All About Paint

You’ve decided to make a trip down to your local hardware store and pick up a bunch of paint samples. Then you start speaking to the sales associate and realize there’s more to choosing paint than just picking out a few colors. There are also different types of paint and paint sheens.

Now that you that you are totally confused, where do you go for some answers? Well, you can stand around the store for a lecture on paint, or you can check out this handy guide on paint that we’ve put together to assist you in making the right decisions as to which paint type and sheen is right for you.

Latex Paint

Latex paint (also known as acrylic paint) is a fast drying paint that contains plastic resins made of acrylics to help it adhere better to surfaces. Latex (acrylic) paints can be diluted with water, and become water-resistant when dry. This type of paint is easy to work with and is popular amongst DIYers and professional painters because of its easy clean up with soap and water.

This type of paint is great for interiors and exteriors as they offer:

  • Better washability

  • Water resistance

  • Better adhesion

  • Better blocking

  • Resistance to cracking and blistering

Water Based

Water based paint dries quickly and is commonly used on walls and ceilings. Two coats of paint can be applied in one day and clean up can be done with soap and water. Unlike oil-based paints, there is less odor when the paint dries.

Water based paint works well on surfaces previously painted with latex or oil-based paints and is available in a variety of finishes.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. This type of paint is very durable and is most commonly used on molding, cabinets, and furniture.

While oil-based paint is an excellent type of paint to use, keep in mind it does have a very noticeable odor to which may leave a room uninhabitable for a little while. It takes a long time to dry (approximately 24 hours or more), and clean up can be very difficult as it requires turpentine or paint thinner, which means you will need to use extra caution with disposing and handling of rags.

Finish or Sheen

All About Paint

Paint sheen gives a room a certain finish or decorative quality. There are several types of finishes to choose from: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. Let’s take a look at them:

Flat Finish

Flat (also known as a matte finish) is a smooth finish that has little or no sheen. It’s great for helping to hide surface imperfections, but can be easily marred and stain removal can be more difficult than other sheens due to its more porous nature. This type of sheen is best used on ceilings and low-traffic areas.

Eggshell Finish

Eggshell finish is a smooth sheen that’s higher than flat, but slightly lower than a satin. This type of finish is very easy to clean and is good for walls or trim in high-use areas like hallways.

Satin Finish

Satin finish has a lower sheen than a semi-gloss and has a pearl-like stain resistant finish that’s great for resisting moisture and mildew. Not only is a satin finish a very popular sheen, it’s extremely durable and elegant. It’s a fantastic finish that will work well in kitchens, bathrooms, and high-traffic areas like hallways.

Semi-Gloss Finish

Semi-gloss finish has more of a sleek sheen and has a very high resistance to moisture. Semi-gloss offers excellent stain resistance and is easy to clean. It’s a fantastic choice for kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, kitchens, woodwork, doors and window trims.


Gloss finish is the most durable type of stain. It’s a great choice for trim and kitchen cabinets, and is ideal for areas where there will be heavy traffic. Like semi-gloss it’s also good for trim and molding. One drawback with a gloss finish is it tends to highlight any surface characteristics or imperfections.

Now that you know a little more about paint, we hope you’ll be better prepared to make a great choice in paint for your home.

Tell us, what type of finish do you prefer to paint with?