Northern Paints and Coatings

Answers to our most
frequently asked questions…

To help you decide if our products are right for your project, here is some additional information based on our most frequently asked questions.

What does SD Value stand for?

SD Value (Steam Diffusion) is the most accepted standard for breathability in the UK today.
Breathability describes the process whereby moisture within the wall is allowed to pass through and evaporate (vapour permeability).

The breathability of a masonry paint is especially important as it is estimated that 75% of building failure is attributed to moisture, either by penetration or condensation.

SD tests determine how easily water vapour can pass through a paint coating and disperse.
To be classed as truly breathable, the SD Value must be between 0.01-0.05. The lower the SD Value, the more breathable the paint.

What is the difference between Standard and Mineral Masonry Paints?

Standard masonry paints are manufactured using chemicals which form a plastic-like film. This film can trap moisture causing issues which damage the fabric of the building. Standard masonry paints commonly have an SD Value of 1 or above.

Mineral masonry paints are manufactured without the use of chemicals. Mineral masonry paint bonds to the substrate and becomes part of the fabric of the building, creating a protective, breathable surface through which moisture can escape. Mineral masonry paints commonly have an SD Value of 0.05 or below.

Why should I use Earles Mineral Paint or Snowcem Plus?

With an SD Value of less than 0.01, both Earles Mineral Paint and Snowcem Plus are 100x more breathable than standard masonry paints.

Having the lowest SD value of all the mineral masonry paints, Earles Mineral Paint & Snowcem Plus can be used with confidence on all masonry surfaces where breathability is a priority, including older and listed buildings.

What is the difference between Earles Mineral Paint and Snowcem Plus?

Earles Mineral Paint is the new brand name for Snowcem Plus. The formula and colours remain the same.

Will I still be able to buy Snowcem Plus?

Snowcem Plus will be replaced by Earles Mineral Paint. Once Snowcem Plus is gone, you will be able to purchase the same product under the new Earles Mineral Paint brand name.

I’ve already used Snowcem Plus. Can I continue my project using Earles Mineral Paint?

Of course. Earles Mineral Paint and Snowcem Plus products are identical, so once you have run out of Snowcem Plus you can replace it with Earles Mineral Paint.

Are the colours the same?

Yes, the colours are exactly the same – so you can match your new Earles Mineral Paint to your Snowcem Plus.

New, additional colours will also be introduced to the Earles range.

Which substrates are suitable for Earles Mineral Paint?

Earles Mineral Paint is suitable for application on to all exterior and interior masonry surfaces, including;

  • Lime Renders
  • Cement and Cement Lime Renders
  • Natural Stone
  • Pebbledash
  • Roughcast
  • Cobb
  • Brickwork
  • Cement and Thermalite Blocks
  • Cementitious Boards and Plasterboards.

Where can I use Earles Mineral Paint?

Earles Mineral Paint is a versatile option, so it can be used on a range of projects including:

  • Listed and Heritage Buildings
  • Solid Wall Construction
  • Cellars and Basements
  • Underground Structures
  • Commercial Premises
  • Factories and Warehouses
  • Garages and Workshops
  • Retaining and Boundary walls
  • Barns and Outbuildings
  • Churches
  • Property Conversions
  • Farm Buildings and Stables

Can Earles Masonry Paint be used on buildings with multiple substrates?

Not all buildings have a uniform exterior – especially older and extended properties with a mix of substrates to deal with.

Earles Mineral Paint’s versatility means that it is able to cope with application to all masonry materials and existing painted surfaces to give one uniform finish to the exterior of your property.

Lime Renders and Mortars

Earles Mineral Paint is fully compatible with application on to lime renders

Listed buildings

Earles Mineral Paint is approved for application on to listed and heritage buildings

Solid wall construction

Earles Mineral Paint is highly breathable making it ideal for application to buildings with a solid wall construction.

Damp areas

Earles Mineral Paint provides protection in damp conditions, whilst not peeling or flaking. Use Earles Mineral Paint to combat damp in problem areas such as:

  • Basements
  • Boundary or retaining walls
  • Elevations of a property exposed to harsh weather


A 10KG tub of paint will cover 50m2 in total over a smooth surface.


Earles Mineral Paint should be used when the temperature is not forecast to fall below 5 degrees within two days of application.


