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The Vault: Find The Perfect Paint

Taking a trip back to Decorating Decoded in 2017


by Tabitha Dietrich - July 14, 2020

As a decorator, I am frequently asked all kinds of questions concerning paint. For instance, “Should I use latex or oil based paint?”, “Flat or gloss finish?” and the list goes on and on. So, I thought we should visit Arnot Building Supply in Mansfield to get answers to these questions and learn about some of the new advances that have been made concerning paint.

If you have decided to take on a painting project, you first have to decide what type of paint you will be using. You have a choice between oil based and latex based paints. Oil based is more durable which means it will hold up well on trim and doors. It also seals and covers stains better, however, the color can fade and turn yellow over time. The fumes can also be overwhelming and clean up requires chemicals like turpentine, making it less environmentally friendly. As a result, many retailers now only sell oil based paint by the quart.

Latex paint is easier to apply, has less odor, dries quickly, will not fade or yellow over time and is easy to clean up, thus making it more readily available.

Paint comes in a variety of finishes, also referred to as sheen. There is flat or matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high gloss. The higher the sheen, the higher the shine and durability. Gloss and semi-gloss finishes are great for trim, doors and furniture that require wiping. It’s not good for walls or ceilings as it will show every imperfection. Flat or matte finishes are best for walls and ceilings because they will make any blemishes on the surface less obvious. Eggshell and satin were typically best for higher traffic rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, but new advances in the manufacturing of paint have produced washable flat and matte finishes, so now there is no limit to where you can use them. Another wonderful innovation is paint and primer in one which is an incredible time saver. I was able to cover a dark red with a light gray which saved me an entire days worth of extra work.

Painter’s tape, edgers and even the size and shape of the brush or roller you use can make the job more efficient and produce a better result, so make sure you check out all the different types of tools that are available for your project.

Now that you understand some of the pros and cons to oil versus latex paint, the question that remains is “Can you paint over oil paint with latex?” The answer is yes, if you clean, sand, and prime the area or object first. However, if you are trying to cover 5 or more layers of oil based, then latex will not go over it. Keep using oil. Now, conversely, if you want to use latex paint over oil based paint, some say it is possible if there is a sealing coat between them. Latex paint has a built in flexibility to it, so it is not a good base for oil which has a very hard finish. In short, I would not recommend it.

Another question, I often get is “Can you use exterior paint on your interior?” Paint is labeled for an intended purpose for a reason and should be used accordingly. Exterior paints are formulated with additives that will help them withstand the elements and many contain chemicals to combat mildew, that if used indoors could cause respiratory problems for many individuals. Now, since interior paint does not contain these additives, it obviously will not hold up to being used on your exterior.

And finally, “How do you properly dispose of paint?” Oil based paint is considered Hazardous Household Waste and needs to be taken to a disposal facility that accepts such items. While latex paint is not considered hazardous, it cannot be disposed of in liquid form. If you have less that a quarter of the paint can left, simply leave the lid off and allow the paint to dry up. Once the paint is hard, it can be put out with your regular trash. For larger quantities, pour the paint into a cardboard box and mix it with shredded newspaper, cat litter or a commercial paint hardener. When the paint dries, it can go in the trash and the empty cans can be recycled.



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Funded by Red Skillet, Akiko’s

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