Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Magic Of Colour (part 5)


The walls of any room (with or without the ceiling) represent its largest single surface. They provide the background for all the other furnishing elements that are to be included, and wherever you choose to look, they are smack in your line of vision. Whatever kind of treatment you decide to use here, therefore, will dominate your finished scheme.

Because there are fewer practical than virtually any other surface (you don't walk on them or spill drinks on them), your range of appropriate decorative options is uniquely wide and varied. Select from the following types of wall finish:


The easiest, and usually the cheapest and quickest, transformation you can effect in any room is to paint it a different colour. But before you are seduced by any of the enormous number of shades on offer, however, you should familiarize yourself with the main types of paint on the market and decide which ones you want to use where.

However complex and technical any survey of paint types may at first appear; the basic differences between them are straightforward: in composition , every paint is either water or solvent-based (sometimes known as oil-based). If you're unsure of a particular tin, check the product information on the side. Broadly, these paints have certain characteristics:

1) Water-based paints (emulsions, acrylic gloss and some primers):
  • dry more quickly
  • smell less strong
  • hold colour better
  • can be washed off (and thinned out) with water
  • contain fewer toxic chemicals so are less harmful to the environment
  • are ideal for matt finishes
But they also:
  • wear less well
  • mark more easily
  • offer less flexibility for beginners when it comes to trying out decorative effects since they dry almost instantly.

2) Solvent-based paints (most gloss, eggshell and enamel finishes, plus undercoats and primers):

  • are extremely hard-wearing
  • can create a shiny finish
  • withstand higher levels of damp and moisture (in bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms, for example)

But they also:

  • dry very slowly
  • have a strong chemical smell
  • hold colour less effectively (whites tend to yellow)
  • must be thinned out and removed with solvent such as white spirit.

Within these categories, the main differences between one kind of paint and another tend to involve either the effect they give when dry, their porosity (and therefore their resistance to water), or the durability of finish.

Vinyl matt emulsion
This is the conventional choice for walls and ceilings. Water-based, it is easy to apply, it covers well and the non-reflective finish helps to hide minor surface flaws. However, it also tends to mark fairly easily.

Vinyl silk emulsion
Also water-based, this paint has a slight sheen which makes it slightly more durable than vinyl matt and it is also easier to wipe clean. However, it is more likely to higlight surface lumps and bumps.

Solid Emulsion
Available in either vinyl silk or vinyl matt, this is a non-drip that is packaged in its own tray. Easy to use, it comes in a limited colour range.

Kitchen / bathroom emulsion
This paint contains fungicide to make it resistant to damp and condensation. It has a soft sheen finish.

One-coat emulsion
Although it is more expensive than standard emulsion,this paint offers better coverage. It dries to give a similar sheen to kitchen/ bathroom emulsion. If you are planning to apply a very light colour over a dark one, though , you may still need two coats.

An oil-based paint that offers a similar, but much more durable finish than that of vinyl silk, this is an ideal choice for woodwork. Some eggshell finishes are suitable for use on both walls and woodwork: use one of these when you want the two elements to match perfectly.

Satin finish
Similar to eggshell, this paint is easier t use and faster-drying.

Usually oil-based, this is the most durable finish of all, but many people find its high shine too hard, unsubtle and ouforgiving of even the smallest imperfections. Liquid gloss gives the smoothest finish, but the non-drip version is much easier to use.

This paint is used to seal bare, porous surfaces, such as plaster,wood or metal and it comes in either water or solvent-based versions

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