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Paint – Is There a Difference In Quality?

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Sherwin Williams “Naval” on House of Earnest
Have you eve wondered what makes one paint better than another? There are so many brands out there.  Sherwin Williams, Benjamin MooreC2RichardsPratt & Lambert, and Farrow and Ball, are the main paint lines I specify for clients. 
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There are a couple of reasons designers pick specific paint brands for clients.  The main reasons I pick a particular band is because of the colors the specific brand offers on their fan decks.  I also prefer quality paints because I know the paint will hold up and provide a beautiful finish in a client’s home.  
If a homeowner is not working with a designer and hires a painter to paint their home, the painter often suggest the homeowner choose from a particular brand.  The painter’s motivation for using a brand, is typically driven by pricing.  The store that offers the best discount to the painter is typically who gets the painter’s business.  The painter can then make money off the paint as well as the labor on a job.  Who can blame them, especially if they are choosing quality paints.  However, are you getting the best paint for your job when price becomes more important than type of paint chosen?  We will talk more about that in another post.  Let’s get back to our discussion on the differences in paint quality.  
The bottom line is quality paint comes down to the quality of the ingredients used in the paint.  The old saying “you get what you pay for” when buying paints is accurate.
Paint have four main ingredients: Binders, Pigments, Liquids and Additives.  What sets these ingredients apart?  Quality!  In other words, you get what you pay for when buying quality paints.   
Higher-quality prime pigments provide better color retention and coverage.  Have you ever taken a paint swatch from one company and tried to get it mixed in another brand and the result didn’t match the original paint sample?  It’s because pigments vary from one paint company to another.  Can you get a paint color that is close to the original by mixing in another brand?  Yes, you can but chances are great it isn’t exactly the same without lots of tweaking. Some companies like Sherwin-Williams have a machine that can shoot the color and 
Binders are what help the paint adhere.  If the paint contains lower quality binders, it will peel, crack and blister quicker than if it contains high quality binders.  The quality and type of binders will affect the look of the paint as well.  
The quality and type of additives in paint will also affect how the paint looks, covers and glides on.  Additives can affect drying times, odors and many other characteristics of the paint. 
Liquids  in paints affect how the paint is removed from the can.  If there is a lot of water added to the paint, it makes it harder to remove.  Watered down paint doesn’t cover as well either. 
The key to finding the right paint for your job is to decide which product is right for your project.  Paint companies produce job specific paints which are formulated for specific tasks.
Tip:  often my clients wills say they want to put eggshell paint on the stairwell wall. I say no!  Did you know if you paint with eggshell and and you want to touch up there is no such way to do so?  I suggest painting a stairwell in flat because you can take a sponge brush and touch you one little area without painting the entire wall.  I’m not sure when the love affair with eggshell happened but I am not a fan.  
I hope you learned something today about paints!  You definitely get what you pay for. Want a great paint job?  Buy good paint!  What finishes do you like where?
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