Understanding your paint options

A couple of months ago we posted an article that looked into the relative benefits of paint vs wallpaper. So we thought this might be a good time to look at the various options that may be causing confusion for home owners who have chosen the pain option, but are a little unsure about the ‘what, where, when and how’ of using that paint.

If you’re a first-time renovator, you may well have decided that the easiest way to change the look of a room or the whole house is to repaint it. After all, anyone can throw a couple of coats of paint up, right? In fact, it’s not quite as simple as that. Indeed, even selecting the right type of paint can be confusing, let alone reaching agreement on the colour.

So, to give you a headstart, here’s a brief outline on some of the terms you’ll find used around the paint counter…

Types of paint

Acrylic (water based) – These tend to be more popular as they tend to produce less fumes and your brushes can be cleaned up in water.

Oil (solvent based) – Many people say these are harder wearing, so may be preferable for doors and trims.

Before you decide on one or the other, consider what you are painting over. For example, it can be difficult to paint over oil based paints with an acrylic unless you have sanded and/or are using an undercoat.

Which paint finish?

Flat – Also known as matte. A fairly forgiving paint that covers surface imperfections well. Popular for ceilings and interior walls.

Low sheen – Probably the most popular finish at the moment. Many say that low sheen surfaces are more easily washed than a flat surface.

Satin – Also known as semi-gloss. Its washability and moisture repellant properties make it well suited to window frames, skirting boards and bathrooms.

Gloss – Sometimes called high gloss. Less popular nowadays than a semi-gloss.

As a general rule, the higher the gloss, the more likely it will show up any underlying flaws in the surface or your finishing skills.

Other paint terms to remember

Reflectivity – Relevant for exterior finishes as more reflective finishes help to insulate the home. Don’t overlook the fact that lighter colours are more reflective than darker tones.

Texture – Lime-wash finishes for a Mediterranean look, or render type finishes for brickwork are two examples.

Low VOC – This refers to ‘volatile organic compounds’, gases emitted into the air by paints and other materials. They may affect allergy sufferers.

Lead – If you are tackling an older home, make sure you find out if lead-based paints have been used there. These were very common prior to 1970, and can be very bad for your health if mishandled.

Don’t forget, if you’re thinking about improving your property in preparation for a sale, and you’re interested in getting more helpful tips on maximising your sale, you can download our free booklet, “Fatal Real Estate Traps Exposed” while you’re here on the website.

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