It is fine to apply Earles Mineral Paint in damp weather, so no special application method is required.

In hot weather you should ensure the paint has enough moisture so the curing process can take place. To combat hot conditions, you can dampen the surface prior to the application of the paint or/and mist with water an hour or so after application. You can follow the same rules for the application of the second coat.

Earles Surface Primer

We strongly recommend priming any surface with Earles Surface Primer, especially on surfaces which are loose or dusty- such as old lime or cement renders.

The primer works as an interbonder for Earles Mineral Paint when applied to brickwork, or an existing painted surface.

Earles Mineral Paint Surface Primer is formulated to the same high quality as the mineral paint, and so will not impact the breathability of the paint.

Follow the provided instructions when diluting your primer and allow it to dry for a minimum of 6 hours before the application of the paint.

Mixing the paint

Earles Mineral Paint is delivered to you as a powder, which you then mix with water to create your paint.

Add the Earles Mineral Paint powder to the water at a ratio of 1:1, e.g. 1 cup of water to 1 cup of powder. Thoroughly mix to make sure all the powder is incorporated. A mixing paddle is ideal for this.

If you need a thicker formula, add some extra powder during the mixing process. Mix again until all the powder is incorporated. Leave the mix to stand for a minute or two, give it another quick stir and then apply onto your walls.

Hairline cracks

Earles Mineral Paint is great at filling hairline cracks in renders. If the crack is wider than 2-3mm then use the powder with a little water to create a putty which can then be used to fill.

Lime Renders and Cobb

Earles Mineral Paint cures by hydration and oxidisation, making it perfect for lime renders and cobb, which are very porous. We recommend that you dampen the surface before the application of the paint. This will prevent the render from absorbing the moisture from the paint – affecting the curing process.

If you think the paint is drying too quickly then you can also mist it with water an hour or so after application. This should combat any problems with hydration of the paint.

Process explained

Earles Mineral Paint cures by hydration and oxidisation, whereas a standard polymer based paint dries by evaporation.

Although the paint may seem dry to the touch this initial curing process is still ongoing and actually takes a number of days to complete and as such the paint behaves more like a render when drying.

No extra care has to be taken but some of the phases of the curing process are noted below:

Curing time

The initial curing process will take around 4-5 days. However, hydration of the paint continues for years and so this gives the paint longevity, becoming harder as it ages.

The surface seems dusty

This is completely normal. Earles mineral paint is soft and porous when first applied, as the paint cures it becomes harder and harder. After 4-5 days the paint should have completed its initial curing and there should be no more dusting on the surface.

The paint appears transparent

When the paint is first applied it can look a little transparent. This effect can be more noticeable if it rains soon after application. As the paint cures, the paint will become more opaque. Apply the second coat as normal.

If after 4-5 days this effect is still noticeable, then the paint hasn’t been applied thickly enough. To fix this, apply another coat of paint. This is especially important if you are painting brickwork to prevent any colour bleeding through when the paint is wet.

Colour variation

Earles is a mineral paint, meaning it behaves differently to a plastic polymer paint. When Earles Mineral Paint is first applied it looks much darker. This effect wears off and lightens up as the paint cures and hydrates.

Curing can happen at different rates depending on the moisture in the wall, meaning at first the colour may appear patchy. The paint will have the same colour as the dry powder once it has cured. For example, the Super White will look green/grey when first applied again this will turn pure white as the paint cures and oxidises.

Final Finish

Once the curing process is complete, Earles Mineral Paint will give a super matte dust free finish.


Correctly applied Earles Mineral Paint will last over 20 years.


Earles Mineral Paint is low maintenance. It can be cleaned with soapy water and jet washed if required.

Geographical locations

We deliver throughout the UK and Europe including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


Mainland UK Delivery is usually 24 – 48 Hrs.

Allow an extra day for the Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. European Delivery including the Republic of Ireland is usually 5-7 Days.


Standard UK delivery by courier is £6.00 including the Highlands and Islands. Items under 2kg are sent via Royal Mail. European delivery is calculated at the website checkout. Phone for a delivery cost if required.

Northern Paints & Coatings
Unit 3b
Berwick Road Industrial Estate
Wooler, Northumberland, NE71 6AH