Selecting The Right Paint

Choosing the right paint for the project is the first key to a successful outcome!

With so many painting scenarios and so many retailers each selling their own array of painting products…. how do you choose the best paint for the job?

This page will help answer those questions. We will discuss various painting projects and the kind of paint you will need for each. Also we will cover a few of the key brands of paints and the best choices within each brand.

So roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!


Painting The Interior Room

Let’s talk bed rooms; family rooms; dining rooms; and halls.

Do you have small kids? Are you worried about those stray greasy hand prints on the wall as they run down the hall? Then you need to use a paint that has a higher gloss level than “flat”. Flat paint will absorb that greasy smudge and be next to impossible to clean with a wet rag. Eggshell or a semi gloss would be a good choice. It will reflect light a bit more than flat paint and will clean much easier with a wet cloth.

No kids? No worries about the stray hand prints? Then a flat paint will work best. Flat paints are more easily touched up. Much better than their glossier brothers. As long as you have the original paint color, you can get a pretty seamless touch up months after the original paint job is finished. (Yes sunlight will have an impact on your success – paint exposed to direct sunlight will fade over time and be difficult to match)

9720310_f260Painting a Bath / Kitchen

Ok… why are they different?

Admit it… your bathroom and kitchen both get splattered routinely with all of life’s bits of goodness.

The choice of paint here is clear…. No, silly not a clear paint! A paint that is highly reflective and thus easy to wipe clean! Flat simply won’t do in this application.

You need semi gloss.

The higher the gloss level the easier it will be to wipe clean and quietly remove that “situation”.

You will need a good brush – Not all brushes are created equally….

Don’t bristle at the idea of getting a good brush. If you want professional results you really need to use professional equipment! Luckily a good quality brush is not going to bust your budget. The angle paint brush is the one to get if you are “cutting lines” (the edge work… the line at the top of the wall and the ceiling… or the line at the bottom of the wall and the trim.)


PURDY 3-Inch PE Glide Angle BrushPURDY 3-Inch PE Glide Angle BrushBuy It!

Purdy Syntox Angle Paint Brush 3-InchPurdy Syntox Angle Paint Brush 3-InchBuy It!

PURDY 1.5-Inch Glide Angle Brush, X-LargePURDY 1.5-Inch Glide Angle Brush, X-LargeBuy It!

Painting Concrete

Basement walls / driveways

9720337_f120Ok kids this is getting a bit more specialized. You need to do your homework here, especially if you intend to paint your driveway. I strongly recommend choosing a product like H&C Concrete Sealer Solid Color Solvent-Based by Sherwin Williams.

This product will give you a durable finish. It penetrates deeply into the surface to form a tough shield that wont peel, fade, or flake over time. It’s resistant to salt, acids, water, UV rays, oil and heavy traffic.

You can get pre mixed colors or have it tinted. Clean up is not as easy as a latex paint, you will need a special solvent. H&C D100 Thinning Solvent

Review the spec sheet for this product and test it in an out of the way place before using it to make sure you get the expected results.

196478-699440-drywall pic 1Painting New Drywall

Paint vs Primer … what’s it all about

“Should I put primer on my brand new drywall?” A common question that reflects a misunderstanding of paint. Let me give you a couple of background points to help you understand….

1. In almost every case new drywall will need 2 coats to cover well. It soaks up the first coat and will inevitably streak and leave thin spots in the paint.

2. There are quality differences within a brand of paint….and that reflects in cost differences. Let’s say for example good, better, and best for quality. With the “good” paint being around $9 a gallon and the “best” paint being around $45 a gallon.

A contractor, painting new construction, will use 2 coats of good paint to achieve a good result at an economical cost.

A home owner should use a better paint for a first coat and a best paint for the second coat to achieve a superior result. This will obviously cost more. But the home owner is not interested in passable results. Instead they want to achieve a result that will last for years to come.

The primer in both cases here is the first coat of paint. There is no need for the home owner to spend the additional money to make the first coat of paint a “best” quality. Instead get a “better” quality in exactly the same color and use the “best” quality as the second coat.


