When staring at the bare walls of a room in need of a paint job, it’d be fair to assume that all you have to do is decide on a fresh shade to get the project underway.

But, the truth is, picking a color is actually secondary to a lesser known but equally important task: Choosing the right type of paint for your needs.

“It’s important to understand the differences between paint types in order to pick which one is best for your home and the specific project you’re tackling,” Joey Corona, senior merchant at The Home Depot, says.

The various components that make up a paint—like whether it’s oil-based or water-based, for instance—can impact how its overall color adheres to a surface and looks over time. So it’s important to weigh these pre-painting details in order to update a room with lasting results. Don’t worry, though, you’re not about to handle this on your own. Joey broke down what to keep in mind when choosing the right paint for your project, and what will make the entire process a heck of a lot easier to tackle.

What to Know Before You Go to the Store

Pinpoint the current type of paint that’s on the walls. “Sometimes just knowing a surface’s existing paint formula will help you select the right paint for a new coat or color,” Joey says. “If you don’t know if the existing paint is oil-based or water-based on looks alone, then wipe the surface with denatured alcohol. If the rag picks up the paint, it’s water-based. If no paint rubs off on the rag, it’s likely oil-based.”

Determine the level of durability you need. “Walls and trim are not created equal,” he continues. “Typically, painters will use a mix of paint types for maximum durability, depending on what they are painting. So, for instance, if you’re focusing on the trim, that aspect of the wall needs more durability to protect it from heavy contact.”

Decide how often you plan on painting. “In addition to durability, consider how regularly you’re likely to change the color of the surface,” he adds. “Areas like indoor doors, trims, and moldings most commonly receive a neutral or white paint variation, while walls usually get more color. These colors and finishes change the type of paint you’ll likely need.”

Weigh your sheen options. “Sheens indicate how glossy a paint is in its dry state,” Joey says. “Glossy paints are shinier and reflect more light, but matte paints diffuse the light to make the surface less shiny. Reflective sheens, like satin and semi-gloss, clean easily but show more imperfections on the wall. Non-reflective sheens show fewer imperfections but are not typically as easy to clean. Overall, matte finishes are good for low-traffic areas like bedrooms, while other sheens are better for high-traffic areas like kitchens or bathrooms.”

Read more: https://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/a27729301/water-based-paint-vs-oil-based-paint/

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