The brief: source suitable paint for lime plastered walls
The contenders: lime wash paint vs. clay paint
The winner: Earthborn
Originally the builder responsible for the work on this project had suggested we go for lime wash paint, as this it traditionally works best on porous surfaces such as lime plaster and lime render. Despite it being an ancient paint made from limestone which has good breathability, anti-bacterial and insecticidal properties (woodworm and death-watch beetle hate it) and hence suited to older dwellings, I'm just not a fan of it. You see, when it's applied on porous surfaces, any dampness in the background material causes shading, which means the coverage obtained isn't uniform. The paint itself tends to be quite thin and over time can easily rub off. For a much more solid finish with better general coverage I would suggest chalk paint as an alternative.
It was at this point I had to make my choice between my two main contenders; Nutshell Natural Paints and Earthborn Paints. Both are fantastic natural eco paints that have won awards and have the highest of eco-friendly credentials. I spoke with both companies about the suitability of their paints on lime plastered walls and got all the gen about each of the brands.
So how did I make my choice? I love the mellow Earthborn claypaint colours as they perfectly suit this project, the paint itself is free from vinyl and oil but is still thick and creamy, hard wearing and breathable and the guy on the end of the phone was so helpful. He was totally clued up and forthcoming with technical information plus he was a genuinely nice seeming chap, all chatty with time to spend telling me all about the Earthborn brand and paints. I still like the Nutshell range and the colour matching service they offer and I have no doubt I will use them on future projects, however yesterday my thumbs up went to Earthborn and it will be their White clay paint and possibly Smidgen that will be covering some 16th century cottage walls in Devon very soon!