Chalk Paint vs Fusion Mineral Paint | What’s the Difference?
When people first see it or hear of it, there is an assumption that it is just another chalk-type furniture paint to hit the market.
And I can understand why. Since Annie Sloan introduced her chalk paint line about 5 years ago, there has been an explosion of other companies making and branding their own chalk-type paint. Wal-Mart even carries a line of chalk paint now!
So the biggest challenge I have had in introducing Fusion to the market has been educating people about how it is not a chalk-type paint, but rather a completely new, and different furniture paint product.
Which leads me to the graphic I threw together last week.
I decided to try and condense the hundreds of conversations I have had with people into one, easy to reference picture. Wanna see it?
Chalk Paint vs Fusion Mineral Paint
Before I start, I want to be clear that when I say chalk-type paint I am not only referring to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint brand, but to all brands of paint that essentially function in the same ways as Annie Sloan.
This includes CeCe Caldwell, Maison Blanche, Amy Howard at Home, FAT Paint, Country Chic Paint, and The Plaster Paint Co, just to name a few.
All of these paint lines differ in some way in their specific formulas, but they produce the same essential result–a chalky-finish paint that sticks to most surfaces with little to no prep and finishes with a topcoat of wax.
I have tried 5 of those brands of chalk-type paint listed above, and read up on the others, so I feel generally qualified to speak to their capabilities. So, let’s get started…
Chalk Paint’s Prep?
There really is little to none. Chalk paint does stick well to virtually any surface. Although, I have had issues with it sticking to wood laminate pieces.
It does save the steps of priming and sanding a piece before you paint it. In fact, sanding before using chalk paint is actually discouraged because it may cause the wood finish to bleed through the paint.
Chalk Paint’s Consistency?
Chalk paint is very thick, and can be watered down to make it smoother.
Because it is thick it paints with a lot of texture, which can help create that frenchy-shabby look you may be going for.
Or will work against you if you are wanting a finish that is super sleek.
Can You Mix Chalk Paint Colors?
Can You Distress Chalk Paint?
Yes, in fact chalk paint works best when you are going for a distressed finish.
There is no sealer holding the paint onto the surface once it dries, so with very-little-effort the paint can be sanded off and distressed.
However, because chalk paint is porous it will soak up every bit of dark wax or glaze you apply, so it can be difficult to control just how much antiquing you get.
Water applied to chalk paint which is NOT sealed with an additional product (like paste wax or poly) will actually re-liquify the paint and it will wipe right off.
It is Chalk Paint Stain-Proof?
No, for the same reason mentioned above–without any sealer it is porous.
Does Chalk Paint Require Sealing with a Topcoat Product?
Yes, if you want the finish to last.
Most chalk paint lines market paste furniture wax as the product to use to seal the paint.
Wax must be rubbed on so it gets down into the pores of the paint, then allowed to dry and buffed. If you do not seal a chalk paint surface, the paint will very easily scratch and stain.
Is Chalk Paint Toxic?
Not all, but some chalk paint brands do have toxic ingredients. I will let you do your own research though and determine what brands those are–I’m not looking to badmouth any companies here!
I did find this website helpful though in learning about what is in the products I have used: Material Safety Data Sheets by Brand.
According to product labels and my own research, some chalk type paint brands have latex, Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze) and Methanol in their mix–which are all ingredients known to have toxic effects on humans and animals. If you start looking into the waxes marketed by chalk-type paint brands, the story gets even worse–some waxes are actually flammable and classified as hazardous transport! Yikes.
What Does Chalk Paint Cost?
In my area, most chalk paint is sold in quarts and runs from $35-$40 a quart.
One quart will cover approximately 150 sq. ft, which can be an entire bedroom suit of furniture.
So, if you plan on using a lot of the color you are purchasing, it can be a great value. If you only have a small project, you will have a lot of unused paint leftover in your quart.
So what is my ultimate opinion of chalk-type paints?
I think they are great!
I painted with them for several years and am so thankful they came to the market. I was happier with some brands more than I was with others, but overall I have enjoyed using them.
I never did, however, enjoy the process of applying a top coat to chalk paint. I found the waxing process to be messy, time consuming, and often disappointing in its results.
