How to choose the best paint for your interior and exterior (the complete guide)

Eivydas “David” Phillips Eivydas “David” Phillips
Founder/President at Painters Inc.

From interior to exterior paints, few projects are the same, which means there needs to be different paints to handle every type of surface. For example, paint you use for interior jobs have different properties than paint used for exterior work. Of course, there are also the aesthetic preferences that differ between industries, property types and personal style, which is why paint manufacturers dream up every possible color under the sun.

At Painters Inc., we have amassed a wealth of knowledge about interior and exterior paint. After years serving the Chicago area, we have worked with just about every type of property, commercial and residential. Regardless of how complex your job might be, we know which paints to use to get the most value, best look and longest lifespan.

The top three things you need to know about choosing paints:

  • Cost is usually a good indication of how durable your paint will be and how good it will look on your surfaces. If there is a bargain basement price tag on it, just remember that you get what you pay for.
  • Choosing high-quality paints will add value to your project because they look fantastic and will last a long time.
  • Sunlight will diminish gloss and color, but higher quality paint will not lose its color or gloss as quickly as paints of a lesser quality.

Things to know before starting a painting project

Paint serves a number of purposes. Most importantly, it protects surfaces, adding years and years to the life of a structure. Another important reason paint is applied to structures is for aesthetic reasons, as choosing the right colors can enhance its appearance. Finally, a fresh coat of paint can give a structure a sudden boost of curb appeal.

When it comes to actually choosing the right type of paint, the situation gets more difficult because different paint manufacturers use different terminologies. To clear that up a bit, know that most paint is made up of six ingredients: base, pigment, filler/extender, binder, thinner/solvent and various additives that improve the quality of the paint for special situations. On top of that, there are 20 different types of paint, from latex to oil to enamel and many other types in between, each having a specific purpose. Working with the right painting contractor will ensure that your project utilizes the exact paints your property requires.

10 factors to consider when choosing paint

If your project is going to be a success, you have to choose the right paint. Making errors in this stage will result in time and money spent fixing the problems later. The process can be made easier by knowing what type of surfaces you’re dealing with, the ways in which the rooms will be used, your aesthetic needs, the amount of traffic specific areas of the property will see and the maximum amount of paint fumes acceptable in any given area of the structure. Use the following as your guide to choosing the right paint.

Use the following as your guide to choosing the right paint:

  • Surface area

    Most rooms have four walls and each wall will take a specific amount of paint for it to be fully covered. Paint manufacturers will list how many square feet a gallon of paint will cover based on the type of paint it is.

  • Types of paint

    Some projects will call for a latex paint with a satin finish, while others will require an enamel paint with a matte or glossy finish. Painting on cement will require a different paint than when you’re painting metal. Being knowledgeable of what type of paint matches your needs will ensure your project goes off without a hitch.

  • Deepness of color

    If the colors chosen are rather deep or rich, this will impact which type of paint is used because some types of paint simply hold rich/deep colors better than others, impacting the way they react to the elements, which is particularly important for exterior paint.

  • Shelf life/durability

    Also called “pot life” by professional painters, this is an indication of how long the paint will last on a surface. It also takes into account how long it takes the paint to double in thickness, which is something that occurs while it dries and is a factor in how durable the paint is.

  • Reaction to cleaning

    Some areas of the structure require more cleaning than others, such as kitchens and hallways, each seeing an abundance of use. The paint you use in these areas needs to be able to stand up to frequent washing.

  • Shininess

    Most paints while they are still wet on the surfaces have a sheen to them, but the true shininess is only revealed after it has dried. In the painting industry there are four token variations of sheen, including gloss, semi-gloss, eggshell/satin and matte/flat. The level of sheen can differ from brand to brand, which is why it’s important to know that the semi-gloss you’re expecting from a specific manufacturer lives up to your expectations.

  • All-in-one primers/paint

    The type of primer you use is generally chosen to compliment the pigment of the paint that will go on top of it. Primer seals the surface, providing a more even and stable place for the paint and ensuring it will last longer. In the right situations, an all-in-one paint and primer product can be used.

  • Binding abilities

    The pigment in your paint melds with a binding agent, giving it the ability to stick to surfaces. The type of binder used is determined by the type of paint you’re using. In most cases, oil paints will include binders that differ from those used in acrylic or latex paint. The binders are also used to reach maximum adhesion to surfaces.

  • The fume factor

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals released in paint fumes. Some of these chemicals have a strong aroma/odor and can be unhealthy, which means for specific facilities, such as hospitals or areas where VOCs need to be as low as possible, there are zero-VOC paints available.

