Once you’ve picked the perfect color, you still have to decide on what type of paint you want for the space. Whether you’re looking for an elegant, refined finish or a material that will wipe clean after an impromptu mural from your little one, there are paint types to suite every situation. When it comes to selecting interior paints, several popular options include:
Primer : While technically not paint or a finish, the use of primer is crucial in interior painting. Failing to use primer on a porous surface, such as wood or concrete, can lead to imperfect paint coatings that could end up peeling away from the walls. Primer is also a must if covering up a darker color, as it will take fewer layers to cover the old paint.
Matte: This is a flat paint that has a calming, non-reflective effect on color. It is generally not washable or recommended for bedrooms. Flat enamel is more durable and it can be used in highly trafficked areas such as hallways.
Eggshell: This is a more attractive version of matte. It can be cleaned and has just a tiny bit of shine.
Satin: This is a favorite of doors, playrooms, trim decorations, kitchens, bathrooms and other spaces that get a lot of traffic and usage. If applied correctly, satin finish paint can withstand washing.
Glossy: This finish is highly reflective and dramatic. It is preferred for modern-looking decor, and it requires careful preparations, as it does little to hide imperfections.
Paint preparation & application
The ideal preparation involves moving all furniture out of the space to be painted. If this is not possible, the painter should drape the remaining furniture and carefully work on one wall at a time. Fixtures and hardware such as door knobs, electrical outlets and light switches should also be removed.
The walls must be properly cleaned prior to applying primer or paint. This involves using a mixture of soap and water. Nail holes, chips, cracks or other small imperfections should be filled in and evened with plaster and allowed to dry before the entire surface is lightly sanded down and wiped again. Once the wall is clean and dry, you should apply painter’s tape over surfaces you do not want painted. Be sure not to overlook ceiling corners and edges, baseboards and trims and moldings.
Paint follows the laws of gravity, so painters should start near the ceiling and move down. Applying paint is a process of learning and observation, a skill that is quickly acquired by careful execution. The most important aspect of painting is to not use too much paint.
The right paint stroke to use in interior painting is highly debatable. It's not a talent as much as a skill that is learned through practice. Many experts paint in a “W” pattern when using foam rollers, but others simply roll up and down then sideways with either brushes or rollers. The motion isn’t as important as making sure that the application is even and drip-free across the entire area. However, technique is important when you're covering over wall repairs.
Painting interior walls is a task better accomplished with foam rollers, because they are easy to use and can evenly cover large surface areas quickly. Foam rollers and brushes should never be overloaded with paint, as it can create drips, uneven coverage and can take longer to dry. It’s easy to get frustrated when the paint is fresh and does not look like a photo from the paint catalog, but remember: that’s something that usually happens after the second coat dries.
Most interior painting projects will present corners and edges. Corners, trims, splashes and accents will require cutting in — which generally requires the most patience, preparation and skill. There is a lot of debate among painters whether it is better to cut in before or after applying the roller. Solo painters may want to prepare the surfaces first, apply painter’s tape where required and cut in before applying paint to the rollers. Painters working in teams can split cutting in duties in sections while other team members are applying paint with rollers.
In the case of trims, splashes and accents, it is recommended that the lighter color be applied first in case there is some bleeding through the taped areas. The corners of matching walls should be no match for painters using foam brushes, as their tips already form corner edges. Other useful tools to use are corner rollers and edging pads.
Just like with roller paint application, painters are not limited to using just one stroke when cutting in. It is important, however, to work towards the edge of the corners applying even pressure. If time permits, painters should allow their cut in work to dry completely before applying paint with rollers, keeping in mind that light touch ups on corners and edges will always be required at the end.