Do you have a question about paint or window treatments? Need a tip on a tricky design issue or advice on your next renovation? Ask the Expert connects you with a design professional to assist.Please review our Top Questions below to see if we’ve already addressed your question. You may also find the answer in our How-Tos. Otherwise, please click here to Ask the Expert your question.
Q: Which source of artificial light is the least distorting to the paint color?
Bright, white halogens are the closest to the natural daylight illumination.
Q: Can a quality latex paint be damaged if it ever becomes frozen and thawed?
Yes. With the winter months ahead, keeping your latex paints out of your shed is the best way to keep its consistency. Problems that occur when paint is frozen and then thawed are reduced gloss, separation of ingredients, and formulation of lumps. Bear in mind that better quality latex will survive a frozen thaw (or two) but its thaw must be made slowly, then thoroughly stirred. If the paint then has a smooth consistency and a proper color, it's probably OK.
Q: Can you describe the differences between artificial and natural lighting and how each affects color?
Halogen lighting is a nearly white light and is the closest to natural light at noon. Fluorescent lighting has a bluish hue. Incandescent lighting has a yellowish hue. In Natural lighting, you must consider two factors. First is the positioning of the windows in the home, and second is the intensity of the sun. Rooms that face west will only get indirect light in the morning, but will receive orange beams in the late afternoon in winter or early evening in the summer.
Q: How important is the quality of light in different geographic regions?
The quality of light drastically differs in different regions. Clean bright midtones work well in sunny southern climates. Earthy neutral colors and less saturated deep colors are more at home in northern regions. With that in mind, it is best to research and understand your region of design prior to choosing colors.
Q: Which type of lighting is best used for color matching?
Natural, or daylight is the standard for color matching. Your better paint stores have a color room for you to look at each paint chip under your choice of lighting.
Q: I am painting an old Soho loft that has cement block walls. It has been painted before. What kind of paint should I use? We have an 18-foot ceiling. Help!
A quality satin exterior latex paint would work just fine. Satin paints collect much less dirt than a flat paint and an exterior paint will resist mildew growth. If you want a shinier finish, you could also use an exterior semi gloss finish. Use an airless spray gun. You can find an inexpensive one at your local supply store. A spray gun will give you a uniform look and will make the high spots easier to reach.
Q: What is the definition of "LRV" and how important is it?
The Light Reflective Value measures the reflection given off of the painted surface. It's advisable to choose a paint with a high LRV in a room that has a low amount of natural light.