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How Many Different Types of Paint Are Available to Choose From?

When it comes to choosing paint for your home, you probably think that the biggest decision will be what color to choose. While this is an important decision, you also need to consider what type of paint you’ll choose.

There are many different types of paint; some may be better suited for your project than others. Before you just decide to go with the cheapest type of paint, here’s a quick guide on the different types of paint you’ll encounter.

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How Many Different Types of Paint Are Available to Choose From?

Technically speaking, there are more than 20 types of paint that you can choose from. Each type of paint serves a different purpose, from commercial uses to residential uses and from indoor to outdoor paint jobs.

This guide won’t go into all types of paint, but we will cover the most common types of paint that you may choose from. 


Primer isn’t technically a paint, but it is applied in the same way. It’s the first layer you put on the wall you plan to paint. It helps the paint stick better and ensures more even coverage. It also helps the paint come out true to color. Typically, primer is either oil-based or water-based, but you’ll want to choose a primer with the same base as the paint you choose.


Flat paint is similar to matte paint, but it is different. When applied, flat paint has very little shine and requires fewer coats to maintain a smooth, even color. Unfortunately, it is easily scratched and damaged, but it works very well on ceilings and other areas in the house where there isn’t much risk of bumping, scraping, or otherwise damaging the paint.


Eggshell finishing paints are one of the most popular paint options. They have a low sheen, but they’re slightly shinier than flat paints. They are more durable than flat paints but should still be used in low- to medium-traffic areas. 


Satin finishes are the most common paint types in households. They are easy to clean and have a very smooth, velvety sheen. Brush strokes do show up more easily with this type of paint, but they work well for high-traffic areas where they’re prone to scraping and denting. 


Semi-gloss paints are mold and mildew resistant. They have a shiny finish and are very durable, easy to clean and work well in kitchens and bathrooms. Like flat paint, semi-gloss paint does show imperfections very easily.


High-gloss paint is the most reflective and shiny, but they’re also very durable and easy to clean. Like semi-gloss paint, high-gloss paint is mold and mildew-resistant. It’s good for both interior and exterior paint jobs and works well in high-traffic areas. Household cleaners can be used to clean this type of paint without damaging it, and it looks best on smooth, wooden surfaces such as cabinets and doors.


Oil-based paint is good for protecting wood and metal as it is both rust and moisture resistant. This type of paint does take around 24 hours to dry completely, but it is very durable.


Water-based paint dries faster but is less durable and won’t last as long as oil-based paint. It is less likely to show brush strokes and will dry completely within a few hours, making multiple coats easier.


Depending on your project and your budget, a different type of paint may be better than another. If you’re painting a high-traffic area, you will likely want something more durable like semi-gloss, high-gloss, or satin paints. If you’re painting a ceiling or low-traffic area, something like flat paint or eggshell may be a good choice. If you need advice, call us so we can give you the right recommendations for your project.