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How to Choose the Right Paint Finish

How to Choose the Right Paint - Generic

Tue, 11 Sep 2012|

Hi, I'm Wendy. Creating an inviting space for your family is as easy as a new coat of paint. Before the color goes on the walls, let's go over some paint basics. To start, there are 3 main paint finishes: flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss. Flat finish is also known as matte finish and has the least amount of shine. Because it does not reflect light, it's the perfect choice to hide any imperfections like bumps or small cracks on walls. It also goes on smoother over rough surfaces; so, it's a good option for textured walls. One thing to remember when using a flat paint finish is that it's a little harder to keep clean; so, it's not recommended for high traffic areas like a kitchen or bathroom. Next, eggshell finish. Eggshell has a slight luster and is the middle ground between flat and semi-gloss. Because it's a little shinier, any imperfections in your wall will become more noticeable. Eggshell finishes are often used in bathrooms, kids' rooms, kitchens, and other high traffic areas. This finish resists stains better than flat and can be wiped with a wet rag. The last type of finish is semi-gloss. This paint finish is tougher than eggshell and reflects the most light when dried. So, if there are any imperfections in your walls, they will stand out noticeably. Because of the extra shine, semi-gloss stands up the best to water in cleaning, so it's a good choice for kids' bedrooms or high traffic areas like a hallway. This finish is also used a lot for trim, doors, and furniture. There is a 4th finish: gloss. But it's generally used for furniture and trim, and not walls because of it's high level of shine. Now that we've discussed the differences in finishes, let's talk about oil versus latex. For most painting projects, latex works just fine. But there are a few times when you may want to use an oil-based paint. A lot of people like to use latex because it dries fast, doesn't have a strong odor, and cleans up easily with water. Even though oil-based paints dry slower and give off a strong smell, it does provide a smoother finish, almost like a hard enamel that resists scratches, fingerprints, and stains. This type of paint tends to stick better; so, it's a good choice for rougher surfaces. Another important thing to remember when buying paint is to look for low VOC or low odor paint. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. When these compounds enter the air, they react to other elements causing air pollution and sometimes breathing problems. Using low VOC paint is better for your family and the environment, and you can start enjoying your freshly painted space sooner. We've covered finishes, latex versus oil, and low VOC. Now, it's time to figure how much paint you need. Here's a quick formula to help estimate how many gallons of paint you'll need. Add the widths of your walls. Multiply that figure by the room's height. Then, divide the total by 350. 1 gallon of paint typically covers 350 square feet. This formula doesn't take into account doors and windows; so, you should have some leftover for any touch-ups. For more painting tips, visit bhg.com.