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Picking a colour is just the beginning when choosing the right paint for a home renovation project. There are many different types of paint to consider and the choice could have a big impact on the character of the room and the mood it creates. Mistakes can be costly with any mid to large scale project, so it is a good idea to carry out some research before redecorating.

It is most common to cover wall surfaces with water-based paints as they are so easy to use. In addition to ease of use, there are many other benefits to water-based paints.

Benefits of water-based paints include:

  • Can be used on almost any surface
  • Requires no pre-treatment
  • No mildew growth
  • Low levels of toxic emissions
  • A crack-resistant, flexible finish
  • Quick drying
  • Easy clean-up
  • Stable colour which doesn’t fade or discolour in sunlight

Water-based paint is a good choice, but care should be taken if the wall has previously been painted with oil-based paint which can prevent the water-based paint from sticking and cause peeling.

Professional decorators such as Scott Anson Painters & Decorators Ltd. recommend thoroughly washing and drying the wall surface, before sanding it down with a smooth to medium grade sandpaper; this ensures a clean, dry, dull surface for repainting and reduces the risk of the paint peeling in the future.

There are other paint options to consider according to requirements and desired finish such as oil-based paint, which is praised for its rich shine and high durability; it is also suitable for use on most surfaces.

Advantages of oil-based paint include:

  • Hard, durable finish
  • Attractive gloss
  • Good for use in high-moisture rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms
  • Longer drying time (better for making fixes)
  • Good ‘levelling’ (the brush strokes fill themselves in to create a smooth finish)

Oil or solvent based paint was common until 50 years ago as it had a more regular finish than that achievable with water-based paints. However, advances in paint technology mean that waterborne acrylics have surpassed their oil-based predecessors in terms of safety and durability. Caution should be exercised when working with oil-based paint, as it emits strong fumes which can be overwhelming. It can also be harder to keep clean as it cannot be washed with water.

Chalk-based paint is made from chalk and other natural materials. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice for furniture as it can create the distressed finish popular amongst fans of shabby chic. The benefits of chalk-based paint include:

  • Little surface preparation required
  • Can be thinned to create a ‘washed’ effect
  • Easy cleanup, without the need for white spirit as paint brushes can be washed in water

As with other paint options, there are a few drawbacks to consider, such as the necessity to cover chalk-based finishes with wax to ensure the durability required for everyday use.

Finding the right paint will always depend on individual requirements such as ease of use, durability and personal taste.