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Paint, Stain, and Solvents Buying Guide

Paint and stain can quickly transform interior walls, furniture, and exterior surfaces such as siding and decks. You don't have to be a pro to apply paint or stain, but the finished job will look better and last longer if you choose the best paint or stain for your specific surface. Use this buying guide to learn what type of paint or stain you should choose for your next home improvement project.

Types of Paint, Stain, and Solvents

Types of Paint, Stain, and Solvents

Choosing the right paint or stain can quickly become overwhelming because of the sheer number of choices, but understanding the key differences between various formulas can make the decision easier. In basic terms, primer prepares the surface for the top coat; paint coats the surface; and stain penetrates the surface and allows varying amounts of wood grain to show through. Paints are formulated differently depending on whether they'll be used inside or outside, so be sure to choose a paint or stain based on where it will be used and what surface it will be covering. Here are the primary types of paint and stain available.

Interior Paint

Designed to be used inside the house, this type of paint can be either water-base or oil-base. It's available in several different sheens. Because they are more rigid than exterior paints when dry, interior paints are easier to wash and less prone to scuffing.

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SEM

Renew or change the color of vinyl, leather, and plastic automotive interior and vinyl tops. Produces a coating that is flexible e...nough for seats. Abrasion and UV resistant enough for convertible and vinyl tops. Can even be used on carpets to freshen... read more

SEM
SEM

Renew or change the color of vinyl, leather, and plastic automotive interior and vinyl tops. Produces a coating that is flexible e...nough for seats. Abrasion and UV resistant enough for convertible and vinyl tops. Can even be used on carpets to freshen up the existing shade. This specially formulated coating matches FORD OEM specs for appearance, scuff resistance and overall durability. Each can covers about 6 square feet. For optimum results and adhesion use the (52366Z) Adhesion Promoter Aerosol before applying color. Colors shown are approximate. read more

SEM
SEM

Renew or change the color of vinyl, leather, and plastic automotive interior and vinyl tops. Produces a coating that is flexible e...nough for seats. Abrasion and UV resistant enough for convertible and vinyl tops. Can even be used on carpets to freshen up the existing shade. This specially formulated coating matches FORD OEM specs for appearance, scuff resistance and overall durability. Each can covers about 6 square feet. For optimum results and adhesion use the (52366Z) Adhesion Promoter Aerosol before applying color. Colors shown are approximate. read more

SEM
SEM

Renew or change the color of vinyl, leather, and plastic automotive interior and vinyl tops. Produces a coating that is flexible e...nough for seats. Abrasion and UV resistant enough for convertible and vinyl tops. Can even be used on carpets to freshen up the existing shade. This specially formulated coating matches FORD OEM specs for appearance, scuff resistance and overall durability. Each can covers about 6 square feet. For optimum results and adhesion use the (52366Z) Adhesion Promoter Aerosol before applying color. Colors shown are approximate. read more

SEM

Exterior Paint

Designed to be used on exterior surfaces, this type of paint can be either water-base or oil-base. Exterior paint includes additives to help it resist fading, and its chemical composition allows it to be flexible enough to expand and contract with a home's siding. It's available in several sheens. You can find different formulas designed for specific surfaces, such as floor/porch paint and masonry paint.

Primer

Applied under interior or exterior paint, primers are designed to create a uniform surface that will improve the adhesion of the paint top coat. Primers also block tannin, water, grease, and smoke stains and prevent them from bleeding through the top coat. Like paints, primers are available in both water-base and oil-base formulas. Oil-base primers can be used with either oil- or water-base paints, but water-base primers are not recommended for use with oil-base paint.

Stain

Instead of coating the surface like paint, stain penetrates the surface and allows the natural texture of the surface to show through. Stain can be used on many different wood surfaces, such as furniture, siding, and decks. Stains are available in both water-base and oil-base (alkyd) formulas and in a variety of colors.

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BSN SPORTS
$75.19 $93.99
at eSportsonline

A highly reflective white acrylic paint with texture. Designed for use on acrylic coated surfaces or asphalt pavements Comes ready... to use. Available in white only Figure one gallon per tennis court or 450 linear feet per gallon Apply by brush, roller... read more

POR-15

POR-15 is a high-tech, high performance rust-preventive coating designed for application directly on rusted or seasoned metal surf...aces. It dries to an incredible rock-hard, non-porous finish that won't chip, crack, or peel, and it prevents rust from... read more

Eastwood

Black/Aqua Trunk Paint Kit matches factory "spatter" finish and color...and seals it Kit makes it easy to match the original multi...-color black/aqua spatter finish you've seen in trunks. 3 cans of Black/Aqua Trunk Paint 2 cans of Satin Diamond Clear... read more

Eastwood

Chassis Black Satin is the perfect coating for any undercar componentnot glossy, not dull, just right! Realistic 60-70% gloss look...s like OEM coatings on suspension parts and frame. Tough, long-lasting formula resists chips and corrosion, so it's ideal... read more

Epoxy

Ideal for garage floors, this durable, plasticlike coating is tougher than other paints and stains and is able to withstand the heat from hot tires. (As you drive on hot streets in the summer, your car's tires absorb heat and can cause standard floor paint to peel or stain.) Epoxy is not suited for damp floors, however.

