Revive, Renew and Transform in a Brush Stroke!
The perfect shade of quality paint can transform your home. Not only a color change, but a new coat of paint can change your mood!
It is also a good way to clean and disinfect a wall that has gone beyond scrubbing.
Cleaning and Preparation
No matter what surface you are painting, whether it is indoors or outdoors, you always need to properly clean the surface before you start priming or painting it. If you are cleaning an inside surface, using some mild, soapy water should be sufficient. To help prevent and combat the growth of mold and mildew, mix 1 part chlorine bleach with 3 parts water to clean areas affected by mold. Painting inside is a disruptive project if you are living on the premises. Pick a time when pets and small children are elsewhere or do one room at a time making sure the door is secure. Doing one room at a time also helps with the problem of storing furniture in other areas while painting the one room.
Paint is primarily a mixture of pigment, resin and a carrier. Titanium dioxide is the main, white pigment; relatively small amounts of other pigments are added by the dealer to tint the color. Resin makes paint adhere to a surface. Carrier is the evaporative liquid added to thin the mixture so you can brush or roll it on–water for latex paints or a solvent such as linseed or soybean oil for oil/alkyd paints.
Paint also contains clay or other inert ingredients to adjust the paint’s sheen. And it may contain small amounts of secondary solvents that help gloss, drying characteristics and the like.
The amount and quality of each ingredient determine paint’s performance and price. For example, paint with plenty of titanium dioxide has strong hiding characteristics and, because this is the most expensive ingredient, costs more. Oil/alkyd paints that utilize odorless mineral spirits as a carrier are more expensive than those with regular solvents. With this in mind, price is a good indicator of quality.
Latex paints: vinyl-acrylic, acrylic alkyd-modified?
Latex paints are not all the same. Although the first latex paints were named after their synthetic “latex” rubber base, synthetic rubber isn’t used anymore. Now the term “latex” encompasses all water-borne paint. But within that category, you have choices, notably vinyl-acrylic, 100% acrylic and alkyd-modified latex.
Vinyl-acrylic latex is the least expensive but suitable for most interior walls and for shorter-durability exterior walls. High-performance interior paints are 100% acrylic; they have better color retention, better adhesion and, in the case of the enamels, better gloss than vinyl-acrylics. High-quality exterior paints are either 100% acrylic or alkyd-modified latex. Both are excellent.
The Paint’s Sheen
Paint may have any of several lustres. From dull to shiny, they are: flat, eggshell, pearl, satin, semi-gloss and gloss (in Canada, satin falls between flat and eggshell). Each company has slight variations in the level of sheen in each category.
Paint’s lustre depends upon its mixture of pigment, resin and inert ingredients. Paint with less pigment and more resin is glossier than the reverse. Enamel is a term that usually denotes an extra-smooth, hard surface coating–the result of using plenty of resin in the formula.
The glossier a finish, the more durable and washable it tends to be. Flat paint is great at hiding irregularities and surface imperfections, important for both exterior and interior walls. Pearl and eggshell paints are a compromise; they partially hide imperfections and are more washable than flat paints.
Highly durable gloss enamels used to be available only as oil/alkyd-based products. But now you can get a very high-gloss, water-based finish that almost looks sprayed on. These finishes offer excellent hiding, don’t yellow or become brittle and are guaranteed to cover in one coat.
For painting interiors, the best choices are often flat paint for ceilings, eggshell for walls and semi-gloss or gloss on doors and trim.
Another distinguishing characteristic of good paint is coverage, sometimes called ‘hiding’. When a label says one-coat hiding, read the fine print. An interior or exterior finish that is guaranteed one coat, without any exceptions, should cover in one coat when properly applied. Obviously, one-coat hiding is a major labor saver and well worth paying a premium to get.
The determining factor for good hiding is the level of titanium dioxide in the mixture– the more it contains, the better the hiding. Some flat paints utilize cheap fillers to achieve high levels of hiding; unfortunately, the rest of their characteristics, such as scrub ability, fall short.
Scrub able Finishes
Interior paints have a scrub ability rating, established through standardized testing. This is a good indication of a paint film’s toughness and ability to withstand physical abuse. Though this rating may not be posted on the can, a paint retailer should have information on the rating. By comparing these, you can get a good idea of the paint’s quality.
One problem with using a flat paint on interior walls is that it can be washed, but it doesn’t take kindly to scrubbing.
If you scrub it with a damp cloth, you’ll remove the dirt or smudge but exposed pigment particles actually become burnished or polished–which ruins the finish. To avoid this, it’s better to choose a high-performance eggshell (not flat) paint.
Some new high-performance finishes are amazingly easy to clean – you just sponge them off as if you were wiping off a countertop. Ketchup, food, scuff marks, mud…all of these things wipe clean. Most major paint companies have an easy-clean paint made specifically for walls that may come under attack from messy kids or kitchen splatters.
When Do You Need A Primer?
You need a primer when the surface to be painted is porous or the paints are incompatible (such as when you apply latex paint over alkyd).
An existing painted surface in good condition and compatible with the finish coat may not need an additional primer. You may also need a primer if the colors are drastically different and the paint you are using does not have a good hiding factor. In this case, test a patch and let it dry completely.
Which Paint For Which Room?
Choosing the right paint also involves recognizing how the room will be used. You and your professional painter need to figure out the right formula, sheen, and other characteristics for a certain job.
In functional rooms such as kitchens, baths and bedrooms, you want durability and easy maintenance first. In more decorative rooms, such as living rooms, master bedrooms or dining rooms, appearance is often the key factor. In a child’s room, safety is critical. Some paint companies offer location-specific paints.
When you buy paint, go with reputable brands. Tailor your choices to the project, but don’t waste your time or money on low-quality paint. There are significant differences between cheap and quality paints, particularly in characteristics such as hiding and wash ability. You’re also more likely to find a more extensive color palette in the quality lines.
Don’t forget to check the warrantee on the label–this is a benchmarking device that normally gives you a fair measure of the differences between quality levels of various paints.
This paper is intended for informational purposes only.
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