the painted surface
How To Choose Interior or Exterior Paint
Paint is available in many types, grades of quality, sheens, purposes and brands made by many manufacturers. There are two main categories: interior and exterior. Within each is found oil-based and water-based paints. Both types will offer choices of varying levels of sheen. Each paint type will come in almost any color though in some specialized types of paint the color palette may be limited. For tips on choosing colors see "How To Choose Colors". This article will be limited to paint types.
A chart of interior and exterior paint types and more painting tips can be seen at "Paint Types and Their Uses".
- Cost can be an indicator of paint quality. This usually holds true when comparing paints of the same brand but not when comparing paints of competing brands.
- The major brands offer better customer service when advice or color matching is needed.
- Use of the best paint grades will pay off in durability, especially on exterior surfaces.
- Primers provide a transition layer between bare surfaces and the finish coat of paint. Primers seal the surface, finish paint covers the surface. Each does a specific job and both are needed.
- Different colors of the same brand will have varying degrees of covering strength. The colorant and the base will affect the covering power of paint.
- Paint gloss and color will fade over time, especially those surfaces exposed to sunlight.
Interior or Exterior
- Both are available in a variety of sheens.
- Latex or acrylic is water-based.
- Alkyd is oil-based.
- There is a choice of grades from "contractors" to "premium".
The attribute they do not share is that interior grade paint should never be used on a surface exposed to weather. Use exterior paint if the surface is exposed to moisture or temperature changes.
Alkyd (oil-based) or Acrylic (water-based)
- For exterior house trim, acrylic is more durable than alkyd. The acrylic gives with the expansion and contraction of the surface due to temperature and moisture variations.
- Alkyd paint is the best choice for interior wood trim. It is more durable, washable and it has a more attractive finish than acrylics.
- Alkyd paint can be applied over acrylic or latex paints. However, acrylics and latex may not adhere well to an alkyd paint. Test to be sure.
- Acrylics may be more friendly for the environment. Check the "voc level" to establish their impact.
- Alkyds are solvent based and so clean-up is done with the appropriate solvent, usually it is mineral spirits.
- Acrylics are water-based and so clean-up is done with soap and water.
- Interior walls and ceilings are best painted with acrylic paints.
- Rusty metal, whether interior or exterior, is best primed with an alkyd primer to prevent further rusting.
Levels of Sheen or Gloss
- Washability increases with the level of gloss, all sheens are durable when properly applied.
- Surface glare is more pronounced on glossy paints.
- Flat - least amount of sheen, usually has no gloss, sheen or glare.
- Matte - very slight sheen, might provide more washability than a flat paint.
- Eggshell - slightly more gloss than matte but can be very similar depending on the manufacturers definition of matte and eggshell. Eggshell can be a very attractive finish for interior walls and is sometimes used with dark accent colors on exterior surfaces to lessen surface glare.
- Satin - this sheen shows a slight gloss and maybe some glare in bright light. On exterior surfaces it may stay cleaner than flat finishes.
- Gloss - higher level of gloss and glare. In some paints this will be the highest level of gloss available. It is usually used in special situations where durability is needed or a high tech modern look is wanted.
- High gloss - full gloss, it is the highest level of gloss found in paints. Glare will be very prominent in bright areas. It is very durable but the sheen may fade over time when exposed to sunlight.
These comments will help make choosing a type of paint a simpler task. More details about specific painting subjects are covered in the additional articles. In those will be found details, tips and techniques gathered from over 20 years of painting experience. Here is a list of links to the articles:
More helpful painting tips, techniques and how-to articles can be found by following these links.
How To Paint a Room ◊ How To Paint a Stairway ◊ How To Paint a Two-Story Room ◊ How To Choose Colors ◊ Six Step Color Choice ◊ Popular Color Ideas ◊ How To Choose Paint ◊ Tools ◊ How To Caulk ◊ How To Patch a Hole ◊ How To Patch a Crack ◊ How To Cut In a Wall or Ceiling ◊ How To Roll a Wall or Ceiling ◊ How To Paint Woodwork ◊ How To Paint a Window ◊ How To Paint Baseboard ◊ How To Paint a Door ◊ How To Paint Crown Moulding ◊ How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets ◊ How To Choose a Premium Paintbrush ◊ How To Paint a MDF Bookcase ◊ How To Paint Aluminum or Vinyl Siding ◊ How To Paint Over Faux Finishes ◊ How To Use Magnetic Paint ◊ How To Use FrogTape ◊ How To Paint Repair Water Damaged Drywall ◊ Hiring a Contractor ◊ Paint Stripper Safety ◊ Painting Louvered Shutters ◊ 2013 Color Trends ◊ Choosing Front Door Colors