Picking The Right Paint For Interior Painting

Apr 29, 2013Do It For You, Do It Yourself, Featured, Interior Painting

There are many variables to consider for picking the right paint for interior painting in Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick.  I would have to write a too-long post to get to all of them so I’ll just give a few generalities here that I hope will be helpful.

If this doesn’t answer your question then I would suggest either calling me at 509-551-1060 (my advice is free and worth every penny of it) or going to your local Sherwin-Williams store and tell them what you want to do and they will give you a recommendation.  I suggest that you don’t just ask anyone behind the counter.  Though they are good the store manager will be the best one to talk to as he will have the most product knowledge, the most real-world experience, and the best ability to communicate to you why he has suggested what he has suggested. If he is available, that is.

Do NOT Go To A Big-Box Store Like Home Depot Or Lowes For Advice On The Right Paint

I know how this works. I used to be a part-time kitchen designer for Home Depot while I ran my painting business and the associates in the paint department regularly sent their customers to me for even the most basic questions. The associates in big-box stores have had little training and likely no real-world experience.  You could get lucky and go to the store that has a professional painter working the paint department, but why risk working all those hours on your house to find out you got bad advice?

General Principles To Keep In Mind When Choosing Interior Paint:


Flat Interior Paint Hides Imperfections And Repairs In Your Drywall

The more sheen, the more you will see the imperfections in your drywall. This is especially critical if you have done any drywall repairs and re-textured.  It is almost impossible to match an existing texture pattern unless the repairs were textured not only by the same person who did it before but also him or her using the same machine he used before.  Every texture gun and every person running it will create a different pattern.  The only way to get a truly uniform texture after a repair is to float out the whole wall (fill it and sand it down) and start over with texturing, which of course will add dollars to your project.

That said, one of my painters and I are about as good as it gets when it comes to matching orange-peel texture, sometimes even making the repair disappear completely. With knock-down texture, it’s harder to match so making the problem disappear is more of a challenge.

Flat Paint is Not Scrubable

Flat paint has rarely been used on anything other than ceilings because flat paint is not washable.  If you try to wash it it will leave a burnish mark. Latex paint technology has improved to the point where you can get a washable near-flat paint that has only a small amount of sheen.  Sherwin Williams Duration Home Matte is such a paint. Even though it is nearly flat it has a hard enough finish that it can be washed just like a gloss or semi-gloss finish.

Door And Window Trim Requires A Higher-Quality, Harder Enamel Paint

Of course, better paint is going to cost you more but you are not going to need as much of it.  If I were to spray out the whole interior with 30 gallons of wall paint I might only need 5 gallons of high-quality trim paint for the trim and doors.

Many new home interiors are painted with the same paint on both the walls and the trim.  You can be sure they didn’t use trim paint to paint the whole interior.  No contractor is going to spend the extra money it would take to do that unless a customer is willing to pay the extra for what we call an enamel pack.  That’s where we use harder paint for the doors and trim. Most speck homes, which are homes built to sell on the market rather than built for a customer, won’t have enamel packs. That being the case, you will probably notice the doors and trim will get dinged up easier than they would have with harder trim paint.

Will The New Paint-And-Primer-In-One Paints Save Me From Having To Prime My Walls First?

Maybe not.  In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s just a marketing gimmick.  If you are changing colors much at all, especially going from a light color to a dark color, or vice-versa, one coat with a paint/primer combo will not do the job. In that case, it would have been better to go with a less expensive prime coat tinted to nearly match your final color or gray primed to appropriate darkness for your final color.

After priming you can use a better, more expensive paint for the top coat.

Where I could see a paint/primer combo saving you from having to do two coats is when you are painting the same color as you currently have but you are painting a flat or matte finish on top of a gloss or semi-gloss finish.  The primer qualities in the paint/primer combo will help with adhesion which can be an issue when putting flatter paints on top of glossy paints without primer.

Tint Your Primer to Nearly Match Your Top-coat or Use Gray Primer

I say “nearly match” because you don’t want your primer to be the exact same color as your top coat. You want to be able to see the difference when you top-coat so you can tell if you are getting good coverage.

Even better than nearly matching your topcoat color with your primer is to use a gray primer. Paint manufacturers have discovered that it’s actually easier to provide good one-coat top-coat coverage with primer that has been tinted gray to match the darkness of the top coat you are using rather than tinting the primer to the same or near-same color as the top coat that you will be using.

At Sherwin Williams they can tint your primer using color codes from P1 to P6. P1 is nearly white and P6 is nearly black. If you have some dark primer left over and you need some later for a light topcoat you can always add white primer to lighten it up. If you have leftover light primer and need some for a dark project later on you can take your can back to the paint store and have them add more black tint to darken it up.

For New Construction – Prime Before And After Texture For Better Touch-Up

Most spec home builders and even many custom home builders will scrimp on painting costs by not priming the new texture before painting because the average home buyer will not be able to tell the difference. Until they move in and want to touch up.

What happens with painting over un-primed texture is the porous texture literally sucks the sheen out of the top coat leaving it flatter than it would if the wall had been sealed with primer.  That in itself is not a problem; the problem comes when you put another coat of the same paint on top in spots to touch up nicks and dings.  The second coat has been primed by the first coat and doesn’t have the sheen sucked out of it so will be shinier.  This will leave a shiny spot that will stick out like a sore thumb under the right lighting conditions.  The only way to get rid of it is to paint the whole wall.

If you don’t have the original paint for touch up it’s easy to get a good color match with today’s optical scanners but it’s nearly impossible to match the sheen on a paint.  Priming the texture before painting will leave the top coat with the sheen it’s supposed to have so that when you touch up both sheens will match.

What to Ask Your Builder

Don’t assume that your builder is priming the texture, even if you are paying extra for a higher-quality house.  I’ve seen custom home builders advertise the quality of their homes in the things that are readily apparent to a prospective client, such as granite counters, but still skimp and save on other items that are not so noticeable.  If you ask them if the walls are going to get primed you need to be more specific than that because they may be thinking of the cheap primer that goes on before the texture, which is standard operating procedure, and not be thinking you are asking about priming AFTER the texture.  You need to specifically ask if the walls are going to be primed both before and after the texture.

My Go-To Paint for Interior Painting in the Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick Area

Interior SuperPaint Satin by Sherwin Williams. In my experience, for interior painting, SuperPaint offers the best coverage which decreases the likelihood of needing to apply two coats.

According to Sherwin Williams:

This interior paint and primer in one applies easily, dries quickly, and offers great hide to make color changes easy. In addition to its smooth appearance, SuperPaint® coating creates a lasting finish and a surface that holds up to scrubbing.

Interior SuperPaint Satin offers great one-coat coverage but as mentioned earlier if you prefer a flatter sheen that is still washable then Duration Home Matte by Sherwin Williams offers the flattest sheen which is still washable and it covers nearly as well as Superpaint.



More Helpful Information about Interior Painting from our Blog:


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