be worth it if you have a professional finish that lasts for years. The cost-effective alternative of doing it yourself could lead to mistakes where you are buying more paint and going through it all again sooner than you intended.
What Sort of Products Are Available in Elastomeric and Liquid Rubber Paints?
If you feel that you can handle the processes and issues outlined above and want to handle this paint yourself, you can find some tins online. As mentioned above, the choice is limited compared to other styles of paint and they aren’t cheap. But, some high-quality options can protect your walls, decking, roofing, and more with a strong stretchy coating.
1) Dicor Corporation RP-MRC-1 Elastomeric Coating 1 Gallon, White
This first option shows that you need to check the recommendations on any product before using it. This one is for use on metal and fiberglass RV roofs. While this makes it quite a specialist product, it does mean that you have a great protective coating for your recreation vehicle or for any similar structure. It is a 100% acrylic elastomeric solution with strong elasticity and comes in arctic white to reflect sunlight more easily than black roof paint. Just make sure to apply it properly and give it two coats.
2) Liquid Rubber Cool Foot Deck and Dock Coating
This next option is something completely different as it is for coating decks and other wooden areas. It is still an elastic coating with great protection and durability. There is a nice choice of colors here to help it match in with the environment. They include pale brown, neutral beige, and misty grey. There is also a choice between 1 gallon for smaller areas and 5 gallons for large-scale projects.
3) AMES BMX5RG 5 Gallon Blue Max Liquid Rubber
This final product shows just how specialist you can get when searching for elastomeric paint. This Blue max paint really is blue and designed for waterproofing both the interior and exterior of basements. The idea is that this stretchy paint will protect the room from dampness better than other paints. It is sold as being highly adhesive with the ability to expand 800% percent. You also get 5 gallons per pail.
Is Elastomeric Paint The Right Choice for You?
There are some definite advantages to elastomeric paint. If you have a piece of masonry outside, need to refresh some exterior walls, or are working on new roofing or decking, this paint could help. You may be able to get the thick protective coat that you need while adding greater protection than you would with a standard coat of paint.
However, you have to be sure that you can handle the paint and get the right results possible. If you don’t prep the surface, use the paint correctly, or allow enough drying time, the wall could look worse than when you started.
Take your time to not only consider the types of paints available that are suitable for the task, but also whether you want the responsibility. Confident painters with the money, skill, and patience could find that elastomeric paint transforms their project with great results. But, there is nothing wrong with hiring professional help if you think it is the best option.