The Ultimate Guide To Interior Home Painting — Most Asked Questions Answered

Whether you’re painting your first home or your fourteenth, painting your interior walls is a big job. It can be daunting to figure out the best way to go about it- especially when you’re not sure what the difference is between all types of paint. And then there are the questions about how long the paint last, how many coats you should do, and whether you can put polyurethane over the paint. This article will aim to answer all those questions for you and give some general tips on making the process a little bit easier.

Difference between paint types

Homeowners can spend a lot of time debating the best paint to paint their interior walls. Most don’t realize that there are many different types of paint, each with different purposes. You should first understand the difference between matte vs. flat paint, perhaps the most well-known distinction between paints.

Matte vs. Flat

Matte paint has a dull finish, which can add subtle texture to your walls. This type of paint gives the appearance of being slightly more textured than flat paint. As such, it is often used to make walls look a bit more interesting. Flat paint is the type you see most commonly in homes. It has a completely smooth finish and tends to go on very uniformly. This paint isn’t too shiny, but it isn’t dull, either.

Both matte and flat are good options for interior walls. Their similarities make it easy for you to choose which will work best for your home. However, if you’re unsure what type of paint is right for you, it can be difficult to figure out which one would look better. One good rule of thumb is that matte and flat finishes generally work best in rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light. It can be tough to tell the difference between matte and flat paint when it is shiny, so these two types of paint are a bit easier to use in rooms that don’t get much light, such as bedrooms and hallways.

Satin vs. Gloss

It’s also important to note the difference between satin and gloss paint, which is slightly different from matte and flat. While satin and gloss paints are similar in terms of the basic finish they provide, there are some key differences between them. Satin paint has a slight sheen to it. It is mostly matte with a bit of a sheen. This type of paint tends to be used in living rooms and dining rooms more commonly than other types of paint. It creates a more inviting appearance than matte paint but isn’t quite as shiny as gloss paint.

Gloss paint, on the other hand, is extremely shiny. This type of paint is often used in kitchens and bathrooms because it tends to be more durable than other types of paint. It’s also easy to clean, which is why this paint is so popular in kitchens and bathrooms. However, gloss paint can create a bold appearance on your walls that isn’t ideal for every space. It is a bit more difficult to work with than satin paint, so if you’re looking for a more subtle appearance in your living room or dining room, it may be best to opt for satin paint.

Latex vs. Acrylic

Though both paints share many of the same properties, some key differences between them can make a big difference when choosing which type is best for your needs. In general, latex paint is more popular than acrylic because it is easier to work with, more flexible, and more resistant to cracking than acrylic paints.

One of the most notable differences between latex and acrylic paints is that while latex can be applied on almost any surface, acrylic paint must be used on non-porous surfaces such as metal or glass. Another major difference between the two types of paints is that latex can be used in almost any temperature, from below-freezing to very high temperatures. In contrast, acrylic paints do not work well in either of these extremes.

In general, latex paint tends to have a more matte or flat finish than acrylic paint, making it a better choice for creating an overall smooth and even look on your walls. If you prefer a glossier, more shiny finish on your walls, acrylic paint is a better option. The cost of these two types of paints tends to be fairly similar, though latex may be slightly more expensive than acrylic. Whether you choose latex or acrylic paint will depend on the exact surface you are painting and the look you are trying to achieve.

Satin finish vs. semi-gloss

The difference between a satin finish and semi-gloss paint is the shine these two types of paint provide. Satin finishes tend to have a slight sheen, whereas semi-gloss paints are much shinier. This difference in how glossy the two finishes are makes it easy to tell them apart. One of the main uses for satin finish paint is in living and dining rooms, where a slightly shiny but not overly glossy appearance is ideal. This type of paint provides a nice balance between matte and gloss finishes, which can create an inviting look in these types of rooms. However, semi-gloss paint is often used in kitchens and bathrooms, which tend to be more high-traffic areas in the home. This type of paint is also easier to clean than other types of paint, which is why it is often used on such surfaces.

