The Idiot’s Guide on How to Choose the Right Type of Paint


Painting a room in your house shouldn’t be something that scares you. Sure a lack of knowledge on all things decorating can be a bit off-putting. But it won’t take much effort or a lot of time to get your head around the core ideas of what it takes to do a painting job well so there’s no reason to shrink away from trying your hand at a bit of painting.

What baffles most people at the very start is choosing the actual type of paint itself. When you walk into any hardware store there’s a vast variety of paint styles on display. They all look and sound roughly the same right? So where do you start?

You have two choices when it comes to choosing paint.

You can either choose an oil based paint or a latex (water) based paint.

Oil based paints be used both on the interior and exterior of a house. Generally when used inside they’re used to paint door frames, doors, window sills and skirting boards. Oil based paints are also useful for exterior painting because they’re more resistant to wet weather than latex paint is.

The one big headache with oil based paints is cleaning up afterwards – you’ll need to use cleaning spirits or something similar on the brushes and rollers. If you forget to clean your brushes after using an oil based paint you can throw them in the bin – they’ll be as hard as rock and no use to you. Wasted money basically!

Latex paints are far easier to use indoors. The fumes aren’t nearly as strong so it’s safer to work around. My personal favourite reason for using latex-type paints is that they’re so much, much easier to clean up after. This includes if you get any of this type of paint on your clothes, your furniture or even pets! Because it’s water soluble it’s just much easier to rinse out – this goes for your brushes, pads and rollers too. It takes a quick rinse to get rid of latex/water-based paints.

Latex paint is also available in more interesting shades than your standard oil based paint. You’ll find just about every shade you can imagine in water soluble paints – the same isn’t really true of other types of paint.

Another big buying reason for latex paint is that it’s far more friendly to the environment and can be disposed of much more easily than any oil-based paint.

So you’re no longer a paint dummy and can go DIY shopping with a bit more confidence. Never forget the staff in most hardware/DIY stores will only be too happy to help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask!

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