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Different Types of Paint

Have you ever gone down the paint section in a hardware store? You’ll be amazed by the amount of different types and colors of paint that are available for both interior and exterior surfaces. While your contractor will help you to pick the best paint for your purpose, it’s good to know some of the basics. In this post, we will cover the most important things you need to know about paint.

1. Water-based paints Most of the wall paints sold today are water-based, although oil-based paint remains popular as well. These two types of paints are used for different purposes, however. Water- based paint is great for ceilings and walls, but less so for wood surfaces, since it makes the grain swell. Water-based paint also should be used with caution if you’re painting on a surface that has previously been covered with oil-based paint (the new paint may not stick). If you do find yourself in a situation where you want to apply water-based paint on an item that is coated with something oil-based, then wash, and then roughen up the surface with sandpaper before applying the new coat. There are also some advantages to water-based paints: they have lower levels of toxic emissions (called volatile organic compounds or VOCs), are easy to clean up with water, dry quickly, have an elastic and flexible finish that is resistant to cracking, and have a stable color that lasts over time.

2. Oil-based paints Oil-based paints have a glossy finish that many find attractive. Additionally, this type of paint has good so-called “leveling,” which means that brush strokes will fill themselves in to create a smooth finish. Oil-based paints also offer a hard and durable finish. Sometimes you’ll want an oil-based looking finish, but would rather achieve that with a water-based product. In these instances, you can buy “waterborne enamels” or “waterborne alkyds.” These paint types will behave and look much like their equivalent oil-based paints. Oil- based paints in general cover better in one coat and dry slower, which gives you more working time.

3. Primer Primers come both in water-based and oil-based versions, and are usually used as a first coat on new, uncoated surfaces. Primers have the function of protecting the material lying beneath and providing a good base for subsequent coats. Usually, you’ll use an oil-based primer with oil-based paint, and the same applies for water-based primers and paints. Special surfaces will require special primers, such as plaster and masonry. These are usually primed with a coat of latex that has been diluted with 10% water, this solution is known as “mist coat.” Tile and melamine will also need special primers before applying normal paints on top.

4. First Coat Most often, one or two coats of the first coat are required before you apply the decorative finish coat. The purpose of the first coat is to build up opacity beneath the finishing coats. Light first coats should be used with light finishing coats, and the same applies to dark coats.

5. Finish Coats Finish coats come in a variety of versions:

a) Flat This is a latex-based, versatile paint type, usually used for walls and ceilings. Flat paints are also good to use on siding materials, and can help the material cope with moisture. Within the family of flat paints, there are different types of finishes available: dead-flat matte, matte, water-based eggshell and silk. These range from flattest to less flat finishes. Finally, exterior flat is also available in different textures: smooth or rough. With flat finishing coats, you’ll have to apply as many coats as necessary until you achieve an even look.

b) Eggshell This type of finish is more durable than flat, and has a slight sheen. Usually this is used on interior wood surfaces as an alternative to semi-gloss, although it can also be used on wall surfaces. Two coats are usually enough to achieve an even coating.

c) Gloss and Satin Gloss and satin are most often used on metal and wooden surfaces, while satin is slightly less shiny than gloss. These come both in oil-based and water-based versions. The advantage with water-based paints is that they are easier to apply, and less likely to “yellow” with age. However, they do not provide the high shine as do oil-based paints. Gloss and satin paints can be used both inside and outside. Gloss and satin usually only need a single coat over one or two coats of primer.

Sources: and-know- how/painting/all-about- the-types- of-paint- and-finish renovating/home-renovation/advice/a2777/different- types-paint- finishes/ 101-oil- or-latex

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