You’ve just bought a new home or decided to renovate the whole house, and you’re not sure which type of paint to choose? Do you want to know what to expect from every kind out there?

Well, I’m here to make the whole process much easier for you. I made a list of every popular kind of paint, as well as various finishes that paint can have.

So, without further ado, here’s the ultimate guide to different types of inside and outside paint.

The Main Types of Paint

There are so many different kinds of paint. However, when it comes to their base, there are only two main types on the market: oil and water-based. So, all the other types of paint are either based on water or oil. Thus, the first thing you have to learn is the difference between these two.

Oil-Based Paint

Professionals consider oil-based paints to be the most durable ones. They are thicker than others, which makes them a great choice for stained materials, bleeding wood, and stain blocking.

With this type of paint, you can be certain that you’ll cover everything and that the paint will be resistant to damage. So it will last you for a long time.

However, the issue with oil-based paint is that it takes so long to completely dry out. In most cases, you’ll have to wait for about 24 hours. The problem is even bigger when you want to add multiple layers on the paint. In that case, you’ll need days to complete the whole painting process.

In addition, in case this kind of paint gets onto your clothes or somewhere where it shouldn’t be, it will be hard to take it off. You’ll probably have to invest in a product that’s specially made for dissolving oil-based paint.

Another downside to using this type of paint is the fact that its fumes are toxic. Thus, the paint isn’t the safest for both you and the environment. That is the main reason why the oil-based paint is becoming less and less popular these days.

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paint (also known as latex paint) is easy to use and it needs just a couple of hours to dry out. So, if you want to paint your walls with multiple coats, this type will be a great choice. In addition, water-based paint doesn’t have toxic fumes, which makes it much safer than the oil-based one.

What’s more, water-based paint is much easier to clean. Usually, you won’t need anything besides water and a bit of soap to completely remove the paint from the surface.

But, you should keep in mind that this kind of paint isn’t that durable. Therefore, it’s best for the inside of your house, especially for walls and ceilings. In addition, water-based paints are more expensive, so you’ll need to take that into account too.

Other Types of Paint

If I wanted to name every type of paint on the market, I would never finish writing this article. So, I decided to present you with the most popular types that you’ll be able to use for your home.

Most paints that can be used for both exterior and interior surfaces come in two different versions, for the outside and the inside of your home. Thus, you should buy the one that’s suited for the part of your house that you want to paint. If you want to learn why this step is important, you should check out my other article.

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is oil-based paint with a semi-glossy finish. You can use it when you need good color coverage.

But, what makes this type of paint special is the fact that it’s easy to clean. So, you should use it for the busiest areas in your house.

You can paint your kitchen, hallways, and even your kids’ rooms, especially if they tend to display their art on the walls. In addition, enamel paint is great for furniture. You can even use it for the outside of your home because it is durable and resistant to moisture.

Emulsion Paint

If you need good paint for walls and ceilings, emulsion paint is the way to go. This paint is easy to use and dries in a couple of hours. It is hard, so you’ll easily clean it with water. What’s more, this paint is less toxic than most others. Thus, it’s perfect for the inside of your home.

In addition, emulsion paint won’t crack or fade when exposed to direct sunlight. It is also humidity-resistant. So, you can use it in steamy rooms such as your bathroom and kitchen.

However, you should keep in mind that, in most cases, this paint won’t be ready for use when you buy it. You’ll have to mix it with water before application.


Whitewash is a budget-friendly paint that isn’t the best choice for the inside of a house. It is made of powdered chalk or slaked lime and it’s usually used for whitening wood as well as concrete and brick walls.

You can find whitewash in old buildings from the middle of the 20th century. During that period, every dairy barn had to be painted with whitewash, because the paint could repel dirt and dust and has antibacterial properties.

Today, whitewash isn’t that popular, especially because it’s associated with rural poverty. But, you can still see this paint on trees due to its ability to prevent sunscald.

Distemper Paint

Distemper paint can be considered as a higher-quality whitewash. The ingredients are almost the same, and the manufacturer can also add a coloring pigment.

The paint isn’t durable mostly because it isn’t water-resistant. Thus, when it comes in contact with water or a higher level of humidity, it simply peels off.  What’s more, distemper paint is not very pretty. But, considering the fact that it’s cheap, it isn’t that bad and you can use it for hidden areas such as your attic.

Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint is damage and chemical resistant, as well as durable paint that is actually a mix of epoxy resin and hardener. People mainly use it for floors, basements, and garages. In addition, it is great for sealing industrial materials such as steel and concrete because of its strength and low porosity.

