Selecting & Buying Paint or Stain

March 22nd 2013
Selecting & Buying Paint or Stain

The Government of Canada introduced regulations aimed at protecting the environment and the health of Canadians from the effects of air pollution. These regulations reduced the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that were allowable in alkyd paints, varnishes and wood stains. As of September 2012, paint retailers are no longer able to sell items that do not comply with the new regulations. Most manufactures have been able to create water based products of a similar or better quality to replace the previously sold alkyd oil based products.


Step 1 – Choose the Gloss


Gloss is the amount of “shine” the paint has when it dries, ranging from flat (no gloss) to high gloss.

Flat to low gloss finishes are the most popular paints and stains for siding and fences. Gloss paints are popular for doors, railings and trim and on areas exposed to high traffic or abrasion. Gloss and semi-gloss finishes are tough and durable and are characterized by a sheen that results in a cool, crisp finish that reflects light.


Step 2 – Choose the Paint Type


Paints are designed to be used on certain surfaces and to perform well under different conditions.


Latex – (water based) Easy to apply & clean-up, low odour, quick drying, durable, can be applied to partially moist surfaces, resists peeling & chalking, flexible. Second coats can be applied within 2-4 hours of the first coat. Available in many glosses and sheens. Ideal for siding, fences, stucco, masonry.


Enamel – A glossy finish that is tough, durable, smooth and impact resistant. Enamel finishes are available for a wide variety of surfaces including metal, pipes, etc.


Wood Stains – Paints cover the surface but stains soak in and allow the natural texture of wood to show. Stains are popular for textured wood surfaces. Ideal for wood siding, shingles, shakes and fences.


Solid Colour Stains – Penetrate and cover the natural grain of wood but allow the natural texture of the wood to show. Use on new wood or previously stained surfaces.


Semi Transparent Stains – Penetrates the surface of the wood to protect and colour while letting the natural grain and texture show. Ideal for new wood or over previous semi-transparent stained surfaces.


Specialty Paints – For decks, driveways, machinery, masonry, rusty surfaces. Be sure to choose the right type of paint.

Step 3 – Choose Primers


Primers seal the surface and help form a tight bond between the topcoat and underlying surface material. Primers should be applied to surfaces that have never been painted and areas that are bare or have been patched. There are products that are considered ‘2 in 1’, serving the purpose of both a primer and paint


The two key factors in primer selection are adhesion to the surface and compatibility with the topcoat. The paint you choose will usually identify a recommended type of primer on the label.


Step 4 – Finalize and Select Your Colours

Step 5- Buy Your Tools and Materials


Make sure you buy the best quality tools that you can afford. Top quality tools will save application time and achieve better results. Most jobs can be done with a few quality tools including 1 or 2 premium brushes, a sturdy paint tray that can be attached to a ladder and 1 or 2 good rollers. Check with your paint store to see what tools they recommend for use with the products you have purchased.