Flat paint the most forgiving paint finish with the best color-payout; however, unfortunately not very durable. If you are in dismay over how easily your newly flat-painted walls or furniture pieces bruise or scuff, I can assure you this post will be worth a couple of minutes of your time.
A large amount of pigment makes flat paint less durable than other paint. To make flat paint more durable, consider starting with a primer to improve adherence. Gloss, sealants, polyacrylic varnish, or a more robust and rugged matte paint formula make flat paint more durable.
Unfortunately, flat paint does not clean up quickly and is the least durable of all paint types. But fortunately, we’re here to solve this issue for you. Continue reading to know how to make flat paint more durable.
When And Where To Use Flat Paint?
If you are looking for a saturated, velvety wall, a flat finish is a perfect paint to give you rich results. In addition, flat paint hides imperfections better than any other paint- it is indeed the way to go for rough, uneven textures or damaged walls with unwanted blemishes!
Flat paint absorbs light and, therefore, makes imperfections like patches and uneven textures less noticeable.
The best places to use flat paint are ceilings, accent walls, and low-traffic rooms that do not require frequent cleaning.
When And Where NOT To Use Flat Paint?
It’s best to avoid using flat paint on all high-traffic areas, like bedrooms, kitchens, and especially bathrooms.
If you’re using high-quality flat paint, you’ll scrub away dirt and imperfections on the wall after 30 days of painting the surface, but flat paint is still the toughest to clean.
Keep in mind: Flat paint is not moisture-resistant, making it the poorest choice for a bathroom wall or ceiling.
How Durable Is Flat Paint?
As a result of a large amount of pigment and the lack of gloss in flat paints, flat finishing paint is unfortunately not naturally durable.
If you frequently wash flat-painted surfaces, the paint is likely to peel or flake. In addition, scrubbing flat paint can quickly wear down the finish, causing sheen to appear in patchy spots.
So, you need to be careful of using flat paint if you like moving furniture around constantly or if you have pets and small children with grubby fingers. The longer you ignore a stain, the more challenging the cleaning will be; scrubbing can even cause the paint to come right off!
However, if you live without small children or pets and prefer not to wash your walls and surfaces often, then the flat paint will generally last well on your walls and other surfaces.
How To Increase The Durability Of Flat Paint?
For long-lasting, durable flat paint, I will start off recommending that you purchase high-quality flat paint and that you properly prepare the area before painting it.
In addition to that, you can increase flat paint’s durability by adding a small amount of gloss, applying a sealant or clear coat atop the flat paint, or by initially choosing a robust flat paint.
Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, but they will provide the same result effortlessly increasing the durability of your flat paint.
Prepare The Area Before Painting
When it’s time to start painting, we are all tempted to jump in and begin rolling the new paint on the wall. However, spending a bit more time preparing your wall or area properly before painting will be sure to give you much better results and durability.
First, start by clearing the area and removing cover plates from switches and outlets. Then, strip old wallpaper with a paper remover and removal tools or scrape off flaking paint with a putty knife.
If you have cracks and holes in the wall, then first clean the holes with a brush. Then, apply some spackle (or wood filler for trim work).
Once the spackle is completely dry, sand the area to smooth it down, and lastly, prime. Ensure that clean the wall by vacuuming the dust and using a damp rug to do a quick wipe-down before painting.
Lastly, ensure that you kill and remove any sign of mildew by using a one-part bleach and three-part water mixture before priming. The most common areas to look out for mold are high-moisture areas like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and closets. Mildew will cause paint to flake, peel, or blister.
Note: surfaces that were previously painted with oil-based paint cannot be painted over with flat paint. If this is the case, lightly sand the area with sanding paper and cover it with a bonding primer.
How To Test If Paint Is Oil-Based?
To test if previously painted areas have an oil-based paint, wet a cotton swab with alcohol and rub the surface. If the paint doesn’t come off, it’s oil-based paint, and if it does come off, the paint is latex-based.
Preparing walls for painting: https://youtu.be/ihp_YDi9-CM
Primer Increases Flat Paint Durability
Primer is known as the magical healer of all paint-related sins.
An excellent way to add durability to your flat paint is to apply an extra coat of primer to your wall or furniture piece before applying the flat paint.
Primer will help the flat paint to adhere to the wall or furniture piece properly.
A coat of primer is helpful for almost any project, whether you are painting old wood, new drywall, or previously painted surfaces. It provides a consistent base for topcoats of paint and is essential for proper paint bonding as it allows the flat paint to stick better on surfaces than usual.
If you paint a high-moisture area, consider using a vapor barrier primer to seal the surface and minimize the moisture passage through the walls if you have serious mildew problems. In addition, use a stain-blocking primer to prevent reoccurring mildew and to peel on your walls.
However, if you are dealing with flat paint in poor conditions with constant peeling, consider using a peel stop primer if you don’t want to replace drywall.
Add Gloss To Your Flat Paint To Increase The Durability
The easiest, simplest, and cheapest way to increase the durability of flat paint is to add a slight amount of gloss or semi-gloss paint to the flat paint. Although adding gloss will cause your flat paint to reflect light slightly more than before, it will drastically increase the durability of your paint.
