Are you taking on a painting project for the first time and unsure exactly what products to use?

We’re here to help! Use our scheme finder to locate your nearby Community RePaint scheme to pick up affordable, leftover paint passed on for reuse, and keep reading to find out more about our paint recommendations for different surfaces, plus some useful top tips.

Mustard walled office Cosy lounge with earthy colours
Navamin Studio / Beazy

Interior walls and ceilings

The best paints for walls and ceilings are matt or silk emulsion and water-based eggshell paint.

Emulsion is a water-based paint that dries quickly and can be applied using paint brushes or rollers, for a faster application.

Depending on the type of emulsion, sometimes two or three coats will be needed. Check your paint container for coverage advice.

Matt emulsion is great for hiding imperfections on walls. This is because matt surfaces do not reflect light, and therefore an imperfect wall will look great in any different light conditions. Silk emulsion, on the other hand, has a ‘mid-sheen finish’ and reflects a little light. This is great for  giving rooms a bright and airy feel.

The composition of silk paint is also more durable than matt paint, which means you can wipe silk wall finishes easily. This makes it great for kitchens, bathrooms, and heavy use areas, such as hallways. However, as silk emulsions do reflect some light, any imperfections in a wall may stand out.

Find out more about emulsion paint here. 

Eggshell is a really versatile paint that can be used on many different surfaces. Water-based eggshell is suitable for use on interior walls and ceilings, while oil-based eggshell is suitable for woodwork, radiators and metal (more details below).

In terms of sheen, eggshell sits somewhere between a matt and a silk finish, and the paint also comprises more resin than emulsion, meaning that eggshell walls can be easily wiped down without damaging the finish or paint adhesion to the wall – an ideal candidate for grime hotspot kitchen walls and ceilings. Find out more about eggshell paint in our blog post here!

A volunteer painting a mural on the exterior wall of Community RePaint Cambridgeshire A brick exterior wall
Community RePaint Cambridgeshire / Michael_Laut at pixabay

Exterior walls

Masonry paint is the ideal candidate for exterior walls, and can be used on a range of exterior surfaces, including brickwork, concrete,  stone, render and pebble dash.

Masonry paint is specifically designed for external use and can therefore withstand outdoor conditions unlike emulsion paints, and acts as an external layer to protect the beneath wall again damage due to weathering and pollution. There are two main types of masonry paint – textured, which is great at concealing minor blemishes and hairline cracks, and smooth, which goes a lot further.

Wooden garden door redecorating paint project using cheap and low cost paint from a Community RePaint scheme.
652234 at pixabay / painting with leftover paint from the Community RePaint network


There are many different types of paint that we recommend using when it comes to woodwork.

Knotting paint is a type of sealer that should be applied to resinous areas, especially knots, in wood, before application of undercoats or finishes, for example, satinwood, eggshell or gloss. Without the application of knotting paint, wooden surfaces painted with an undercoat, or finish paint can discolour due to staining from the resin in the knot.

Using a primer before applying an undercoat or finish paint is also preferred when painting new or bare wood, as a primer helps to ensure good adhesion to the bare surface before application of undercoat or finish paint.

Once the wooden surface has been primed, the next stage of the painting process is to apply an undercoat to the wooden surface. Undercoats are full-bodied paint, that can be both water-based or solvent-based, with more pigment than a topcoat, and a good covering power. Undercoats are essential if the surface is to be painted a paler colour.

Next, choose your finish paint. This could be satinwood, eggshell, gloss (solvent or water-based – find out more here), a non-drip paint, varnish or wood stain. Find out more about common types of paint here. 


A radiator fixed to a wall Flight of stairs with metal railings
Etadly from pixabay / Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Radiators and metal

When painting radiators and metal surfaces, we recommend using a primer first to reduce the risk of corrosion to the metal surface, and following that use a radiator/enamel paint, gloss, eggshell or satinwood.

Plaster wall Paint type: ReColour emulsion paint suitable for use on interior walls and ceilings
Miodrag Kitanović from Pexels / ReColour emulsion paint

Bare plaster

When painting bare plaster, first apply one coat of emulsion, diluted with one part water to four parts paint or plaster primer, followed by two more coats of emulsion.

Community RePaint has over 65 schemes across the country, providing paint starting from £2 a litre. If you need paint for your home or community project, find your nearest scheme here.


More StoriesTell us your story