The Different Types Of Paint For Walls In Australia

A new paint job on the walls of a home can transform and rejuvenate the space, but selecting the best type of paint to use can be challenging. With many types of paintable surfaces, numerous types of paint and with many different paint brands in Australia like Dulux, Berger, Solver, British Paints, etc how does someone know where to start?

There’s a lot of information out there surrounding how to paint walls and the best types of paint for walls so to cut through to noise & make it simple for those interested in painting to get the information they need – this guide has been created.

It provides a crash course on the different types of paint for walls in Australia and it suits anyone wanting to take care of business themselves or if they’re looking to engaged a professional painting contractor. Get up to speed in only a few minutes with what’s needed to know about selecting the correct type of paint for walls in Australia. 

Different Types Of Wall Paints Organised By Base

There are different types of paint finish for walls and before a choice is made it’s wise to understand all the options that could be used. Here are the different types of paint for walls in Australia

Oil-Based Paints // Enamel Paints

Oil-based paint, sometimes referred to as solvent-based paint or enamel paint, uses an organic solvent in the makeup of the paint, which is typically mineral turpentine. They’re an excellent choice for those valuing longevity as their reliable and durable paint. Along with that, oil-based options are usually relatively affordable, making them one of the most popular types of paint for walls used in homes. 

For those looking for paint that will last as long as possible without signs of wear or damage while still making a space look attractive, oil-based paints are an option to consider.

That being said, one of the issues faced with oil-based paint users is they don’t dry quickly when compared to other paint options. It can take several hours before they are completely dry. Depending on the situation, the impact of this can range from a little inconvenient to being completely unacceptable for the project. To explore this in further depth – contact a local painting contractor or talk to someone at a paint supply store who’ll be more than happy to help.

Water-Based Paints // Acrylic Paints

Water-based paint is also known as acrylic paint and, as the name suggests, the solvent used in a water-based paint is almost all water. Water-based paints are not as durable or rugged as oil-based paints, they are still a suitable option with numerous advantages. 

One of the top reasons people opt for water-based paints is their quick drying time and, if this type of paint is used on walls, several coats a day can generally be applied thanks to the quick drying time.

These paints are also easily cleaned up with only soap and water needed. This also makes using water-based paints convenient. It also doesn’t give toxic fumes, unlike the oil-based paint (some people want oil-based paints to be banned in some parts of the US because it is considered an environmental hazard)

Because of this quick drying time, easy cleanup & lack of toxic fumes – water-based paints are very popular and have been gaining popularity for many years. 

However, it still has some disadvantages. For example, it is more expensive and less durable to use water-based or acrylic paint so a repaint may be needed every few years. 

Latex-based Paints

Many people make the mistake of assuming that latex-based paints and water-based paints are the same, and they are often used interchangeably, leading to a lot of confusion. 

As earlier stated, water-based paints are great for many uses. Most people opt for them because they are environmentally friendly. However, latex-based paints can also be excellent paint for any home, even if they use chemicals. 

While they’re not the same, one thing is true: some latex paint is water-based, and some are latex-based paints made with chemicals. It’s crucial to know the difference between the two, so ensure to look at the can of paints being inspected to confirm what it actually is before purchase.

They turn out quite well, and their drying time is quicker than oil-based paints. They are also used mainly for exterior applications because they’re resistant to moisture and sunlight. 


Primer is a crucial part of the painting process to good results. In most cases, a paint job would need at least 1 coat of primer before painting. This helps prepare the wall and get the best possible results. 

The primary purpose of a primer is to seal the wall surfaces. This gives the wall a protective layer and will prevent discolouration from the previous paint so primers are needed if the old paint isn’t going to show.

There are also different types of primer for various purposes. For example, while using a dark colour and wanting to change it to a light shade,  a particular type of primer called a high-hide primer is needed.

Primers are available in both water-based and oil-based options. While water-based primers can only be used for water-based paints, oil-based primers can be used for water and oil-based paints.

To find the right primer or to learn more – talk to a local painting professional & if in Albany, WA talk to the best Albany painters at Phoenix Painting who will be happy to help.

Paint Sheen Options

Sheen is a measure of the reflected light from a paint finish. Glossy and flat are typical extreme levels of glossiness of a finish. This section will explain the different types of sheen and paint finish options that are available in Australia & that people should be aware of.

Flat Paints 

Flat paints reflect the least amount of light from them out of all the paint sheen options, and they’re usually pretty affordable, but they do not give an exciting finish. They don’t have much texture and are not very reflective. Therefore, flat paints are only ideal for areas that aren’t used often in the home. In addition to this, they have the shortest life cycle because they are not very durable. 

It is not advisable to use flat paints in high-traffic or busy areas because they can become damaged quickly. They can be used in rooms that are not used a lot which saves money as it, generally, costs very little to buy a flat paint, which can be great for those on a budget. 