Get the right roller for the job – Choosing the right roller will speed your project along

If you are doing a close quarters space… a kitchen, bathroom, or the inside of a closet… use a 9″ roller. Any other large volume area… invest in the 18″. The 18″ will move you along at a higher volume and still give you a quality result. Be warned: It will give you a calorie burning workout!


PURDY 9-Inch Roller FramePURDY 9-Inch Roller FrameBuy It!

Wooster Brush Sherlock Wideboy Adjustable Frame, 18-InchWooster Brush Sherlock Wideboy Adjustable Frame, 18-InchBuy It!

Pro Tip

Take a piece of blue tape and lay it on your new roller cover. Repeatedly putting it on and pulling it off will remove all the stray fibers the new roller cover has …. keeping them out of your paint and off your wall!!


9720365_f260When To Use A Primer

There are specific situations where a real “primer” is needed.

You have read the section on “Paint vs Primer” and are wondering… “Well when do I use a ‘Primer’ then?”

A fair question. There are a couple of places to use a real primer in a home and not just a first coat of paint. Picking the right primer in these cases will be key.

It’s simple really. Kilz – Original That’s it…. just get Kilz – Original …. the RED can!

Kilz makes several products. Kilz original is an oil based product and therefore the clean up is with mineral spirits. They make other easier to use products… “smells better”, “cleans up easier”…. Just use Kilz Original for the best result.

You will use this primer when:

1. You are covering up a water stain on drywall.

Make sure the drywall is sound. Clean it with white vinegar to remove mold. Paint with Kilz. Paint with

your paint color.

2. You are covering smoke damage

Use ozone treatment if necessary. Apply Kilz liberally. Paint with your paint color.

3. You are covering pet urine on wood sub floor

Clean with a pet deodorizer. Apply Kilz.


Brushes For Oil Based Paint – And a few other things you will need

The brush type for oil based paint is different from latex paint. Here are a couple of things you will need for the project.


Wooster Brush Z1118-3 Platinum Paintbrush, 3-InchWooster Brush Z1118-3 Platinum Paintbrush, 3-InchBuy It!

Original Oil-Base Interior PrimerOriginal Oil-Base Interior PrimerBuy It!

Wooster Brush M5101-2 Ship Shape Oil-Based Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-InchWooster Brush M5101-2 Ship Shape Oil-Based Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-InchBuy It!

9720377_f260Qualities of a good paint

You get what you pay for!

Yes … with paint you definitely get what you pay for. But what should you be looking for in the Quality of a paint product?

1. Coverage. Does it cover in one coat? Price will definitely be an indicator here. Paints should cover the body uniformly and homogeneously on which it is applied and the finish should be smooth and uniform.

2. Does it stay on the brush from the can to the wall? That’s right! It should not drip all over the place. The flow off the brush / roller should be even and smooth.

3. Wear-ability. Paint must be resistant to the wear and tear of the atmosphere and should maintain its color, smoothness and finish for a long time.

4. Better quality paints have better binders and other additives that increase durability, adhesion, flow, color retention, and coverage.

9720389_f120Picking The Right Retailer

This is really the key to buying a great paint!

Based on a lot of experience I can tell you that the place you buy your paint will be the single most important choice you make on this project.

Discount retailers are out. Period. They sell colored water.

Big box stores are out. They have beginner quality paint.

Watch the trucks in the parking lots… who else is buying the paint where you think you should get it?

Go where the pro’s go:

Sherwin Williams or

Benjamin Moore

Either of these retailers will have experienced associates that interact with professional painters all day long. They have the experience to guide you and correctly answer your questions. They have the top quality products that the pro’s use. If you get Sherwin Williams Pro Mar 200 for example you will be getting the “better” quality. Their best is “Duramax”

Impervo is the trim paint of choice provided by Benjamin Moore. And Regal is one of their better paint brands.

Either company can tint anything. Take a color chip from any store and they have it in their computer and can match it. Their paints are more expensive but they are worth every penny! You won’t be sorry.





1 Comment

  • Dmitri

    Great painting and decorating guide! I’ve really enjoy the way you structured the article. Tight and on topic. To be a painter or decorator is a job, that requires decent experience and of course resources. You even suggested brushes! What more could one ask for :)) Non painters will surely learn a trick or two about!

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