Oil-based paint contains natural or synthetic resins (or oils) as a base; it is rarely used for painting a home’s interior. There is good reason behind reserving these paints for the outdoors: Oil-based paints contain high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere, causing smog in our air and other environmental problems. This will be familiar to those who have used oil-based paints: you notice the strong odour coming from the paint, which is part of those VOC chemicals seeping into the air.
You may be wondering if oil-based paint is good for anything? The answer is yes. Oil-based paint is actually good for painting exterior metal. This is because the paint is very durable and can stand up to the elements. It sticks well to the metal, too. Oil-based wood stains are another product in which the oil base is actually good for the wood. Some artists claim that oil-based paint is much richer in colour than water-based paints. Keep in mind that a wall which was previously painted with oil-based paint should be painted over again with oil-based paint.
Additional Characteristics of Oil-based Paint
•Very hard to clean up: To clean up oil-based paint you would need to use a solvent such as turpentine or paint thinner.
•Takes a long time to dry, about 8-24 hours
•Can’t be touched up without causing noticeable marks
About Latex Paint
Latex paints are the way to go. Not only do they work better than oil-based paints, but you may not even be able to find oil-based paints in the near future. This is due to new and changing regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has started to make new regulations regarding the harmful chemical contents found in oil paints, known as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). So make the switch now to latex paints, because you probably won’t have a choice much longer, anyways. And besides, latex paints are easier to clean up and are better in general.
Latex paints are named “latex” because they previously were made with a rubber base, but synthetic rubber is no longer used. Latex paints are now made with a water soluble base and are built on vinyl and acrylics, the implication of which is that they clean up very easily with water and mild soap. Latex paints are best for exterior painting jobs, as they are also very durable.
There are three kinds of latex paints available: Vinyl-acrylic, 100% acrylic, and alkyd-modified latex. Vinyl-acrylic is best for interior walls and is the least expensive. 100% acrylic paints are the highest performing paints, as they retain their colour and are great with adhesion. Alkyd-modified latex paints are good for the exterior, especially for siding that may have peeled or chalked.
Be careful not to use latex-based paints on bare steel or on the grain of raw wood. The latex paint will cause the steel to rust and will raise the grain on the wood.
Additional Advantages to Latex Paint
•Can be thinned with water
•Less odor (compared to oil paint)
•Less toxic: contains fewer VOCs
•Less fading on the exterior
•No yellowing on the inside
What Type of Sheen?
Paint sheen simply refers to the level of glossiness in paint. Today, most paints come in one of the following sheens: flat, satin (or “eggshell”), semi-gloss, and gloss.
Flat paint is the standard for most walls. It has the lowest sheen available, and when it dries, it appears completely non-reflective with a smooth, matte finish. Flat paints are great because they conceal imperfections on walls that were there before you painted – as well as imperfections that can occur after you paint. This is the reason why flat paint is recommended most for painting drywall surfaces, or a surface that has not been sanded well. Flat paint can help to make the surfaces look smoother and more uniform; if the wall or surface gets any scratches, you won’t have to worry so much because nicks and scratches blend fairly well into flat paint! One of the big disadvantages of flat paint is that it is hard to clean. Because of its somewhat porous texture, flat paint can hold onto dirt and make cleaning more difficult. Your best bet is to use it in areas that are not frequently soiled.
Satin, or eggshell paint, While these paints are low-luster, they are more lustrous than flat paint and have a nice, slight sheen when compared to flat paint. The slight sheen is what makes eggshell paint able to bring a warm look and feel – not to mention depth – to a room. This kind of paint is also easier to clean and can be used on any wall in your home. In order to make sure that this look is what you want to achieve, test it by painting a small area of a wall with eggshell paint.
Semi-gloss paints are very popular in homes with young children because of all the paint types, it is the easiest to clean. Its exceptional durability is why semi-gloss paint is frequently used for children’s rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. If you choose to go with a semi-gloss paint, make sure that you choose one that is 100% acrylic latex, because 100% acrylic latex is the highest quality latex paint available. Keep in mind that semi-gloss paints show a lot of imperfections, and so if you have imperfect walls and young children, you may want to weigh out the pros and cons. Your best bet is to use it for the kitchen, bathroom, and kids’ rooms.
Gloss paint is the toughest and most durable of all the paint types – and the shiniest, too! This very high-sheen paint is often used on doors and in areas susceptible to getting dirty. It is also used on trims, baseboards, and door frames.
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