DIY How To

DIY Projects - Types of paint

There are many different types of paint and colours to choose from, the most popular choice for walls and ceilings is emulsion. All emulsion paints are water based which means they are quick drying and have minimum odour. They also come with various additives which make them hard wearing and washable.

Paints come in a variety of finishes

Vinyl Matt Emulsion

A wall and ceiling paint that is easy to apply. It is water-based and provides a flat non-reflective finish so it is good for masking surface imperfections. However it can mark easily so it is best used in light-wear areas such as bedrooms (apart from children's bedrooms), sitting rooms, dining rooms and on ceilings.

Vinyl Satin Emulsion

Also known as soft sheen, vinyl satin is like matt emulsion but has a subtle shine finish. It can be used in main reception rooms if you don't mind a slightly reflective surface, and, as little finger marks can be removed more easily, it is ideal for children's rooms. It's a good paint for bathrooms and kitchens where you don't want a high-sheen finish but need a wipeable surface.

Vinyl Silk Emulsion

This is the shiny member of the emulsion family. Less attractive to have in reception areas because of its sheen, it nonetheless has the benefit that small marks can be wiped off with a damp sponge. Good for steamy areas such as bathrooms and kitchens if you don't mind the shiny surface, but as it is not oil-based, it's only water resistant, not waterproof.

Emulsion paint also comes in different forms, which can make it easier to apply to certain areas.


Liquid is usually the most popular and cheapest and can be applied with brush, roller or pad.

Non-drip is a jelly like consistency which flows smooth when applied with either brush or roller.

Solid is thicker still and comes in a rolling tray. This is particularly good for ceilings as there is minimum splatter.

Cleaning of brushes is a simple run under the cold tap to remove the emulsion then wash in soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Eggshell paint so called because it provides a soft lustre sheen similar to that of an eggshell. It has an almost matt low-sheen finish ideal for interior woodwork or walls where a matt finish is required but where the surface can be easily cleaned. As it is an oil-based paint, it creates a sealed skin that is resistant to water and inherently harder wearing, so it is ideal for heavy-duty areas such as hallways, bathrooms and kitchens.

It has been superseded by vinyl emulsions like soft sheen, satin and silk, but if you want a traditional finish with a more hardwearing surface, then use eggshell. Negative points are that it is slow to dry, can have quite a strong smell until dry and can be marked easily. Environmentally friendly water-based varieties are available which don't produce the fumes of oil-based products.

Cleaning of brushes and equipment is more difficult. First you need to use either white spirit or brush cleaner to remove the paint, then wash with soapy water and rinse

Top TipBe aware that paper painted with oil based paints are more difficult to strip..


Gloss paint can also be used on walls, it provides a very hard wearing surface and is resistant to damp. It is available in both liquid and non-drip form. There are also many special effects and textured paints available, these can be used to create unique designs and effects in children's rooms for example.

Textured paints are thick water based which give a textured or patterned surface finish. They are good at hiding faults and cracks but hard to remove.

Top TipUse a lining paper applied vertically as with normal wallpaper and apply textured paint. This makes stripping it off easy when a change is wanted.

Disclaimer | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertising | © DIY How To