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Guide to Selecting the Correct Paint for your Home

Selecting the correct paint for you home can be a time consuming and confusing task.  There are so many different types of paint out there, for all kinds of applications.  Painting is probably one of the most popular DIY tasks that people do.  It is one of the most affordable ways to freshen up your home, by adding a new colour scheme.

Although painting is an activity that anybody can do, making your paintwork look great requires skill and knowledge of different paint types.

guide to selecting the correct paint for your home

Things You Need To Know About Wall Paint

When selecting the correct paint, you need to consider the following:

Level of Sheen

Paint with higher amounts of sheen are more reflective.  Any paints labelled gloss have the highest amount of sheen.  While paints labelled matte (or flat) have very little or no sheen.

There are many different paints that have sheen levels between matte and gloss, such as semi gloss, eggshell and satin.


The level of sheen is actually a good indicator of stain resistance, and how easy it is to clean.  Paints that have high amounts of sheen are known as glossy paints.  These types of paints are reflective as the surface is very flat.  This smooth flat surface also prevents dirt becoming trapped in it.

Matte paints are quite the opposite to high sheen or gloss paints.  Matte paints do not have smooth and flat surfaces, but more of a rough surface that allows dirt to become trapped easily.  The rough surface means that light cannot be reflected that well, and therefore is less shiny.

Oil or Water Based? 

Water Based Paint Type:  

Water based paints are the number one choice for home interior decorating.  They are incredibly versatile as they can be used on walls, ceilings, wood and metal.  There are many reasons why water based paints are so popular.  They dry within a few hours and brushes can be cleaned easily using water.  Unlike solvent based paints, they have low VOC (toxic emission levels) and do not yellow or fade in the presence of sunlight.

Oil Based Paint:

Although water based paints are more popular, oil paint based paints does have its advantages.  They have more of a hard, durable finish which is more resistant to scratches and staining.  Also, the finish is generally more smoother than water based paints, and therefore can be glossier.  Most importantly, oil based paints are less susceptible to environmental conditions such as humidity and temperatures during the curing phase. Water based coatings do not evaporate well during certain environmental conditions such as high humidity.  Therefore oil based paints are great in challenging environmental conditions.

In addition oil based paints are great for protecting metal surfaces from rust, as there is no water present in the paint.

One of the major disadvantages is that oil based paints are hard to wipe off things, and takes a long time to dry.  It is also very sticky, and would require a paint thinner to remove it from skin and brushes.  Unlike water based paints, they cannot be thrown down the sink.

Different Types of Paint

Below is a guide on the most common types of paint for home decorating.  It will help you in selecting the correct paint for your home.

Matte Paint

Matte paint finishes are also known as flat.  It is a very common choice when it comes to selecting correct paint for your home.  They have little to no sheen.  The low sheen level makes it perfect for painting most walls and ceilings, as it will not show up surface imperfections as much as higher sheen paints.  On the downside, these paints do hold dirt more, making it more difficult to clean.

Emulsion Paint

Emulsion paints are water based and provide good coverage, making it ideal for walls and ceilings.  These paints consist of tiny polymer particles which trap coloured pigments.  Once the paint dries, they coloured pigments fuse together, creating a film of paint on your surface.

Emulsion paints can have vinyl or acrylic resins added to make them durable than traditional emulsions.  These resins also make the emulsion shinier too due to its smoother texture.


Eggshell paints have a finish that actually looks like the surface of an eggshell.  It has more sheen than matte paints, but less sheen than satin paints.  This type of finish is normally used for walls.

Satin Paint

Satin paint has some sheen to it, kind of between matte and gloss paint.  It stands up exceptionally well to scrubbing and regular cleaning.

This paint is ideal for areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.  This is because satin paint is easier to wipe clean then matte finishes.  However, is will show up surface imperfections more due to its shinier finish.

Semi gloss paint

This paint finish is glossy, but does not provide the glossy effect equivalent to gloss paint.  They offer good resistance to stains.

Gloss paint

If you are after the shiniest finish possible, then gloss paint is for you.  However, you need to make sure your surface is flat as possible before painting with gloss.  This paint is so reflective, it will show up the tiniest of imperfections.  Skirting boards, window cills and door frames are a common choice for gloss paints.

We hope you have enjoyed this article on selecting the correct paint.  We wish you luck on selecting the correct paint for your home.


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Posted on 22nd February 2019 at 4:27 pm


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