Finding Quality Paint at An Affordable Price
by Reader Contributors
Using poor quality paint on your home’s interior can be a costly mistake. These tips can help you find quality paint at an affordable price.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I know some frugal person has the answer to this one.
The inside of our house needs to be painted. The original paint covered poorly and has just plain rubbed off when we try to get any spots off. We don’t want to have the same problem again nor do we want to pay more than necessary for paint. Besides the paint store, what are some resources to help us decide which paint to select? Are some paints truly better than others or is it just advertising hype? By the way, we have four children and are aware that we need a durable paint. Thanks!
Advice from a Former Paint Manufacturer Employee
Paint is like any other commodity – you get what you pay for.
I used to work for Sherwin Williams Company and know that they have a contractor grade of paint that comes in 3 different grades. Pro-mar 200, Pro-mar 400, and Pro-mar 700. I personally liked their middle grade paint, the Pro-mar 400, if you are going to buy it outright.
But my suggestion is to contact the manager of the Sherwin Williams store and see if they have any mis-mix available. This is a common problem with professional painters not getting the paint tinted to the proper color. You might try any place that custom tints paint for their customers, as this is a common problem for all paint stores, and you can get it at quite a discounted price. Even if you have to buy some additional cans at regular price to have enough, you’ll still save quite a bit and know you’re getting a good quality paint.
Also, try to find an eggshell finish or a semi-gloss finish, these are the most durable because of the molecular structure of the paint.
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Advice From a Home Improvement Store Employee
I have worked for two different home improvement stores that sell paint. While the brand of paint really doesn’t matter (in my personal opinion), it’s the level and finish that makes the difference. Many stores offer different quality levels of paint with the cheapest being just that: cheap! It rubs off and doesn’t last longer than the next tenant renting the space, which is why many landlords use it. Then come the middle and high-grade paints. They are both fairly equal as to the quality.
Next, you want to look at the finishes. There are four main finishes and each has it’s own benefit.
Benefit: Doesn’t shine or reflect light and gives a warm appearance.
Negative: Doesn’t wash well, unless you get the flat enamel, which may cost a bit more.
Benefit: Very little shine with a bit of enamel for easy cleaning.
Negative: Not all stores carry this finish.
Benefit: Very kid friendly because it’s easy to clean.
Negative: May not have as warm and fuzzy a feeling because it does have a sheen to it.
Gloss or High Gloss
Benefit: Easy to clean and great for trim.
Negative: Very shiny and not recommended for walls. Generally, the higher the sheen, the more cost of the paint due to the amount of enamel used.
Today, most any store that sells paint has a spectrometer that will match most any color paint you want. Just take in a sample that is about the size of a quarter and they should be able to match it. Just make sure you check a dried sample piece before you leave the store!
Alison in Virginia
Related: 11 Ways to Save at Home Depot
Advice from a Painter
For the best look, use flat paint in all rooms except in the bathroom and kitchen. Use enamel in these rooms. Also use enamel on all baseboards and windowsills. A quality flat paint that is properly applied can be cleaned with ease.
Prep the area to be painted: sand enamel paint, fill holes, caulk baseboards, sand loose paint, prime fill areas. For the problem mentioned, you have to either sand the paint or find a primer that will do the job. Applying a primer and painting two coats would have probably prevented your problem. If you are painting with a lighter color, you have to prime.
Quality paint unfortunately does cost more. It isn’t watered down. Find a store that sells Benjamin Moore and you will find knowledgeable help.
When painting, use a quality brush or roller. Do not spray. Spraying uses far less paint and that is not good. You want adequate paint so your paint job will last for many years. The brushes I get at my Benjamin Moore store cost double what a Walmart brush does, but they are as thick. Yes, you’ll spend more money but will save half the time using a brush that can apply more paint.
Reviewed April 2021
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