  • Brand preferences

    Paint brands can differ wildly, which is why it is important to work with a contractor that has experience with many brands and know what will be a good fit in your facility. At Painters Inc., we work with premium brands, including Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore & Co.

The more you know about the different qualities of paint and how they relate to your surfaces, the more successful your painting project will turn out. At Painters Inc., we know the pros and cons of all the popular brands and will make sure your property is covered with the best possible options.

Characteristics of interior paint

Painting indoor surfaces differs from exterior jobs in several important ways. First off, indoor environments are more sensitive to paint fumes than an exterior job, which means choosing lower VOC paints is a priority for interior work. While all painting projects should be as clean as possible, spatter matters more in an indoor job, which means contractors usually work with low-spatter paint.

gym interior painting

There are elements to indoor paint that are vastly different from those used for exterior jobs. For example, exposure to the elements, particularly moisture, in an outdoor environment leads to mildew and mold. Some exterior paints include a product called “mildewcide,” which helps prevent the buildup of mildew. This is not something you’ll find in most paint made for interior use.

The following are more characteristics of interior paint:

  • It is stain resistant and will also hide brush marks or roller marks.
  • It is washable, meaning spills and scuffs can be cleaned without impacting the look and durability of the paint.
  • Interior paint is often abrasion resistant, as it is more likely to be touched, especially in high traffic areas.
  • It lacks fade resistant properties, as it isn’t in constant contact with the elements, including harsh sunlight.
  • Interior paint is low VOC, which reduces exposure to potentially harmful fumes.
  • It has the ability to cure without the aid of direct sunlight.
  • It contains no fungicides.

While all paints are made with similar ingredients, it's the adjuncts/extra additives that differentiate exterior from interior paint. The focus for manufacturers is to formulate paint that will match its environment perfectly.

Characteristics of exterior paints

Most exterior paint is made with chemicals that make them durable and capable to withstand the elements. Because these chemicals are present in fumes, you don’t want them in interior paint. Manufacturers have formulated exterior paint so that it will adhere to surfaces extremely well, is fungus/mildew resistant and won’t fade under the sun (at least not as fast as interior paint would under the same circumstances).

high rise apartament painting

The fumes and potentially harmful chemicals in the fumes dissipate rather quickly outdoors and do not present a risk to humans or animals. In most situations, the only time an exterior paint can be used safely indoors is in an attached garage where ventilation is adequate to safely dissipate the fumes.

The following are some of the most significant characteristics of exterior paint:

  • Exterior paint provides protection against the elements, including ultraviolet radiation, which can quickly fade paint that isn’t made for exterior uses.
  • As exterior paint cures, it releases unsafe VOCs.
  • Most exterior paint requires sunlight to cure.
  • It is resistant to water and chipping.
  • Resins used in exterior paint are softer, allowing them to expand in the heat without cracking.
  • It contains fungicides to prevent growth buildup.

If you have special circumstances and require a unique type of exterior paint, Painters Inc., knows what will do the trick. We have a vast amount of experience with exterior paints and work with the best brands that can cover any need.

Paint types for your surfaces

Choosing paint requires knowing the type of surface you’re going to cover. Various paints will mesh differently depending on the surface. For example, if you painted drywall with a paint made for that surface, that same paint probably won’t be as effective on wood. Paint used on cement will differ from paint used for metal surfaces.

Another thing to consider is the type of room you’re painting. Kitchens, which are at risk for all types of stains including food splatter, should be painted with a product that is easy to clean and won’t rub off after multiple scrubbings. A room that gets an abundance of sunlight will need to be painted with a product that is resistant to ultraviolet light, but doesn’t contain too many VOCs.

While the most used paints are water- and oil-based, there are plenty of specialty paints on the market that meet the needs of those with custom situations. The following are the qualities of some of the most frequently used paints on the market today:

  • Primer and first coat

    For paint to look great and last a long time, it requires a primer coat on the surface before your paint is applied. In some cases, the first coat of paint acts as a primer for the second or third coats. Using the right primers can also knock down odors and cover stains.

  • Water-based paint

    Latex and acrylic paints are water based. These are the most common paints used for interior purposes. The perk with water-based paint is that it cures without sunlight and dries fast. It is also made to resist cracking and is considered eco-friendly because it has low levels of VOCs.

  • Oil-based paint

    Another popular paint type is oil-based paint. It is considered a premium paint because it is more durable than water-based paint and it has a sheen that is considered more attractive. It’s a popular paint for high-traffic areas. One of the major cons is that it requires paint thinner or turpentine to clean up.

