No paint specialist can say they know all the different types of paint and their uses, however there are different kinds of paint that are applied in different circumstances. We understand that there are many people that would like to understand a little bit more about these general types of paint, so we thought we’d part with a bit of information.

This little guide is perfect for those who are looking to do a little DIY and want to know what paint to use for various kinds of applications. Alternatively, this is also a great guide for those looking to hire the services of a painting contractor, and would like more information on the kinds of paints used. So, let’s go ahead and look at several types of paints and their uses.


Initial primer layer being applied to a cement coating.


As the name suggests, a primer is used to treat a surface before paint is applied. Often underutilised by those looking at doing a bit of DIY, primer needs to match the paint finish for the paint to be long-lasting and have the highest-quality finish. A primer is often absorbed by the surface on which it is applied, and be sure to couple oil-based paints with oil-based primer.

First-Coat Paint

Much like the primer, the first-coat paint is also used to treat the surface on which you place your decorative coating/paint finish. A first-coat often complements the paint finish or specialised coating by affording added colour and protection. Again, oil coats are used when acting as a first-coat for oil-based finishes. First-coats are applied more than once to provide an even coat and colour opacity.


Satin finish paint project.

Finish Coats

The final coat, a finish coat provides the decorative surface and colour expected from the paint project. Finish coats are also important as they must protect the structure from external elements and damage; for this reason, finish coats are weather resistant. There are many kinds of finish coats for a range of distinct results:

  • Eggshell Finish: An eggshell finish is especially popular when it comes to contemporary interior design. It provides a semi-gloss finish and is hard-wearing, so it can take a beating before being wiped clean.
  • Satin: Satin finish is also incredibly popular as it offers the finest range of pastel colours. It is not a very hard-wearing paint, and is quite expensive, so it is primarily used for interior surfaces.
  • Gloss: Gloss finishes are like satin finishes, but with an added sheen. Available in latex of solvent-based mixtures, gloss paints come in a range of specialised formulas, making it perfect for exterior and interior application.
  • Matte: Matte is also ultra-modern and ‘in-fashion’, offering a great depth of colour. However, it is known for being extremely difficult to clean, so is almost exclusively used indoors.


Metal paint protective finish.

Metal Paints

If you’re looking for a little more gloss in your paint, metal paints afford you both colour and a high-quality finish. Some may consider the paint garish and expensive, but it is also known for its protective qualities.

Other Speciality Paints

There are many other different types of paint with various uses. These different types of paints have had additives applied, allowing them to be used in specialised conditions. A good example is paints specifically made for bathroom and kitchen applications, making them a little more resistant to water damage and fungal growth.

Alternatively, solvent-based floor paints have hard-wearing finishes that are easier to clean and can absorb potential damage.

In addition to the above, many people opt for sand, stone or cementicious finishes on their homes and buildings, all providing an alternative to paint and being just as weather resistant. Each provides a distinct element of design, texture and finish that needs to be considered carefully before application.

Keep in Mind: Solvent vs. Water-Based Paints

It is especially important to know the differences between solvent-based and water-based paints when doing a paint project yourself. Water, solvents, oil or thinners are used as binders to the pigments that give the paints their various colours.

Traditionally, oil-based paints have been the go-to paints for surfaces that are more exposed to elements or sources of damage, however, there have been plenty of chemical developments that have allowed water and solvent-based paints to do the job just as well. There are even newer paints on the market that allows paint to be more sustainably used and less harmful to the environment.

If you choose the route of contracting a professional paint contractor for the application of different types of paint for your offices, housing developments, and other large contracts within Gauteng, then contact Royal Coat Africa today!