By SA Paint Manufacturers Association (SAPMA)

After preparing the surfaces for painting, as outlined by the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) in the last issue of SA Affordable Housing, the next step is to choose the desired paint finish and colour.

Photo created by Racool_studio -

Photo created by Racool_studio –

SAPMA member, ICI Dulux Paints, here outlines some of the main differences between the various paints on the market.

Emulsion paints:

Water-based (acrylic) emulsion paints are perfect for use on indoor walls. They are available in different levels of sheens and toughness, including a super-durable finish ideal for high traffic areas like hallways or children’s bedrooms. Some varieties have the added benefit of being washable so the walls can be cleaned with just a simple wipe down. It is also much easier, incidentally, to clean your brushes or rollers after using emulsion paints: just rinsing in a bucket of water will do.

Matt paint:

Matt paint has a flatter (almost chalky) like finish. Although traditionally used in period properties, it is ideal to provide a super-modern look to a home.  Matt acrylic paint also does a great job at disguising flaws and surface imperfections due to diffused light reflection. Because the film is microscopically rougher, conventional matt paints can mark slightly easier and is slightly more difficult to clean than higher sheen options, however there are premium matt options available with extreme wash and stain-resistance.  Matt paint is suitable for cement plaster, gypsum plaster, concrete, fibre cement, ceiling boards, and wooden surfaces. As noted, before, proper preparation is necessary.

Low – Medium sheen paint:

This type of paint is the most washable and stain-resistant of all emulsion wall paints, making it ideal for busy areas that require frequent cleaning. Unfortunately, one of its flaws is that it can reveal imperfections due to the specular reflection, so make sure the wall is perfectly prepared prior to using a sheen paint. It can also be used to subtly highlight traditional features like covings and cornices. This type of paint is versatile and can be used for walls, ceiling, and indoors and outdoors on cement plaster, fibre cement, concrete, brickwork, and various types of composite boarding.

Satinwood paint:

Satinwood paint is a great option if a sheen finish for interior wood and metal is required.

Gloss enamel paint:

Gloss enamel paint has a mid-to-high finish and is an old standby for wood and metalwork. It is extremely durable with colours that resist UV-ray fading. It is also scratch- and stain-resistant and provides an attractive, even gloss finish. Enamel based paints are not breathable and therefore help to keep destructive elements such as oxygen and moisture vapour away from metals and wood. What is more, you can save application time if a one-coat or non-drip option is selected.

High gloss paint:

This super-shiny paint gives a mirror-like finish that looks great on all kinds of wood and metal surfaces and can be used indoors and out, where it will highlight any design feature. Choose water-based gloss paints for indoor projects and use oil-based for outdoor work. Gloss finishes are generally easiest to keep clean because they do not hold much dirt so can be cleaned easily. The solvent-based formulation offers excellent flow, with a tough, durable high gloss finish.


When it comes to selecting the right colour for house painting, SAPMA approached another producer member, Warrior Paints, for some advice:

First, when deciding on an exterior paint colour for a house, consider other aspects of the building such as the colour of the roof, deck, and other structures to ensure that there are as strong matching factors as possible.

Indoors, consider the psychological effects of colours. Paint colours can change the feel of a room: warm colours such as red, orange, and yellow make a room inviting, while dark colours can make a room appear smaller. Think of what type of activities take place in the room scheduled for repainting and choose a colour appropriate for each room based on this.

“Matt paint is suitable for cement plaster, gypsum plaster, concrete, fibre cement, ceiling boards, and wooden surfaces.”

Choosing the right paint colours, specifically interior paint, starts with understanding warm and cold colours. Cold colours have white tones, while warm colours have warm hues of brown. The difference in ‘warmth’ is clearly illustrated in producers’ paint swatches and will be grouped under headings of warm, neutral, and cold. If you are thinking of choosing a dark colour for your walls, remember that they are more prone to fading in areas where exposed to direct sunlight.

Take note of the other contents of a room such as artwork, furniture, floors etc. and choose a paint colour that complements these aspects of the room and accentuate the objects already there. A home’s paint colour should always match its furniture and décor.

Decide whether you want your interior wall paint to be an accent, or act as a neutral backdrop. If you want the wall paint to blend, complement, be understated, or continue a predetermined theme, the best choice is a neutral colour paint.

Also, do not be afraid to mix and match. You can paint three walls in a room with a neutral colour and make the other an accent wall that pops up colour and enhances design – a most effective way to create something different when it comes to interior décor.


Photo by SAPMA

Photo by SAPMA