Planning on a spot of decorating and confused about the different types of interior paint on offer? We take a look at the different finishes available and explain when and where they’re best used.
One of the most common questions we hear when quoting for work or getting ready to start a job is ‘What type of paint should I use?’
While we’re happy to help our clients select their paint (and even purchase it for them), we thought that we’d give you the lowdown on interior paints, to help you make a decision if you’re going down the DIY route.
Matt/flat finish paint
This is one of the most common types of paint used for interior decorating. The matt finish doesn’t reflect light, so it can be a good option if your walls are slightly less than perfect, as it won’t show those little lumps, bumps and cracks as much as a light-reflecting paint. Used for walls or ceilings, it’s very easy to apply using a brush or roller, but you may need more than one coat – especially if you’re covering a darker colour with a lighter one. This type of paint is easily marked though, and while you may be able to remove some of these with a damp cloth, you’ll need to be prepared to retouch it occasionally to keep it looking fresh and clean.
This is a more durable version of regular matt paint, so it’s a great option for kids’ rooms or kitchens. It’s easier to wipe down and remove marks and can be applied using a brush or a roller.
In terms of finish, satin paint sits somewhere between matt and gloss, resulting in a slight sheen. It offers greater coverage in terms of square footage compared to matt paint and is easy to clean – but if you’re painting the walls of an older house, be aware that it will show imperfections more readily. It can also be used on woodwork if you want to avoid the high-shine finish of a gloss.
An eggshell paint will give a subtle sheen but doesn’t have as smooth a finish as satin paint. It’s a good option if your walls are in very good condition but not quite perfect, and it generally only requires one good coat to get a nice even coverage.
Gloss paint is very hardwearing and produces a very shiny finish. While you can use gloss on walls, it’s much better for use on woodwork because it’s more difficult to apply and generally needs more than one coat. It’s easy to clean – just use a rag or sponge with soapy water.
Kitchen and bathroom speciality paint
Kitchens, and especially bathrooms, can create a moisture-rich atmosphere, so these paints have been developed to help combat mould growth. They usually have a matt finish, although satin options are also available, and it’s easy to apply with a brush or roller and can cope with regular cleaning.
Another speciality paint, floor paint can be used on floorboards or concrete (make sure concrete has fully dried and cured before applying). They are generally solvent based, although you can get organic or water-based options – but these tend to be more expensive. You can find floor paints in a range of finishes; matt, satin or gloss. They’re very hardwearing, so they’re great for heavily trafficked floors.
These are suitable for both internal or external use and come in hammered, smooth or gloss finishes. They’re similar to gloss paints to apply, so take it smooth and steady. One great advantage of most metal paints is that you can apply it directly over rust if needed.
It’s important to note that depending on what you’re painting, you may need a primer or a ‘first coat’ paint to give a good base. It’s also with noting that if you’re concerned about the strong smell that can linger after paint application, there’s now an extensive range of low VOC paints available on the market.