Sometimes Moore means Less . . .

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Benjamin Moore that is! So let’s talk about paint brands.

The big ones are Behr (Home Depot), Valspar (Lowe’s), Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Glidden, and Olympic. There are more brands out there like Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart, but in truth each brand is made by another, they’re all related . . . so to speak.

Let’s get the boring statistics out of the way first. Here’s the JD Power rankings of best consumer paint brands:

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Now I’ve done my fair share of painting and every time I do, about half way through the project, I remember why I hate painting so much! No matter what size the room, small or large, it’s the same amount of work to me. The actual act of painting the physical color on the wall takes just a few minutes really, depending on how much cutting in and edging you have to do. The BIGGER pain is all the mess and clean up that comes along with it. Set up the drop cloth, shake the paint, open the paint, stir the paint, pour the paint into the tray, open the ladder, get your brush ready, dip it NOT TOO MUCH, scrape some off, paint, dip it NOT TOO MUCH . . . well you get the idea. If that’s where it ended it wouldn’t be so bad. But then once you’re done painting for the day, or even after one coat, you have to clean everything up! Pour the leftover paint back into the can (I know you’re not supposed to do that because it contaminates the paint – I’m not made of money though so back goes the paint), hammer the can shut, pick up the tarp BE CAREFUL NOT TO KNOCK OVER THE WET BRUSHES, pack up all the trays and rollers and head down to the wash basin, rinse everything out DON’T USE HOT WATER YOU’LL RUIN THE BRUSH (but of course cold water does nothing), dry the brush . . . you get the idea again. In any case, it may not be the most difficult thing to do around your home, but it sure is one of the most time consuming. Wait, weren’t we talking about pain brands? Back to that.

Needless to say I’ve painted my fair share of rooms (that’s where we were). I’ve used the cheapest paint money could buy and some of the most expensive. There really should be some sort of scale in all the paint stores and home improvement centers that has a dollar amount from low to high and then a paint brand below it that corresponds to the cost above. There could even be a third line that goes from watery to pudding or thin to thick paint! Basically the cheaper the paint the more watery it usually is, the more expensive the paint, the thicker it is. And quality paint is all about thickness, or to be technical viscosity.

In my not so expert painting opinion the thickest paint I have ever used, as backed up by the JD Power study, is Benjamin Moore. Now you may be saying that’s great, but Benjamin Moore is a bit pricey, I think their cheapest level paint is still about $50 a gallon. Now this is where the title Moore means Less comes in. Yes, while $50 a gallon is a lot of money, it will cover your walls a heck of a lot better and last a lot longer than the cheaper $25-30 a gallon brands will. Plus, if you’re really good, you only need one coat of Benjamin Moore paint where you may need 2 or 3 coats of the cheaper brands, and that right there is worth big savings in both time and money! I’ve said it on this blog before, but when it comes to paint, you really do get what you pay for. There’s nothing worse than edging a room and having that long watery drip go down your wall because you saved $5 a gallon on the cheaper paint (oh yes, and to get the $5 back you have to mail in the proof of purchase and your receipt, and I’m sure we ALL do that right!?!). Even worse is not noticing until after it has dried that your paint is running in globs down the edge, nothing to really fix it at that point.

Now if you can’t bring yourself to spend $50+ on a gallon of paint that’s quite understandable. There’s no need to spend that much on primer or ceiling paint, as long as your careful about the globing effect in corners. It’s fine to buy the cheaper stuff to lay down as a base coat. You could also try buying a better quality of the cheaper brands and see how that works for you. Meaning, usually paint companies like Behr have 3 different qualities or levels of paint, basic, mid-level, and high end. Maybe try the middle one if price is an issue and see how that goes on. Spending even just a few extra bucks could make all the difference in your room!

I have other great painting tips, like buy the most expensive brushes you can afford so the bristles don’t fall out, and what type of finish to pick for which room, or how to edge around molding and corners, or how putting your brushes in the freezer between coats can save on cleaning time . . . but we’ll cover that some other day!

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