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What's the right paint for your home or office?

  • A good paint should be durable, yet affordable. Therefore, the general rule of thumb is to go for a budget-friendly paint.

  • Ms Shrinal says that water-based paints are cheaper than oil-based paints because they have high water content and lesser pigment ratio, a factor that makes them more pocket-friendly compared to premium paints.

  • For a low budget construction, Ms Shrinal says flat paints used to create beautiful patterns on the walls would be more economical than textured finishes. For a high-end finish, premium paints will give an elegant look..

Understanding the surrounding environment is the first step towards getting the right paint. Ms Shrinal Patel Kalita, the head interior designer for Crown Paints Kenya Ltd, says that for a house located in a warm place, such as Mombasa, the exterior and interior walls should be done in lighter shades of cool colours such as blue, green and grey.

“Lighter colours reflect heat, while darker ones will absorb it. Internally, white colour with some shades of blue to bring in the oceanic feel into the house will work best,” she says.

On the other hand, some humid areas, such as around Lake Victoria, would call for a special paint due to the likelihood of fungicide attack on the exterior walls. “When painting a new house in such areas, one should go for fungicidal paints that have a repellent additive to keep off fungus from your walls,” Says Collins Alucheri, a paint expert with Basco Paints Kenya Ltd.


EASY TO CLEAN

A good paint should make it easy to clean off dirt and fingerprints, therefore, in high-traffic areas such as the living room, the kitchen or the dining room, self-cleaning paints would be more ideal. Self-cleaning paints are those that can for instance be easily cleaned using a wet piece of cloth.

“Crown paints such as Vinyl Matt Emulsion, are usually recommended for the interior walls. Permacote, for use in the exterior walls, have an additive called Teflon, which makes coffee and tea, among other stains on the walls, washable with water or mild detergent,” says Ms Shrinal.

For those with children, you need easy to clean paints for your walls because children tend to draw on the walls every now and then.

“I advise parents to paint a part of the wall black, and encourage their children to try out their creativity there. However, the paint should have a non-stick additive such as Teflon, which makes it easy to wipe the wall clean with a dump piece of cloth,” says Ms Shrinal.


COST EFFECTIVENESS

A good paint should be durable, yet affordable. Therefore, the general rule of thumb is to go for a budget-friendly paint. Ms Shrinal says that water-based paints are cheaper than oil-based paints because they have high water content and lesser pigment ratio, a factor that makes them more pocket-friendly compared to premium paints.

For a low budget construction, Ms Shrinal says flat paints used to create beautiful patterns on the walls would be more economical than textured finishes. For a high-end finish, premium paints will give an elegant look.

In a rental apartment, the builder should adopt a single colour such as white or cream to run throughout most of the walls. This will save the cost of painting if the paint is bought in bulk. For instance, instead of buying 20 cans of paint each with a one litre capacity, buy a 20-litre tin, which is cheaper. The doors, windows and some walls could be painted in a different but complementary colour.

Taking into consideration that a rental house needs to be repainted before a new tenant moves in, colours such as white or cream on the walls makes it less cumbersome for the landlord to repaint since such paints are readily available.


SAFETY

When choosing paint, you should also have safety in mind. This is where water-based paints come in.

Adds Ms Shrinal: “I would advise a family that wishes to move into their new house immediately or one looking to repaint their house, to go for water-based paints since they are low on volatile organic compounds, VOC, and produce no harmful fumes. Paint fumes high on VOC can cause nausea, difficulty in breathing, eye-redness, irritation and a discomforting burning sensation to the eyes. However, with oil-based paints, one has to factor in a few days for the paint to dry.”

Paints high on VOC can either be water-based or oil-based, therefore when shopping for paints, ensure you buy from a reputable company besides ascertaining that the paint has the standardisation mark from Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Additionally, for constructions in fire-prone areas, consider fire resistant paints.

Whether buying directly from the manufacturing company or an authorised dealer, ask for a proper VAT invoice to be sure the paint you are buying is original.


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