Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish for the Job

Interior latex paint comes in many different finishes, such as flat, eggshell, satin, pearl, semi-gloss, and gloss. With each of these finishes comes a different level of durability. As a rule of thumb, the higher the shine is, the more durable the product is.

Kitchen wall surfaces are usually more susceptible to food and grease splatter and require a durable paint finish that will not dull or fade when cleaned. Semi-gloss paint is best for a kitchen because it is very durable, easy to clean, and retains a new look for a long period of time.

Bathrooms are subject to a high amount of moisture. Once again, semi-gloss has a resistance to moisture and is easy to keep clean. It is recommended for both walls and ceiling.

Bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, hallways, and entrances are normally not subjected to moisture and food splatter, so using a flat, eggshell, satin, or pearl finish will work just fine. One thing to keep in mind when choosing a paint finish is that if you are painting walls that have blemishes, such as sheetrock seams, nailing dimples, and etc., the higher the shine, the more the blemishes will be highlighted.

Doors, windows, baseboards, and trims should be painted with a semi-gloss or gloss paint.

Surface preparation is always an important part of a paint job. It is always a good idea to wipe all surfaces down with a mild soap and water mix to remove any surface dirt before painting. Make sure that the surface is completely dry before painting.

Another good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that any time that you change a color, or if you are changing the finish, such as from a flat to a semi-gloss, you should always paint a second coat. There is always an area that you paint the first coat on that will have “roller skips” that allows the previously painted surface to partially appear through the new coat of paint. The second coat covers these areas and provides a true color finish.

Previously painted surfaces normally do not need to be primed unless they are heavily stained. Water stains, crayon, ink, and knots in wood need to be covered with a white pigmented shellac to insure that the stain will not bleed through the new paint.

When you are painting new sheetrock, it is important that you wipe all of the dust off before painting, If you are using a flat or eggshell finish, it is not necessary to prime the walls first, as long as you are painting two coats.

A primer is needed when you paint new sheetrock with a satin, pearl, semi-gloss, or gloss finish. If a primer is not used for these finishes, you will see “flashing. This term is used to identify a condition where when you look straight onto a wall, the paint job looks good, but when you stand next to the wall and look across and look down it, you see flat spots or dull areas.

Other than in bathrooms, ceilings are usually painted with a flat finish ceiling paint. Painting ceilings are probably the most difficult to paint, in part because ceiling are usually painted white and it is difficult to tell where you left off painting. One manufacturer created a ceiling paint that is pink when it is wet and then dries white. Not only is it easy to tell where you left off painting, but in the event that you have a roof leak, the ceiling immediately turns pink again.

Any time that you are painting a shiny surface, it is a good idea to sand first to ensure proper adhesion. Keep in mind that if you do have to do any sanding, you should use a dust mask and have a window fan to direct any dust particles to the outside of the home. Many older paint products contain lead that can cause serious health issues.

It is always a good idea to use good quality name brand paints. Saving a couple of dollars per gallon of paint can cost you a lot of time in the long run if you have to apply additional cost to obtain quality results.