So you need to paint something in your home. Calling the experts is always our recommendation, but what if you just need to touch something up? Or maybe you’re feeling creative on a budget. Just making a trip to the hardware store isn’t enough when it comes to a quality paint job, especially when there are so many options on shelves. Take a look at the ins and outs of paint types and what all the buzzwords mean before you make a purchase.
Though it isn’t technically considered paint, primer is important. Primer helps cover and smooth a surface prior to a new coat of paint, and should correspond to the type of paint you plan to use - oil-based or water-based. Skip it if you’re just touching up a corner, but larger jobs can benefit from a primer coat.
Oil-based vs. Water-based
Pros of oil-based paints:
- More durable overall than water-based options
- Oil-based enamels are shiny
Cons of oil-based paints:
- Takes longer to fully dry
- Cleaning oil-based paints is more difficult - you’ll need harsher, more potent chemicals to truly clean it
Pros of water-based paints:
- Requires just water and mild soap to clean
- A longer lifespan; resists the "yellowing" sometimes seen with older oil-based paint jobs
Cons of water-based paints:
- Not as shiny as oil-based counterparts
Each paint has a specific chemical make-up, but also a distinct finish. Take a look at the three most popular finish options and what they mean.
- Flat finish: If you’re looking to update walls and ceilings, flat is a popular option.
- Semi-gloss and Gloss finishes: These are generally shiny, hard wearing enamels, and many people like to use them on wood surfaces.
Acrylic paints are water-based and, unlike latex paint which lacks actual latex, includes acrylic in the ingredients. This type can get confusing, as you’ll see “acrylic latex,” “acrylic enamel” or “acrylic latex enamel” but suffice it to say they are all water-based and offer varying degrees of shine.
In some cases, you can find paints with additional perks like anti-mold features or hypoallergenic ingredients. There are even anti-condensation additives in some options, making those brands great for kitchens and bathrooms. Take a look at all brand options - and ingredients - before making a decision.