How to choose the best type of paint for the best price

Quality Paint at Bargain Prices

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What Type of Paint? And What Price?

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!
Mary W-D

Worked for Paint Manufacturer

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 he has 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. 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.
Allen P.

Advice From Home Improvement Center

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. First: flat...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. Second: egg shell...benefit: very little shine with a bit of enamel for easy cleaning. Negative: not all stores carry this finish. Third: semi-gloss...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. Fourth: 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

Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?

Brother's a Painter

My brother is a professional painter and this is what I learned from him: For the best look use flat paint in all rooms except bathroom and kitchen use enamel. Use enamel on all baseboards and windowsills. A quality flat paint that was 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. We use Total One.

Quality paint unfortunately does cost more. It isn't watered down. If someone recommends a particular brand, ask when was the last time they used it. Within the last 3 years paint manufacturers have been consolidated, EPA laws caused major changes in formulas. Sinclair is an example, their enamel was excellent where now it is pathetic with color distortion after only 1 year. Find a store that sells Benjamin Moore and you will find knowledgeable help. Currently my brother recommends Benjamin Moore for flat paint and Frazee for enamel. Frazee is easier to use. I would use Frazee flat paint before I'd use the water down stuff found at the home improvement centers.

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 brush I got at my Benjamin Moore store to stain our fence cost double what a Wal-Mart brush was and it was twice as thick! Yes I spent more money but will save half the time and will be sure that I am applying enough Cabot stain.
Merrie VS

From Home Depot

I work at Home Depot in the Paint dept. Paint rubbing off is usually the sign of a low-quality paint used. To solve things, I might suggest either a coat of primer before you re-paint (can cost maybe $40 - $80 for a 5-gallon bucket, but will make the paint adhere to the walls a lot better). You could also just wash the walls with TSP and then rinse to remove anything that will come off, then re-paint with a satin or semigloss finish (surface washable). Glidden paint is my favorite- it's about $20.00 per gallon and the quality is good. I used the Spred Satin in our house and I was happy with the quality. Home Depot's Behr paint is supposed to be better but it's around $30.00/gallon.

Reviewed January 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Before you begin painting, check out these tips for painting like a pro.
  • Home improvements can be costly. For many projects, we can help you save. Just visit the Home Improvement section of the Dollar Stretcher Library before you start that next project.
  • Once those home improvements are done, why not take some time to improve your finances? The TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have can provide you with the tools you need to demolish your debt and rebuild your finances.
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