Should you choose enamel or latex, glossy or satin? When should you use “primers”? These are terms used to generally describe house paint products. Many consumers might be puzzled at the meanings or uses of different house paint products, and that often leads them to choose the wrong house paint. How do you choose between types of house paint, then?
It’s hard to argue that paint is the easiest and most affordable product you can use for home renovation. They treat dull, weather-worn walls and provide protection to existing surfaces. Yet, despite the myriad uses of paints, a certain type of paint achieves the best results when used on a certain surface. Hence, the question that most homeowners have in mind is: “Should it be latex or enamel, and satin or gloss?”
House Paint Basics
The traditional uses of enamel (oil-based) favors trim, woodwork, as well as some exterior and interior woodwork. Much of its uses have to do with the smooth consistency of oil-based paints, making them easy to apply, have superb leveling characteristics, and perfectly adhere well to poorly-prepared or chalky surfaces. This type of paints also provides a strong protective film with its hard-shell finish.
The water-base paints – latex, vinyl, and acrylic – are called such because their main ingredient is water. Latex paints come in two types, those with more water and use softer vinyl resins (binders) and those paints that use less water and 100% acrylic resins. If you’ll be painting on high-moisture surfaces, latex paints form a breathable film so it’s less prone to flaking and peeling.
Types of Finishes and Where to Use Them
House paint finishes come in four types of sheens: flat paints, satin finishes, semi gloss paints, and gloss paint. The amount of light a paint finish reflects is called its sheen.
- Flat paints – these are house paints that do not exhibit reflective properties at all, thus providing a matte finish. If you need to hide imperfections in areas not usually subjected to a high degree of wear and tear, such as walls of living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms (but not of small children), or ceilings.
- Satin Finish – often called the eggshell finish, satin finishes provide a soft sheen similar to the luster of an eggshell. Satin finishes provide a tougher finish which offers more durability and resists more to stain than flat finishes. Thus, you’d prefer a satin finish on children’s bedroom, stairways, hallways, and family rooms.
- Semi-gloss paints – this type of finish is more durable than the satin finish and is also more stain-resistant which makes them ideal to use on areas prone to heavy wear, such as bathrooms and kitchens. You may also paint your cabinets and wood trims with this finish.
- Gloss paints – this type of house paint is the most durable and most resistant to stain than the three finishes. However, the drawback to this paint finish is that it is incapable of hiding imperfections or it makes them more noticeable. Nonetheless, this paint finish is the choice for areas of heavy wear such as bathrooms, kitchens, floors, stairs, furniture and cabinets, trims, and frequently used doors.
How to Choose House Paint
Besides the suggested areas where to use the different finishes, there are a couple things to consider when choosing house paint. First, you need to evaluate the amount of wear and tear the surface will be subjected to; and, whether the finish harmonizes or is in conflict with the decorating schemes.
Simply put, heavy-wear areas and those that will be prone to frequent washings – use paints designed for that purpose – choose the highest gloss possible. Contrastingly, if you need to establish a calm, soothing ambiance, then choose finishes with lower gloss.
So when it’s time to make finishing touches, choose a house paint designed specifically for the surface it is intended to, and be assured of a smooth finish that only paints can provide.