Just when you finally finished picking the colors for your painting project, you realize that you still need to pick the type of paint you want! Avoid letting confusion set in by reading below to help you decide between flat paint, satin or eggshell paint, semi-gloss or gloss. You'll also need to choose between latex or oil-based paints. If this seems too overwhelming, then you should consider hiring a professional skilled painter to do the work for you.
Oil or Latex?
Latex paints are water-based and have some fantastic and useful advantages, such as being durable, fast-drying, low-odor, easily applied and can be cleaned up simply with soap and water. Latex paints also resist yellowing better than oil-based paints and have better mildew resistance. These advantages makes latex based paint ideal for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, where there is often moisture.
Oil paints of high quality are harder paints and have better abrasion resistance than latex paints. They also have a slightly higher gloss than the latex-based paint. A great perk to oil-based paint is that it goes on smoother and is more durable in the long run. A disadvantage to keep in mind is that these paints have a stronger odor, take longer to dry and cannot be cleaned up with just soap and water (a solvent such as paint thinner needs to be used for cleanup).
What Type of Sheen?
Paint sheen simply means the level of glossiness in paint. Today, most paints come in one of the following sheens: flat, satin or eggshell, semi-gloss and gloss.
Flat paint is the standard for most walls. It has the lowest sheen available and when it dries, it appears completely non-reflective with a smooth, matte finish. Flat paints are great because they conceal imperfections on walls that were there before you painted - as well as imperfections that occur after you paint. This is the reason why flat paint is recommended most for painting drywall surfaces or a surface that is not sanded well. Flat paint can help to make the surfaces look smoother and more uniform, and if the wall or surface gets any scratches, you won't have to worry so much, as nicks and scratches blend in fairly well to flat paint! One of the big disadvantages to flat paint is that it is hard to clean. Because of its somewhat porous texture, the paint can hold onto dirt and make cleaning more difficult. Your best bet is to use it in areas that are not frequently soiled.
Satin, or eggshell paint, is also known as low-luster paint. While these paints are low-luster, they are more lustrous than flat paint and have a nice, slight sheen when compared to flat paint. The slight sheen is what makes eggshell paint able to bring a warm look and feel - and depth - to a room. This kind of paint is also easier to clean and can be used on any wall in your home. Paint a small area of a wall with eggshell paint to make sure this look what you want to achieve.
Semi-gloss paints are very popular in homes with young children because it is the easiest to clean among all the paints. This is the reason why semi-gloss paint is frequently used for children's rooms, kitchens and bathrooms; it is so durable. If you choose to go with a semi-gloss paint, then make sure you choose one that is 100% acrylic latex, since that is the highest quality latex paint. Keep in mind that semi-gloss paints show a lot of imperfections, so if you have imperfect walls and young children, you may want to weigh out the pros and cons. Your best bet is to use it for the kitchen, bathroom and kids' rooms.
Gloss paint is the toughest and most durable of all paints - and the shiniest, too! This very high sheen paint is often used on doors and in areas susceptible to getting dirty. It is also used on trim, baseboards and door frames.