Home & Garden

Strokes of brilliance for home painting

Paint is about more than just color.

There are multiple considerations and some tough decisions to make when it comes to choosing the right type for the job.

Picking the wrong paint can have some surprising results, leaving you with a peculiar hue, an unattractive finish or more work than is necessary. Here are some important points to keep in mind when thinking about paints.

Think ahead

To make sure the correct paint is chosen, think about how it will be used. For instance, will it need to stand up to the elements? Is it being used to cover previous coats or damages? Does it need to maximize or minimize light reflection? Picking the right type of paint will allow you to achieve the best results and so much more.

Primers and sealers

These provide a surface for applying paints over damaged, previously stained or untouched materials. Although they take time to apply, they are necessary in some instances and are a better alternative to applying extra coats of paint.

Acrylic latex

The least expensive and easiest-to-find paint on the market, latex is also the most popular. A water-based paint, it is practically odorless and dries quickly. It is important to note, however, that it must be applied in warmer weather -- at least 50 degrees. Clean-up is easy: water and a little soap is all you need.


Often referred to as oil-based paint, alkyd paint is extremely durable and comes in a variety of finishes, making it suitable for multiple surfaces, both indoor and outdoor. It takes longer to dry, but it shows far fewer brush strokes. This paint is very durable and resistant to extreme weather conditions. For clean-up you will need turpentine or paint thinner.


Tough and resistant, epoxy can handle just about anything thrown at it. Epoxy is great for cement floors, bathtubs and other hard surfaces.


Another durable paint, polyurethane is primarily used as a coating to protect wood floors from moisture and scratches. It also leaves an attractive, shiny finish.


Generally used as an exterior paint, its rubberlike qualities are useful for painting textured bricks, rough concrete surfaces and stucco.

Finishing school

When choosing the type of paint for an intended room, it is also important to note the preferred finish. They come in a huge variety, from flat and matte (which offer no reflectivity and will lessen the amount of light in the room) to a semi or high gloss, which reflect more light and offer more durability.

Tools of the trade

The list of items potentially needed when painting a home could go on forever. Here are the basics: paint brushes, rollers, paint trays and one or more ladders. Additional tools include paint scrapers, edging tape, painter's rags, spackle and a putty knife. Do not forget the clean-up supplies that are needed for the specific paint that is used.


Always use ladders properly to prevent dangerous falls. Remember to never go beyond the recommended rung, place the ladder on uneven surfaces or stretch beyond a comfortable reach. Other safety measures to consider are goggles to guard eyes from harmful splatter and masks to keep from breathing the paint's fumes.

For best results

* Choose the right kind of paint.

* Make sure you have all of the needed tools.

* Allow for appropriate drying time.

* Make certain surfaces are clean and free of debris.

* Don't hesitate to call a professional when in doubt.

-- David Moore writes for www.Kudzu.com, a site that helps homeowners plan projects, solve problems and find highly rated contractors.