  • Aluminium paint

    Looking to reflect radiation coming from the sun? Use aluminum paint, which is actually a mixture of oil varnish and aluminium pigment that provides reflective properties. It will, however, retain heat, which is why it is often used on hot water pipes or hot air pipes. Generally coming only in one shade, this paint often has a silvery finish.

  • Enamel paint

    Similar to oil-based paint, enamel paint is stronger and will resist water, alkalies and acid, making it a durable product. Manufacturers use special resins as well as petroleum spirit and white lead to produce the desired durability. This paint is also versatile, seeing use in exterior and interior projects.

  • Latex paint

    Fun fact: there isn’t actual latex in latex paint. Rather than real latex proteins, latex paint is made with synthetic latex, therefore it is not a problem for people with issues with latex proteins allergies. It is water-based paint similar to acrylic and is often used to cover large spaces. It is versatile and can be used on wood trim, walls and concrete.

  • Acrylic paints

    This water-based paint is one of the most eco-friendly on the market, which is a big asset for eco-minded individuals. Painting contractors love it because not only is it easy to apply, it also dries quickly. Property owners prefer it for its durability, which is why it is often used in high-traffic areas.

  • Emulsion paints

    While emulsion paints are easy to apply, they generally take longer to dry. Manufacturers of emulsion products use synthetic resins and polyvinyl acetate in the recipe, making it a highly durable paint that can stand up to plenty of sunlight. However, it requires a clean surface, which means you need to putty and sand imperfections prior to applying the paint.

  • Textured paints

    If you want a textured look on your walls or ceilings, you need to add something to the paint to achieve that effect. Most manufacturers use silica sand or gypsum, but some will use actual leather. It is attractive to property owners who want their paint to look interesting but also feel interesting.

  • Cement paints

    A water-based product, cement paint utilizes white cement and other additives to make it resistant to the fading effects of ultraviolet light. Desired for its decorative appearance, it is often applied to rough surfaces, often in two coats. It is also used in areas where there is plenty of humidity and light. It stands up to the destructive qualities of a salty atmosphere, making it a good fit for properties near the ocean.

  • Epoxy Paint

    Tough and quick to dry, epoxy paint is popular for its ability to last for a very long time. It’s an excellent choice for covering metallic surfaces, as it offers a layer of protection and prevents rust. It is made with epoxy resin, thus the name.

There are so many paint types on the market today, which is why it can be confusing to anyone taking on a painting project. At Painters Inc., we can recommend the paint you need for any type of painting project in any room and on any surface.

Paint finishes

When you see the variation of finishes available in paints today, you realize there are almost as many finish options as there are paint colors. And while personal preference plays a role in how you make your decision, there is also function to consider.

Paint finishes make a huge difference in the look of your surfaces and in how long your paint will last. For example, it’s far easier to clean glossy finishes than matte finishes, so if you have a high traffic area that will need to be scrubbed on occasion, choosing a glossy finish will benefit you because it will hold up better than other finishes.

If you’re painting an office, you probably won’t be scrubbing the walls down like you would in a high traffic area, so going with a matte or eggshell finish is completely acceptable. Furthermore, offices are generally thought of as “quiet areas” where employees can concentrate on their work, which is another good reason to use paint with a matte finish.

The wearability of the finish is obviously a major concern, and it goes without saying that you want your finishes to meet your expectations where aesthetics are concerned. Knowing the differences in finishes, what properties make one finish a better option than another, is vital.

Finishes range from flat to glossy. Flat finishes lack sheen, whereas glossy finishes are the shiniest. Eggshell finishes have a very light amount of sheen, and the next step up is statin and then semi-gloss. Keep in mind that while glossy finishes are easier to clean and hold up to frequent scrubbing, they also reveal surface imperfections.

The following are the five categories of finishes:

Matte or flat finishes

Matte finishes are flat, containing basically no sheen at all. They are considered bold and deep, but they are among the least durable paints, which means they should be used in low traffic areas where they are least likely to be touched. Fortunately, matte finishes do a great job of hiding stains.

Eggshell finishes

Another finish that doesn’t reflect much light is the eggshell finish. This is also an option that hides imperfections, making it a good choice in areas where using a glossy finish would require hours of repair and prep work prior to painting. A more durable finish than matte, eggshell is often used in living rooms and dining rooms.

Satin finishes

In the hands of a skilled expert, satin finishes can be applied to surfaces and look as flawless as eggshell or matte. However, it is less forgiving when being applied and will show even the slightest errors. Easy to clean and durable, satin finishes do well in childrens’ rooms and hallways – areas where traffic is considerably higher.

