You either love it or loathe it but there’s no question that painting your house, whether it’s inside or outside, takes considerable time and effort. So it’s important that once the preparation work is done, you choose the best paint for the task. With so many on the market, it can be challenging sorting through so we’ve prepared the ultimate painting product cheat sheet. It’s guaranteed to be more fun than watching paint dry.
Best for: Exterior walls
Available in 10 paint types, including Low-Sheen, Semi Gloss and Render Refresh, the Weathershield range has been specifically designed for Australian conditions with built-in UV, mould dirt and stain resistance. As the market lead, the Dulux range of colours stretches into the thousands,but the company provides specific advice for popular exterior colour schemes.
Best for: Interior walls
Created with Nanoguard Advanced Technology, the Taubmans Endure range is ideal for high traffic areas such as hallways and living areas thanks to its ability to withstand wear and tear. According to the manufacturer, it also protects against mould and mildew and is approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.
BRITISH PAINTS 4 SEASONS
Best for: Exterior surfaces
As the name would suggest, the point of difference with this paint product is its ability to weather seasonal changes. Owned by the Dulux group, British Paints 4 Seasons is self priming on most surfaces, for a faster, more satisfying result. It comes with a 25-year guarantee against peeling, flaking and blistering as well as providing resistance to mould, fungus and algae.
Best for: Interior walls
Haymes Paints was established in Ballarat in 1935 and the family-run business still offers an Australian owned and made product. Haymes Expressions® Low Sheen has been designed for easy washing – and stain removal – and is ideal for wet areas, thanks to its seven-year mould and mildew protection guarantee. Haymes Paints also releases a yearly colour forecast to provide design professionals and homeowners with inspirational colour palettes.
Best for: Exterior surfaces
A mainstay of the exterior paint market, Wattyl Solagard is known for its durability and colour fastness over an extended period of time. Suitable for painting over most exterior surfaces, including concrete, masonry, timber and galvanised iron, it is UV and dirt resistant. It is available in a wide range of colours to suit most house styles, including Coastal, Heritage and Modern.
PORTER’S ORIGINAL PAINTS
Best for: Specialty finishes
Now part of the Dulux Group, Porter’s Paints has built its reputation on its wide range of specialty finishes for exterior or interior use such as limewash, chalk paint, French wash and liquid iron. While some products require specific application processes, there are easy-to-follow video tutorials and step-by-step instructions to support customers interested in a unique finish. Aside from an enviable array of carefully crafted colours, Porter’s Paints are water based and low in VOCs.
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT CONSIDERATIONS
More homeowners are becoming aware of the potential hazards associated with house paint, particularly when it comes to air quality. The main concern is Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, which are released into the indoor environment and have been linked with eye irritations, breathing difficulties, as well as damage to kidneys, the liver and the central nervous system. From a product perspective, VOCs slow down the drying process, creating a wet edge on application so the user has more time to work with it. More paint manufacturers are now offering low or zero VOC paints, but be aware that even those paints may still contain elements like ammonia and formaldehyde. Ventilate the space as much as possible, opening windows and doors as well as using fans and wear masks and gloves to minimise exposure to fumes while working.
TOP PAINTS FOR THE JOB, AND THE PAINTER
Painting a home involves so many decisions, and choosing the right paint for the right job is tricky. Here we look at the top paint brands for the jobs at hand.
Exterior paints need strength to withstand the elements, they do this by adding additional and expensive, top quality resins so fading is less of an issue, and new technology that offers UV protection. Who wants to repaint a house, right? After years of advancement, you can now achieve great results with acrylic exterior paint, which has the primer built in. Taubmans All Weather and Taubmans Sun Proof are great options here.
Exterior features such as fences and front doors are a chance to add extra zing to the design, and very often the best way to produce that effect is with a gloss or enamel paint. While there have been improvements in acrylic gloss products, purists and pros are still reaching for the oil based product – the finish is simply brighter and more reflective, and more to the point will last longer on high traffic spots such as doors. The lesser known Norglass brand offers a magnificent result, and comes in small cans, which is a bonus for feature trim jobs.
Interior walls cop the most passing traffic scuff and grime, especially if you are blessed with kids or pets. The ideal paint here is a washable, acrylic based paint that goes on smoothly, and wipes clean easily. A combination of huge colour range, and great coverage (meaning less coats to put on) is the Dulux Wash and Wear brand. You can actually feel the extra weight on the brush or roller, which is a good thing, but tougher on older hands, or newbies to the roller game.
Getting on top of ceilings is perhaps the most difficult of paint jobs; back breaking and neck stretching, it is a job with little pay off – but is critical to achieve a perfectly finished room. A dead matte finish is ideal, usually in white (but don’t let that stop you), and always acrylic. While you can use a cheaper matte paint, a purpose designed one will go on easier and offer better coverage – it’s designed to be a one stop wonder. British Paints Paint and Prime is reputed to have be a good ceiling paint that goes on thickly, and works particularly well with a long knap roller, reducing spray.
Houses have damp zones, and yes they need extra care because paint that doesn’t deflect the wet will get mould, mildew and then peel. The elasticity of acrylic paint is great here, and Berger Paints have a product, Kitchen and Bathroom Everlast which offers a five-year guarantee against mould and mildew. Best tip here is to, for once, not use a matte ceiling paint, but the soft or low sheen bathroom paint.
