I wish I had $5.00 for every time someone asked me what the best paint is.
Everyone wants the best on their project and sometimes they are willing to pay the higher price for it too. Ha ha.
Millions of dollars are spent on advertising by companies to convince you they have the “best” .
The truth is most manufactures have good and not so good product. Paint companies try to market to all demographics. People with money to spend and those on a budget.
One simple way to determine the quality of paint is to determine the percent of solids by volume. This information is available on a technical data sheet. Not a material “safety” data sheet. What you will find on a material safety data sheet is information on product safety, exposure limits, etc. If you go to a box store like Home Depot, etc. they aren’t going to know what you are asking for and you may get a strange look or they will assume you are asking for a MSDS, Material safety data sheet. At a paint store they are more likely to know what you want. The technical data sheet has valuable information.
The simplest way to understand percent solids of a product is to think of a gallon of paint. If the percent of solids is 50%, that is made up of the pigments, resins, and other solid components, as opposed to the water or other liquid carriers. The other 50% is the solvent or water in latex products. The solvent evaporates off as it dries so 50% remains behind or on the surface of what you are painting. In general terms a product with 50% solids is going to be better then one with 40% solids. A higher percentage of solids generally indicates a thicker, more heavily pigmented, and more durable product. Do you want to buy a can 50% full or 40% full? The other 40 or 50% serve a purpose but go away as the paint dries/cures. The optimal percentage of solids will depend on the specific characteristics and intended use of the paint.
In general, a latex paint with a higher percentage of solids will have better coverage, hiding power, and durability than a paint with a lower percentage of solids. However, a paint with a very high percentage of solids may be more difficult to apply, may require more frequent stirring, and may dry to a harder finish which is normally a desired finish.
There are other considerations to consider like what the solids are, what the binder is, what type of resins are used, etc. but this is a simple way to know what you are buying or judge quality.
The optimal percentage of solids will depend on the specific application and desired properties of the paint. For example, a paint with a higher percentage of solids may be more suitable for a high-traffic area or for use on a rough or porous surface, while a paint with a lower percentage of solids may be more suitable for a smooth, low-traffic surface or for use in a thin layer. It is generally recommended to choose a paint with a percentage of solids that is appropriate for the intended use and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.
If you buy a product from a reputable and well known brand and pick a product with high solids by volume you are likely getting a good product.
Shopping at a paint store is preferred for quality. Paint stores carry a better grade of products and the employees usually know the products they are selling.
General guidelines to consider
Brand: Look for a reputable brand with a proven track record of producing high-quality paint. Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends, family, or a professional painter.
Finish: Latex paint is available in a range of finishes, including flat, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Consider the desired level of sheen and durability for the specific room or surface you are painting.
Coverage: Look for a paint with good coverage, which means it can cover the existing color or surface with fewer coats. This will save time and reduce the amount of paint needed.
Durability: Choose a paint with good durability to ensure that it will hold up over time and resist fading, chipping, and peeling.
Price: While it’s important to consider the cost of the paint, don’t skimp on quality in order to save a few dollars. High-quality paint may cost a bit more upfront, but it will likely last longer and provide better coverage, resulting in a more cost-effective choice in the long run.
Environmental considerations: If you are environmentally conscious, you may want to consider choosing a paint that is low-VOC (volatile organic compound) or made with natural ingredients. These paints have less of an impact on air quality and are safer for people and pets.
Pigmentation: High-quality latex paints should have a high level of pigmentation, which means they should be rich in color and coverage. This is important because it means the paint will be more durable and will require fewer coats to achieve good coverage.
Viscosity: The viscosity of a paint refers to its thickness and flow. High-quality latex paints should have a smooth, creamy consistency that is easy to apply and spreads evenly.
Check the product’s technical data sheet or look for third-party certifications, such as Green Seal or EcoLogo. You can also ask for recommendations from a paint professional like The Painting Company or read online reviews from other consumers.
Binder type and concentration: The binder is what holds the pigment particles together and helps the paint adhere to the surface. A high-quality latex product will have a strong, durable binder.
Viscosity: The viscosity of a paint is a measure of its thickness. High-quality latex paints tend to have a lower viscosity, which makes them easier to apply and results in a smoother finish.
Dry time: The dry time of a paint is how long it takes for the product to set and become touch-dry. High-quality latex paints typically have a shorter dry time, which can be more convenient for users.
Certification: Some high-quality latex paints may be certified by third-party organizations, such as Greenguard or LEED, which can be a good indication of their quality.