Simple Paint Buying Guide

Interior wall and ceiling paints have come a long way in recent years. Along with traditional latex and oil based paints, low and no VOC paints have arrived on the scene. Manufacturers have also squeezed in several new sheens in recent years. Along with flat or semi-gloss, paint store Gurnee makers also offer the newer matte, eggshell, and satin sheens.

Most wall and ceiling paint sold today are water-based latex, but oil-based paint remains popular for doors, woodwork, furniture, as well as floors. Water-based paints have many advantages over oil paints. They dry quickly, clean up with water, are extremely stable, won’t yellow over time, and they resist cracking.

Most paint manufacturers today have added a line of low VOC paint. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. Traditional paint releases VOCs into the air as it dries and, depending on who’s asked, may or may not be harmful. They emit little or no odor when applied.

High-quality oil paint resists scratching and abrasion better than latex paint. Oil paint also has a slightly higher gloss for those projects that require such. It also goes on smoother, is more durable, and easier to clean. Oil-based paint has several big disadvantages, however. They have longer drying times and a strong odor. Oil based paints also require strong solvents, such as paint thinner or turpentine, for cleanup.

As for sheen, while their manufacturers might disagree, flat and matte finishes offer pretty much the same results. The same goes for eggshell and satin. Most homeowners won’t notice much of a difference in appearance or durability between either pair.

Flat, or matte, paint absorbs the most light. It hides imperfections better than eggshell, semi-gloss, satin, or gloss paint. It also offers an excellent depth of color. It gives walls or ceilings the warmest look and feel. On the flip side, it can be hard to clean.

Eggshell and satin paints feature more reflectivity and improved durability over flat paints. They work well in kitchens and bathrooms. Eggshell or the slightly higher gloss satin finishes offer a good balance between durability and beauty.

Traditionally used on baseboards, moldings, and doors; semi-gloss paints are the most durable, but also the most likely to highlight imperfections in the underlying surface.

Overall, today’s better paints use higher quality ingredients and cost more up front, but save money in the long run. Higher priced paints go on easier and cover better (often only one coat is needed), saving time and money. The reduced emissions from low and no VOC paints offer homeowners a little peace of mind. That’s worth the few extra dollars right there.