A secret of professional painters is the top paint brand Haymes. Haymes is perhaps a lesser known brand to the home decorator but it has been rated by Canstar as the top paint in Australia for the last six years. Haymes has been produced by the one family in Australia for generations, and commands respect from those who spend their lives up a ladder. They don’t need expensive ad campaigns, because those in the know don’t need reminding of this solid and impressive brand. Always consider checking out their products when starting a project.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Few of the U.S.’s philanthropic foundations invest their endowment assets—totalling an estimated US$1.1 trillion—to create positive social and environmental change in addition to high returns, potentially limiting or even counteracting the good such organisations do.
Exactly how few isn’t precisely known. But Bridgespan Social Impact, a subsidiary of the New York-based Bridgespan Group along with the Capricorn Investment Group, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based investment firm founded by Jeff Skoll , the first president of eBay, and the Skoll Foundation, also in Palo Alto, attempted to “get the conservation started,” with a study of 65 foundations with a total of about US$89 billion in assets, according to Mandira Reddy, director at Capricorn Investment Group.
The top-line conclusion: 5% of the primarily U.S.-based foundations surveyed invest their assets for impact. Most surprising is that 92% of these organisations, which have assets ranging from US$11 million to US$16 billion, are active members of impact investing groups, such as the Global Impact Investing Network and Mission Investors Exchange.
“If there’s any pool of capital that is best suited for impact investing, it would be this pool of capital along with family office money,” Reddy says.
The study was also conducted “to draw attention to the opportunity,” she said.
“We want to redefine what philanthropy can achieve. There is massive potential here just given the scale of capital.”
Foundations are required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to grant 5% of their assets each year to charity; in practice they have granted slightly more in the last 10 years—an average of 7% of their assets, according to Delaware-based FoundationMark, which tracks the investment performance of about 97% of all foundation assets.
The remaining assets of these foundations are invested with the intention of earning the “highest-possible risk-adjusted financial returns,” the report said. Those investments allow these organizations to grant funds often in perpetuity.
Capricorn and Bridgespan argue that more foundations, however, need to “align their capital with their missions,” and that they can do so while still achieving high returns.
“Why wait to distribute resources far into the future when there are numerous urgent issues facing the planet and communities today,” argue the authors of a report on the research, which is titled, “Can Foundation Endowments Achieve Greater Impact.”
The fact most of the foundations surveyed are very familiar with impact investing and yet haven’t taken the leap “highlights the persistently untapped opportunity,” the report said. It details some of the barriers foundations can face in shifting to impact, and how and why to overcome them.
Hurdles to making a shift can include “beginner’s dilemma”—simply not knowing where to start—and a misperception on the part of large foundations that impact investing is “too niche,” offering opportunities that are too small for the amount of capital they need to allocate. Other foundations are too stretched and don’t have the resources to add capabilities for making impact investments, the report said.
One of the biggest concerns is financial performance. Some foundation leaders, for instance, worry impact investments lead to so-called concessionary returns, where a market rate of return is sacrificed to achieve a social or environmental benefit. Those investments exist, but there are also plenty of options that offer financial returns.
The authors make a case for foundations to “go big,” into impact to realize the best outcomes, and to take a portfolio approach, meaning integrating impact principles into how they approach all investments. To make this happen, foundations need to incorporate impact into their investment policy statements, which determine how they allocate assets.
It will be difficult for foundations that want to shift their assets to impact to pull out of investments such as private-equity or venture-capital funds that can have holdings periods of a decade. But with a policy statement in place, a foundation’s investment team can reinvest this long-term capital once it is returned into impact investing options, she says.
“The transition doesn’t happen overnight,” Reddy says. “Even if there is a commitment for an established foundation that is already fully invested, it takes several years to get there.”
The Skoll Foundation, established in 1999, revised its investment policy statement in 2006 to incorporate impact. According to the report, the foundation initially divested of investments that were not in sync with its values, and then gradually, working with Capricorn Investment, began exploring impact opportunities mostly in early-stage companies developing solutions to climate change.
“As the team gained more knowledge and experience in this work, and as more investment opportunities arose, the impact-aligned portfolio expanded across different asset classes, issue areas, and fund managers,” the report said.
As of 2022, 70% of the Skoll Foundation’s assets are in impact investments addressing climate change, inclusive capitalism, health and wellness, and sustainable markets.
Capricorn, which manages US$9 billion for foundations and institutional investors through impact investments, constructs portfolios across asset classes. In private markets, this can include venture, private equity, private credit, real estate, and infrastructure. There are also impact options in the public markets, in both stocks and bonds.
“Across the spectrum there are opportunities available now to do this in an authentic manner while preserving financial goals,” Reddy says.
Of the foundations surveyed, about 15, including Skoll, have 50% or more of their assets invested for impact. Others include the Lora & Martin Kelley Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Russell Family Foundation, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.
Though not part of the study, the California Endowment just announced it was going “all in” on impact. The organisation has US$4 billion in assets under management, which likely makes it the largest foundation to undergo the shift, according to Mission Investors Exchange.
Although the researchers looked at a fairly small sample set of foundations, Reddy says it provides data “that is indicative of what the foundation universe” might look like.
“We cannot tell foundations how to invest and that’s not the intent, but we do want to spread the message that it is quite possible to align their assets to impact,” she says. “The idea is that this becomes a boardroom conversation.”
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’