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Boone, NC

Is Paint “Just Paint” ?

Without a doubt we are all experiencing the current economy and infalation in every facet of our lives right now. This doesn’t mean that you have to opt for the cheapest paint products out there to get the most for your money. It’s actually why you shouldn’t purchase paint based on price. It goes without saying that there are a ton of different paint stores and products out there from the big box stores to the private independant dealers. Of course across the board there is going to be a vast difference in prices. Some people look at this and think “paint is just paint” but that is not the case at all. As with all things, paint is made differently based on the quality of paint that it is. These differences can range from the solids that are in the products, the ratios and of course the colorant that is used to tint the paint. Not all products are created the same and because of this, there will be a performance difference that is very evident from product to product. 

You may be rolling your eyes at this point, I know the old me would probably be. I never thought that there was much of a difference in products and would often just purchase my paint from the neighborhood big box store. I painted my whole living room with a big box store run of the mill eggshell interior paint. It was a pale color over primer (I knew enough then to know that I needed to prime the new drywall with a primer to seal it out) and it took four coats of paint to get a true color. FOUR COATS OF PAINT. This meant I had to purchase more than two gallons (it took four) due to coverage not being great per gallon even for an average sized room. This also was a pale color that “should’ve” covered primer easily as it was not like I was covering a deep dark drastic color.  At this point I thought that was “just the way it was”, I was not educated or exposed to different levels of paint, just did what I thought was correct. The bottom line is paint should not go on like water. 

 Four coats is not typical and shouldn’t be the case. I won’t say it won’t EVER be the case as there are just some colors that are made with more translucent colorants that do not cover well per coat. These colors are few and far between but they DO happen. So, let’s break it down. A typical gallon of good quality paint- one that is made with more solids and good quality colorant should cover in two coats. Some will cover in one coat and there is a good chance most will cover in one coat– HOWEVER no one can EVER guarantee coverage in one coat no matter the quality of the product because there are way too many variables- meaning what roller nap, who is painting it, did they keep the roller coated evenly the entire time, etc. That’s one rabbit hole you probably don’t want to go down at this time. Just simply put- paint should cover in two coats. If you’re doing a drastic color change, we addressed that in the previous blog post when I spoke about about primer- that is when you should prime- make it easy on yourself. 

So, why pick a better quality paint with a higher price tag? Let’s break it down. Let’s say you are painting a typical 200-300 square foot room. This room has smooth already primed walls and you want to change the color. You pick out a color just a little deeper than the current color- no need to prime because it’s not a drastic color change. You decide to do an eggshell because that’s washable but not too shiny. You buy a gallon of the color at a big box store and a gallon of the same color from an independant dealer such as any Benjamin Moore store. The gallon from the big box store is $40 and the gallon from Ben Moore is $60. The gallon from the big box store covers 200 square feet, the gallon from BM covers 300-400 square feet.  So there is a difference in coverage. Once you pop the lids you would see a little difference in the color because let’s face it, wet paint does not initially look like the true color until it dries. Maybe you don’t see the difference in the thickness of paint once you pop the lids, but upon pouring it into your paint try and dipping your roller in to apply that first swipe of paint, you will notice an ovious difference in thickness and coverage. Now, one may think that a thinner paint would have a wider coverage of paint. This is not the case. a Thicker viscousity of paint will cover better, lay better and produce a truer color. Not only that, but the better quality paint is going to age better, wash better, touch up better and just last longer. This is important to consider if you are paying someone to paint for you. Sometimes paint contractors will opt to use cheaper quality pants because (a) they get a better deal on it from the store, (b) they know that it won’t last as long so they will be back to do the job again—which means more money for them for labor. That may seem odd but if you think about there is job security for that painter if they use an inferior product- because it will be a repeat job in a few years. Painters that opt to use a better quality paint know that the job will be finished for years to come, so it won’t be a repeat job but their customers will have less to fool with and be very happy with the end result. 

It may seem like a big price tag in the beginning of a project but if you take into consideration the price of repainting the project sooner rather than later, the increase in amount of paint that it will take from a lesser quality product (not to mention added labor time (and expense)  to apply that extra paint) then buying a better quality paint is a no brainer. 

There are certainly situations where a lesser quality paint (and lower price tag ) would be more economical. Suppose you own a large apartment complex that houses college students and as part of the moving out/moving in process, you’re going to have your crew go in there and repaint every year, then you are not going to want to drop the money on a better quality paint because you are already planning to repaint every 1-2 years. OR- it’s a kid’s room or kid’s playroom, garage, storage room, spare bedroom no one ever stays in, etc. These are situations where you don’t really care what the paint does, if it fades or washes well because you know kids are going to be messy or want to change colors in a few years, or it’s a room that’s going to see alot of use so repainting will be budgeted in. Like the perfect color, you can pick the perfect paint for the space. Good/high quality paint with a higher price tag for the primary bedroom, bathroom, living room, foyer, dinning room etc. Lesser quality/lower price tag for the heavily used (and abused) rooms or for those kiddos-cause if they’re like my son it will soon be time to pick a new bedroom color! =)

So, to recap:

                            Quality Paint for home projects will cost you less in the long run. It will last longer, require less product to cover, require less labor due to less product, richer color and a smoother finish and really just set those rooms apart!