Discover the different paints available that can turn your home into a work or dining space. Choose between an array of sizes, styles, and purposes to get the perfect paint for your home.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Paint

The best paint for a project depends on several factors. Primarily, the type of project needs to be considered. The following sections will outline some of the most important points to consider when selecting the right paint.

Type of Project

When shopping for the best paint, its important to determine just what you’ll be painting. While many painters work in multiple mediums, others specialize in a particular technique or style.

  • Will the project require a specific finish? Gloss, matte, or even metallic finishes are available in a variety of colors and styles. These specialty finishes can add a great look to a project but might not be necessary for your next door hanging.
  • Do you want the ability to change the color of the finished project later on? Certain types of paint can be tintable, allowing you to change the color of the final product by adding acrylic or watercolor paints.
  • Will the finished project be indoors or outdoors? Indoor projects tend to benefit from water-based acrylic or latex paints that dry quickly. Outdoor projects might do better with oil-based paints that weather well and have low-toxicity properties.
  • How long does the project need to last? Durability is an important factor for projects that could potentially face the elements, such as outdoor furniture, cabinets, and other manufactured products. For these projects, look for paints with one or more of the following features:
    • High molecular weight (HMW) to prevent moisture absorption
    • Acrylic polymer (ACRYLO) to make the paint harden faster
    • Tencel (a brand-specific term for a material containing 75 percent PET and 25 percent celluloseE) that is often used in upholstered furniture, which can withstand the elements without cracking.
    • Polyurethane (PU) film that helps protect the painted surface and reduces the amount of oil needed to finish the project.

    Formula

    Paint formulas vary based on the type of paint and the application method. For example, latex paints are very versatile because they can be applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer. Water-based acrylic and latex paints tend to be more economical and environmentally friendly, though they might not offer the same level of performance as oil-based paints.

    Oil-based paints still reign supreme when it comes to durability and opacity, though they are harder to clean up if you miss a spot. They also tend to be the most expensive.

    Medium

    Mediums like alcohol, turpentine, and petroleum distillates are no longer needed for achieving good results. Thanks to technological advancements, today’s painters can achieve excellent results with water-based acrylic or latex paints.

    These mediums were once needed to thin out and cleanse the paint before applying it. They also helped raise the viscosity of the paint so it would adhere to the substrate being painted. However, they are toxic, flammable, or otherwise harmful substances that are now considered unnecessary.

    Instead, use a commercial product called methylene chloride, which is completely harmless and actually beneficial to the environment because it speeds up the drying process. Its also a good solvent for removing certain types of stains.

    Foaming & Curing

    Foaming and curing refer to the processes through which a paint becomes fully activated and thus able to take full advantage of the adhesive layer formed during the drying process. During foaming, the solvents evaporate from the wet paint, leaving behind a sticky residue that adheres to the surface being painted. This residue is then covered with a second coat of paint.

    The second coat of paint is then allowed to cure, or dry, before the project can be moved into place or completed.

    Drying Time

    Its important to know how long a particular paint takes to fully cure so that you can plan ahead to avoid any delays. While some manufacturers provide information about how long it takes a particular paint to dry, others dont. In those cases, you’ll have to test a few samples of the paint to find one that fully cures within a reasonable time frame.

    Keep in mind that the length of time it takes a paint to fully cure is affected by temperature and humidity. Warmer and more humid climates will cause a paint to take longer to dry than cooler and drier climes.

    Film-Forming Properties

    Another feature that can boost a paints durability is its ability to form a protective film that can reduce the amount of oil needed for the project and help protect the painted surface from the elements.

    This is particularly helpful for outdoor projects that might face the elements, such as patio furniture, cabinets, and other manufactured products. Look for paints with one or more of the following features:

    • HMW to prevent moisture absorption
    • Acrylic polymer to harden the paint faster
    • Tencel (a brand-specific term for a material containing 75 percent PET and 25 percent celluloseE) that is often used in upholstered furniture, which can withstand the elements without cracking.
    • Polyurethane (PU) film that helps protect the painted surface and reduces the amount of oil needed to finish the project.