Semi-gloss finishes

Moisture and paint do not do well together, which is why you need more sheen in your finish in rooms where moisture is common, such as bathrooms or kitchens. Semi-gloss finishes are among the shiniest, making them easy to clean and durable. When you know a surface is going to take a fair amount of abuse, semi-gloss is a good option.

High gloss finishes

If you’re going for a highly reflective look, high gloss finishes do the trick. They are also the most durable and easiest to clean. Be aware that any surface imperfection will stand out under a finish like this.

At Painters Inc., we’ve worked on all types of surfaces and know what type of finish will be suitable in terms of how it looks and holds up. We work closely with our clients so the look and feel are right, but we also focus on value, ensuring that the painting job will last a long time.

What is the difference between interior and exterior paints

While there are similarities between interior and exterior paint, there are some major differences that make each of them ideal for specific environments. For example, many indoor paints are engineered so they can handle being scrubbed/cleaned and not wear away. Similarly, exterior paint is developed so it can withstand harsh weather, including ultraviolet radiation from the sun that would quickly fade the pigment in interior paint. One of the biggest differences in ingredients is the type of resin used in each.

interior materials

The following are the biggest differences between interior and exterior paints:

  • Quantity of pigment

    Exterior paint must have more pigment added to it, otherwise it would fade under the sun’s punishing rays. These pigments can have more VOCs than interior paint due to the fact that the fumes will quickly dissipate and not become a health concern outdoors. Interior paints can’t be as toxic, which is why manufacturers use organic pigments that contain little to no VOCs.

  • Type of binding resins

    Resin is used in paint to help it bind the separate components in the paint recipe. The resin used in interior paint is rigid, which helps it hold up to contact and prevent scuffing. Exterior paint does not use rigid resin because it needs to expand and contract as the weather fluctuates. The binding resins in exterior paint is also chosen for its ability to reduce the fading effects of the sun.

  • Different additives

    You’ll find fewer additives in interior paint because it doesn’t have to hold up to harsh elements as exterior paint does. For example, there is no need to add fungicides to interior paint because it doesn’t need protection from the various types of fungus, mildew or algae that grow on exterior surfaces.

  • Durability, temperature and weather-resistance

    While some interior spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens can experience major differences in temperature and moisture content, it can’t compare to what paint applied to exterior surfaces experiences. Exterior paint must be temperature resistant and water resistant. From the frigid cold of winter to harsh, punishing sunlight and temperatures in the summer - exterior paint includes chemicals that give it far more durability than interior paint.

  • Different dry time

    Exterior paint will dry faster, as it is in the open air and subjected to heat/sunlight. Water-based paint dries faster than oil-based paint, but when either of these are applied to exterior surfaces, they will still dry faster than interior paint.

  • Levels of VOCs

    Interior paint has lower amounts of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in it, because a high concentration of VOCs would produce too many fumes for interior use. Some of the VOCs are responsible for longer life, which is why exterior paint includes a higher concentration of them. Also, VOCs are not an issue with exeteror work because the fumes dissipate easily outdoors.

  • Outgassing

    Outgassing is the term used to describe how fumes are released following the application of paint. Exterior paint will outgas as it dries. And because it’s outside, the fumes can escape easily and not impact public health. As interior paint dries, there are fewer fumes to outgas, which is important, as a buildup of VOCs in the interiors can be a health risk.

  • Cleanliness

    Because exterior paints are made to be waterproof, they are much more difficult to clean up when spilled or splattered. The type of finish matters, too, as shinier finishes wipe up easier than a matte or eggshell finish.

One of the biggest differences between exterior and interior paint is the amount of resin. Resins are important compounds in exterior paint, as they help to make the paint more durable. Much of the outgassing of these resins will occur in the first 48 hours after application, but the drying process and outgassing can go on for quite some time.

By comparison, interior paints are far more delicate and contain resins that release far less fumes, which means they are safe for indoor painting projects. There are paints that can actually be used either indoor or outdoor, which means you have plenty of options. Painters Inc. will make sure you get the perfect paint for your project, whether it’s a project on the exterior or interior.

Ceiling paint and wall paint, what are the differences?

Just as there are differences between exterior and interior paint, there are also differences between wall paint and ceiling paint. The most obvious difference is that ceiling paint is made so that it won’t drip and make a mess of your floors and other surfaces. Furthermore, ceiling paint is made so it is easier to apply. For example, the majority of ceilings are white or various shades of off white. Paint manufacturers use a very slight pinkish or bluish hue in ceiling paint that will turn white as it dries. This reveals where the painters have applied a new coat over the old paint, which is otherwise difficult to see.

