Luster Choices For Interior House Paint

If you're about to embark on painting the interior of your home you may wonder about the importance of choosing the right paint for the job. Most of the interior paints used today are latex paints, though there are alkyd (oil-based) paints still available. Oil-based paints stick well to just about every wall surface and are choice for use in areas that are chalky or are coated with several old layers of oil-based paint.

There are several drawbacks to using the oil-based paints which is why they've been edged out by latex. Oil-based paints are more difficult to apply and, as time goes by, they tend to fade, crack, chip, and turn chalky. These paints also have a strong odor and take longer to dry- as much as a full 24 hours or even longer. Cleaning alkyd paints from brushes and rollers depends on the use of solvents and the cleaning rags must therefore be disposed of with special care.  

Misnamed Paint

Latex is a misnomer for paints which in fact contain no latex whatsoever. Manufacturers make latex paint from vinyl, acrylic, and other types of polymers. The most durable paints are made of 100% acrylic. They are also the most washable paints making them useful for family homes or areas that see a great deal of traffic. The downside is the expense. Latex paints containing a mixture of acrylic, vinyl, and various polymers are a better bargain.

Your next consideration is the finish of the paint. Paint comes in several different finishes and your choice of luster should be according to the type of room as well as your own personal style. Here is a list of the various types of finishes and their uses:

*Gloss—gives a shiny finish that reflects light. Use glossy paint on trim, shelves, cabinetry, railings and banisters not just for the drama of the look but also because it washes well. Because of its reflective qualities, gloss finish magnifies imperfections so you'll need to sand before you paint.

Preparatory Sanding

*Semi-gloss—more subtle than its high gloss cousin, this finish works as an accent for trim, cabinets, and banisters without being over the top. Easy to clean but like gloss paint requires surfaces to undergo a preparatory sanding before painting.

*Satin—has a muted gloss and gives a smooth, velvety look. You can use satin-finish as wall paint, but its best application is for trim, doors, and windows in rooms or halls that see heavy traffic. Satin paint cleans well with just a bit of "elbow-grease."

*Eggshell—is also easy to clean. Has a low sheen with only a touch of gloss. Eggshell finish is useful in high-traffic areas such as children's rooms, baths, kitchens, and hallways.

Low Reflection

*Matte or Flat—this finish offers low reflection and is best for ceilings and areas that may have surface imperfections. Matte paint is suitable for coating uneven walls and low-traffic areas. This type of finish shows scuff marks and scratches and is difficult to clean. It's advisable to keep a store of paint on hand for touchup jobs.