The major weakness of the paint is its lower resistance to heat. However, you can solve the issue by adding latex. On the other hand, the paint can withstand subzero temperatures, which is a big plus.

Cement Paint

As you can probably guess by its name, cement paint is a water-based paint that is mixed with cement. Thus, this type of paint is hard and durable. It’s a great choice for those that need paint that is dirt-repellent and has the ability to prevent water from penetrating it.

You can decorate both the inside and the outside of your home with cement paint, as well as use it to coat concrete. In addition, you can use it for your deck and patio, because it is resistant to heat too.

Anti-Condensation Paint

The buildup of water often leads to mold. That is why a lot of homeowners nowadays opt for anti-condensation paint to try to avoid that. This type of paint serves as an additional layer of protection on walls and it’s able to prevent condensation. You can use it for your shed, basement, entry area, garage, and so on.

Texture Paint

Those that aren’t fans of wallpaper should definitely try out texture paint. It reassembles the wallpaper by creating a 3D effect on the wall. You can also use it to create faux finishes such as plaster and concrete.

However, texture paint isn’t the easiest to work with. Thus, you’ll probably have to hire a professional to help you with creating the design. In addition, this paint is a bit on the pricey side. So, you should keep that in mind if you’re on a budget.

Texture paint isn’t only good at making the walls look better. You can also use it to hide damage on the wall or any other imperfections.

Paint Finishes

Most of the paints that I named come in various finishes. Thus, besides choosing the right type of paint, an important decision that you’ll have to make is what kind of sheen you want your paint to have. So, if you aren’t sure what to expect from each finish, you definitely shouldn’t skip this part of the article.

A flat Finish

A flat finish is the cheapest on the market and, as its name suggests, it doesn’t have any shine. Flat paint isn’t durable, so it can be easily damaged. That is why people mostly apply it on areas that aren’t that busy.

You can also use it to hide bigger imperfections on walls and ceilings. That’s because flat paint can cover them better than most glossy ones.

A Matte Finish

A matte finish is a bit shinier than the flat one, but it still isn’t reflective. It has a smooth texture and you can expect a better depth of color than with shinier sheens. Just like the flat one, the matte finish is perfect for hiding damage on both ceilings and walls.

The downside to matte sheen is that it isn’t that easy to clean. Thus, you should avoid using it for busy areas of your home.

An Eggshell Finish

An eggshell finish is glossier than the matte one. Homeowners often choose it because it’s affordable and durable. Thus, you won’t have to spend too much money to be certain that the paint will be able to stand the test of time.

In addition, eggshell paint is easier to clean than the matte one. So, you can use it to paint the busiest areas of your house.

A Satin Finish

Satin paint has almost the same finish as the eggshell, but if you put them next to each other, you’ll notice that the satin finish is a bit shinier. Satin paint is durable just like eggshell, and it’s so easy to clean. So, it’s perfect for those that aren’t fans of a glossy finish, but still want something that would hold up for a long time.

A Semi-Gloss Finish

If you’re looking for something that’s glossy, but still doesn’t have too much shine, then the semi-gloss finish will be perfect for you. This paint will definitely make your walls stand out.

What’s more, semi-gloss paint is durable, so you can use it for any part of the inside and the outside of your home. Most semi-gloss paints can also survive high humidity conditions. That is why this paint is especially popular for bathrooms.

Another important thing about semi-gloss paint is that it’s easy to clean. You can scrub it as much as you need and it won’t move. So, besides bathrooms, this paint is great for kitchens and kids’ rooms.

However, you should keep in mind that glossy walls are more reflective. That means that the light will bounce off and make every imperfection stand out. Therefore, the semi-gloss finish isn’t the best choice for damaged walls.

A Gloss Finish

In case you really want your guests to notice your walls as soon as they enter your house, you should choose gloss paint. Besides being pretty, gloss paint is the most durable one and the easiest to clean. You can use it to give your walls, trim and furniture a fresh, new look. What’s more, the gloss paint works great for doors, moldings, and baseboards.

But, you should keep in mind that the gloss finish is the most expensive one. In addition, it is the most reflective finish, so using it on damaged walls won’t be a good idea.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found the type of paint that you were looking for on my list. If this article was useful to you, I have other great ones that will make the whole painting process so much easier for you.

The first step of the process is, of course, prepping the room. You can find the best tips here. If you’re not sure how long you should wait between a primer and paint, you’ll find this article helpful.

In addition, you don’t want to ruin your hard work by painting another layer too soon. So, you should check out this article to learn how long you should wait between coats.

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