Commonly asked questions

1. How long does paint last (in the package and use)

When the paint is packaged, it typically has a shelf life of several years, depending on the type and brand. Generally, high-quality paints with good coverage will last longer than cheaper paints. Additionally, some types of paint are more durable than others and will last longer. When painting the interior of a home, there are a few key steps to keep in mind to get the best results. These include preparing the surface properly, selecting and applying the right paint for your needs, and using the right techniques and tools.

Clean the surface – First, cleaning the surface thoroughly before painting is important. This may include removing any old paint or wallpaper, patching holes or cracks in the walls, and repairing damaged areas.

Ensure you choose the right type of paint – Next, you will need to choose the right paint based on your needs and aesthetic preferences. Each type of paint has pros and cons, so it is important to consider all factors carefully when selecting your paint.

Apply the paint effectively – Once you have chosen and properly prepared the surface, you will need to apply the paint in a smooth, even coat. This can be done using special paint rollers and brushes or spraying the paint directly onto the surface. Additionally, it is important to avoid drips and splatters, as these can lead to uneven coverage and a messy final appearance.

Consider any additional considerations – Finally, other factors may be important to homeowners when it comes to interior painting. These can include the cost of paint and supplies, the difficulty of the job, or any special considerations that may impact the overall process. For example, if you work with a dark or vibrant color, you may need multiple coats to achieve full coverage. Additionally, if any areas are difficult to reach or paint, you may need to hire a professional painter to help with the job. Overall, interior painting is a relatively straightforward process, but preparing and applying your paint effectively will ensure you get the best results possible.

2. Removing paint from glass

Removing paint from glass can be challenging, as there are several steps involved and considerations to take into account. Some of the key steps include:

-Scraping away excess paint using a paint scraper or stiff plastic putty knife
-Sanding down rough or uneven areas with fine-grit sandpaper
-Cleaning the glass thoroughly with window cleaner or other appropriate solvents

Some of the important tips for successfully removing paint from glass include using the right tools for the job, such as a scraper or sandpaper, and taking your time to ensure that you do not damage the surface of the glass. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of any special considerations that may arise when working with interior paints, such as ensuring that you are using the right type of paint for the surface you are painting and following all recommended preparation steps to ensure a smooth, even finish. Ultimately, successfully removing paint from glass requires patience, diligence, and attention to detail to avoid damaging the surface or using the wrong tools.

3. How much time between coats of paint

Typically, there should be a minimum of four hours between coats of paint. However, this can vary depending on the paint used, the surface it is being applied to, and other factors. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to applying paint. The steps involved in painting your home are:

Preparing the surface
Applying primer
Finishing with a top coat of paint
Application of the first coat
Coat work on window and door trim
Preparation for the second coat of paint
Final steps before painting your home

It is important to ensure that the surface to be painted is properly prepared before applying paint, as this will affect the quality and durability of the final result. This typically involves cleaning and sanding the surface to remove any dirt or dust and any peeling or flaking paint. Special considerations should be made for surfaces such as brick or wood, which may require priming to ensure the paint adheres well.

4. Can you put polyurethane over paint?

There is no definitive answer to whether you can put polyurethane over paint, as it depends on the paint type used and the materials being painted. Generally, if the paint is water-based, it is not recommended to use a polyurethane coating on top, as this may cause the paint to peel or flake off. Suppose you are considering using a polyurethane coating over oil-based paints. It is generally recommended to test a small area first, as some oil-based paints may not be compatible with polyurethane.

When it comes to the actual steps involved in painting the interior of your home, there are several key considerations that you should keep in mind. These include preparing the space by removing furniture and other items from the room, selecting high-quality paint suitable for your specific needs, and choosing the right tools, such as brushes, rollers, and paint trays. Additionally, it is important to take your time and be patient throughout the painting process to ensure that you achieve a smooth, even finish.

Always use drop cloths or old sheets to cover floors and furniture, and ensure plenty of ventilation in the room while painting. Use mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean your brushes and other tools after painting, and safely dispose of any leftover paint or other materials to avoid accidents or environmental damage.

5. Painting over wood paneling

Painting over wood paneling can be difficult, as it typically requires removing the old paint or varnish before applying new paint. One of the first steps in this process is to scrape away any flaking or peeling areas on the paneling using sandpaper or a paint scraper. Additionally, you may need to use a chemical stripping agent to remove any remaining paint that is adhered to the wood.

