So you’ve picked out your colors, and you walk up to the counter to have them mixed. You are then bombarded with questions! What paint type do you want? Oil based or Latex? What sort of sheen? Eggshell, flat, satin? As it turns out, there is more to picking paint than color!


The key word when talking about the difference between latex and oil based paint is durability. Oil based paint goes on smoother, stands up to abrasions better, and is more durable then latex. That being said, it also has a very strong odor, so if you choose to use it, make sure you’re in a well ventilated space. They are also glossier then latex paints, and they do not clean up with soap and water. Latex paint is water based, cleans up easily, drys quickly, is more mildew resistant (making it the obvious choice for bathrooms and kitchens), and it doesn’t yellow with age.

The best way to decide is the evaluate the room you are painting – are the walls liable to be scuffed and banged? Will there be lots of moisture? Is your space ventilated enough to even consider oil based paint? Once you’ve picked your paint type, you need to decide on a sheen. There are four main types of sheen; flat, eggshell or satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.


Flat paint is a completely non-reflective sheen. Because of this, it covers imperfections well, is cheaper, and as a result is most often used in home building. Although flat paint can make your walls look smoother, it is very difficult to clean. Flat paint is very porous, so it will hold onto dirt. With it being so tough to clean, it may become an issue in homes with small children.


Eggshell and satin paints are very similar to each other. They are low luster paints, and have a nice, quiet sheen that give the paint a deeper feeling. They are a bit easier to clean, as the sheen results in a less porous surface. Imagine the white of an eggshell. How it has a slightly rough texture but still shines somehow? That is what your paint will look like on the wall.


Semi-gloss is far and away the most popular paint in homes with small children. Dirt simply wipes off, as the gloss creates a protective barrier between the dirt and the color. It is very durable, but with it being shiny, imperfections in the wall are much easier to see. Since the gloss is so smooth and reflective, any bump in the wall will be visible. This is important to consider if your walls have a lot of wear and tear.


Gloss paint is very tough and thick, and is ideal for “high traffic areas” – doors, doorjambs, baseboards. These are places that get touched and cleaned often, so you need a thicker paint to stand up to all of the activity.

Hopefully this information helps you in your painting adventure. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us! If painting is too tiresome, we can even do it for you!

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