How To Choose the Right Type of Paint for All Surfaces

Find the right type of paint for your next project with our paint by surface buying guide. Whether you need to paint drywall, brick, or wood, our guide will help you choose the perfect type of paint to ensure beautiful results that will last.
living room with blue walls white trim and a yellow couch

Ready to Tackle Your Next Paint Project?

Discover the perfect paint for your next project at Lowe's! We carry a wide range of paint from an array of brand names that can handle every type of surface. Whether it's an eggshell, matte, or glossy finish, you'll find the ideal paint for your needs right here.

Considerations When Buying Paint

kitchen with white cabinets and light blue tile backsplash

The Type Of Surface You Plan To Paint

Not all paint is the same, so it's important to keep the surface you're painting in mind. Different types of materials, such as brick or drywall, may require a specific formula in order to ensure proper curing and adhesion. Make sure you take note of which areas you plan to paint and assign each one the proper colour and paint style in advance.

can of green paint with painting tray

Paint Finish

Paint comes in several finishes that range from matte or eggshell to semi-gloss and high-gloss enamel. Different finishes are more water-resistant than others and are also easier to clean. Always keep the paint finish in mind as you look for your next gallon of paint (or more).

Note: Paints in a glossier finish are best in areas with lots of moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens. The shiny finish adds a layer of protection that helps prevent damage to the surfaces underneath.

cans of paint open next to brushes, painting trays and drop sheets

Tools For Application

The type of tools you choose for your next paint job will depend on the surface area. For example, a simple paintbrush is ideal for trim and small projects, while a roller is best for walls. Consider a paint sprayer if you're planning to paint large outdoor objects like fencing or a deck.

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wooden wall being painted mustard yellow

Paint Colour

Of course, the colour of your paint is crucial when it comes to how the final project looks. Choose neutral colours if you want the paint to blend with everything around it. Bolder, more dramatic colours are ideal for accents and in situations where you want the item to stand out.

Note: Get several samples of paint at Lowe's before you begin painting. Apply several colour swatches to the area and let them dry so you can see how the paint will look on the surface and in a different light.

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Paint by Surface Type

white painted brick fireplace with red stockings


If you’re planning to paint on brick, you should opt for a latex paint. Perhaps the most versatile paint, latex is used for interior and exterior surfaces.

Before painting, be sure to carefully clean brick with a wire brush to remove dirt and grime without dislodging the mortar. Let dry for 48 hours before painting, and always start with a primer.

Note: Paint is incredibly difficult to remove from brick, so your painting decision may be permanent.

Ceramic Tile or Porcelain

If you want to paint tile, maybe to quickly update a dated backsplash, you should use an acrylic paint and primer. Make sure to sand the tiles first to improve adhesion and allow the paint to cure for several days. For this reason, it’s not advised to paint tile floors as you’ll likely need to walk on them before the paint has fully cured!

woman painting ceramic tile in bathroom
ceiling being painted blue with a roller


Flat paint has no sheen, and it's a perfect choice for applications on ceilings. Look for paint specifically designed for ceilings that contain a primer already mixed in to make your hunt easier. This type of paint hides imperfections and does a good job of protecting the ceiling from water stains, too.

Tip: Paint the ceiling first before moving on to the walls in case of any drips or splatter.

Laminate Countertops or Cabinets

Another quick and easy way to update a kitchen is by painting the cabinets or countertops. If you have laminate in your kitchen, you can paint it using an interior acrylic or latex paint. You will likely need at least two coats to get full coverage. Make sure to use a primer formulated for non-porous surfaces.

bathroom with blue cabinets
silver paintbrush painting black metal fence


Painting metal can be done! You should opt for exterior-grade primer and paint that are specifically formulated for metal. You can also use this method for steel, aluminum and iron.

Mouldings and Trim

Before paitning any trimwork, make sure to patch any holes and use caulk to fill any gaps between the moulding and the wall. It’s best to use a primer before applying several coasts of latex paint. You can opt for easy-to-clean semi-gloss finish for high traffic areas, or a flat or stain finish if there is little wear and tear expected.

 Mouldings and Trim
man painting white and blue wicker chair


Painting your wicker furniture is doable but comes with a lot of prep work. Since there are so many cracks and crevices, it’s important to clean in thoroughly so the paint can adhere. If your wicker was previously painted, make sure to sand it and remove any gloss. Then you can prime and paint with exterior-grade acrylic or latex paint.


For wooden surfaces, it can be simple and easy to paint! If the wood is bare, you can sand it until smooth, use a stain-blocking primer and paint with latex or oil-based paint. It is recommended to do multiple coats and sand in between.

If the wood has been painted previously, make sure to sand thoroughly and use latex paint. For wood furniture or cabinets that will receive heavy use (like kitchen cabinet doors), seal the finish with one to two coats of polyurethane.

wood being painted black

Need Help Finding the Right Colour?

We can help you find the right shade for your project. Use our paint selector to pick your shade, then order it from the comfort of your home! The paint will be mixed and ready for pick-up at your local store.

Paint Features

paintbrush dipping into can of white paint


Paint comes in several levels of sheen, depending on your needs. Eggshell and matte sheen paint is a good choice for ceilings and trim. Paint with a high-gloss sheen works wonderfully in bathrooms and the kitchen thanks to its durable, moisture-resistant properties.

woman painting wooden legs on armchair

Paint And Primer In One

Primer can create a protective layer over surfaces and hide imperfections. To make your next painting project easier, look for paint and primer together in one product. This will eliminate the extra step of having to apply a primer separately and then having to wait for it to dry before you can actually begin painting.

paint brush dipping into pink paint


Make sure your paint has low or zero VOC, or Volatile Organic Compounds. This is vital to help keep the air quality in your home safe, and it reduces the risk of dealing with possible adverse reactions or health issues later.

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living room with blue painted walls

Stain Resistance

When painting indoors, choose stain-resistant paint that's easy to clean. This paint is usually latex or enamel with a higher level of sheen. Paint that allows you to wipe marks and scuffs away easily will last longer and require fewer touch-ups as the years go by.

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