Picking a Quality Paint at An Affordable Price
In this article: Tips to help you choose a quality paint at an affordable price for your interior painting project plus other ways to save on this home improvement project.
According to Lowe’s Home Improvement, high-quality paint goes on smoother, doesn’t leave brush marks and is less likely to yellow as it ages. It also will look better longer since it is more dirt-resistant and easier to clean if it does get dirty.
So spending more on good-quality paint will save you from the hassle of constant touch-ups or spending money on better paint to cover up a poor paint job with cheap paint.
The following tips can help you find a quality paint so you can comparison shop, watch for sales and wait for an affordable price.
Tips for Picking an Affordable Quality Paint
Use these tips to narrow down your paint choices:
Research paint brands and choose one with a good reputation for quality and performance. Read reviews and note recommendations and complaints from professionals and homeowners.
Most paint cans list the paint’s coverage rate, usually expressed in square feet per gallon. Quality paint will have a higher square-feet-per-gallon coverage rate, requiring fewer coats to achieve the desired result.
This information can also help you determine how much paint you need.
Low-VOC or No-VOC
VOCs, which stand for volatile organic compounds, are harmful chemicals released by drying paint. Consider choosing a low-VOC or no-VOC paint if this concerns you.
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Different types of paint have very different desired finishes, such as matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss or gloss. Matte finishes can typically hide imperfections more easily but are less durable and harder to clean. Glossy finishes are more durable and easier to clean but may highlight surface imperfections.
You must also decide between water-based or oil-based paint. Water-based latex paints are generally easier to work with, dry faster and have lower VOCs. Oil-based paints have better adhesion and are more durable but take longer to dry and have higher VOCs.
A higher price tag isn’t always a direct indicator of quality, but it should be a consideration. Generally, higher-priced paints contain better-quality ingredients and offer better performance.
Lowe’s Home Improvement says, “Flat paint is usually the cheapest, eggshell is in the middle and semi-gloss comes in at the most expensive.”
Look for a paint with a warranty or guarantee, indicating the manufacturer’s confidence in the product’s performance.
Most stores that sell paint have sample sizes you can purchase. This can be money well spent to test the color on a portion of your wall to see how it will look with the lighting in your home and how well the paint will cover.
Take your time to research and compare different paint options, and if possible, consult a professional to make the best decision for your specific project.
Once you choose the exact paint you want, compare the prices at several home improvement and hardware stores that sell that brand to see which is the cheapest or has a low-price guarantee. Begin watching for sales at these stores and sign up for their email newsletters that may come with coupons.
More Ways To Save on an Interior Paint Project
There are more ways to save on painting your home’s interior than just getting a good price on the paint itself. The following tips can also help you save:
These products combine primer and paint in a single formula, saving you money by reducing the need to buy primer separately. However, make sure the surface you are painting is appropriate for this type of product.
Use a Tinted Primer
If you are painting over a dark color or using a bold new color, using a tinted primer can reduce the number of paint coats needed for full coverage, saving you money on paint.
Properly Prepare Your Paint Surfaces
Prepare the surface by cleaning, repairing and priming as needed. A well-prepared surface will require fewer coats of paint and ensure better adhesion, reducing the need for touch-ups or repainting.
Use these tips for preparing nicotine-stained walls.
Calculate Your Paint Needs Accurately
Measure your space and use a paint calculator to determine the exact amount of paint needed. This will help you avoid buying too much or too little.
Consider Spending on Good-Quality Tools Too
Investing in good-quality brushes, rollers and other painting tools will help you apply paint more evenly and efficiently, reducing waste and the number of coats needed.
Store Paint Properly
Keep leftover paint away from extreme temperatures in airtight containers, and label them with the color and date. Proper storage will ensure it remains in good condition for future touch-ups or projects.
Tips from Paint Pros for Picking a Quality Paint
We also got advice from a few of our readers who happen to be professional paint pros on how to pick a quality paint at a good price.
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.
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
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 2023
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