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Toto
$1,405.80 $2,343.00
at Efaucets.com

Toto LLT151-61 Glass Universal Epoxy Resin Round Vessel Lavatory. Bathroom Sinks > Vessel Single Bowl. Epoxy Resin Round Vessel La...vatory:. read more

Eastwood

Eastwood's 2K High-Gloss Clear Aerosol allows you to paint with the durability and precision of a two-component coating without th...e paint gun Formulated with Eastwood's proprietary technology to provide a long lasting and durable finish, while keeping its beautiful finish for years. The innovative nozzle and valve technology, combined with its two internal chambers ensure the right ratio is mixed every time. Sprays like a gun with a broader spray pattern than conventional aerosols and no mess to clean up. You'll achieve professional results from an aerosol.Precision of a 2-component coating without the paint gun Eastwood's 2K High Gloss Clear Aerosol allows you to paint with the durability and precision of a two component coating without the paint gun Formulated with Eastwood's proprietary technology to provide a long lasting and durable finish, while keeping its beautiful finish for years. The innovative nozzle and valve technology, combined with its two internal chambers ensure the right ratio is mixed every time. Sprays like a gun with a broader spray pattern than conventional aerosols and no mess to clean up. You'll achieve professional results from an aerosol.Due to regulations pertaining to recycling, we are unable to ship this product to Alberta, Canada. 12 Ounces net weight 10041Z PRE Painting Prep. 12196Z Chassis Kleen, 1449Z 2K Epoxy Primer. 16060Z Rust Encapsulator. 51483Z Rust Converter. 12846Z Aerosol Injected Cleaner.11456 Respirator. Before activating, shake ae read more

Eastwood

Eastwood's Epoxy primer is a user-friendly two component primer sealer free of lead, chromate and isocyanates. This system provide...s excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance while drying fast and maintaining good color hold out. Can be applied over steel, aluminum, fiberglass, body fillers and existing finishes. Unlike most epoxy primers, Eastwood's Epoxy primer is easy to sand 2-3 days after application. Must use 50243 ZP 11 catalyst.Maintains good color hold-out on steel, aluminum, fiberglass, body fillers Eastwood's Epoxy primer is a user-friendly two component primer sealer free of lead, chromate and isocyanates. This system provides excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance while drying fast and maintaining good color hold out. Can be applied over steel, aluminum, fiberglass, body fillers and existing finishes. Unlike most epoxy primers, Eastwood's Epoxy primer is easy to sand 2-3 days after application. Must use 50243 ZP 11 catalyst. 32 oz 50243zp Epoxy catalyst 51550 Concours HVLP paint gun 10041zp PRE Painting prep 51686 Concours HVLP detail gun always wear eye, respirator and skin protection use in a well ventilated are consult MSDS for specific warnings and precautions. Catalog Search read more

Eastwood

Eastwood's 2K Epoxy Primer Aerosol allows you to paint with the durability and precision of a two-component coating without the pa...int gun Formulated with Eastwood's proprietary technology to provide superior adhesion and long lasting durability.. The innovative nozzle and valve technology, combined with its two internal chambers ensure the right ratio is mixed every time. Sprays like a gun with a broader spray pattern than conventional aerosols and no mess to clean up. You'll achieve professional results from an aerosol.Precision of a 2-component coating without the paint gun Eastwood's 2K Epoxy Primer Aerosol allows you to paint with the durability and precision of a two component coating without the paint gun Formulated with Eastwood's proprietary technology to provide superior adhesion and long lasting durability.. The innovative nozzle and valve technology, combined with its two internal chambers ensure the right ratio is mixed every time. Sprays like a gun with a broader spray pattern than conventional aerosols and no mess to clean up. You'll achieve professional results from an aerosol.Due to regulations pertaining to recycling, we are unable to ship this product to Alberta, Canada. 12 Ounces net weight 10041Z PRE Painting Prep. 12196Z Chassis Kleen, 1449Z 2K Epoxy Primer. 16060Z Rust Encapsulator. 51483Z Rust Converter. 12846Z Aerosol Injected Cleaner.11456 Respirator. Before activating, shake aerosol vigorously for 2 min. Take red button from cap. Turn aerosol by 180 read more

Solvents

Usually available in liquid form, solvents can be used to thin paint, as well as to clean and prep the painting surface. Many solvents are flammable and emit toxic fumes, so you need to wear safety equipment and work in a well-ventilated area. Some solvents—including mineral spirits, turpentine, denatured alcohol, linseed oil, and lacquer thinner—can be used to thin various substances, so it's important to choose the right one for your job.

