- Use Quality Paint

     - How to Choose a

       Quality Paint

Use the Best Quality Paint You Can Afford  (or, Can You Afford to Not Use the Best Quality Paint?

If you've spent time caring for the appearance of your car, you know there is car wax, and then there's great car wax.  You can find a budget-priced car wax for five or six dollars, or spend more for a product like Collinite or Mother's which both use quality ingredients.  Sure, the inexpensive car wax will make your car shine, and make the rain water bead for a short time, but go through a couple of car washes, and there goes your protective finish. On the other hand, using one of the above mentioned waxes will give many months of high quality protection, even through repeated washings, and the water will still bead on top of the paint, just like the day you applied it.  And, the container of better quality wax is enough to give you several applications and likely last a few years.  The old adage, "you get what you pay for" similarly applies to paint.

~~Choose the best quality paint you can afford for your next painting project. Whether you're tackling your painting project yourself, or hiring a professional painter, the quality of paint you choose will largely determine the success of the finished product.

While most of us have a project budget within which we need to work, and paint cost is an important component of that budget, cutting back on the quality of paint can adversely affect  the project's outcome in several ways. Let's consider how  choosing better quality can actually save time and money. 

First, in applying paint, a higher quality paint will go onto the surface smoother, easier and faster.  Providing you're using a good quality roller and roller cover, of the appropriate material and thickness, the paint will also provide better coverage.  This means saved time and less wasted paint, which equals money saved.

Second, for all your hard work (or hard earned money if you're hiring a painting contractor) you want a paint that's durable and long-lasting, right?  A high quality paint will give you both.  A good quality paint is made with good quality ingredients, which extend the life of the paint application, giving you years of consistently good-looking walls and surfaces.  The higher quality ingredients in better paints also help to resist dirt, marks, stains and other bad things we do to our walls, and greatly help the finish to stand up to cleaning.  Low quality paints clean up poorly, and some finishes can even be ruined by trying to clean dirt or marks from walls. This can result in having to touch up these spots with leftover paint, but a poor quality finish will lose it's depth and brilliance in a relatively short time, so you'll see a big difference between the previously applied paint and the touched up.  So, what have you saved?

Further, unless you're flipping houses or painting  apartment complexes, you probably want (and expect) that the paint finish will last for several years.   A good  quality paint will last for eight to twelve years, while a poor quality paint finish may only look good for three or four years and require major touching up or a complete re-paint.  I know I'd rather achieve a ten year finish for myself or a client  than a four year finish!

Finally, let's take a look at how much you're really saving by not choosing a quality paint. For argument's sake, let's peg a quality paint at $50 per gallon, and a low quality paint at $25.  Let's also use a hypothetical paint project of painting two 12 x 12 rooms that will require two gallons of paint for each room, totaling roughly 700 square feet.  Allowing for a window and door in each room, and two coats of paint, we'll need four gallons of paint.  The premium paint will cost $200, vs. $100 for the lesser quality paint, resulting in a higher cost of $100.00.  While $100 is not a drop in the bucket (no pun intended), consider everything discussed above, and decide if $100 in additional paint cost is worth it.  If you're hiring a painting contractor to do the work, the labor cost will likely be in the range of $400 to $700, so by using a quality paint, you can spread the cost of the labor over several more years.  The additional $100 paint cost now costs you only about $20 per year, and you have a better looking and more durable finish.

Just like that nice wax job that keeps your car looking shiny and new, your paint project completed with high quality paint will make you smile with pride every time you look at it.


   Tips &  Information

                                  How to Choose a Quality Paint

Now that you know why choosing a high quality paint makes good sense, I thought we'd explore how to determine which paints are high quality.  This is a rather complex topic, not only because the paint making process is itself complicated, but also because you have a plethora of options from which to choose. 

If your painting project is relatively small, and you'll only need a gallon of paint, save yourself the time of reading this article and just get a higher end paint and be done with it.  Don't squabble with yourself over a few dollars.  Buy good quality and get the job done right!  If, however, the painting task at hand involves multiple rooms and several gallons of paint, then please read on.

The more I tried to simplify the process of determining which paints are better than others, the more I realized that others have done exhaustive research and explained the process better than I.  Here is a good article on this topic, which corroborates information from several other sources I've consulted:

While the article addresses a reader's question about choosing an exterior paint, the information applies equally to interior paints.  It's a rather lengthy article, but if you're interesting in knowing about the various ingredients in paint and the solids to liquids ratios, this is good information to arm yourself with before making an informed paint purchase (in other words, get your money's worth!).

In a nutshell, here's some basic information on how paint is formulated, and what to look for in selecting a higher quality paint.

Paint is comprised of liquids and solids.  Think of liquids as the vehicles for getting the paint to the surface, and solids as what's left behind when the paint is dry.  While all the components of paint are important, it's the solids we focus on when determining a paint's longevity, durability and hiding properties.  Better quality paints have about a 40/60 (solids to liquids) ratio, while economy paints usually carry a 25/75 ratio.   So, the greater the percentage of solids in paint, the thicker and more durable the painted surface will be, once the liquids have dried.

However, be careful not to focus solely on the liquid/solid ratio.  Paint manufacturers can, and do, use fillers in place of high quality solids.  One way to look a little deeper into the composition of the paint you're buying is to look at the titanium dioxide content.  This is the key ingredient in the paint's pigment.  The higher the number, the better the paint's coverage with fewer coats applied.  Calcium carbonate, a less expensive and less effective pigment, will be found in higher concentrations in economy paints, and less so in premium paints.

As a guide, an average grade paint may contain 10 to 15% titanium dioxide, a middle grade 15 to 20% and a higher quality paint will usually contain 20 to 30% titanium dioxide.   Some ultra premium paints costing $75 to $100 per gallon can contain as much as 70% fine titanium dioxide.  It's interesting to note that you can actually feel the extra weight in the paint can, due to the extra solids.  And you can expect, with proper surface preparation and application, that the paint finish will last 20 years or more and still look great.  

All of the major U.S. brands carry a wide variety of paint, including the big DIY guys, ranging from lower quality "contractor grade" paint, up to premium.  Very often, a consumer's brand choice will be based upon price, particularly if one company is having a sale, and there is certainly nothing wrong with this, all things being equal.

Choose wisely; it's your money and you want your finished project to be beautiful and long lasting.