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Ever felt like you had no clue what to look for in a paint store?

You wouldn’t be alone as the sheer number of choices can be quite overwhelming. Jacques Marais of AAA Paint says that various factors will determine your final choice of paint.

Outside or indoors
Obviously exterior walls need a much tougher coating than their interior counterparts but in most cases water-based paints of appropriate quality and durability will be recommended.

The room
Kitchen and bathroom walls will need paint that can handle high doses of moisture. Most manufacturers have “Kitchen and Bathroom” ranges specifically developed to limit moisture absorption, to prevent mold and mildew growth and to enable a good scrubbing. The down side is that it can be expensive.

Although your preferred colour may limit the type of “base” in which it is available, a water-based enamel with a low sheen could be a good alternative, or a premium-grade acrylic paint suitable for use in damp areas.

The amount of “traffic”
In rooms like the main and guest bedroom, where traffic is low, you might get away with a slightly less expensive option. For high-traffic areas like children’s play rooms, the braai or living room however, Jacques recommends a 100% acrylic paint which is washable and stain resistant.

The finish you prefer
This refers to the degree of shine on your walls. It ranges from ultra matt through eggshell and satin to high-gloss. Gloss products are usually reserved for trimmings such as skirtings, shelving and window frames. Satin sheen can vary between 22 and 60% and has a bit of gloss, while matt is non-reflective and very good at hiding imperfections on walls.

The colour
Some factors will affect the appearance of your chosen colour. It’s a myth that paint on the wall will be one shade darker than on the sample card. What does influence the appearance is lots of natural light (which will make paint appear lighter) or an absence of light (which will have the opposite effect). Dark furniture and carpeting will also create the illusion of darker paint.

The price
The saying “penny wise, pound foolish” is very true when it comes to paint. Developing paint is a complex scientific process and price is generally a good indication of the ingredients that had to be included to improve the quality. Choosing a low-quality product may end up costing you more to fix, or lower its durability, so always choose the best quality you can afford!

A few tips
Problems such as mold on the ceilings and dampness on the walls need some prep work before you can paint. Use a mold killer before painting over black fungi stains.

If a wall has moisture damage, it will need to be scraped and sanded down before being treated with a damp-proving coat and then painted.

To prevent poor coverage or an undesired appearance, always use two top coats of paint (and in some cases, one undercoat).

Lastly, find a reputable paint store where an experienced salesperson can assist you with tailored advice. Good personal advice is priceless.