Wall Paint Buying
When buying wall paint, you need to decide what kind of paint is right for you and what sort of finish you would like the paint to have. To help make this decision, you want to think about how easy the paint is to clean and how well it will stand up to moisture. As a general rule, the shinier the paint is, the easier it will be to clean and the better it will withstand getting wet.
Kinds of Paint
Latex paint is water based so it's easy to clean up. It can also be thinned with water and dries in a reasonably short time. It lacks the strong odor that oil based paints sometimes have. It is good for use on concrete and other surfaces with a high alkali content.
Enamel paint has a high resin content which gives it a good sheen and helps it stand up to abuse. Enamel paint is a good choice for areas that are likely to see wear and tear and need more frequent cleaning.
Latex Flat Enamel
This kind of paint is water based and easy to clean up. It can be washed and is quite durable without being shiny. If you're looking for a paint that easy to clean but you don't want something glossy, this may be the paint for you.
Epoxy is applied in two coats in areas where there is a high likelihood of moisture. This paint is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. It can easily be scrubbed clean without sustaining damage.
Alkyd paint is oil based and stands up to a great deal of abuse. It should be used in heavily used areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, doors, and cabinets. It does have a strong paint odor and will require the paint brushes to be cleaned with solvent.
Types of Finish
Sometimes called "flat finish," matte finish is the least shiny finish. Since it reflects little light, matte finish is a good choice for covering up defects and imperfections in a wall. It doesn't stand up to washing as well as shinier finishes. But if you keep some extra on hand, you can always paint over any scratches. For a little more durability, you can get a flat enamel paint that will stand up to occasional cleaning.
Picture the shell of an egg. It's not a totally flat finish. It reflects some light. But you wouldn't call it shiny. There's just a hint of glow there. That's what eggshell finish looks like. It stands up to cleaning better than a flat finish and it adds a small amount of shine to the walls.
Satin finish has a smooth, velvet look. It is generally used for windows, doors, trim, and ceilings to provide a little accent along with some durability that stands up to cleaning. It can also be used as wall paint, and that might be a smart thing to do in a child's room, kitchen, bathroom, or other heavily trafficked area.
Semi-gloss gets used most often on trim, cabinets, doors, and in kitchens and bathrooms. It needs a well prepared surface since it will draw attention to flaws.
Glossy paint provides a dramatic look but should only be used in places where there aren't surface imperfections (or you aren't worried about revealing them). It's easy to clean.