Completed ceiling painting project

Paints made for walls tend to be more flexible than ceiling paint and are available in a wide variety of colors and sheens. Wall paint tends to be thinner than ceiling paint. Ceiling paint is almost always produced to create a flat/matte look, whereas wall paints can be glossy. Ceiling paint is also less durable than wall paint, as it is much less likely to be touched and doesn’t require scrubbing/cleaning.

Wall paint and ceiling paint characteristics

The following are details on what separates wall paint from ceiling paint and vice versa:

  • Colors: Ceiling paint is all about ease of application, which is why it is made with a pigment that turns white as it dries. If any areas are missed, the painter will know before they come back for a second application. Color options are limited, as most ceilings look best in white or a shade similar to white.
  • Finish: Rarely does a ceiling look pleasing with any kind of a sheen on it, which is why most ceiling paints are made to look flat, reflecting little light. Furthermore, a flat finish hides imperfections quite well, which reduces the need for prep work, such as patching or sanding high points. Conversely, wall paint can benefit by a glossy finish, particularly in dark rooms that benefit by a reflection of light off the walls.
  • Composition: Ceiling paint is more viscous than wall paint, as it needs to really stick to the surface to prevent dripping. However, wall paint is far more likely to be impacted by passers by, which means it has to be manufactured in a way that allows for it to be cleaned and not rub off or fade. Ceiling paint is also built to cover edges and keep surface imperfections from popping out, thus the flat/matte finish.
  • Viscosity: Ceiling paint is designed with more solids in the recipe, therefore making it more viscous. This is the component that keeps the paint from immediately dripping down as it is being applied overhead. Wall paint doesn't require the same level of viscosity. However, when applying a wall paint with a high gloss finish, keep in mind that the surface must be as close to perfect as possible, or every imperfection will show.
  • Other features: Some rooms require more additives in the paint, such as a bathroom where mold and mildew are commonplace due to the humidity. Some interior paints include mildewcides and fungicides to prevent a buildup of mold or mildew. There are also solids that can be added to interior paint that provide texture, which is great for providing a unique aesthetic.

Floor paint and wall paint, what are the differences?

When wall paint is used on floors, the mistake will quickly be discovered as the paint will scuff and chip off as soon as it is walked on. While wall paint is durable in that it is built to withstand scrubbing, floor paint is far more durable and able to withstand the frequent impact that comes with being walked on or rolled over.

Completed floor painting

Floor paint is also made with an epoxy resin, which is where it gets its durability. The resin is sometimes referred to as a “sticky” paint because of its tacky feel when it is first applied. Another big difference is that in order for floor paint to last a long time, professional painters will allow the first coat to completely dry before going over it again with a second coat.

High-quality paints. Key ingredients that affect the quality of paint

If the new coat of paint is going to last, it must be applied by someone that knows what they’re doing, but the paint also has to be of high quality, which means it is manufactured with the best ingredients. High-quality paint can be applied with ease and it will look stunning once completed. Durability is also important, as you don’t want to have to take on a repainting job any time soon, which is why using the best ingredients matters.

The best manufacturers of high quality paint focus on key ingredients, including pigment, liquids that serve as the base of the paint, binders that hold everything together and the various additives that meet the unique needs of the customer.


The pigment in paint is where you get your color. Pigment is actually made of synthetic organic pigments, usually derived from petrochemicals and coal tars. There are also inorganic pigments, which are made through chemical reactions. Professional painters will know the type of pigment to use based on the characteristics they’re looking for, such as color, weather resistance, heat resistance and opacity


Binders differ depending on the type of paint you’re using. For example, oil paints include binders made from oils, such linseed oil or soy-based oil. The paint that is designed to fight mold and mildew is made with binders that prevent such issues from occurring. The three types of binders used most often are acrylic, alkyd and epoxy polymers. Binders are chosen based on their ability to adhere to surfaces, provide resistance from cracking, blistering or peeling.


If you’re working with paint that feels like it’s been watered down, it’s most likely a cheaper paint that has too many liquids in the recipe. High-quality paint will include more solids, such as pigment and binders. The liquids do serve an important purpose – they allow painters to get the paint from the can to the surfaces they’re painting.


Just as additives help to preserve food and give it a longer shelf life, they do the same for paint. Additives also include such things as mildewcides that prevent mildew or mold from becoming an issue in areas like bathrooms and kitchens where moisture buildup is common. For an even disbursement of pigment, a special additive called a dispersing agent is included in paint.

