Interior House Paints
What is a “best value paint“? Is it a paint that covers well for its price? Maybe it’s an inexpensive paint that can handle the rigors of little people necessitating frequent wall cleaning? Or, is it the paint that applies most easily for the amount of money paid for per gallon?
What if I told you that each of these qualities (and more) help determine a paint’s value? Would you want to understand the why behind it?
The Four Basic Components of Paint
Understanding the four basic components of paint sets you well on your way to understanding why paints perform the way they do, and cost what they do. So, let’s get started.
Pigments are the little miracles that give paint its precise color. The specific pigments put into a gallon of navy paint varies greatly from those put into a can of daffodil yellow.
You may be surprised to learn that pigments also give paint it’s covering power. Finer sized pigments provide the best coverage.
There are two qualities of paint pigments. Prime pigments are the finest in size and best at covering existing paint and imperfections. Prime pigments are the most expensive pigment type and will drive up the cost of a gallon of paint. The most expensive prime pigment is titanium dioxide.
Extender pigments are denser, provide a less washable surface, and cost considerably less than prime pigments. In addition, a paint product created predominantly with extender pigments frequently results in the need to apply more coats because of it’s decreased covering qualities. This, of course, translates to more product needing to be purchased.
A paint made up of mostly extender pigments will also burnish more easily. That is, it will leave behind a shiny mark when rubbed on. That nugget of knowledge alone suggests that you may need to repaint an entire wall rather than rely on a simple paint touch up. A product made with a larger amount of prime pigments should not require this.
When comparing paints, one should look at the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) data to see which type pigments are used. MSDS data should be readily found on a paint manufacture’s website. While there may be a mixture of both, the better value down the road is the paint with the highest amount of prime pigments.
Binders (aka Resins)
Binders (or resins) adhere themselves to the pigments, and the surface, on which they’re painted creating a durable film. Higher quality binders allow less paint color to wipe off on a rag when washing the wall. High quality binders are a must when paint durability is a prime concern.
As already mentioned, there are better and lesser quality binders. The best binder available today is acrylic. The higher the percentage of acrylic binder used in a paint, the more dependable that paint will be.
Quality binders make up a high percentage of the cost of a gallon of paint. While an acrylic paint will cost more in the short-term, it will adhere (and wear) far better in the long.
Liquids are used in wall paint to regulate how thick it is, and thicker paints provide superior coverage. Liquids included in a latex paint can include water. Paints that appear “thinner than water” have a higher percentage of liquids to solids.
While liquids are needed, there is a fine line between a good amount and a bad. If there is a high proportion of liquids to solids in the paint, the paint will not cover as well. This, once again, is another instance where you may need added coats of paint to cover what’s already there.
Higher quality paints have fewer liquids added to them. It is indeed possible that a thicker paint will cover less square footage, but you may not care while in the midst of painting a wall with a third (or fourth) coat of cheap paint.
Additives add significant benefits to a gallon of paint. As you can imagine, the more benefits (additives) the higher the cost of paint.
Additives can improve how easily the paint applies, prevent mildew, improve the way a painted wall looks, and improve its long-term performance.
Higher quality paints have more additives incorporated into each gallon making them more desirable to work, and ultimately live, with.
Best Value Paint
You now know that interior house paints vary greatly in cost due to the quality of ingredients that goes into them. But, will the lesser quality paint “good enough”? And, is the lesser quality paint the best value paint? Let’s look at the facts.
The best value paint will always be the product best suited to your needs regardless of the price. For example, paint for a rarely used guest bedroom will not require the same washability, coverage, or durability as that being used to cover the royal blue walls of a child’s playroom. In that instance purchasing the higher quality paint for the playroom, and a mid-range product for the guest bedroom, makes a lot of sense.
Determining which paint benefits are needed for a project is the key to deciding YOUR best value paint. When purchasing paint, don’t put every ounce of thought into selecting just the color. Take time to answer the following list of questions which will prepare you to choose the correct quality of interior house paint for your needs.
1) Do I need a washable paint?
2) Am I leaning toward a color other than white or off white where paint color rub off could be a concern when washing down the walls?
3) Do I require a highly durable paint?
4) Do I want to paint the room with as few coats as possible?
5) Do I paint infrequently and need a product that’s easy for a homeowner to use?
6) Is the space I’m painting damp and need the added protection of a mildewcide?
7) Is the color I’m painting over a bold or dark color? (like the feature photo)
8) Am I painting a kitchen where oils and food spills may need to be scrubbed off the walls?
Yes answers to four or more questions are red flags to the importance of purchasing a high quality paint. Painting walls isn’t something most of us do very often, nor do we want to! This is not the time to pinch pennies. When purchasing paint you truly do get what you pay for.
Now that you’ve learned how to select the best value paint for your project, it’s time to select a paint sheen. To determine which sheen is right for you, head over here to read the epic guide to paint sheens.