Difference Between Milk Paint and Chalk Paint (With Table)

One can use both milk paint and chalk paint for various purposes like painting wood, any rusty metal, bricks, etc. But, while milk paint is more suitable for painting the floors and the walls, chalk paint is more suitable for coating furniture. There are several other distinguishable factors about these two paints but both of them are comparatively less toxic than other types of available paints. 

Milk Paint vs Chalk Paint

The difference between milk paint and chalk paint is that milk paint contains casein and limestone as the two most important ingredients. On the other hand, calcium carbonate is the most important ingredient in chalk paint. Both of them are used for different purposes and the former one is more durable and retains paint for years. 

The history of milk paint is rooted very deep as humans used something similar during the cave paintings. Casein (a protein present in milk) and limestone are the two main ingredients of the milk paint and they are soaked in water before use.  Additional colors can be added to this base point according to one’s choice. 

Chalk paint is very new in the market as a color expert named Annie Sloan introduced it in the 1990s. Unlike milk paint, it doesn’t need any prior soaking as it is available in finished texture and one can directly apply it. Chalk paints don’t need much time to dry even though the color is much denser than milk paint. 

Comparison Table Between Milk Paint and Chalk Paint

Parameters of ComparisonMilk PaintChalk Paint
HistoryIt is one of the oldest forms of paint created by humans and it is made using casein, limestone, and plant fillers. Annie Sloan invented chalk paint in the twentieth century and calcium carbonate is the main ingredient in it. 
UseMainly used for painting floors, walls, cabinets, and doors. It is mainly used as a coating for furniture like chairs and sideboards. 
DurabilityMilk paint even without any wax coating can retain the paint for several years. Chalk paint is not as durable as milk paint even after putting multiple wax coatings. 
Environmental effectsMilk paints are made from very simple non-toxic ingredients and hence they are environmentally friendly. Due to the presence of a low amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) they are a bit less eco-friendly than milk paints. 
AppearanceMilk paint offers a matte look and brushstroke effects. Sanding makes the finish better. Chalk paint offers a very uniform smooth matte look and it doesn’t require sanding before painting. 

What is Milk Paint?

 Milk paint is water-based paint and the most non-toxic form of paint on the market. Due to the complete absence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it is extremely eco-friendly. The base paint is white and to make it colorful, dried colors are mixed in the base paint and given some time to soak in the water. 

Milk paint is suitable for painting ceilings, walls, floors, and doors. They are also used for decorative purposes like painting objects such as flower vases. The milk paint used for coloring purposes cannot be left unused for several days. This is because it contains milk protein which tends to spoil the texture of the color after a few days. To keep it stable, additional chemicals are mixed. 

Milk paints produce a rusty look that looks quite aesthetic but it is generally thinner than any other type of paint and thus requires several coatings. Sometimes, the dry powder causes a lump if not mixed properly. Sanding is not required before applying milk paint but it confirms much better adhesion of the color to the surface. Milk paint is also more durable retaining the colors years after years. 

What is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is also water-based paint but it is not as non-toxic as milk paint because it contains a small amount of VOCs. But, the paint is completely odor-free and it dries out within an hour. The main ingredient in the chalk paint is calcium carbonate and unlike milk paint they are available in liquid form. To create a customized color palette, one needs to mix the readymade liquid colors. 

Chalk paint is suitable for coloring various types of furniture and decor items like kitchen cabinets and drawers. They give a very matte finish and to create some textures or brushstroke effects one needs to do it manually. Unlike milk paint, chalk paint has a very thick consistency and thus requires fewer coatings. 

Though the consistency of chalk paint is thicker than milk paint, they are less durable. Moreover, color customization becomes a very difficult task as one needs to mix pre-made liquid colors and not put powders into a base paint.

Main Differences Between Milk Paint and Chalk Paint

  1. Milk paint is one of the oldest forms of paint created by humans whereas chalk paint was invented by Annie Sloan in the twentieth century. 
  2. Milk paint is mainly used for painting floors, walls, cabinets, and doors whereas chalk paint is mainly used as a coating for furniture like chairs and sideboards. 
  3. Milk paint can retain the color for several years whereas chalk paint is not that durable even after several layers of wax coating. 
  4. Milk paints are made from very simple non-toxic ingredients. On the other hand, the presence of a low amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) makes chalk paint a bit less eco-friendly than milk paint.
  5. Milk paint offers a matte look and brushstroke effects whereas chalk paint offers a very uniform smooth matte look and it doesn’t require sanding before painting.

Conclusion

Both milk paint and chalk paint are safer for the environment. But, if one wants to choose the most eco-friendly color, he/she has to go for milk paint. Because, unlike chalk paint, milk paint doesn’t contain any VOCs. One can also choose milk paint if they want a rusty and detailed texture for the walls that will match the decor of a house. 

On the other hand, chalk paint is a preferable choice if one wants to do a quick makeover of certain types of furniture. Chalk paint is available pre-made in the market and thus doesn’t take much time for preparation. One can simply use a simple brush to color the furniture that dries up within an hour.

References

  1. https://www.finehomebuilding.com/PDF/IH010044.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300944004001407
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