All About Paint

Learn Why Quality Matters – And Saves You Money

Is paint costing $9 per gallon as good as paint costing $27 per gallon? Not at all! Those who buy the cheapest paint they can find soon discover that they need to paint and re-paint and re-paint again, just to get the cheap paint to cover. Then, a few short years later, when the paint fails they face the expenditure all over again.

Applying paint on a vintage home with clapboard siding.
On homes with narrow, clapboard siding, it is important to apply paint evenly without missing areas where the boards join. Our crews are trained to take meticulous care, often achieving excellent coverage with just one coat.

Paint is basically a mixture of four different ingredients: pigments, resins, solvents and additives. Cheaper paints have a higher percentage of solvents and less pigment and resins. High quality paint can have up to 50% more pigment and resins. As a result, the painter is applying that much more pigment per coat of paint, which means better coverage and no need for extra coats.

Types of Paint

The two broad categories of paint are Latex, or water-based paint, and oil-based paint.

Latex (Water-based) Paint

This is far and away the most frequently used type of paint for residential applications. It is used on walls and ceilings, interiors and exteriors. Latex paints are extremely high performing paints. They are less toxic and easier to clean up than oil-based paints. They dry faster, release less VOC's volatile organic compounds) into the air, and clean up can be performed with soap and water. They are an environmentally friendly material.

Paint manufacturers have developed and incredibly wide array of colors for latex paint. Latex paint comes in a variety of sheens including matte, eggshell, semigloss and high gloss.

Key Features of Latex Paint

  • Wide range of colors available
  • Several paint sheens
  • Excellent performance
  • Flexible without cracking
  • Drys quickly
  • Helps prevent moisture and mildew
  • Environmentally responsible
  • Soap and water clean up

Latex paint works well on surfaces previously painted with either latex or flat oil-based paints. Latex paint is suitable for almost any application in the home, from exterior paint and trim, to interior walls and woodwork.

Where Not to Use Latex Paint

Latex paint may not adhere well to high-gloss finishes. It cannot be used on bare steel because it will rust it. While latex paint can be used on top of wallpaper, there is a risk that the water in the paint may cause the paper to peel away from the wall.

Oil-based Paint

Oil based paint is no longer commonly used in home painting applications. In the past it was used on molding, cabinets, furniture, bathrooms and other "wet" areas . It provides a protective coating and creates a smoother finish than water-based paint. They are easy to scrub, had a higher sheen and were more durable than the early latex paints. But latex paints have improved steadily and this is no longer true. Many high-quality latex paints today outperform oil based paints.

When used in the home, oil-based paints are used for areas having high wear or prone to impact. These include trim, floors and sometimes cabinets. Due to its longer drying, it does not show brush strokes as much, a desirable feature when painting trim, woodwork and cabinetry.

Advantages of oil-based paint

  • Smooth finish: brush strokes don't show
  • Excellent on corrosive surfaces
  • High wearability

Disadvantages of oil-based paint

  • More expensive
  • Longer drying time
  • Odor intensive when drying
  • Releases VOC's (volatile organic compounds) as it dries
  • Requires chemical solvent clean up
  • Cleanup puts hazardous materials into the waste stream
  • Illegal or restricted in some communities
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