How do you go about picking the best paint for your home project? Choosing the right color is a good first step but the type of paint you use and the sheen are also crucial to a successful project. Let’s get started.
Latex paints are a water-based, consumer-friendly option. They are easy to apply and clean up, and also dry quickly. They are durable and moisture/mildew resistant. All of these attributes make them a good choice for most interior walls and surfaces. Most latex paints on the market have low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds), which are responsible for harmful fumes. This means they don’t have strong odors and you don’t need extensive ventilation while being applied.
Oil-based paints are harder and resist scratching better than latex paints. But, they take longer to dry, have strong odors and require ventilation. Solvents must be used to clean brushes and rollers. They may be useful for trim, cabinetry, and other surfaces that take a lot of abuse. Also, you’ll want to use oil-based paint if you are painting on top of existing oil-based paint layers.
Types of sheens. The sheen of a paint refers to its glossiness. Sheen levels range from flat (does not reflect light) all the way to high-gloss, which is highly reflective. Different sheen levels are best suited for different areas based on the surface you are trying to paint and whether it will be prone to getting dirty.
Flat or matte paints do not reflect light, making them the least shiny of all the sheens. Flat paint has several advantages. First, it’s easy to apply. Because it contains more pigment, you don’t need to apply as many coats, and imperfections in the surface or the application are less noticeable. It’s also inexpensive. The main disadvantage of flat paint is that it gets dirty easily and is difficult to clean. Flat paint is good for rooms that don’t have a lot of traffic, but not the best choice for rooms that experience heavy activity such as a kitchen or child’s playroom.
Eggshell and satin paints are the middle ground. They have a slight sheen and are more durable in terms of cleaning. They are easy to apply, though some imperfections may be more noticeable than with flat paint. Still, these sheens are excellent choices for almost any room.
Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints are the shiniest and the easiest to clean. They are more durable and reflective than other sheens. Semi-gloss paint is a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms, while high-gloss is generally something you’ll only want to use on trim and doors that often get dirty. Keep in mind that gloss paint shows more imperfections and tends to be more expensive than other options.