Once the paneling has been stripped and cleaned, you can begin the painting process by applying a layer of primer over the surface. This will help ensure that your final coat of paint effectively sticks to the wood panels and prevents any later chipping or flaking. Depending on the size and layout of your paneling, you may also want to use a paint roller or brush for this step.

When applying your final coat of paint, it is important to take care when painting around any doors and windows in the room. To prevent unsightly drips or streaks from forming, you should try to roll or brush the paint towards these areas rather than away from them. Additionally, you should always use high-quality painter’s tape to cover any trim or moldings along the edge of the panels, as this will help ensure that your final paint job looks clean and professional.

6. Painting brick fireplace

When painting a brick fireplace, it is important to choose a paint that can withstand exposure to heat, moisture, and abrasive surfaces. Depending on whether you want long-lasting performance or a quick fix, several different paint types can coat your brick fireplace.

One option is oil-based paints, commonly used for heavy-duty projects due to their durability and high quality. These paints are formulated with special resins and pigments that help them withstand exposure to moisture and heat, making them a great choice for surfaces such as brick fireplaces. However, oil-based paints can be difficult to work with and require careful surface preparation before application.

Another option is latex paints, which are easier to apply than oil-based paints but may not perform as well in high-traffic areas or exposed to moisture or heat. Latex paints are also more affordable than oil-based paints, making them a good choice for homeowners on a budget.

7. How to paint baseboards with carpet

Painting baseboards with carpet can be a bit more challenging than painting other parts of the interior walls, as there are several steps and considerations to keep in mind. Some of the key steps include:

-Removing any furniture or objects that may be in the way
-Cleaning and prepping the baseboards to ensure they are free from dust and grease
-Applying a coat of primer to the baseboards to ensure good adhesion for the paint
-Using high-quality interior paint in your preferred color and finish, such as semi-gloss or eggshell
-Applying several coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry completely before moving on to the next step

In addition to these steps, special considerations for painting with carpet may include using painter’s tape to protect the carpet from any splatters or drips and working in small sections at a time so that you can easily move furniture back into place when necessary. It is also important to be gentle when applying the paint to avoid damaging the baseboards or causing any bumps or ridges in the finish.

8. Painting over tile

Tiles are popular for flooring and backsplashes in homes, but painting over them can sometimes be a challenge. When deciding whether or not to paint over tile, it is important to consider the type of paint you will use, as well as any special considerations that may be necessary for your particular situation.

One of the main differences between different paint types is whether they are prone to flaking or peeling over time. For tile surfaces, you will likely want to select a paint that has a very high level of durability and resistance to wear and tear, such as an epoxy-based paint.

In addition to choosing the right type of paint, it is important to prepare your tile surface properly before painting. This may involve cleaning the tile thoroughly, sanding it down if necessary, or applying a primer to ensure the paint adheres properly.

When painting over tile, it is also important to be mindful of any special considerations that may arise due to the material’s unique properties. For example, if your tiles are located in a high-traffic area, you may need to take extra care when applying the paint so that it does not chip or scratch easily. Additionally, if your tile surface is textured or irregularly shaped, you may need to use special techniques and tools to ensure that the paint covers the entire surface evenly.

9. Does paint dry lighter or darker?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as different types of paint may dry lighter or darker depending on various factors, including the type of paint and painting conditions. According to experts, some paints may absorb more moisture and light than others, while certain paints may be designed to dry more quickly or slowly. If you want your paint to dry lighter, experts recommend choosing paint with less pigment or one that dries quickly. Alternatively, you can use a light primer or white paint to give your final coat a lighter look.


Interior home painting can be a great way to improve the look and feel of your home, whether you are updating an existing space or adding color to a room for the first time. Several key steps are involved in painting interior walls, including choosing the right paint type, cleaning and prepping the surface, and applying multiple layers of paint. Additionally, when painting over tile or other materials, it is important to consider any special considerations that may arise and to take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth, even finish. Whether a beginner or an experienced painter, these tips can help you achieve professional-quality results for your next painting project.