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Here’s how to choose the right paint for your projects.

Which paint?

Water-based acrylic paints have a number of advantages over their oil-based enamel counterparts. Drips and splashes can be removed with a simple wipe over with a damp cloth. Paintbrushes can be cleaned up in water. Acrylic paints emit fewer fumes or vapours than enamel paints when applied, and they dry faster and usually cost less. Oil-based enamel paints can offer superior durability and are often favoured for very high-quality work. However, for a DIY paint job, it’s hard to go past the acrylics. The types of paint listed below can be either acrylic or oil-based.

Flat (or matt) paint provides a soft finish and tends to hide minor surface irregularities. It’s easy to apply and is the best choice for ceilings or walls in low-traffic areas.

Low-sheen (satin finish) paint combines the soft finish of flat paint with the washability of semi-gloss. It is ideal for walls in high-traffic areas that need to be wiped clean regularly.

Semi-gloss paint is less easy to apply than flat and low-sheen products, but it does provide a highly washable and tough surface. It’s used on window sills, doors and trims, and also in kitchens and bathrooms, where moisture resistance and washability are key.

High-quality high-gloss paint is highly reflective, which means it will highlight any flaws and defects in the surface; if you’re going to use a high-gloss paint, you’ll need to be meticulous about surface preparation and take great care during application. High-gloss paint is resistant to grease and moisture, which means it is easy to keep clean.

From Trade Secrets. Published by Reader’s Digest (Australia)

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