So you’ve decided to rejuvenate the boring old walls in your home and give them a fresh coat of paint. Congratulations! Now the hard part begins: choosing the right kind of paint for your home, your style and — perhaps most importantly — your budget.
Cost, type, durability, and performance vary widely between brands, but most follow a particular pattern in the types of paint they sell, making the buying process that much more uniform. Whether you like eggshell or glossy, there’s a paint type out there for you. Just be sure to do your research and test a few out beforehand to make sure they’re what you want.
Start with a Base
It’s important to start off any painting project with a base coat and primer — especially if the walls have sported a particularly dark or bright color previously. If you skip this step and just slap on the new paint, that old color will shine right through and you’ll end up with a muddled version of what you really want. According to DIY Network, oil-based or water-based primer is designed to protect the material beneath the paint, giving a sturdy base for further coats. Next you can try a first coat, which often involves using a specially formulated paint used to build up opacity beneath finish coats. For extra protective paints and coatings, try a brand like Rust-oleum.
Get to the Finish Coat
Next it’s time to apply the finish coat. This is where the real guesswork comes in. You have a few different options here, ranging from flat and eggshell to gloss and satin.
Typically used to paint walls and ceilings, flat paint is latex-based and provides a versatile finish, whether indoors or out. Eggshell is even more durable, showcasing a light sheen designed for use on interior wood surfaces. It’s easier to clean than other types and provides you with an even color when you apply at least two coats. Gloss is a hardwearing finishing paint that’s best for wooden or metal surfaces. Satin, which is becoming more and popular for interior and exterior jobs, is similar but doesn’t sport as much of a shine.
Choosing Oil or Water-Based Paints
The decision on whether to choose oil-based or water-based paint is one you’ll have to research a bit to in order to determine your preference. Advantages of water-based paints include easy cleanup with water, quick drying time, a flexible finish that won’t crack, stable coloring over time, and low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to Elle Decor.
On the other hand, using oil-based paints gives a more attractive gloss to the finish, a durable finish and excellent leveling (which refers to the way the brush strokes fill in for a smoother, neater overall look). However, these types of paints contain more VOCs, making cleanup much harder. In general, latex paints are easier to apply and tend not to yellow over time.
Selecting the right type of paint doesn’t have to give you a headache. Weigh the pros and cons, including price, durability, finish and longevity, then hit the home improvement store and get to work!