Properties And Uses Of Calcimine Paint

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Interior's Handbook For Historic Interiors - Vol. Ii
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This standard includes guidance on the preparation of calcimine paint. It also includes general information on its composition, characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and uses.


  • Water-based paint.
  • Whiting (ground chalk) is the primary pigment in calcimine
  • paint.
  • Sometimes tinted.


  • Also known as Kalsomine or distemper.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Similar to whitewash paint.
  • Dissolves with water.


  • Inexpensive.
  • Fairly easy to make.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Easy to remove, requiring only water and elbow grease.
  • Non-yellowing (because there is no oil binder).
  • Effective in adhering to masonry surfaces.
  • Effective in covering rough plaster surfaces.
  • Well-suited for walls and ceilings.


  • Moisture and abrasion sensitive.Requires frequent maintenance.
  • Recoating requires complete removal of the first coat as application of a second coat tends to dissolve the glue binder and lift the first coat from the surface.
  • Can not be washed as it is water-soluble.


  • Traditionally used as an interior finish to whiten walls andceilings.
  • Used on plaster or masonry-type surfaces.
  • Applied in one heavy coat, as the application of multiple coats tends to soften the glue binder.
  • Applied with wide brushes.
  • May be coated over with oil-base paint. Latex paint (since it is water-base) can NOT be used over calcimine paint. Water-base paint will cause the calcimine to soften and eventually peel.


  • Whiting (chalk crushed to a powder) is mixed with glue size binder and water to make a paste.

Prepared Dutch Kalsomine is available from Johnson Paint Company, 355 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02115, 617/536-4838. It is manufactured by the Muralo Company of Bayonne, New Jersey.

Last Reviewed 2016-07-25