There were some waxes I tried also that had such a toxic, gasoline like smell that I had to set the furniture outside to air out for a few days before I could bring it inside.
Even though I have enjoyed using chalk paint, I do not use it anymore for my projects. Why? The answer lies solely with my discovery of Fusion Mineral Paint.
To me, Fusion takes the ease of chalk paint to a whole new level. I also find it to produces better long term results while being more affordable. So I’ve switched and am now a faithful Fusion user.
So let’s take a quick look at the categories above with regards to Fusion:
Fusion Mineral Paint
Fusion Paint Prep?
Prepping to use Fusion is just the same as prepping for chalk paint.
Fusion will adhere to most surfaces with little to no prep.
For high gloss surfaces a quick, light sanding can be beneficial but I have had success with Fusion adhering to a glossy surface with no sanding at all.
Metal and glass can also be painted with Fusion, and the Fusion product Ultra Grip will help Fusion stick to even the trickiest surfaces, like laminate.
Fusion Paint’s Consistency?
Fusion is light and thin.
The paint moves so smoothly with your brush, and therefore leaves much less texture than does chalk paint.
Because it is thinner in consistency than chalk paint, I find it easier to work with. It doesn’t pull or streak on me like chalk paint often would.
Fusion also self levels, so as you leave it to dry it will smooth out even more and help hide brush mistakes.
Can You Mix Fusion Paint Colors Together?
Can You Distress Fusion Mineral Paint?
Yes, Fusion can be distressed as little or as much as you want.
It is best though to distress quickly after Fusion starts to dry so as to save yourself some elbow grease.
You can also apply clear wax or poly to the top of Fusion if you would like to increase its sheen.
Is Fusion Mineral Paint Waterproof?
With no topcoat at all Fusion will dry and cure up to be 100% waterproof.
I had a customer who painted a dresser on her porch and left it overnight, only to discover in the morning it had been rained on.
The finish though was completely intact and all of the water just wiped right off! Because Fusion is formulated using acrylic resin as its base, it is not porous like all of the chalk-type paints.
The acrylic resin seals the paint and bonds it to the wood, providing a durability unlike any chalk-type paint can provide.
I even decided to makeover my own front door with one of Fusion’s blues, and after nearly a year, it has held up wonderfully.
Is Fusion Mineral Paint Stain Proof?
Yes! For the same reasons as it’s waterproof, Fusion is excellent at repelling stains.
It can be scrubbed with soap and water, wiped down with windex–whatever you want. I have even used bleach to get out a stain of red wine on some of Fusion’s white paint.
Does Fusion Require Sealing with a Topcoat Product?
No! Again, the acrylic resin in Fusion seals the paint without any topcoat.
If you want to add a topcoat for added sheen or for additional durability in a high traffic area, you certainly can. But there is no waxing required to finish off your Fusion project.
Some of the darkest colors, like the Coal Black and Chocolate, do benefit from adding a little gloss to them to reduce the appearance of dust and fingerprints, so I usually recommend a little wax on top of those two colors.
But again, that’s not required to seal the finish.
Also, remember the nasty wax stuff I was telling you about earlier? Fusion’s Wax Finish has only two ingredients: Beeswax and Hemp Oil.
It is an all-natural, food-safe product, which I find much more appealing than applying a flammable wax to my furniture.
What Does Fusion Mineral Paint Cost?
Fusion is sold in pints, rather than quarts, to help provide the average customer with the amount of paint they will need for an average project (rather than having a lot left over from a quart).
One pint of Fusion costs $20.50. And remember, there is no additional cost of purchasing a wax to finish your project required either.
Fusion test sizes are also available at $5 each. With the test size you can paint a mirror, a small chair, or several picture frames, depending upon the color you pick and the finish of what you are painting.
So can you see why I have switched to using Fusion over chalk-type paints?
I’m in the business of selling painted furniture, and in that business, I try to save on my cost of materials and on the time it takes me to finish a piece of flipped furniture.
I can do everything I used to do with chalk paint with Fusion Mineral Paint, but for less money, in less time, and with less chemicals.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but it really is a fantastic product.