Feb 13, 2018

All About Paints: The Different Types of Paints Safe for Your Home

Painting is more than just decorating your interior and exterior home walls. In fact, it serves the important function of protecting your home surfaces and minimizes damage caused by various external elements.

The painting process, therefore, is more than just slapping a coat of colorful paint and never minding it again until the next repaint. It matters (a lot!) to plan on the type of paint, number of coats and the combination of paints to use on a certain surface at home, while also considering the weather and environment conditions and that the paint would last for as long as possible.


Base Coat

Since you want your decorative paints to look good and last longer, perfecting its base coat is crucial. For interior walls, a combination of primer and first coat is your best option.

  • Primer

Used on uncoated surfaces, the primer protects the surface beneath it and provides a smooth and even base for the next coats to be applied. Most primer paints can be applied on walls with a sprayer and are available in oil-based and water-biased variants.

For exterior woodworks, professionals prefer using oil-based primer paints. Masonry and plaster surfaces are commonly primed with latex paint diluted in water, which is called a mist coat. However, the use of stabilizing primer may be required if the surface is very powder or flaky. There are also other types of special primers for surfaces like melamine and tiles, which can also be used as base for traditional paints.  

  • First Coat

This is a special paint formula meant to be used to help with the opacity of the finishing coats. A coat or two of first coat may be required before topping it with decorative finish for more vivid outcome.

Professional painters advise that a pale first coat should be applied underneath a pale-colored finish coat, and a dark first coat for dark-hued finish coats. While oil-based first coats are more suitable for interior surfaces, exterior first coats also come with this variant as the oil helps the paint to last longer when exposed to different external elements. If using water-based first coat, experts recommend applying multiple coats to provide the surface with even coverage.

Finish Coats

After applying the base coats, you are ready to paint the walls with decorative finishes.

  • Flat

This one is a latex-based type of paint that is more commonly used on ceilings and walls. Other types of this finish coat are matt, dead-flat matt, silk and water-based eggshell. Some formulas, however, contain vinyl to help with the longevity of the paint when applied on walls. 

Flat finishes are also used on siding fixtures, help cope the surface with moisture and is available in rough and smooth texture. To get an even coverage, you will also need to apply multiple layers of it.

  • Eggshell

A more durable variant than flat, eggshell provides a slight sheen to its appearance. When purchasing, so be sure to check the exact degree of shininess as the intensity varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Commonly used on interior wood surfaces, it serves as an alternative to semi-gloss finish paint. Eggshell finish is also used on walls where hardwearing finish is applied for easier clean later on. Apply primer and first coat as required, and then two layers of eggshell paint for an even finish.

  • Gloss and Satin

Gloss, an impressively hardwearing type of paint, is mainly used on metal and wood surfaces. Satin is also used the same way as gloss, but offers a less shiny finish. Both latex-based and solvent-based versions are available in the market, but latex-based is easier to apply and less likely to turn yellow over time. Although both are suitable for exterior and interior painting, some glosses are specially formulated to withstand the harsher elements of exterior environment. 

Specialty Paints

Great quality paints are expected to perform well in residential environment as long as they are primed and applied to the surfaces properly. However, sometimes, it’s worth it to use specially formulated paints on specific circumstances.

  • Floor Paint

Used on floorboard and concrete flooring, floor paints usually are solvent-based, making them more hardwearing. Available in glossy finishes, floor paints should be used on completely cured flooring by checking it with moisture meter.

  • Bathroom and Kitchen Paints

These types of special paints are the most ideal for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. They are far better than traditional formulations as they resist fungal growth and absorption of moisture.

  • Metal Paint

Metal paints come in different variants: textured, smooth and high gloss. These paints can be used in both exterior and interior surfaces; some can even be directly applied over rust.

Solvent-Based and Water-Based Paints

Paints are generally made of binder and pigment. Water-based paints (acrylic and latex) use water as their binder, while solvent-based ones use mineral spirit, though there are also some that use thinner. Paints for wood finished also come in both oil-based and water-based formula.

However, keep in mind that if you’re using thinner-based or mineral-based paints, plan ahead how you will dispose excess products as there are environmental regulations on that.

If that bothers you, do know that there are eco-friendly and more natural alternatives, such as alkyds. These paints are made of renewable elements such plant oils, manufactured in less polluting process and contain less preservative than their traditional counterparts.

Category: General

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