A New Coat

There’s more to paints than colour and durability.The choice you make can do wonders to the looks and value of your house. Here is a quick guide.

Print Edition: December 14, 2006

Your house is not just a shelter that you were looking from the storm. It is a mirror to your personality. More than anything else it is also an investment—for you and your family. And like any other investment, it needs regular upkeep and maintenance.

So, instead of spending thousands in redecorating, consider sprucing up only the walls and see how that adds character to your home without burning a hole in your pocket. Any wall treatment is meant to define and visually demarcate areas. Obviously, each room has its own personality and demands its own particular wall treatment. And conventionally, paint is the least expensive finish that you could give to your walls.

From a drab backdrop to an element that whispers taste amid the clutter of other interior constituents, the wall has come a long way. Our primer takes you through the various choices available in the market. The most important is personal preference.

Spreadability depends on the solvent, which thins the colour mixture and allows it to spread evenly. Water is the carrier for water-based paint, while petroleum serves as solvent for oil-based paints.

A paint is no good if it does not stick and maintain a uniform appearance. The binder joins the pigment particles. In water-based paints, the binder is usually a plastic—acrylic or vinyl, or a combination of both. The binder in oil-based paints is either a natural oil or a synthetic resin.

An oil-based coat takes longer to dry than waterbased. The longer the drying time, the better the paint will flatten out to hide brush marks. Cleaning, however, is trickier than water-based ones.

However, water base dries rapidly, so two coats can be applied in one day. Clean up is done with soap and water. And, unlike petroleum-base paints, there is less odour when paint dries.

Gloss, or finish, is determined by the ratio of pigment to binder. The more binder in a paint, the shinier the finish.

Primer is like insurance: It seals any well-prepared surface, leaving a solid base ready for paint.

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