Introduction to Paint
Painting a room or your whole house, inside or out, is a popular home improvement project. New paint can change the mood of a space and increase the value of your property. Paint used around the home can be categorized in several ways. This article will introduce some of the main categories used to describe paint for home use.
Paint Categorized by UseOne way to look at paint is by its intended use. Sometimes this is important to know about when you need to choose the right paint for the right job. At other times, you can extend the planned use of a particular paint to another purpose without concern.
• Artists' Paint—Many paints designed for use in the arts can be adapted for use in home decorating. You may find that watercolors, oil paints, and acrylics can be used to apply decorative touches to furniture, frames, flower pots, and for wall borders and/or murals. However, these paints are not necessarily well-adapted for general wall painting or for any type of exterior use.
• Interior and Exterior Paint—Interior paint is the name given to paint used for walls, ceilings and trim within a house. Exterior paint is the name for paint used outside the house on walls—whether wood, brick, or vinyl or aluminum siding—and trim.
Interior and exterior paint are formulated differently because they have different conditions and situations. Interior paint is made to be easy-to-clean and touch up when necessary. Exterior paint is prepared to be fade- and mildew-resistant and flexible when the surface expands and contracts due to climate changes. The two types of paint are specially formulated for their purposes, and are not interchangeable.
Facts About Interior and Exterior Paint
The two main types of both interior and exterior paint are water-based latex paint and oil-based paint. There are some differences that you should note. While latex paint cleans up with soap and water, oil-based paint must be cleaned using turpentine or paint thinner. Although oil-based paint takes longer to dry, it is more durable.
There are two important subgroups of oil-based paint: some oil-based paints are made with alkyds, which are synthetic oils, while others are made with natural linseed oil. Alkyd oil-based paints are more widely used, being cheaper and more durable.
Paints come in four or five levels of glossiness, called sheen. From dullest to most shiny, they are matte or flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. Some paint lines do not have an eggshell sheen available. A few brands have even more sheens. The higher the gloss, the easier the paint is to keep clean. Usually a higher sheen paint, such as semi-gloss or gloss, is used on trim, while a more matte finish is used on the walls and ceilings.
One important thing to remember: many painting situations require prepping of the surface, including using a primer. It is important to match the primer to the top coat: an oil-based paint should be applied over an oil-based primer, while a latex paint requires a latex-based primer. Primer also needs to be matched to the surface it is used on.
Paint Quality Matters
Whatever type of painting you’re planning, remember that, in almost every area, quality matters. Whether you’re looking at interior or exterior paint, whether you’re considering adhesion, durability, or hiding properties, a better quality paint will give you better service.
Written by Mary Elizabeth
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