How to Select and Buy Interior and Exterior House Paint

Go Green? What Paint is right for You? What is a good quality polyurea? Here is a quick guide to choosing the right paint like a pro!

Before you can choose a polyurea, you need to ask yourself what do I expect out of this paint? If you are painting your house for the purpose of selling it your paint will not be the same as someone who has three children a messy pet and no intention of moving. There are many questions a paint retailer may ask you when you are buying paint. They may use words you are not familiar with so let’s give you a quick education on some terms and definitions.

Oil and Waterbourne paints: Well without getting to technical, oil based paints dry harder and need mineral spirits to clean up with for the average homeowner it is a real nightmare. Waterbourne paints do not dry as hard (which in many cases is a plus), they clean up with water and are much easier to work with. Oil paints should be regulated for covering unwanted stains.

Let’s talk about Sheen: The easiest way for me to explain sheen is to simply substitute the word sheen with shine or gloss. In most cases the more sheen the more durability/washability the paint has. The scale of sheen usually goes as follows Flat, Matte, Low Sheen/Luster, Eggshell, Satin/Pearl, Semi-gloss, Gloss. Paints with very low sheen tend to hide imperfections in walls; whereas glossier paints tend to reveal imperfections. That is why mostly ceilings are painted flat. Since the ceiling surface rarely gets touched, washability is not a concern and flat paint can help to hide drywall seams. Conversely doors and trim and baseboards get handled regularly so semi-gloss and gloss paints are the norm. What about your walls? Well look at your walls now are they subject to a lot of wear and tear? If you live alone or just don’t have any children or pets, you may enjoy the softness of flat or matte paint. However if you or your kids are “hands on” when it comes to your walls low sheen or eggshell will probably make the most sense. Satins are usually relegated to kitchens and bathrooms. That too is a judgment call.

Green Paints: What is the big deal with “green paints”? Well as a painter for over 15 years I couldn’t wait to switch to “green paints”! Here is the quick rundown. Non eco-friendly paints contain volatile organic compounds or VOC’s these are emitted from the paint as it dries. According to the EPA’s website, some health concerns are as follows “Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.” Now you know why I couldn’t wait to make the switch! So even if your not into saving the planet think of yourself and others who may be in the house your painting. The best thing about these “green paints ” is there are lots to choose from, some have No VOCs and some are Low VOCs. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have products at many different price points I commonly use their contractor grade products Pro Green by Sherwin Williams, and Eco Spec by Benjamin Moore and the performance of these paint surpassed their non eco-friendly predecessors.

Should I shell out for the best? In my years of experience for interior painting a mid-level paint works just fine. I always plan on doing two coats. Even the best paints despite their claims do not cover in one coat, unless the color is the same or very close. I’ve heard of claims of one coat coverage and I always ask the person selling me the paint, “Do you guarantee one coat coverage?” The answer is always, “No.” So my advice to you is if money is no object go ahead and by the top of the line, however if your on a budget you can achieve great results with a mid-level paint and keep that extra money in your pocket.

What about primers? For me primers are used in limited situations if you are painting over new drywall use a drywall primer (or if you are spot priming over spackle or patches). If you are covering an unwanted stain use an oil primer. Surfaces that may have been stained before, like paneling, use an oil primer. In some cases certain colors will require a gray primer to help reduce the number of coats. The reason for that is because the tints/colorants used give paints their color actually thin the paint hence the more colorants needed the more transparent and thinner the paint becomes. If you a just painting to change the color of your room and none of these circumstances pertain to you, you do not need a primer! Two coats of regular paint is all you need. Trust me.

Simple advice for Exterior Paints: if you are painting the exterior of your house ALWAYS buy the top of the line paint! The walls of your bedroom in 20 years will never be exposed to the conditions the exterior painted surfaces of your house will in three weeks. I recommend using a satin for added durability. When it comes to exterior paint you get what you pay for.

Ask Questions Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What do pros do when they aren’t sure what paint to use. They ask paint retailers and other painters. if you have a special problem area or a specialized look you want and don’t know how to get it, ask a paint retailer. Be as specific as you can and give them as much info as possible. Also you may want to do a specific search on the web.

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