Judging the quality of your paint:

  • Durability: The paint must wear well in high-traffic areas.
  • Looks: The paint must live up to your aesthetic expectations.
  • Eco-friendly: Low VOCs paints have fewer fumes.
  • Coverage: The paint should be easy to apply and cover the desired square footage per gallon.
  • Cost effectiveness: Quality paint costs more, but it adds value.
  • Cleanability: High-quality paint with the right finish will last a long time, even after frequent scrubbing.
  • Protection: The best paints will provide a layer of protection to surfaces.

The best painting contractors know what to look for in quality paints, seeking out best options for each individual job. At Painters Inc., we work with Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore Paints – two of the most trusted paint manufactures on the market today.

The advantages of higher quality interior paints

Most painting contractors agree that there are three things they look for in a quality paint:

  • Aesthetics

  • Ease of application

  • Durability

At Painters Inc., we know our clients want their new paint to look fantastic and they want it to last a long time so they don’t have to invest in another painting project for years to come. That’s why we use paint that has a more consistent appearance and won’t reveal brush or roller marks.

The paint we use requires less retouching and there is less spatter, which reduces the time it takes us to clean up after or during a project. Our quality interior paints are also made to resist dirt, stains and burnishing, which means cleaning is far easier and the paint will hold up to scrubbing.

The advantages of higher quality exterior paints

It is highly important to use quality paint for exterior projects, because using a lesser quality brand will result in colors fading faster, chipping, blistering and numerous other problems. High-quality exterior paint holds its sheen for a long time, resists dirt buildup and is easy to clean. Cheap paint has a tendency to “chalk,” which is something high-quality paint will not do when applied correctly.

Keep in mind that the best paints on the market require fewer recoatings, which is also a time and money saver.

The best paint will give you the long-lasting curb appeal of new paint. Also, to prevent mold or mildew buildup, the best paint includes additives, such as mildewcide, which is a big benefit for surfaces that encounter frequent moisture.

The best paint is not the cheapest on the market, but it certainly adds value to your painting project, because it holds up for a long, long time and looks great in the process. Using lesser quality paints might save you money now, but it will cost you in the long run, and it will probably not provide the desired look. Also, keep in mind that the best paints on the market require fewer recoatings, which is also a time and money saver.

The best quality paint brands for interior and exterior walls

Aside from partnering with a trusted and qualified painting contractor, nothing is more important than choosing the right paint for your interior and/or exterior surfaces. Choosing “bargain” paints can result in you making even greater expenditures later when the paint fails to live up to expectations.

It’s for this reason that you must choose paint from a quality supplier such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams. At Painters Inc., we’ve used these two brands for years and with stunning results.

sherwin williams logo
benjamin moore logo

Sherwin-Williams paints

Sherwin-Williams is a Cleveland, Ohio-based company that got its start in 1866 and is now available in more than 120 countries. This company made a huge move in 1875 when it began selling ready-mix paints. Before that, consumers had to mix the paints themselves. There are many milestones over the history of the company, but one thing that remains a constant with this brand is the quality of the paint.

For consumers accustomed to applying lesser quality paint, the first thing they notice when working with Sherwin-Williams products is that the paint is much easier to apply to surfaces. Professional painters use this product for its consistent flow, whether from a brush or a roller, and they also use it because the color tinting system compliments any project with great coverage and consistent pigment from one gallon to the next.

Benjamin Moore paints

Another heavyweight in the paint industry is Benjamin Moore. It’s history is nearly as deep as Sherwin-Williams, but is headquartered in New Jersey. It is consistently ranked at the top or near the top for its customer satisfaction scores, is committed to sustainability and has been recognized as one of the top “green” companies for years.

Contractors choose this product for its durability and because on exterior surfaces, the color lasts a long time without losing its vibrancy. The company also produces top-quality interior paints, which are also a big hit with painting contractors who have worked with just about every brand and consistently choose Benjamin Moore.

While it is true that there are plenty of less costly paints out there, they are far inferior to what these two brands bring to the table, which is durability, a stunning look and plenty of value.

How much does paint cost

Price is always a concern with any home or commercial improvement project. And while it might be tempting to choose a bargain paint to keep costs down, consider that investing in quality paints can actually add more value to the overall outcome of the project.

paint bucket

The best contractors do everything they can to remain competitively priced, but they aren’t going to skimp on paint quality, because the top-quality paints simply make them look better as a company, allow the work they do to last much longer than if they were to use bargain-quality paints, and there is also the customer satisfaction aspect to consider, which is significantly improved with top-rated paints.

