Choosing the Right Paint for Commercial Painting

Choosing the right paint for commercial spaces is important because of customer impressions as well as employee morale. Cafes, for instance, often embrace bold color schemes to create a dynamic ambiance. Prior to deciding, it’s essential to weigh key factors. Primarily, what matters the most is durability since you need paint that can withstand weather, wear, and frequent cleaning. 

On top of that, consider the paint type — whether latex, satin, enameled, or glossy — and account for color depth, especially if opting for richer, deeper tones that require more coverage. Additionally, the choice of paint finish matters; high-gloss varieties facilitate easier scrubbing and maintenance. Let’s understand the most popular types of commercial paints, and what paints should be picked for commercial spaces as well as their application techniques. 

Type of Commercial Paints

Types of Paint for Commercial Painting

There are several types of paints that can be used in commercial spaces, with the most popular one being water-based paints. 

Water-based paints

Water-based paints are ideal for interior applications, offering quick drying and easy cleanup, making them suitable for offices and retail spaces. 

Their quick drying time is the key benefit to notice in commercial settings. Why? Because you don’t want your business to have a lot of downtime. This makes them ideal for spaces like retail environments since you don’t want to lose a lot of customers. Plus, in terms of aesthetics, water-based paints offer a diverse range of color options suitable for creating inviting atmospheres. 

For example, popular color schemes in offices include neutral tones, promoting a professional and focused environment. In retail spaces, vibrant and engaging colors can be easily achieved with water-based paints to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Keep in mind that the cost of water-based paints varies but they are priced competitively compared to oil-based paints. Ease of application, quick drying, and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content also contribute to cost savings and make them more economical.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints are known for durability and adhesion. They are recommended for outdoor structures and wood surfaces but come with a strong odor and longer drying time. 

That’s why in commercial settings, oil paints are commonly used on outdoor structures and wooden surfaces. For example, they’re effective for painting the exterior of a shop or the trim on a storefront. They’re also resistant to damage, making them a reliable choice for areas with high traffic or frequent use. 

When it comes to pricing, oil-based paints have a slightly higher initial cost compared to water-based alternatives (The inclusion of oil adds to the price point). However, their durability and longevity contribute to cost-effectiveness over time, making them a practical choice for specific commercial applications that require a robust and enduring finish.

Epoxy Paints

Epoxy paints come with exceptional durability and chemical resistance. Therefore, they are well-suited for high-traffic areas like warehouses, though their application can be complex, and they may become yellow over time. 

What makes epoxy paints special is their super durability and resistance to chemicals and external elements. This means they can handle spills and tough situations without getting damaged. So, if you have a floor that needs to withstand a lot of action, epoxy is your go-to paint.

But there’s one thing that can be considered as a drawback. Applying epoxy can be a bit tricky, and it might change color over time. So, this means that you shouldn’t apply epoxy paints at places where customers are fast-moving such as restaurants and cafes. But you can use it for warehouses where employees are mostly moving the items, and the changing color of epoxy does not really matter that much. 

For a better understanding, consider the following table. 

Type of Paint

Main Uses



Recommended For

Water-based Paints

Interior walls, ceilings

Quick drying, low odor, easy cleanup

Limited durability, may not adhere well to some surfaces

Offices, Retail Spaces

Oil-based Paints

Exterior surfaces, trim

Durable, excellent adhesion

Strong odor, longer drying time, requires solvents for cleanup

Outdoor Structures, Wood Surfaces

Epoxy Paints

Floors, high-traffic areas

Exceptional durability, chemical resistance

Complex application, may yellow over time

Warehouses, Industrial Facilities

Considerations for Commercial Painting Projects

The type of paint is not the only aspect to consider. You also need to make the right decision based on certain other aspects as well, including the following as every surface requires a different type of paint. 


When painting concrete surfaces, it’s important to pick a paint that sticks well and lasts a long time. Concrete can be a bit tricky, so the paint needs a special formula to stick to it properly. This way, it won’t peel or wear off easily, and concrete will look good for a long while. 

For example, our commercial painters in the Bay Area suggest Concrete and Garage Floor Paint for all concrete surfaces. It is a good option because it is specifically formulated for concrete surfaces with focus on adhesion and durability. 


Metal surfaces need special attention because they can rust. Using paint that fights against rust is like giving metal a shield. It protects the metal from getting all rusty and old-looking. Sometimes, you will need to put on a base layer, called priming, before painting to make sure everything sticks nicely. For instance, rust-resistant enamel paint is designed to prevent corrosion on metal surfaces.


Wood is like a sponge, and it can soak up water, which is not good for it. So, when painting wood, you want a paint that creates a protective layer to keep the moisture out. Check the condition of the wood, and if it’s not in top shape, a primer before painting may be required. Our exterior painters in the Bay Area suggest wood stains as they penetrate the wood to protect against moisture and UV rays.


