Latex paints have been improved a great deal since they
first became popular in the 1960's. Some modern latex
paints are actually better than oil based paints for home
interior and exterior surfaces. It's important to choose
the right kind of paint for your job.
Flat Latex Paint is fine for interior walls and hides
surface irregularities well. Some brands offer one for
walls and one for ceilings, but I always use wall paint.
Can be cleaned, but in high traffic areas, and in kitchens
and bathrooms, use Semi-Gloss Latex Enamel.
Semi-Gloss Latex Enamel is fine for trim, cabinets,
laundry room, bathroom, kitchen, kid's rooms, and anywhere
that a semi-gloss finish is wanted. It is very scrabble,
and somewhat water-resistant.
Acrylic Latex Paint is designed for exterior use and comes
in flat, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes. One of the
benefits of using latex outdoors is that it is more
flexible and "moves" as the surface heats and cools,
instead of cracking or blistering.
Primers made for interior or exterior use are available in
latex and oil. When painting over oil paint, oil primers
work well with latex paint. If you're painting metal,
after sanding, wipe with turpentine and apply an oil
primer before painting with latex. For new work, use latex
primer and paint.
Oil-Based Paint no longer has lead. The vehicle is usually
linseed oil and turpentine, with other chemicals and
coloring. For special applications, oil paint is great.
For example, to get a flawless finish on a door, gloss oil
paint with a small amount of linseed oil added will leave
a mirror-smooth finish if applied properly.
True stains are designed to stain the wood to add color.
Other types of stains are more like paint -- they let the
texture of wood show through, and sometimes let some of
the wood color show through, but usually provide less
protection than paint.
Often doors, trim, and furniture are given a true wood
finish by using a true stain. The stain is applied then
rubbed off to leave only the softer grains colored,
finishing with a sealer like varnish or polyurethane.
Varnish & Polyurethane:
These are similar in what they do but are made of very
different materials. Varnish tends to yellow and is not as
long lasting as polyurethane. Where I live, you can't even
buy varnish anymore. These come in satin and gloss
finishes. Polyurethane also comes in a high gloss finish
that looks like glass when several layers are applied. Not
for outdoor use.
This is an alcohol-based paint or sealer. It is seldom
used in homes, but I mention it here because it makes a
good primer for plaster that has had water damage and a
brownish discoloring is bleeding through. It also helps
stop light crumbling of plaster.
KILZ -- Special Primer:
This helps cover stubborn stains, grease, graffiti,
plaster stains, and other problem surfaces. Used before
primer and paint, this will cover almost every kind of
stain that bleeds through.
This is a very special paint used for extreme durability
and waterproofing. It is two-part paint -- one can have
the pigment and vehicle and the other can have the
catalyst and hardener. After mixing, it must be used
within eight hours. Sometimes, this time can be extended
if refrigerated below 40 (f) degrees. Very scrabble and
works well in showers and around pools. Extremely
hazardous to use without proper ventilation and/or