Choosing the right architectural paint

Architectural paints and coatings can help protect and enhance the beauty of buildings.  The choice of paint can also have an impact on the environment and health of the occupants. In this guide, we will look at how to choose the right type of interior and exterior architectural paint.

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  • How to choose the right paint

    Choosing the right paint for your interior or exterior can have a big impact on the quality and resistance of the finish, as well as the longevity and ease of maintenance. In today’s climate, it’s important to note that paint can impact the health and wellness of those entering a building. Here are some things to consider when choosing:

    • The paint application by use and surface material
    • The paint composition and characteristics
    • The finish and color
    • Quantity and method of application
    • Options and trends
  • What are important points to consider for the paint application and surface material?

    HIMFLOOR floor paint

    HIMFLOOR floor paint

    Architectural paints and primers are often arranged by application and surface material to facilitate the choice for building professionals and homeowners. However, as it is not always easy to understand the difference between seemingly similar products, it is important to seek advice in case of doubt. Choosing a primer that is compatible both with the paint and the type of surface is important to ensure the paint adheres properly.

    • The paint chosen for walls and ceilings will cover a large surface area, so can have a big impact on the luminosity and design scheme of your interior. While low traffic rooms might not need a high level of protection, wet rooms, bathrooms and kitchens need to be more resistant to moisture and dirt.
    • Interior woodwork such as baseboards, panelling and interior doors need resistant and wipeable finishes, because they often come into contact with people through daily use so can get marked or scuffed.
    • Metal work such as radiators, railings, benches and guard rails might need corrosion, heat or weather resistant finishes.
    • Façade paints and renders need to be weather, fade and UV resistant.
    • Floor paints should be resistant to regular foot traffic, and cleaning products, while paints for exterior areas or with vehicle traffic will require an even higher level of protection.


  • How can I choose paint colors for the interior and exterior?

    NOVACOLOR Decorative Paint

    NOVACOLOR Decorative Paint

    The finish and color of the paint can have an impact on the luminosity, design scheme, as well as the perceived evenness of surfaces and ease of maintenance. Colors for exterior painting are often limited by local regulations, but you may be able to apply for planning permission. For buildings in historical areas there might even be a strict specification to follow.

    When designing an interior, think about how the paint color can influence the ambiance and style of a room. For rented accommodation or building projects, sticking to neutral and white tones can save time and money and allow the future acquirer or tenant to more easily adapt the space to their taste.

    For interior design projects, the tone and color of paint for walls, ceilings and woodwork can have a big impact on the ambiance of the space as well as the perceived volume. While darker tones can make rooms appear smaller, light tones can open up smaller spaces. Warm shades of red, yellow or brown can create a vibrant ambiance in social rooms, such as the living room or dining room while cooler colors with green, blue or purple tones can have a calming effect, and so are more suited for calmer spaces such as the bathroom or bedroom. Think about how the colors of connecting spaces will look together so that there is continuity when walking through the home or building. Painting architectural features such as woodwork or a feature wall in a different tone or color can help it stand out or create a focal point in a space. Think about how the furniture and paint colors will complement each other to create a well rounded design scheme.

  • What do I need to know about paint surface finishes?

    GRAHAM & BROWN Matte Paint

    GRAHAM & BROWN Matte Paint

    The type of paint finish can influence the maintenance and visibility of a surface. The most common paint finishes are: matte, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss and high-gloss.

    For large surface areas with low traffic and minimum contact such as walls and ceilings, matt paint is better at hiding imperfections. Satin and eggshell reflect more light but are less effective at hiding uneven surfaces.

    In general, high-gloss finishes are easier to wipe clean and more hardwearing than matt finishes. This is why they are often used on surfaces exposed to frequent contact, pollutants or moisture, such as interior woodwork, doors, windows, and railings). Semi-gloss finishes are in between matt and high-gloss, providing a good level of protection with less shine.

  • What do I need to know about paint quantity and application?

    WATCO Floor paint

    WATCO Floor paint

    Make sure you calculate the volume of paint required to cover the walls, taking into account the surface area that needs to be covered, the number of coats required, and add 10% for wastage. Some paint manufacturers specify the surface area covered. If this information isn’t available, an online paint calculator can be used instead.

    Consider the length of the warranty or guarantee for paint finishes and make sure it is appropriate for the intended use. A high specification paint which is easier to apply and lasts longer could be more cost effective than cheaper paints that will need to be reapplied more frequently.

    For professional jobs, make sure that the specification is clear for contractors, so that the paints suggested are fit for purpose and compliant with current legislation. It’s also important to specify the quality of the finish expected.

    Careful planning and execution of the paint application on the jobsite can help save time, resources and result in a better quality finish. Choosing primers and paints that are easy to apply and experienced professionals are important to ensure a quality end result. The number of coats required, ease of application and method (spraying, painting, rolling) can also impact the number of hours of work required, influencing the cost.

  • Options and trends

    SANDECO Blackboard Paint

    SANDECO Blackboard Paint

    A growing demand for environmentally friendly paints is encouraging more polluting varieties to be phased out and replaced with less toxic versions. Some Ecological paints use natural ingredients or have a composition with a limited impact on the environment. Choosing paints with Eco-labels, which are low VOC or even VOC-free can help limit the impact on air quality and the environment.

    There are a number of paints with special properties such as magnetic paint and blackboard paint that can turn walls into writing surfaces or display boards for more playful and interesting interior spaces.

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