Different Types of Paint Have Different Qualities

One of the more overlooked aspects of home improvement is the relatively straight-forward act of painting. However, since the actual painting of a room is often one of the final steps in a renovation, it can actually be one of the most important. Different types of paint exist for different types of reasons, and learning how to choose the right paint for the right room in the house can be a challenge. Luckily, the uses of the various sheens and types of paints are not difficult to get a handle on.


Probably the most popular form of paint available today is latex or water based paint. It cleans up easily with water, according to HomeDepot.com, and while it has an aroma it is much more manageable than that of an oil based paint. Durable and available in many different sheens and styles, latex or water based paints are usually the first choice in painting a room.

Oil Based

Oil-based paint has a stronger aroma than latex or water based paints, which makes it unpopular to use indoors. Ultimately though, oil based paint offers better coverage and penetration for chalky surfaces, according to Lowes.com. So while it might be necessary to use an oil based primer in a basement, where such a surface might exist, generally these types of paints are avoided due to the smell and difficult cleanup.

Stain Resistant

When shoppers hear stain resistant, the images of kids spilling grape juice usually pops into their minds; however, stain resistant paint helps keep wood sap or other potential finish killers from penetrating through the paint as well. These types of paint are great for areas that have the tendency to become musty or damp. Of course, a washable paint would be preferred in areas that get a lot of use, such as kitchens, hallways, and playrooms.

High-Gloss, Flat, or Semi-Gloss

The sheen or finish of a paint refers to amount of light reflected when the product is dry. High-gloss reflects a lot of light, which makes it ideal for areas with few windows or lights. The main disadvantage to using a high-gloss finish is that imperfections in the wall become pretty obvious due to the brightness of the finish.

Flat or matte finished paints are designed to reflect little light, which makes perfect for a variety of areas. This is one case of home improvement where the opposite of high-gloss is pretty much true, because flat or matte finishes can actually hide imperfections on drywall or other surfaces.

Semi-gloss finishes are designed to land somewhere in the middle of high-gloss and flat finishes, which makes ideal for ceilings, walls, and trim work. Many homeowners opt for a combination of finishes to really set a nice effect for a paint job. Unfortunately, the best method remains trial and error with test pints and swatch kits.

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