Selecting Paints

28 May 2015
Here are guidelines and tips on selecting paints.
paints on floor

Today paints are either water-base also known as latex or alkyd-base also known as oil paint. With the advancement in technologies, paint manufacturers have formulated new products that cut down on VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which is commonly believed to have adverse health effects. Traditionally, homeowners had a choice between water-based and oil-based paints, but because they tend to have higher VOC levels, it's important to consider if oil-based paints are for you.

Advantages of Water-based Paints
• low VOCs
• easy cleanup with water
• quick drying
• an elastic, flexible finish resistant to cracking
• stable color over time, without yellowing

Advantages of Oil-based Paints

• attractive gloss
• good "leveling" (brush strokes fill themselves in to create a smooth finish)
• hard, durable finish

The majority of wall paint sold today is water-based, but oil-based paint remains popular for glossy woodwork, doors, and furniture, as well as demanding surfaces such as floors. However, there is definitely a shift away from oil-based paints as latex paints has all of the versatility of oil based paints with the advancement of the science in paint-making.

For those instances when an oil-based paint would traditionally be preferable, but you desire a water-based product, a number of companies have recently introduced "waterborne enamels" or "waterborne alkyds." These paints look and behave much like oil-based options, because they have good leveling qualities for a smooth finish, but deliver improved environmental performance. We will be introducing you to some of these options made by Pittsburgh Paints (PPG) and distributed by FT Farfan.

Be cautious when switching to a water-based paint if the surface has previously been coated with an oil-based product, as the new paint may not stick. In this situation,  it is recommended to wash the surface and then roughen it all over with a medium to smooth grit sandpaper—making it clean, dry, and dull in order to prevent peeling of the new coat.

Silky Sheens

Sheen options vary by manufacturer, but share some common characteristics.

Matte paint:
• is the least reflective sheen available
• has a velvety texture
• helps hides imperfections in walls and ceilings
• offers great depth of color
• is generally considered the standard sheen for walls
• can sometimes be difficult to clean

Eggshell and satin paint (satin is slightly glossier than eggshell): 
• have some reflectivity
• offer improved durability
• are frequently used in demanding environments, like kitchens and bathrooms, where easy cleanup without a highly glossy finish is desired

Semi-gloss and gloss paint:
• are the most reflective sheens
• are highly durable and stand up to multiple cleanings
• are traditionally used on baseboards, moldings, and doors
• can make a statement, but also highlight imperfections

As durability improves across all sheen levels with newer paints, many people are finding creative ways to mix and match them.

Now lets look at some colours in "Choosing a Paint Colour"