Types of House paint

With so many brands and types of house paint on the market today,it can be confusing to know where to start when choosing paint for a household project. Despite the hundreds of paint cans lining the wall at your home improvement store,there are essentially two kinds of paint: oil based and water based. But you will also find primers,enamels,acrylics and many others. Here are descriptions of seven different house paints you will commonly find on the shelf.


This is not usually considered paint,but it is needed in many painting projects and is found in the paint aisle. Primer can be oil based or water based. When you are painting and need to use a primer,always use one that matches the type of paint you are using. So,if painting with oil based paint,use oil based primer.

Interior and Exterior

You will see paint labeled as interior or exterior. You can use water based paint on the interior of your home,but exterior paint is best left to oil based varieties.

Oil Based vs. Water Based

Oil based house paint takes more time to dry than water based house paint,which dries as fast as moisture can evaporate. However,there are drying additives in oil based paints to aid in shorter drying times. The finish of oil based paints is glossier and harder than water based. Water based paint is not as durable as oil based,and isn't as shiny. In order to clean oil based paint you need to use harsh chemicals like paint thinner. A small amount of detergent and water will allow you to clean water based paint.


This is a term used to describe water based paint. There is actually no latex in the paint.


Oil based paint is given the term "enamel" due to the hardness and durability of the paint. These paints will also include gloss and semi-gloss paint finishes. It is mostly used around windows,doors and trim. Over time this paint can discolor,however.


This is just another term for water based house paint,but the binding ingredient in the paint is acrylic. Acrylic paint can be found in several varieties including acrylic latex,acrylic enamel or acrylic latex enamel. Acrylic enamel house paint is considered as such due to its durability. It is not a mixture of oil and water-based paint. Always consult the labels of the paint as not all paint actually contains latex or acrylic despite the name. Also,remember that the higher the shine,the more imperfections the paint will show.

Specialty Paints

Each paint type can have additives included in it. These paints can include anti-mold and anti-mildew properties as well as fire retardants. There are also paints that have anti-condensation additives,making them popular in locations like the kitchen.

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Popular Q&A

What type of hous paint do I need for this furniture project?

I am currently trying to fix up a dresser for my niece. We are going to do the outside one solid color and then the drawers will be white and black zebra print. I will be getting house paint and need to know what type will work best... I know there is gloss, semi gloss, flat... Etc. I'm thinking the semi gloss one ? Because I don't want it to be dull but I also don't want it so glossy it reflects everything or looks plasticy. Also, since the zebra stripes themselves won't take up much is ok if I use regular acrylic paint for that part? I'm trying to make this as cheap as possible and if…

YOU will need indoor home paint - for the entire dresser.

What type of paint is interior house paint?

I know it's interior house paint but does it fit under other types of paint? I.e. oil paint; acrylic; watercolor; etc.

House paint is generally Latex Paint which you can thin using plain water.

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