You need paint that goes on smoothly and evenly on drywalls. Paints made for drywalls are made to be right for this job. Consider the texture of the drywall—whether it’s smooth or a bit bumpy—and choose your paint accordingly. 

This way, your walls end up looking nice and even. Use primer and paint specifically designed for drywall surfaces as it promotes adhesion, covers imperfections, and creates a smooth finish on a drywall.

Environmental Impact

When we talk about paint being environmentally friendly, we mean it’s kinder to the air we breathe and the planet. One way to do this is by choosing paints with “Low VOC” which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. These chemicals are released into the air and aren’t great for our health. Whenever you opt for a paint job for any commercial space (or even residential), we recommend choosing Low VOC paints. 

Color Selection

The colors you choose for a place can make an enormous difference. It’s not just about what looks nice but also how it feels and how easy it is to maintain in order to keep looking good.

Colors can change how we feel. For a calm and focused place, like an office, you might choose soft blues or greens. For a lively and energetic spot, like a cafe, you could go for vibrant yellows or reds.

Helpful Tip: Lighter colors, like whites and pastels, will show less dirt and scuffs, making them easier to maintain. Darker colors can look stylish but need a bit more care to keep them looking sharp.


When you’re thinking about the cost of painting, here are a few things to consider.

Initial Cost vs. Long-Term Value

The first price you pay for paint is the initial cost. But sometimes, spending a bit more at the beginning can be a smart move. It’s like investing in quality. If the paint lasts longer, you won’t need to buy and redo it as often, so you end up saving money in the long run. 

This is the approach of our interior painters in the Bay Area as well. We always recommend you go for quality rather than quantity, especially in the beginning.


Different paints need various levels of care. Some are like low-maintenance friends – they don’t need much attention. Others might require more touch-ups and care to keep looking good. 

A high-gloss paint might look stunning, but it could show scratches and scuffs more easily. On the other hand, a satin or eggshell finish is less likely to show imperfections, requiring less maintenance to keep the walls looking good.

Application Techniques

You might have chosen the right paint, but as long as you don’t focus on choosing the right application technique, all can go in vain. 

Professional vs. DIY Application

Hiring experts like Custom Painting, Inc. to paint your commercial space can ensure a polished finish. Professionals have experience and tools to handle different surfaces which makes the process smoother and often faster. 

On the other hand, doing it yourself can be cost-effective but might require more time and effort. It’s a good option for smaller projects or if you enjoy hands-on work but not recommended for bigger commercial hubs. 

Spray, Brush, or Roller Application Methods

Spray painting

There are three main ways of applying paint to any surface. 

  • Spray: Using a spray gun is like giving your walls a fine mist of paint. It’s quick and even, great for large areas. However, it requires skill to control overspray.
  • Brush: Applying paint with a brush gives you more control over details. It’s good for edges and smaller spaces but can take longer.
  • Roller: Rolling on paint is fast and covers large areas. It’s efficient but will leave a slightly textured finish. 

Pro Tip: Combining techniques can give the best results.

Maintenance Tips for Commercial Paint

Choose your paint wisely, and once you are done, be sure to maintain it wisely as well. Here are a few helpful tips. 

  • Fixing Small Issues: If you spot a tiny problem, like a scratch or a spot that lost its color, don’t wait. Fixing it early is like treating a small cut – it prevents it from becoming a big problem later.
  • Regular Cleaning Routine: Dust and dirt can make a space look dull. Regularly cleaning painted surfaces gives them a fresh look. It is recommended to do a gentle wipe-down with a damp cloth. In case you use a chemical cleaner, use mild detergents. Harsh cleaners are not good for the paint as they do more harm than good.
  • Use Furniture Pads: If you move furniture around, use pads underneath. It’s helpful to give your floors and walls a shield against scratches and protect their paint
  • Simple Check-Ups: Regularly inspect painted surfaces for any signs of wear, peeling, or discoloration. If you catch issues early, fixing them is usually easier.
  • Control Climate: Extreme temperatures and humidity can affect painted surfaces. Try to maintain a consistent indoor climate. 
  • Use Temporary Protection: If you’re hosting events, consider using temporary protection like floor runners or wall guards. 

Ready to Have Your Commercial Space Painted?

Now that you know the essential information related to choosing a paint for commercial painting, it is time to give your office, shop, cafe, or any other retail hub a makeover. Custom Painting, Inc. is here to get the job done, especially as we have the best painters in the Bay Area. 

You can visit our website to learn more about our other services or give us a call at 925-294-8062 for a free quote or consultation.