Due to the extra additives required to make exterior paint hold up to the harsh elements, it is often costlier than interior paint. The other cost you have to factor in is labor, which is a crucial component of any successful project, because the best paints in the hands of an amateur will not bring value to your project.

As for the issue of bargain paints vs. high-quality paint, you can spend as little as $15 or $18 on a gallon of paint that will most likely not be easy to apply, will not look great on your wall and will not have the durability to last. On the high end, the best paints with special additives can cost as much $100 per gallon.

At Painters Inc., our top choices, which are almost always Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore, cost between $36 and $80 per gallon. Paint with a flat finish is the least costly. The more sheen you want, the more you’ll pay. For example, the going rate for a high-gloss gallon of Sherwin-Williams paint is around $70.

Tips for choosing paints for different types of buildings

There are so many paint options out there today that the average person can be intimidated quite easily and have a difficult time choosing the right ones for their different surfaces and room types. At Painters Inc., we are fully educated on all types of paint, whether they’re water based, oil based, latex, acrylic or matte finish to glossy finish. Let us help you get the right paint for the job.

  • Office painting

    When productivity is key, color needs to be carefully considered in offices. Rather than going with bold colors, most office settings are better off with muted blues and various shades of light grey. Finish is important, too; well-lit rooms do well with a matte or eggshell finish, while rooms that receive little light can get a boost with a glossier finish.

  • Healthcare & medical facility painting

    Healthcare facilities require low to no-VOC paints, because sensitivity to fumes is a major issue in these environments. Choosing a paint with a satin finish is great for high traffic areas, because it will hold up to frequent cleanings. Flat or matte finishes are perfect for ceilings and eggshell finishes are often chosen for low traffic areas in healthcare facilities.

  • Restaurant interior painting

    Color combinations are carefully considered for dining areas, as this plays a role in conveying to the diner what the restaurant is all about. Durability is a deciding factor on which paint will be used in kitchens where the surfaces are exposed to a range of temperatures and are prone to food splatters and will need to be cleaned often.

  • Hotel rooms, corridors and hallway painting

    A consistent color scheme is important in hotels, but so too are durable paints in high traffic areas, such as hallways. People in the hospitality industry are especially concerned about image, which is why using high-quality paint is a requirement. Hotels also need a diversity of paints that are a good match on disparate surfaces like kitchens, spas, bathrooms, dining rooms and fitness centers.

  • Retail shops painting

    It might be obvious or subliminal, but the paints you choose for a retail space can impact the shopping experience. From finishes to color schemes, subtle touches here and there matter quite a lot. Working with the right contractor can ensure you get the most out of your painting project.

  • Warehouse painting

    From large spaces that lack climate control to smaller warehouses that cater to a niche audience, surfaces in these structures can vary from cinder block to metal and everything in between. Painters Inc. knows which paint goes on these unique surfaces.

  • High-rise building painting

    Paint used on the exterior will differ from those used in the interiors of high-rise buildings. A durable exterior coating will protect the outer layers and boost the curb appeal, while a variety of different interior paints will compliment the various rooms, hallways and corridors of these structures.

  • Bank painting

    While all industries have their own unique aesthetic needs, banks are quite particular about the type of paint used. Various shades of light blue tend to be popular because of the color’s ability to convey trustworthiness and calm. Eggshell finishes are also a popular choice with financial institutions.

  • Schools and educational building painting

    Few painting projects use as wide a variety of paint as academic buildings. From durable exterior paints and durable interior paints for high traffic areas and the cafeteria to easy-to-clean paint for the classrooms and hallways, most of these projects involve an expertise specific to choosing the best possible paint options.

  • HOA apartament interior and hallway painting

    Similar to high-rise buildings, HOAs require paint that will stand up to frequently traveled areas, such as hallways. Keeping a consistent theme with colors from one floor to the next and hallway to hallway also requires a learned eye for color and finishes.

  • Gyms and fitness centers painting

    These recreational areas require paint that can take abuse. Durable latex and acrylic paint with a high-gloss finish are a good match because they are the easiest to clean and are among the “toughest” paint types.

Regardless of your type of structure, Painters Inc. knows what paints will provide the most protection, look the best and last the longest. If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming painting project, contact us and let’s go through the many different paint options you have.

Frequently Asked Questions about paints

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers that can help you make better paint decisions.

What type of paint is the best?

That depends on several factors, including what the room is used for, if it will need to have its surfaces cleaned often, how much light it gets, how much moisture it gets and whether it’s interior or exterior.

What is the most durable type of paint?

High-gloss acrylic paint is often cited as the most durable paint. It has qualities that all durable paints have, including a thicker consistency and a more viscous feel.