That being said, it would be best to not forget that it’s not durable, so it’s not ideal to use in every part situation just because of cost. It doesn’t reflect much light off the painted surface so that it will look “flat” hence the name.

Flat paint is an excellent choice to repair noticeable wall surface flaws, and that is because the flat finishes produce low reflecting surfaces, which can significantly reduce the appearance of those flaws.

Matte Paints

Matte paints are a little glossier than flat paints. However, some people mistake them for each other when discussing paint types. But that’s not correct as there are slight differences between them. 

A matte finish is more durable than a flat paint, making it the perfect paint choice for high-traffic or busy areas if not much light reflection is desired. Matte paints can also be used for different purposes in the home, especially on the ceiling. 

Eggshell Paints 

Eggshell paints are slightly better and glossier than matte paints. The eggshell finish appears almost the same as matte when looking at it from the right angle. However, it is more durable than matte paint. 

The reason eggshell paints are pretty popular is that they are very affordable and durable. Some people would instead prefer to use eggshell paints for the walls in their living rooms and other vital areas. 

Eggshell paints are attractive, and they will also ensure that they provide reasonable protection to the wall they are used on. People who’re not a fan of glossy paints and finishes will enjoy the look of an eggshell finish.

Another distinct feature of the eggshell paint is that it is straightforward to clean. Even after it has been applied to a wall, it’s able to be washed easily compared to other paint types. All that’s needed is a wet cloth and soap. This feature makes the eggshell paints one of the most popular finishes in the market. 

Satin Paints 

Satin paints share similar features with eggshell paints. However, they still have minor differences that set them apart. Satin paints are glossier by touch, even though most people can’t notice the difference. 

A satin finish is durable and can work perfectly for any part of the home. It’s a good choice if seeking a paint finish that’s pretty affordable and will last for years. 

Semigloss Paints 

If looking for a paint that will pop and stand out in every way, Semigloss paints should be considered. They are extremely attractive and eye-catching. They are also very durable, making them better suited for painting commercial kitchen walls and bathrooms. 

Numerous semigloss paints are also moisture-resistant. This makes them an excellent choice for the bathroom as they will continue to give off a vibrant look for an extended period when used in wet conditions. 

Semigloss paints are also very rugged and will give any space an attractive look for years to come. Their ruggedness also ensures that they can be scrubbed without negatively impacting the wall paint. Therefore, it is ideal to use semigloss paints where scrubbing is necessary (like in high-traffic areas, for example)

They also provide reflective surfaces so for those whose preference is to let light bounce off the walls, then semigloss paints are a perfect choice. However, the wall’s flaws will become more visible due to the light so this is something to keep in mind while choosing an option from the different types of paint sheen/finished.

High Gloss Paints

Glossy paints can offer a lot of aesthetics and let the walls of any home stand out. Glossy finishes are ideal if seeking to give a home a classic look. They are pretty durable and will improve the overall appeal of any home or space. Gloss paints reflect even more light than semigloss paints. This means that the imperfections of a wall will become quite visible if they exist but without flaws, the wall will look the best it can with this sheen option. 

If painting a wall without flaws, high gloss paint is preferable. But, unfortunately, this option is also the most expensive type of finish on the market, so they are not commonly seen in people’s homes. 

Only people who want to give their home a classy feel use gloss paints as they are very eye-catching. They are widely used for painting skirting, frames, cabinets, furniture, and fireplaces. While they can be used for walls, it sounds be considering the cost of painting a very reflective surface that will highlight a walls’ flaws. 

Best Sheen For Different Wall Surfaces

Confused about the type of paint sheen that should be used? Use the following information to make the best choice. 

  • Ceilings: Flat finishes
  • Bedroom, Hallways, Dining Rooms and Doors: Use satin
  • Decorative Area: Use an eggshell
  • Kitchen and Bathroom: Semigloss
  • Wood Surfaces: Glossy Paints

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding types of paint for walls:

Oil Based Paint vs Water-Based Paint: What’s the Difference?

There is some key difference between oil-based and water-based paint and it all depends on the solvent used. Oil-based paints use organic solvent in paint production, typically mineral turpentine. In comparison, the solvent in water-based paint is all water.

Can oil-based paint go over water-based paint?

Oil-based paint can be applied to any paint, including water-based paint, and it doesn’t require a primer to do so. Get the surface cleaned with a dry cloth and washing detergent, and ensure it is completely dry before painting and there should be no problems.

Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, this has provided the core information needed to understand the types of paints for walls in Australia. If seeking more information, or looking to have help with a painting in Albany, Western Australia – feel free to contact Phoenix Painting. They can take care of any painting provider & provide free advice.

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