Home Faux Finishing Paint for Walls and Faux Finishing Techniques

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I was recently sent an email asking what kind of paint for walls I use before faux finishing and thought I would post a response on my blog

Paint For Walls and Faux Finishing Techniques

Being that I have been painting for over 30 years there are many paints for walls that I use for different reasons. I am not going to get into all the different types and purposes because it would entail a very long article since there are literally hundreds of brands and this is not a consumers report.

This is however what I suggest to my clients and what I prefer under certain faux finishing techniques.

First of all there mainly two kinds of paint for walls which are the oil base paints and acrylic or water base that are most common and used by contractors, home owners and the Do it Yourself enthusiast.

I do not promote any painting companies and am not at all affiliated with any of the brand names that I recommend in this article these are just ones that I have used over the years that I have found to stand the test of time and are the most user friendly in my opinion.

If anyone wishes to recommend other paint for walls that they like to use feel free to use the comment section below after all this is for others who are researching to find the best recommendation that as painters, faux finishers, artists, Interior Designers and home owners, like or dislike in hopes of helping others.

First I will explain the basic sheen levels that are available which are

  • Flat
  • Matte or Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-Gloss
  • Gloss
  • High Gloss

Sheen Levels

Flat Paint for Walls

With these stated I will say that the higher the sheen of the paint for walls the more durability you can expect, meaning of course that one is more washable than the others, for instance if you have a high traffic area in your home or business it would not be cost effective to use a flat paint for walls because of how absorbent the coatings are and are less likely to resist little hand prints at the two foot level when junior comes racing down the hallway to tell you about the really cool mud puddle he had found or how the wall absorbs the really cool water colors that “Santa” brought for Christmas, ( yes I was a problem child). Every wall in our house was a canvas to me and even the ceilings didn’t stand a chance if I could get to them, but that’s another story.

I mainly use flat paint for walls on ceilings and other areas where there is little or no traffic, like garages, small closet spaces and so on as long as there is not a decorative finish going over it, but there are faux finishing techniques that I do over flat paint for walls but these are specializedfaux finishing techniques that are more involved than the basic faux finishing.

Matte or Eggshell Paint for Walls

Depending on the faux finishing technique I will use this sheen level because of how the surface grabs or absorbs my glazes but I always recommend at least a “Mid Grade” level of paint quality, but prefer a high quality in some instances I must have the high end paint. Sherwin Williams Super Paint is the least that I will accept or Ben Moore’s Regal Wall. Although I do prefer the Super Paint over the Regal Wall because the Ben Moore product has a tendency to “burnish” very easily if you brush or bump up against it (burnish meaning to shine). In other words it will kick up a shine where you bumped or rubbed it.

Satin Paint for Walls

Is what I mainly recommend for interior and exterior paint for walls because of its scrub ability, color retention and overall durability. The three manufacturers I use are Sherwin Williams Super Paint or Duration Ben Moore Pearl, Porter (PP&G) Silken Touch.  These are all a very good quality and I have had no trouble  working over any of these with the various glazes that I use. As far as just for straight painting I would highly recommend these also for interior paint for walls.

Semi Gloss Paint for Walls

I rarely use semi gloss paint for walls unless I am going to a highly detailed marbling faux finishing technique or a Chinese lacquer effect or maybe a “tone on tone” look, but generally the semi gloss is used on doors, trim and moldings. Personally for these substrates I would recommend and require an oil base paint because of its permanence and is mostly impermeable to water and moisture. However with today’s technology there are some very nice acrylic Semi Gloss paints. One that I recommend and I use almost exclusively on all my trim doors and moldings is the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic  alkyd oil and Pro Classic acrylic

In my high end custom homes or any home for that matter I always use the Pro Classic Oil for the contract painting part of my business which I rarely do any more. The faux finishing market is what I am in demand for these days and quite simply high quality straight painting has basically come to the end of an era because of cheap labor. The true craftsmen and women of 20, 30, 40 years experience can no longer compete against the cheap labor which has over ran every trade in the construction industry. So now we are at the end of an era where it will become harder to find old timers such as myself and others that really have a passion for what we do and is becoming a dying art unfortunately, but again this is for another discussion and blog post.

Gloss Paint for Walls

I would not recommend this level of sheen for paint for walls unless there is an at least a level 5 finished drywall application or plaster application. The reason being is the higher the sheen level the more reflective light you will have on the surface of your substrate which will show every imperfection on your walls. This technique takes years to master and it is rare to find a craftsman or craftsmen because it takes more than one craftsmen to achieve this high quality type of substrate because of it being a team effort between a whole construction crew. From the framing carpenters all the way to the finishers each trade must masterfully conduct their skills because just one wrong measurement or mistake can throw off the whole end result and in the past 10 to 15 years in the business I have not seen anyone accomplish a perfect level 5 drywall result in order to accept a Gloss or High Gloss paint for walls.

So with that being said there are no reasons to proceed with an explanation for using a

High Gloss Paint for Walls

But will end this Paint for Walls post by saying that High Gloss finishes are beautiful paint finishes for furniture , cabinetry, auto, and wood finishes and is very common in the contemporary interior design these days, but these finishes require a controlled environment such as a dust free, white glove clean area to achieve the perfectly flawless end result for sprayed applications. For a high gloss on walls again at least a level 5 drywall substrate must be achieved if it is to appear as a flawless finish. However beautiful High Gloss textured faux finishing techniques can be achieved rather easily but using a high gloss paint for walls is not a good idea to start with because of bonding issues.

To achieve this level of faux finishing techniques the paint for walls takes on a whole different purpose which has to do with bonding properties  and substrate preparations for which I use a few other different lines of paints. One being made by Faux Effects International which is of a very high grade and is at a whole different level of paint for walls and faux finishing techniques

Other lines I use are Proceeds by Golden, Ronan,

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Arthur Morehead has been an artist/muralist and professional painter for over 30 years. By speaking and writing publicly through, seminars, demonstrations and social media on decorative arts and the painting industry is highly sought after for his knowledge and expertize on problem solving and proper preparation of substrates in the commercial and residential areas of interior design. As an artist since childhood he is very versatile in many different art forms including fine art, murals, faux finishing, marbling, wood grainning, ornamentation, custom designs, gilding, foils, trompe loeil, and many more. With expert color matching repairs are done quickly and effectively. Live demonstrations and seminars are done to bring the decorative arts a little closer to both the general public and businesses

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hello I am an interior designer living in Spain and i would love to read yor posts on the the glass beads finsh tha can be troweld on especially who manufactures it… I am in the middel of a project that needs something like that. thanks.

    • Hi Bob, Rollerwall has been around for years. Personally I custom design most of my work and rarely use stencils or craft type tools, but that does not mean that I wouldn’t. It really depends on what the job or client calls for. However I do believe that this is a cost effective way for DIY’ers to create some pretty cool designs by thinking creatively. I think many of the designs are “dated” and if they were to update their pattern designs I would take another look. I am always looking for new innovated things when it comes to decorative art.

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