Home paint 101

Many homeowners can get lost in the land of paints and stains; some don’t even know it exists, slapping any type of paint on every surface of their house (just the thought of which makes our eyes twitch). Yes! There are specific paints for specific applications, and we’re here to help you identify some of them.

Let’s start off with the project most homeowner’s love to tackle, repainting ceiling, walls and trim. Acrylic latex paints are perfect for this application. They’re applied rather easily, with no real VOC’s (smells) to deal with; and they’re fairly durable, holding up nicely to light, residential use. Now within the acrylic latex family is specific application areas, such as paints applied in bathroom and kitchens, or paints applied in high moisture areas like basements. They also have different sheen ratings, which also have their own aesthetic and functional purposes.

You can also paint these rooms with an oil based paint, which are more durable than latex, however have a very slow drying time, smell pretty bad, and the cleanup is much messier.

We recommend using oil based paints in high moisture areas like the basement, on bare cinderblock or brick, because it’s much tougher than latex, but not as expensive as other enamels or epoxies.

Now, we’re sure you’ve either seen or have applied latex paint to kitchen cabinets. Although aesthetically pleasing, it has functional drawbacks. Latex is not durable enough to withstand finger prints, grease, pots and pans, or the cleaning of such. Although oil paint can be applied on cabinets, they’re often times not the quality finish we’d like and oil paints have an extended drying time, which can be more of a hassle than we’d like a weekend project to last. This is usually where we recommend a lacquer based paint. Lacquer is usually applied by spray, due to its fast drying, high gloss finish, which would show any texture left by a roller or brush; so most homeowners steer clear of using it, but if you plan on keeping your refinished cabinets for any length of time, we highly recommend skipping the latex and bringing home the lacquer.

We also recommend using lacquer paints for areas such as front doors, interior doors, stair risers, railing and even trims. Just be prepared to pay a premium. Some designers have even used lacquer paints to highlight certain areas of a room, like an orange lacquer on the ceiling with white crown molding. WOW!