Types of Paints and Their Uses

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Types of Paints and Their Uses

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Interior Paints

Interior Paints
TypeDescriptionUsesThinner/Cleaner
Acrylic Flatno sheen, less washable, can be slightly chalkywalls, ceilingssoap and water for cleaning, water or Floetrol for thinning
Acrylic Eggshellslight sheen, more washable, nice matte finishwalls, ceilingssoap and water for cleaning, water or Floetrol for thinning
Acrylic Satinsatin finish, more durable and washable, slight glosswalls, ceilings, can be used on woodwork and trimsoap and water for cleaning, water or Floetrol for thinning
Acrylic Semi-Glossincreased gloss finish, durable, washable, may reflect a slight glarewalls, woodwork and trimsoap and water for cleaning, water or Floetrol for thinning
Acrylic Glossfull gloss finish, durable, washable, reflects a slight glarewalls, woodwork and trim, can be used on ceilings for special purposessoap and water for cleaning, water or Floetrol for thinning
Alkyd Flatmay be called “flat oil” strong odor, durable, flat matte finishwalls, ceilings, not usually used in residential projectsmineral spirits for cleaning, mineral spirits or Penetrol for thinning
Alkyd Semi-Glossmay be called “oil-based”, enamel or glyptex, strong odor, durable and washable, eggshell, satin or semi-gloss finish, sheens will vary by manufacturerwoodwork, trim or decorative objectsmineral spirits for cleaning, mineral spirits or Penetrol for thinning
Alkyd Glossmay be called “oil based” enamel or glyptex, strong odor, durable and washable, full gloss finishwoodwork, trim or decorative objectsmineral spirits for cleaning, mineral spirits or Penetrol for thinning
Interior paints can come in a wide variety of colors and sheens, as well as different price levels. Usually you will get what you pay for, the more expensive paint should be a better quality. Avoid “contractor grade” paints unless you must have the cheapest paint – this grade will not give long-lasting satisfaction. Interior paint of any grade should never be used on an exterior surface.

Exterior Paints

Exterior Paints
TypeDescriptionUsesThinner/Cleaner
Acrylic or Latexdurable and flexible, is available in flat to high gloss, has excellent adhesion, will dry very rapidly on hot daysall exterior surfaces, though some metals like ironwork may be better suited for an oil-based paintsoap and water for cleaning, water or Floetrol for thinning
Oil Enamelall will usually have at least a slight sheen up to a full oil gloss, more washable than water-based paints, does not flex like water-based paints so it may not be as durable on surfaces that expand and contract as the temperature changes, sometimes slow to dry, should only be applied when surfaces are very dryall exterior surfaces, especially durable for ironwork, may not be as durable as acrylics when applied to wood or vinyl surfacesmineral spirits for cleaning, mineral spirits or Penetrol for thinning
Exterior paints come in a wide variety of colors and sheens, as well as different price levels. Usually you will get what you pay for, the more expensive paint should be a better quality. Avoid “contractor grade” paints unless you must have the cheapest paint – this grade will not give long-lasting satisfaction. An 100% acrylic paint has proven to be very durable, color-fast and easy to apply.

Paints Uses

Use This Paint For
SurfacePrep WorkPrimerFinish Paint
Interior Bare Woodafter priming fill nail holes with glazing putty, caulk cracks, repair damaged spots with wood filler or spackle, sand, dust or vacumsealing type primer, should be easily sanded to achieve a smooth finishoil or water-based, oil enamels are superior in durability and finish
Exterior Bare Woodwood should be clean and dry, after priming caulk cracks, use exterior grade spackle for repairs, epoxy wood filler can be used for major damageacrylic bonding primer, or oil based if knots need sealing, knots may require two coats for complete sealingacrylics are very durable and easy to use, oil based paints can be used but are not as popular or durable on exterior wood surfaces
Concrete or Brickwait until mortar is completely cured, clean off dirt, vegetation, mold or mildew, repair damaged spots with concrete patch, after priming caulk small cracksacrylic bonding primer or block filler to fill small holes in concrete blockexterior grade acrylics bond very well, oil based paints are not recommended
New Drywallcheck for smoothness, use drywall compound or spackle for repairs, caulk between moldings and walls after they have been primed, sand repairs, dust or vacumsealing water-based primer, easy to sand when dry for a smooth finish coatoil or water-based paints can be used, usually water-based acrylics are best
Decorative Ironwork or Iron Railingsrepair spots with epoxy putty or reweld if safety is an issue, use steel brush to remove flaking rustred oxide primer, spray cans are very handy for a few spots, be careful of the overspray drifting, brushing or rolling on the primer may apply a thicker coatexterior grade oil-based paint is best
Bare Furniture To Be Paintedrepair holes or gouges with wood filler, sand smooth, dust or vacumshellac or oil-based primer will sand easily to provide a smooth finishacrylics can be used but oil-based paints are more durable and usually look nicer
Natural Finish, Stained Door or Woodworkmake repairs with wood putty matched in color to the stain, sand if needed before applying stain, do not caulk cracks, a wood sealer to even the porosity of the wood may be required before stainingafter stain is dry apply a thinned coat of the varnish or polyurethane as primer, thinning it will help it to soak into the woodexterior grade polyurethane or spar varnish, a satin finish may provide more protection from damaged caused by the sun
Painting Over Wallpaperwash to clean, glue down any loose corners or edges, use drywall mud to patch damaged spots and to smooth over the seams that may show as ridges after paintingan acrylic sealer may be required to prevent “bleed thru”acrylics, some sheens may absorb into the paper unevenly and allow the pattern of the paper to show through, test a small spot with your chosen paint before doing the whole room
If you want to paint something, anything, there is probably a paint to meet your expectations. Follow the paint manufacturers recommendations and you will find the paint appropriate for your goals. Do not under estimate the importance of primer. A primer prepares the surface for the finish coat. It is sometimes impossible to achieve satisfactory results without first priming. Wherever the place, whatever the object, you can have the painted surface you desire.

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