As a consumer, contractor or business owner it is a daunting task to choose paint and paint colours. I'd like to focus on paint in this post.
The best paint based on 'consumer' response is Benjamin Moore Aura and Behr Premium Plus a close second. Surprised? You shouldn't be! Benjamin Moore's reputation and colour palette is unmatched in the industry and big box stores have higher traffic, bigger dollars and a greater marketing capacity then most local paint stores. Note: this is based on a 'consumer' based resource, not a professional painter's resource. My top picks are either Sherwin Williams Opulence or Benjamin Moore Regal - these are my go to paints for performance, coverage and durability.
• Benjamin Moore Aura Matt is a very good product. It covers remarkably well but does require a different application technique as it dries very quickly and is self levelling. Backrolling is not recommended. BM recommends a microfibre roller - it's not my preferred method, but it does work.
• I've only used Behr Premium Paint a few times, and each time coverage was poor and I found it sprayed too much off the roller. After one wall, I had to mask off the baseboard to keep the over spray off my work. Also, I don't frequent Big Box stores for paint purchases simply because I don't have the time.
My paint suppliers have my paint mixed, colour matched and ready for me when I arrive. I have a business account with them and can call ahead, you can't do this with the big box stores.
Here are my top picks: (These are the paints I use most because they work)
Trim Paint: Sherwin Williams Pro Classic or Benjamin Moore Advance (latex/oil hybrid)
Zero VOC Paint: Sherwin Williams Emerald/Harmony or Benjamin Moore Natura
Bathroom Paint: Sherwin Williams Harmony or Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa
Best Interior Paint: Sherwin Williams Opulence (Cashmere in the US) or Benjamin Moore's Regal
Best Exterior Paint: Sherwin William's Emerald Exterior Paint or Aura Exterior Paint
Within every paint company there are numerous product lines. Ask about the various options and price points available to you. Aura is one of Benjamin Moore's top brands as Emerald is Sherwin William's top brand.
Feel free to comment or add your two cents. Thanks for reading.
Sam (Saturday, 11 December 2021 17:07)
Just stumbled across this as i just finished painting my main living areas. I have never painted before. I bought behr ultra from home depot. The behr paint application was terrible and after one wall I almost pulled my hair out. The next day i sanded the behr ultra off the walls. I drove to sherwin williams and bought opulence. Night and day difference. Application was a breeze with this stuff and the job looked pretty good after i was done. Im sure a pro could have done better but the quality of the opulence was well worth the added cost. I couldnt believe how big of a difference the type of paint could make. The behr paint is now sitting in the closet of shame and will only be used in the future as a gift to an enemy.
janet (Thursday, 24 June 2021 10:48)
We used opulence to paint the walls in our home. It is NOT scrubbable, and even gently wiping off something like a water drip with a clean lightly damp cloth leave horrendous marks. When I called Sherwin Williams I was told this should NEVER be used in high traffic areas as it is not meant to be washable
Ron Thrall (Monday, 13 March 2017 05:55)
Good morning Susan,
1. For new construction, doors and often trim come pre-primed and generally require 2 coats of paint to finish. To your question, I would NOT use ProMar200 on trim but rather choose Pro Classic Latex or Waterborne Alkyd OR Benjamin Moore's Advance Waterborne Alkyd. Note: Both of these products are 'self-leveling' and are generally rolled on then tipped off if in a repaint situation or in new construction, most are sprayed on site. Sheen is an important question here, I have been using more Satin/Pearl finish over Semi-gloss.
Application Note: ProClassic tends to 'run' as it self-levels and needs to be followed up after about 30min to check for runs/drips.
2. Will a Waterborne Alkyd yellow/soften over time. I can't speak authoritatively on this as I haven't watched paint dry THAT LONG lol. :)
In the good 'ol days of oil paint, yes it would generally soften/yellow over time depending on the substrate/wood being painted. (patina) Most Latex finish paints are 'coatings' and do NOT penetrate the substrate as oils used to do and should yellow less. That said, the impact of UV light/weathering is still a consideration over time.
Recommendation? Either Sherwin Williams ProClassic or Benjamin Moore's Advance work for me. I've heard good things about SW SOLO sprayed on, haven't tried it yet.
Susan (Sunday, 12 March 2017 23:17)
For white trim and doors, can the Benjamin moore advanced yellow?
Susan (Sunday, 12 March 2017 22:58)
What would be the best finish for new construction interior doors and trim?
SW Pro Mar 200 line or pro classic or BM Aura. Do the waterbased acrylic alkyd offer a smoother finish?
Ron (Monday, 03 October 2016 15:42)
Thanks for your question Diana, and you're welcome!
A living room paint sheen? I prefer Regal UltiMatte. It's a strong contender for most walls as it offers: Paint and Primer Together, Easy Application, Highly Washable, Zero VOC*, Low odour, Excellent Hide, Perfect for busy areas: hallways, family rooms, kids' rooms, etc. Provides a Mildew Resistant Coating see BM Site:
As noted at the bottom of my post: I generally use a mold/mildew resistant paint for bathrooms. If it's a light color, I also suggest to my clients that they WRAP the walls/ceiling together in one color coat. I suggest Sherwin Williams Harmony FLAT or Aura Bath & Spa Matte for bathrooms.
The trend today is to use lower sheen finishes even on trim. We used to apply eggshell on walls and semi-gloss on trim, now I usually apply matte on walls and satin/pearl on trim.
I hope that helps Diana! All the best to you in your renovation project.
Diana (Monday, 03 October 2016 08:40)
Thanks for this blog!!!
What finish would you recommend in the Regal paint for a living room, Mat or Eggshell, or other? Also what paint would be best for a bathroom?
Ron (Thursday, 08 September 2016 15:29)
Thank you for your question Suzane!
Your one question leads me to ask a number of other questions:
1. Are the walls of the garage primed and ready for paint?
2. Will there be water used - to wash cars for example - inside the garage?
3. Just the walls? Or, walls & ceiling?
4. Often, in new homes, the taped joints of the drywall are only single coated and have not had a second and third coat of drywall mud applied, is this the case?
5. Price point (or budget) is also an important part of the equation here,
The higher the sheen the more durable the paint. I'd recommend a minimum of a Satin/Eggshell paint sheen finish or higher. Sherwin Williams has a product called Solo Paint (100% Acrylic Paint) it would be a strong contender here as it is an interior/exterior product, very versatile and self priming (in other words, the first coat acts as it's own primer).
I hope that helps, thank again for stopping by.
Suzane (Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:09)
Which paint would you recommend for garages?
Ron (Sunday, 20 September 2015 19:24)
Thank you for your question Navita. Price is the first difference, however, additionally:
ProMar200 is a solid ZERO VOC paint with good coverage (hides well), I generally use this paint in new homes and commercial applications as it is a better quality than 'builder grade'.
Opulence is my preferred SW paint as it is washable, scrubbable, self-leveling (cool feature), easy to apply and dries quickly between coats. My clients like the Matt finish however Eggshell is a strong second if you need greater durability.
navita (Tuesday, 15 September 2015 08:40)
What is the difference between Promar 200 and Opulence