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Alvin Products

Lab Metal Solvent 1 Pint - Use the Lab Solvent for clean-up or to smooth the Lab-Metal to a glass smooth surface to minimize sandi...ng. read more

POR-15

POR-15's solvent is specially formulated for the easy cleanup or thinning of POR-15 rust preventative paint. It is available in yo...ur choice of quart or gallon sizes. Use this when spraying POR-15 through a paint gun, or general thinning. read more

POR-15

POR-15's solvent is specially formulated for the easy cleanup or thinning of POR-15 rust preventative paint. It is available in yo...ur choice of quart or gallon sizes. Use this when spraying POR-15 through a paint gun, or general thinning. read more

DEVILBISS

This 4th generation of the DeVilbiss FinishLine Solvent-Based Paint Gun incorporates enhanced atomization technology to spray the ...latest solvent-based coats, top coats, light primers New coatings are always coming online, and you want your paint gun to... read more

Product Features

Product Features

Although various types of paint may look similar, their chemical composition can be very different. Paint can include a variety of additives, or additional chemicals, that can change properties of the paint. Additives in exterior paint can help it resist mildew, for example, while additives in interior paint can make it easier to clean. Here are a few features to look for when selecting paint for your project.

Low-VOC

Many paints—especially oil-base paints—include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be dangerous to humans and the environment. More paint companies now offer low-VOC paint that poses less of a health risk and is more eco-friendly.

Nonskid Additives

These gritty additives can be added to floor paint to make floors less slippery.

Mildew Resistance

Some paints offer mildew resistance, which is especially important for exterior paint and interior paint used in kitchens, baths, and damp areas, such as basements. Water-base stains are also mildew-resistant, whereas some oil-base stains can encourage mildew growth. If you opt for an oil-base stain, look for one that specifically says it's mildew-resistant.

Hiding Ability

If you're painting a light color over a dark wall, you'll want to choose a paint that has good hiding ability.

Scrub Resistance

In rooms that get a lot of use (kids' rooms, family rooms, and kitchens, for example), a paint that can stand up to a vigorous cleaning is beneficial.

Resistance to Cracking

When choosing an exterior paint, look for one that resists cracking. If the paint finish cracks, it will expose the siding or trim underneath the paint to the elements, potentially resulting in surface damage.

Chalking Resistance

This feature helps prevent the buildup of a white chalky powder on an exterior surface. If you use an exterior paint that does not have chalking resistance, the paint will start to become streaked as the binder in the paint slowly degrades over time.

Blister Resistance

Paints with this component will help prevent moisture from coming through the paint surface and causing the paint to blister.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

You have a lot to think about when choosing a paint or stain. You'll obviously need to consider color, but you'll also want to think about what paint sheen is best for your painting surface, or whether you want an opaque or transparent stain. Is easy cleanup important to you? Can you handle the strong fumes of oil-base paint? Also consider the type of surface you'll be painting—different paints and stains are better for different surfaces. And be sure to consider quality, because all paints are not created equal.

Color

Deciding on a color can be the toughest part of purchasing paint. Plan to buy a sample jar or a quart of paint, and try out the color on various walls before committing to one. Look at the sample areas at various times of day, so you can see how the color looks under natural light and when indoor lighting is used.

Sheen

Both interior and exterior paints are available in a variety of sheens. Flat paint is good for hiding imperfections, but it doesn't offer much stain-resistance; use flat paint on living room and dining room walls and exterior siding. Eggshell and satin finishes have a slight sheen; they work well in family rooms, kids' rooms, and hallways. Semigloss paint is easy to clean but shows imperfections in the surface; use this paint for kitchen and bathroom walls and windowsills. Use semigloss and gloss exterior paints on trim, as they'll show off the details of the woodwork.

Opacity

The opacity of stains allows various amounts of the wood grain to show through the finish. Clear stains show off the wood grain the best, but they offer minimal protection from the elements and will need to be reapplied often. Semitransparent stains let some of the wood grain show through and offer more protection than clear stains. Solid stains form an outer coating on the wood surface, which hides the wood grain; they usually last longer than clear and semitransparent stains.

Oil-Base vs. Water-Base

Water-base paints are easier to clean up than oil-base paints, dry more quickly, and emit a less-powerful odor. However, oil-base paints can be a better choice in some circumstances. Oil-base paints can prevent stains and rust from bleeding through the paint, for example, so they're better for chalky and stained surfaces and metals that rust. Oil-base primers can be a good choice for raw interior wood.

