Peel back the layers of any wall and I am sure you will find a few mistakes in the selection of paint colors. Even experts, on occasion, select the wrong shade now and then. Let’s find out about the science of paint so that we have more confidence in selecting “mistake-proof” colors for your home.
What’s in that paint can anyway? Paint is made from four components: pigments to give the paint color; solvents to make it easier to apply; resins to help it dry; and additives for fillers and antifungicidal agents. While the basic white pigment is titanium dioxide, the whitest material known to exist on Earth, other colors are made from natural and synthetic pigments such as iron oxide for reds, metallic salts for yellows and iron blue for blues.
Did you ever wonder why you have to apply more than two coats with less expensive paint? It’s because cheap paint has more solvents per volume and therefore less pigment and resins than better quality paint. You are applying more water, which evaporates and leaves less pigment behind. In the end, you may not be saving as much money as you thought because you will need more product and it will take twice as long.
Another factor to consider is the number of colorants in paint. Most paint makers use 12 colorants but superior paint manufacturers create paint with more colorants, which gives an intense saturation rate creating deeper hues. This creates complex colors that vary all day long with the changing light of the room, making for a very interesting visual experience.
Most important of all when selecting paint, bring your swatches into the room that is being painted to see the color in the actual light. According to Mya Kagan, a color expert: “Color is the way our eyes interpret the energies contained within a beam of light! When light touches an object, some of these energies are absorbed and others are reflected back. It’s the energies that are reflected which your eyes collect and then interpret as a specific color.” Doesn’t that sound magical? That is why your paint chip will look different in the store, under fluorescent lights, than it will in your home. Another common mistake is evaluating the color on one of those multi-colored strips from the paint store. It is best to cut away the chip you are interested in and look at it on its own, because it will be influenced by the company it keeps.
I realize that this has barely scratched the surface on the story of paint but perhaps knowing a bit about the science behind such a common household product will demystify it and lead to a less frustrating experience in the paint store.
-Feathering Your Nest