Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Choosing Paint: Sherwin Williams, Behr, or Valspar?

Painting can be a surprisingly expensive project.  I think paint is one of those things that you get what you pay for.  I've now painted with Glidden, Valspar (formerly American Signature), Olympic, Behr, and Sherwin Williams.  (I have not used the paints sold at Walmart which are also less expensive painting options.)

Sherwin Williams was a new one for me.  I couldn't find what color I wanted at Home Depot, so I thought about Sherwin Williams.  I remembered my sister in law buying some Sherwin Williams paint two years ago and several friends had given rave reviews to the paint.  There happened to be a 25% off coupon in the paper so I went to see their colors.  I picked two out that I liked and brought them home.  Cost wise--even with the coupon, the paint was about $12 more per gallon than Behr.  I took it home and started painting.

Verdict?  I loved the paint, but the color turned out to look just like the green from mint chocolate chip ice cream (the green kind) under the light.  It's been up for a week now and I cringe when I look at it.  It isn't soothing the way I had hoped.  That's the funny thing about paint.  You can look at it in one light and have it look very different in another.  

The great thing about paint is that you can change it!  

The great part about Sherwin Williams paint?  It paints amazingly well!  My sister in law made a great choice getting Sherwin Williams paint--it really is easier to paint with.   You definitely need two coats and not a smooth roller if you have textured walls like we do, but it paints much better than even Behr.  Do I think it's worth $25 more per gallon (regular price)?  No.  Part of the reason why is that it's a very expensive mistake if it turns out that you don't love the color (like me).  But, if you have the money to spend on it, it definitely is better paint and you'll be really happy with it.  The customer service at their stores is great.  The sales staff were very helpful at both of the stores I went to.  

My second favorite paint is Behr, but I've exhausted the color choices and not found one that I love for the hallway and living room.  So, I made a trip to Lowe's yesterday and loved the browns they had.  Seeing the green on the walls also made me realize I really wanted a brown or tan on the walls instead.  Valspar is good paint--not as good as Behr in my humble opinion, but good paint.  I took the paint cards home last night and held them up all along the hallway because we have this funky track lighting system in the hall that makes every wall look different.  I picked one out and I'm hopeful that it will be what we're looking for.  I also held it up next to the walls in all of the adjacent rooms to see if the color transition would be pleasing.  I like it.  

What makes a paint better than another? (in my very humble opinion)  One that doesn't splatter everywhere.  The best ones can cover in one coat if you need them to.  But, every paint I've used would be better with two.  One that stays on the brush.  One who's color stays even throughout the gallon when stirred.  I'm a painter who doesn't use drop cloths or tape, so I want to use a paint that stays on the walls and doesn't run.  When I use one of my less favorite paints, I am just more careful.  I always have a wet rag nearby to pick up any drops that land on the floor, door jams, or baseboards.  

So, today, I get to reprime the hallway and make another trip to Lowe's for paint.  I am hopeful that this time I will get it right!

PS If I haven't mentioned this before, but you are thinking about painting down the road...there are always rebates offered around Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day on paints.  I've noticed that they randomly offer them at other times of the year, but you have to keep an eye out for them!


  1. Thanks for the tips about the rebates and the paints! I'll keep that in mind for our next project.

    We like Kilz paint, because its cheap and paints fairly well, but they don't have a very good color selection. We bring a white bucket of the Kilz paint to the Home Depot employees who color match it to the color we'd like. We haven't found a huge difference in colors after we color match.

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