These coatings are designed to provide the surface for the finish coats of paint or clear finishes.
Primers seal the surface off and provide a "tooth" for the finish paint, they are used on bare wood and metal, previously painted surfaces that have been repaired or are in poor condition, ( flaking, peeling), or if the existing surface is to be painted with a new color that is much darker or lighter than the existing. Primers/Sealers are also used block out stains like water stains, crayon, smoke, soot, ink and on woods that will bleed through a paint coating, e.g., cedar or redwood.
Primers/Sealers insure longer lasting paint work as the resins in the finish paints stay on the surface creating the "wear layer" as they are designed to do. Peeling and premature failure is eliminated and this is by far the most important part in getting a long lasting, durable finish.
There are two types of paints used today, latex and alkyd. Alkyd paint is also known as oil-based paint. Latex provides an excellent finish, while being an easier paint to use. Latex paint cleans up with soap and water, dries quickly, has less odor, is non-flammable, easy to touch up, they remain more flexible and allow moisture to evaporate through the film thus reducing blistering, cracking and peeling.
Inexpensive latex paints use softer vinyl resins (binders) and more water in the formulation while the more durable of the latex paints use 100% acrylic resins and less water, ( you only get what you pay for). The term "Enamel" is normally associated with paints that have some gloss to the finish. Enamels are formulated with higher concentrations of resin as they are intended to be subjected to more wear and tear. Hy-Tech ceramics enable Hy-Tech to produce flat finish paints that have the same durability as shiny traditional "enamel paints.
The sheen of a paint is the amount of light reflected by the surface of a paint finish. There are four basic sheens: flat, satin, semi gloss and gloss.
Flat Paints exhibit non-reflective properties providing a matte finish. This finish helps hide surface imperfections, and is normally used for ceilings and walls in areas not subjected to a lot of wear and tear, dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms not used by small children.
Satin Finish also know as eggshell finish, provides a soft luster sheen similar to that of an eggshell. A satin finish provides a harder surface finish which is more durable and more stain resistant than a flat finish. This durability makes satin paint a good choice for walls in children's rooms, hallways, stairways and family rooms.
Semi gloss Paints are very durable, they are easier to clean, and are more stain resistant than satin finish paints. Semi gloss paints are most often used on heavy wear surfaces or areas that are frequently cleaned such as kitchens and bathrooms. Semi gloss paint is also used on wood trim and cabinets.
Gloss Paint is a harder, more durable, more stain resistant paint finish. It is easier to clean than all the other paint finishes. Gloss finishes generally make surface imperfections more noticeable. Gloss finishes are the best choice for heavy wear areas like kitchens, bathrooms, furniture and cabinets, floors, stairs, handrails, high traffic doors and trim.
Which type of paint should you use?
Two properties you need to consider, how much wear and tear will the surface get and is a sheen or gloss to the finish going conflict with your decorating scheme. If you are painting a storage room or other area which will be subjected to hard use and frequent washings, go with the highest gloss you can as these paints are designed for just that. If the "feel" of the room is important such as a living room or bedroom, choose the lower gloss finishes for a calm soothing feel.