Paint makes a difference

Paint makes a difference

Paint Makes a Difference! Find the Perfect Paint tips on getting the best results for your home

When it comes to improving one’s home, perhaps one of the easiest, quickest and least expensive ways to create a stunning, significant impact to a home is by painting. Nothing revives and perks-up tired walls, weatherworn siding, or adds a touch of style and some sorts of uniqueness better than a new coat of paint. Painting is like an instant renovation.

The Paint Basics

Painting is cheap but involves a commitment of time, money, and effort. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional you want to get it right the first time, so you won’t be doing it again soon.

Choose the Right Paint

One of the most important decisions you will encounter when planning a home improvement through painting is choosing the right paint. This is critical to whether or not your paint job will look good as well as last for years.

Latex Paint or Oil?

The most perplexing question for homeowners when it comes to house painting is “Should we use latex or oil?”  Well, according to some experts this common confusion is rooted in history.   It was noted that for years, solvent paints were favored for trim, woodwork, most exterior and some interior surfaces for the reason that they flow uniformly. Also, many have noticed that these solvent paints have superb leveling characteristics, and adhere well particularly to poorly-prepared or chalky surfaces.  They even give a tough, hard-shell finish, and most of the exterior alkyds can be utilized in sub-freezing conditions.

However, such a conception has been changed nowadays.  The fact is, today both state and federal air-quality laws are clamping down on the use of solvents in oil/alkyd paints.   Well, the problem is, a gallon of solvent-based paint contains about two quarts of mineral spirits.   It is these solvents actually that evaporate into the air as volatile organic compounds, resulting in air pollution.

I think the bottom line is this:  the technology has changed so dramatically that the considered best paint option in most situations will be the latex.  It may eventually become your only option.

Alkyd-Modified, Vinyl-Acrylic, or Acrylic?

The most favored type of paint these days is latex.  Latex paints are not all the same.  Note that although the first known latex paints were named after their synthetic “latex” rubber base, the synthetic rubber is not used anymore.  Now when you say “latex”, it refers to all water-borne paint.  However, within that category, you have three choices:  vinyl-acrylic, 100 percent acrylic, and alkyd-modified latex.  

So, what is best option?

The vinyl-acrylic latex is by far the least costly latex paint and is considered appropriate for most interior walls as well as for shorter-durability exterior walls.

The well-known high performance interior paints on the other hand are 100 percent acrylic.  Many have claimed that this kind of latex paint has better color retention, better adhesion, and in better gloss than vinyl-acrylic in the case of the enamels.

Finally, most of the high-quality exterior paints are either 100 percent acrylic or alkyd-modified latex.  Both of these types are excellent though.  However, if the siding was previously painted with an alkyd or is chalking, considering alkyd-modified latex is a nice move to take.  It has been said that the alkyd-modified latex does an excellent job of penetrating and anchoring the coating on a chalky surface.  But, many of the manufacturers these days consider the 100 percent acrylic as their best products.

The Scrubbability Rating

Interior paints have a scrubbability rating, which is formed through standardized testing.  Basically, this is a good indicator of the toughness of the paint’s film, as well as its ability to withstand physical abuse.  However, there are some instances that this rating may not be posted on the can.  So, if this is the case, a paint retailer should have information on the rating.  What you can do is to compare the ratings and you will obtain a good idea of the quality of the paint.

If you are using a flat paint on the interior walls of your house, just note that there is a tendency that it can be washed, but it doesn’t take kindly to scrubbing.  If you scrub it with a damp cloth, you will only remove the dirt or smudge but exposed pigments particles actually become burnished or polished, which in turn damages the finish.  So, how to avoid this?  Simply choose a high performance eggshell paint rather than flat paint.

The Paint’s Sheen

Paint may have any of the several lustres. From dull to shiny, the paint could be flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss. 

As a homeowner who wants to apply paint for home improvement, it is important for you to know the differences.

Which paint type is right for you?

Flat/Matte: Easy to touch up but hard to clean

Best Used: Onceilings. Do NOT use in kitchens and bathrooms

Eggshell: A low-sheen washable finish that is easily touched up.

Best Used: In living rooms or bedroom walls.  Do NOT use in high-traffic areas.

Satin: A pearl like sheen that’s easily cleaned but more difficult to touch up.

Best Used: On woodwork, family, children’s, laundry, kitchen and bathrooms.

Semigloss: A high-sheen washable finish that is more resistant to humidity and withstands stains, chipping and scuffing.

Best Used: Trim, molding, kitchen and bathrooms

Gloss: A super high-sheen washable finish that is rarely used on walls because it shows imperfections.

Best Used: Woodwork, trim, moldings and other smooth surfaces.

Knowing Which Room

When considering painting for home improvement, it is always important to have an idea of how a particular room will be utilized. In functional rooms like kitchen, baths and bedrooms, for example, you might want durability and easy maintenance first.   In more decorative rooms, such as living rooms, master bedrooms or dining rooms, note that appearance is often the key factor.   And, in a child’s room, safety is very critical.  So, choose the right paint that suits best on every room.

Be Brand Conscious and Meticulous

So you’ve made a clear decision regarding the type of paint.  The next thing to do now is to go with reputable brands.  Of course, you need to tailor your choices to the project, but avoid wasting your time, effort and money on low-quality paint.   There are a lot of significant differences between cheap and quality paints, and these differences are often seen in characteristics such as washability and hiding.   There is also a possibility that you’ll find a more extensive color palette in the quality lines.

Lastly, always remember to check the warranty on the label, which is a benchmarking device that typically provides you a fair measure of the differences between quality levels of different paints.

Estimating House Paint Quantity

So, you’ve learned a lot of about the types of paint, the quality, and some factors to consider when choosing the right paint.  Now, let us figure out how much paint you will need for your home improvement project.

The first thing to do to identify the needed quantity of paint is to know the square footage of the area to be painted, as well as the spread rate of the paint.  Note that the spread rate is typically about 400 square feet to the gallon.  But, still check the can to be sure.

How to determine square footage?

Here are steps that you should follow:

  • Start by measuring the width of each wall.
  • If done, add the figures together and multiply the total by the height of the surface.
  • Estimate how much of this area will not be painted.  To do this, take into account the fireplaces, wallpapers, windows, and some sections that you will paint separately, like the trim.
  • If the surfaces account for 10 percent or more of the room, deduct the square footage from the total.
  • Divide the total square footage by the spread rate of the paint.
  • Calculate the amount of trim paint separately, or expect that you will utilize about a quarter as much trim paint as wall paint.


  • Don’t make a decision on color based on the card in the store. Bring the card home to see it in your room’s lighting.
  • Home Depot offers peel and stick colors like a Post-It you can stick to your wall as a sample.
  • You can have paint custom mixed to match a piece of fabric, wallpaper, decor, etc. Bring a flat 1/2 in square to any Home Depot or Lowes and they will match it.


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