Water-based versus Oil-based:
Water-based paint consists of pigment and binder with water used as the carrier. Oil-based paint consists of pigment and resin in a solvent thinner. When thinners evaporate, the resins form a hard coating, leaving behind the pigment which provides the coating.
While there are two types of paint widely used today (lead based paint is not used anymore), there are more types of finishes that you will need to consider when choosing a paint as well.
A flat finish will hide any imperfections better such as chips in the siding panels or a crack, however it is harder to clean. Flat finishes are generally used for siding.
Glossy paint creates a hard, shiny, durable finish that is much easier to clean than matte. This is a great choice for trim and doors because it makes these smaller details really stand out. It is important to keep in mind that glossy finish also accentuates any imperfections so it is not advised to use it on siding or walls like you would matte.
Satin finish is a sort of combination of matte and glossy. While this paint has a slight glossy appearance to it, it is not as much so as the glossy finish. It also will help to hide some imperfections like a flat or matte finish would, however due to the slight glossiness this finish is easier to clean that matte.
Exterior paint is a bit tricky because it has to be able to withstand a variety of weather circumstances from extreme heat to freezing temperatures to sunlight and humidity. Because of this, there are some paints that are specifically designed for certain parts of your home. For example, there is roof paint which is usually mildew-proof however should not be used for waterproofing. This paint can also be tinted to match the color of the roof.
There are also masonry paints, which are used for stucco, concrete, cement and shingles.
It is important to decide on your paint base, finish and type depending on where you live and the kinds of weather you typically deal with. Ask a Aurora Paint Pals representative to talk with you about some of the products you are considering to help make a recommendation.