If you are willing to try this alternative to increase your flat paint’s durability by adding gloss or semi-gloss paint, then simply choosing a satin paint alternative may be worth looking at. It will prevent worry about the colors matching as well as the need for mixing two paints.
Satin paint is more robust and durable than flat paint. Thus, it is a great “middle ground” alternative between flat paint and gloss paint. In addition, it reflects less than 40% of the light that hits it.
However, if you’ve already purchased and painted your walls with flat paint, then, generally speaking, you can paint a semi-gloss paint in the same color over the flat paint without having any problems occur. But you need to ensure that the flat paint is still in good condition.
Combining the two paint types will create a look that will thoroughly cover imperfections and scuffs and be ten times easier to clean. The only downfall is that it will inevitably be slightly shinier.
Flat paint tends to take subsequent paint coats pretty well. The more significant issue I tend to come across is the color, not the finish.
Covering your flat paint with neutral color gloss paint tends to work out well, but covering non-neutral colors with gloss paint is challenging to say the least. In addition, loud and vibrant colors like red, yellow, and neon are always difficult to cover.
A helpful tip when covering loud or dark flat paint colors is to apply a tinted primer before applying your gloss paint.
Do The Resins Have To Match When Mixing Flat Paint With Gloss Paint?
Paint compatibility is essential! Mixing latex flat paint with latex semi-gloss paint will allow you to make your own mixture of a usable new sheen. However, mixing latex paint with oil-based paint will not.
So, be sure to check that both paints contain the same resins before purchasing a gloss to add to your flat paint.
Is Gloss Sheen or Semi-Gloss Better To Mix With Flat Paint?
Semi-gloss will allow for scrubbing and cleaning with soap and water, contrary to flat paint. However, it will have a subtle sheen to it, but not the blinding shine of a pure gloss.
Whereas a full gloss sheen will not hide any imperfections when mixed with flat paint, nullifying the purpose of flat paint. It can also cause a streak when the glossy sheen and flat paint are not well mixed. Therefore, it is rather helpful for areas that need to stand out or for trim work.
How To Mix Flat Paint And Semi-Gloss Sheen
There is no hard-and-fast rule to obtain a specific sheen by mixing flat paint and semi-gloss paint, but as a general rule the higher the pigment concentration, the “flatter” the paint. So, the higher the concentration of flat paint you add to the mix, the duller your final sheen will be.
The only way to tell if your paint mixture has the right amount of sheen is to test it on a scrap piece of primed drywall.
It can be challenging to get the same results twice when mixing separate batches of paint. If the color and sheen vary slightly, you’ll generally notice the difference only after the paint dries out. So, mix all the paint at the same time and avoid costly do-overs.
Flat paint is generally a coarse product. So, when you add additional paint or gloss, you need to mix it thoroughly Mix and mix some more!
Start with your flat paint as a base and gradually add the semi-gloss sheen and mix well. Of course, you can always add more gloss later on, but you can’t remove it, so start with small amounts.
Sealants Increase The Durability Of Flat Paint
Using a sealant on your flat paint is another valuable and budget-friendly alternative to increase the durability of your flat paint.
A sealant dries to a harder finish than flat paint and will therefore protect your flat paint from moisture, stains, scuffs, scratches, and chips.
You can apply the sealant with a brush or use the spray-based sealant option to apply to your flat paint once it dries out properly.
Sealing agents are available in both a matte and a gloss finish, so opt for a matte-texture sealant if you want to keep the effect of your flat paint.
Use A Robust Flat Paint Formula To Increase The Durability
Several outdoor flat paint formulas are more robust than the regular formulas. However, they are pricier than the ordinary flat paint types as companies struggle to supply a low-light-reflecting and rugged and robust paint.
Polyacrylic Varnish Will Increase The Durability Of Flat Paint
Polyacrylic varnish is an excellent choice to increase the adhesion and durability of latex or oil-based flat paint. However, only use it interiorly.
Polyacrylic varnish cleans up nicely with soap and water but does not work on areas subject to vast amounts of wear and tear and large quantities of water.
I recommend applying multiple (two to four coats) layers of polyacrylic varnish to high-traffic areas like kitchens.
You can apply polyacrylic varnish with a brush or roller, and it’s even available as an aerosol. There is a variety to choose from including, gloss, semi-gloss or satin, matte, and flat.
In addition, older varnish types like oil-based polyurethane tend to impart an amber so that it won’t work well over a pure-white flat paint finish. Whereas polyacrylic varnish leaves a clear, non-yellowing surface, it does not change the appearance of light flat painted areas.
However, note that polyacrylic varnish is not recommended for dark-colored flat paints as its clear appearance can become somewhat milky.
Flat paint is naturally not durable paint. Luckily, there are several available options to help you increase the durability of your flat paint.
These options include opting for a slightly glossier look than planned by mixing your flat paint with a semi-glossy sheen or painting the semi-gloss over the dried flat paint.
Other options include using a sealant, trying a more robust flat paint, or applying polyacrylic varnish over the dried flat paint.
Whichever option deems fit, we hope you come right with making your flat painted areas more durable in the future.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.