Painting Surface

For the best results, be sure to choose a primer and paint that work well with the surface you'll be painting. Various primers are designed for use on specific materials—wood, concrete, and metals such as galvanized steel, iron, and aluminum. Also be sure to carefully clean and prep the surface before painting to ensure a long-lasting finish.

Quality

When it comes to paints and stains, it pays to pay more. Low-quality interior paints will require more coats than top-of-the-line products, and economy grades of exterior paints and stains won't hold up as well as high-quality versions. If you opt for a cheap line of paint, you may save money now but end up paying more in the long run.

Home Improvement on sale
BSN SPORTS
$75.19 $93.99
at eSportsonline

A highly reflective white acrylic paint with texture. Designed for use on acrylic coated surfaces or asphalt pavements Comes ready... to use. Available in white only Figure one gallon per tennis court or 450 linear feet per gallon Apply by brush, roller... read more

Advantage Line Paint-1 gal (EA)
Moe's Home
$188.16 $289.00
at Cymax

QHC2499: Features: -Oil painting on canvas, stretcher bar.-60 H x 20 W x 1.4 D, 4.4 lbs. Color/Finish: -Color: Multi. Warranty: -1... Year warranty. read more

Rainbow Seas II Painting Print on Canvas, Prints of Paintings, Abstract, Modern, Oil Paint, Canvas
Moe's Home
$188.16 $289.00
at Cymax

QHC2498: Features: -Oil painting on canvas, stretcher bar.-60 H x 20 W x 1.4 D, 4.4 lbs. Color/Finish: -Color: Multi. Warranty: -1... Year warranty. read more

Rainbow Seas I Painting Print on Canvas, Prints of Paintings, Abstract, Modern, Oil Paint, Canvas, 1
Hayneedle
$179.98 $299.99
at Hayneedle

A swing can be a great addition to any home - take the Pleasant Bay Black Painted Porch Swing for example. This bold black-finishe...d swing is an exceptionally comfortable addition to any porch patio or garden. This comfortable swing makes the perfect spot for kicking back relaxing and letting cares drift away. The swing is constructed of durable moisture resistant acacia wood. Available in two sizes. Dimensions: 4-foot bench: 48L x 20W x 21H inches 5-foot bench: 51.5L x 22W x 23.5H inches About Coral Coast What if when you closed your eyes you pictured yourself in your own backyard? Coral Coast has a collection of easygoing affordable outdoor accessories for your patio pool or backyard. The latest colors and styles mingle with true classics in weather-worthy fabrics and finished woods ready for relaxation. Make yours a life of leisure. read more

Coral Coast Pleasant Bay Curved Back Porch Swing - Painted Black
Neiman Marcus
$220.00 $340.00
at Neiman Marcus

Echo III Abstract PaintingDetailsAbstract hand painted in acrylic on paper. Textured elements. Frame made of polystyrene. Framed u...nder glass. 26Sq. x 2D. Made in the USA. Weight, 15 lbs. Boxed weight, approximately 20 lbs. read more

Echo III" Abstract Painting
Neiman Marcus
$220.00 $340.00
at Neiman Marcus

Echo I Abstract PaintingDetailsAbstract hand painted in acrylic on paper. Textured elements. Frame made of polystyrene. Framed und...er glass. 26Sq. x 2D. Made in the USA. Weight, 15 lbs. Boxed weight, approximately 20 lbs. read more

Echo I" Abstract Painting
Neiman Marcus
$220.00 $340.00
at Neiman Marcus

Echo II Abstract PaintingDetailsAbstract hand painted in acrylic on paper. Textured elements. Frame made of polystyrene. Framed un...der glass. 26Sq. x 2D. Made in the USA. Weight, 15 lbs. Boxed weight, approximately 20 lbs. read more

Echo II" Abstract Painting
Hickory Hardware
$17.99 $22.99
at Walmart.com

Safari 1-1 8 Hook in Hand Painted GreenCenters (inches): 1-1 8 Centers (mm): 28-4 7 Collection: Safari Finish: Hand Painted Green ...Length: 3-5 8 Material: Zinc Projection: 1-5 8 Screw Tap: 8-32 Style: Whimsical Type: Hook Width: 3-3 4 read more

P3287-HPGN Safari 1-1/8" Hook in Hand Painted Green P3287-HPGN
Purdy
$19.97 $34.99
at Walmart.com

For all paints Beavertail, natural hardwood handle Square edge, brushed copper ferrule NYLON/POLYESTER BRISTLE BLEND Wdth In=4

Corporation 400340 4-Inch XL Swan Professional Varnish and Enamel
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