How to Choose the Right Paint Type and Finish


Now that you’ve chosen the right paint colour and your walls are primed and ready, all that is left is for you to get the paint and start the job. Just like the colour, the type of paint you choose can transform a space. The paint finish you settle on will influence the quality of your paint job and the atmosphere of your room. That’s why we’ve asked our central London based team of professional painters and decorators to break down everything you need to know about paint bases and finishes.

Water or Oil? Choosing the right paint base. -

Most wall paints use a water or oil base, and there are a few things to consider before deciding on a paint base.

Water-based or latex paint -

Water-based paint, also known as latex paint, is the most common type of paint at your local hardware store. These paints are environmentally friendly and easy to work with, and come in many varieties including versions that look like oil-based paints.

Water-based paints are great exterior walls, kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms because of its colour stability. Water-based paints aren’t without its cons though, being less vivid and long-wearing as its oil-based counterparts.

Oil-based paint –

Oil-based paints are hard-wearing and vivid, making this base a popular choice for mouldings, trims and other surfaces that don’t need to be painted often or must last for a long time.

Oil-based paints are also difficult to apply and remove, requiring special solvents to keep your tools clean. They also have a potent smell due to VOC’s, which can be harmful to inhale.

Types of Finishes –

The paint finish determines how shiny and durable the paint is. Read on to find out more about paint finishes.

Matte –

Matte is the most common type of finish used in homes. The popularity of this velvety and deeply pigmented finish is because it gives the most coverage, effortlessly hiding wall and ceiling imperfections. A word of warning though – it’s difficult to clean once stained.

Matte paint has low to medium durability, making it best for child and pet free zones, like an adult’s bedroom or home office.

Satin –

Satin finishes are the middle ground between matte and gloss. They have the velvety depth of matte paints with more lustre and durability. This makes them ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.

The big downside is that satin finishes are difficult to apply because roller and brush strokes show up easily, so consider hiring professional painters and decorators to help you out.

Eggshell –

Like its glossier cousin satin, an eggshell finish offers a medium ground between matte and gloss. However, it’s closer to a matte finish in terms of sheen, offering a slight reflective quality (hence the name). Eggshell is less durable than satin but is great for covering up imperfections, making this finish ideal for areas like the living and dining rooms.

Between satin and flat on the sheen (and durability) scale is eggshell, so named because it’s a flat (no-shine) finish with little lustre, like a chicken’s egg. Eggshell covers wall imperfections well and is a great finish for gathering spaces that don’t get a lot of bumps and scuffs.

Semi-gloss –

Semi-gloss is perfect for rooms vulnerable to damage and stains where you want to avoid the aesthetics of a high gloss finish. This makes semi-gloss ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and bannisters.

High gloss –

High gloss paint is the most durable finish, on par with appliance paint. It’s also reflective, which makes it unsuitable for walls unless used as an accent.

It’s often used on doors, window trims, baseboards and mouldings, but can also be used sparingly on walls to give matte walls more dimension. Because of its shiny texture, high-gloss paint is difficult to work with, so we advise so caution.

When choosing the right paint base and finish for your home improvement project, there’s a lot to consider. If you’re still unsure after reading this article, let us help you. We have a team of professional painters and decorators based in central London who can guide you through the entire painting process.

To find out more about what you should consider when selecting paint, please visit the following resource:

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