Paint 101

In a previous post I spoke about choosing paint colours. During our home renovations we learnt about the different types of paint, paint finishes and things to do before painting.

There are 2 types of paint: Trade paints and DIY/retail paint. Trade paints are genuine honest paint aimed at the professional tradesman with no fancy packaging. Trade paints generally contain no additives or fillers and therefore tend to be of higher quality for ease and speed of application. This paint covers better, has a higher spreading rate, comes in larger economical packsizes and delivers a long lasting and more professional finish.

DIY/retail paints tend to be more creamier and therefore have more body than that of a professional trade paint as they are designed to convince you what a good paint should feel or look like. A creamy consistency does not mean it’s a good paint. If it is too dense then you could have an issue with the overall finish quality. There is nothing wrong with this paint and they will do the job adequately.

If you are using a professional decorator for paint jobs then they will or should be using trade paint. If you are doing the painting yourself then you will need to decide which paint to use.

Colourful paint pots

Now that you’ve decided on the type of paint, the next thing to consider is the type of paint finish:

  • Matt – a matt finish, water-based paint, non-reflective appearance, rougher to the touch. Used on interior walls and ceilings. Cheap and DIY store own brands can smudge or wipe off if you to clean it. Matt paint covers imperfections better and makes lumps and bumps less noticeable.
  • Silk – water-based, shiny finish, reflects light well and is smoother to the touch. Easy to wipe down and scrub. Because of the way that silk reflects the light, any imperfections in the wall finish are more obvious.
  • Gloss – reflective finish, used for woodwork and radiators. Solvent-based, it takes longer to dry but hides imperfections in painting well.
  • Eggshell – a mid-sheen finish, commonly ‘Satin’ if used for woodwork. Used if a gloss finish is not desired. Between a Matt and Silk/Satin finish.

Also take note of the current paint finish (matt, silk) on the walls before you purchase paint as painting matt on silk will require sanding beforehand.

I also wanted to mention that we found the quality of the B&Q paint vs the Dulux paint to be of a higher quality in that the coverage was better therefore less paint was needed.

In conclusion, an important part of painting is to do good and correct preparation before painting. Walls should be washed with sugar soap after removing wall paper. New plaster should be allowed to dry before applying the paint. Any cracks or holes in old plaster should be repaired, sanded down and freed of dust. If this step is skimped on then the final results may be poor or cause flaking in the future.

We have learnt that like with everything else during this home renovation process making decisions was not as simple as black and white. Each task came with a decision and with each decision came many many choices. Hopefully this post has now enlightened you and provided some guidance on Paint 101 🙂



  1. Aysha
    14th April 2016 / 8:50 PM

    Perfect for my upcoming diy paint job this summer… Thanks also explains why my paint has flaked in the past.

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