What type of paint prevents rust?

Ferrous metals are prone to oxidation, which is why painting these surfaces is so important. The best paints to use are rust-proof primers and paint, which contain additives that prevent rust from occurring.

What type of paint is mildew resistant?

For surfaces at risk of hosting mold and/or mildew, only use paint that has an additive called mildewcide or fungicide. These will significantly reduce the formation of growth on your surfaces.

Is oil based paint better than water based?

Some surfaces are better suited for oil-based paints than water-based paints, and vice versa. They each have different qualities that make them a better choice, depending on the surface and how the room is used. Generally speaking, oil-based paints have a higher sheen, but take longer to cure. Water-based paints generally have a longer sheen life, and dry far faster than oil.

What is distemper paint used for?

A rather ancient paint type, distemper is an early form of whitewash made primarily of pigment, chalk and water. It is not considered a durable paint, but has a specific aesthetic that has uses in projects where shelf life is not a concern. It is not waterproof paint, which means it should not be used on exteriors.

What is the longest lasting exterior paint?

Acrylic paint is utilized in exterior projects where durability is of the utmost importance. Acrylic is known for its ability to resist fading under harsh sunlight. Latex and oil-based paint is also durable and is often the paint of choice on siding and decks. The longest lasting exterior paints use high-quality ingredients, are thicker and more viscous.

What paint is easiest to clean?

High gloss finishes are the easiest to clean. But they also reflect a lot of light and always look somewhat wet, so if that is not the look you’re going for, choosing a semi-gloss finish might be more appropriate, as it is almost as easy to clean, yet not as shiny. Flatter finishes are more difficult to clean and they stain easier.

What is the most expensive type of paint?

Paints with the highest amount of additives are the most expensive. So, high-gloss finishes are going to run higher than flat paint, which is the least expensive. Specialty additives, such as fungicides or mildewcides, can also add more cost to a product.

Which is better eggshell or satin?

If you have a small room that you want to appear larger or if the room is a high traffic area that will need to be cleaned, using a paint with more sheen, such as satin, will be the preferable choice. Eggshell is among the flattest finishes, reflecting no to little light, which is preferable in larger rooms, but it’s also more difficult to clean.

What is the difference between satin and semi gloss paint finish?

While satin has more sheen than eggshell, it is not as shiny or wet looking as semi-gloss paint. In kitchens, where there is more moisture and the possibility of drips and stains, using a semi-gloss finish will provide better results than using a satin finish.

Which paint material is good for a textured wall?

Painting with an additive that will provide a textured look is usually done with oil-based or latex paint. And rather than using a flat finish, paint with more sheen, such as a stain or semi-gloss, show off the texture better than finishes lacking sheen.

What is the best paint to use on a ceiling?

Paint manufacturers have designed ceiling paint that is less likely to drip. It’s a heavier paint that spreads easily and is almost always in a matte finish, which hides imperfections far better than paint that has more sheen.

What is the most durable floor paint?

A garage floor is best covered with a two-part epoxy, which is highly durable and will take the abuse of something as heavy as cars, trucks and riding mowers. Regular epoxy and special acrylic floor paints are also known for their durability.

What is the best interior floor paint?

Concrete floor paints, which are generally latex-based, are tacky and prevent slipping. Oil-based paint is a good choice for wood floors, as they hold up well to foot traffic, but they are also higher VOC, which means your interiors must be well ventilated.

Getting the right painting contractor for your wall paint in the Chicago area

To get the most value out of your painting project, choose the right contractor. The best contractor is an expert communicator and will walk the client through every detail of the project so every nuance is covered. At Painters Inc., we pride ourselves on our customer service, the relationships we’ve built with loyal customers and the sense of satisfaction they get when we finish a project. In fact, despite our reputation as a go-to painting contractor in the Chicago area, our clients consistently say the end result of our work exceeds their expectations.

We’re staffed with full-time and highly-trained painters who are focused on the finest details and are safety conscious, too. We’re certified, insured and ready to take on your painting project, from small one-day jobs to large, multi-week technical painting jobs that require the skills found only in the most experienced painters. Contact us and let’s talk about your project and the best possible paint types for all of your surfaces.

Eivydas “David” Phillips
Eivydas “David” Phillips
Eivydas “David” Phillips is the founder and president of Painters Inc. He and his team have built a solid reputation as the preferred painting contractor in the Chicago area, capable of handling variety of complex commercial jobs, completing them on time and surpassing expectations. With a customer-centric focus, Painters Inc guarantees reliability on every job, large or small.